August means school is back in session or just around the corner, signaling the return of new school supplies, homework, and pop quizzes. Try your hand at this estate planning pop quiz to see if your knowledge of estate planning makes the grade and if it is time for us to schedule a meeting.
Some of my estate planning clients own highly appreciated investment properties, but few are familiar with the effective tax deferral and estate planning strategy available with the IRC Section 1031 “like kind” exchange. It can help you defer capital gains taxes on certain appreciated property indefinitely, and even eliminate them permanently. This blog post will give you a high level introduction to 1031 exchanges. If you are considering a 1031 exchange or have questions about this type of real estate transaction, please call our office for assistance.
If you’re enrolled in a qualified high-deductible health plan (HDHP), you must consider how your health savings account (HSA) fits into your estate plan—especially to make sure that any hard-earned money left in your HSA when you die goes where you want it.
Along with warmer weather and lazy days spent at a pool, summertime also often includes a family gathering, such as a Fourth of July barbecue, a family vacation, a reunion, or time spent at a family cabin or lake house. Whatever the form, in our always-on-the-go society, getting the whole family together is a rare occurrence. Consider taking advantage of this time together to discuss your estate and financial wishes with your family by including a family meeting in your family gathering.
For over a quarter of a century, the National Safety Council has recognized June as National Safety Month. An objective of National Safety Month is to raise public awareness of the top safety and health risks in the United States. One of the lesser known but considerable risks Americans and their loved ones face are the financial and emotional repercussions that can accompany incapacity or death. A revocable living trust is a legal tool that can keep you and your loved ones safe from the costs, uncertainty, and confusion that may result upon your incapacity or death.
There is a lot to think about when moving: along with organizing and packing up all of your belongings, there is also starting and stopping utilities, mail forwarding, updating voter registration, and so on. While the ever-growing number of items on your moving to-do list may be overwhelming, it is important not to overlook two essential items that should be added to your moving checklist: (1) locating your important documents and (2) meeting with your advisor team.
If you are more environmentally minded, read this blog post for some nontraditional, eco-friendly burial ideas. An added benefit is that many of these environmentally friendly ideas are also less expensive than the traditional options.
We all plan for “just-in-case” scenarios. When packing for our week-long vacation, we throw in a rain jacket even though the weather forecast is sunny—just in case. When planning for the future, it is also important to consider what will happen just in case one of your loved ones becomes disabled. Read this blog post to see how you can include this important safety net into your existing trust.
Read this for a brief overview of Special Needs Trusts (SNTs).
February 21 is the day on which we celebrate several US presidents who made noteworthy contributions to our country. As with any discussion that involves politics, a discussion about US presidents risks generating a variety of opinions about which reasonable minds can disagree. However, politics is not the focus of this month’s newsletter. Instead, our aim is to examine a few of the important lessons we can learn from the estate planning of some of our country’s most famous political leaders.
Read this blog post for a list of common statutory exemptions from documentary transfer tax on transfer of real property.
When it comes to finding happiness for both you and your loved ones, consider how your estate planning might play a role in that process. This blog helps identify steps to help ensure that the effort you put into your estate planning will contribute to your and your family’s happiness rather than diminish it.
One of the questions I receive from family members after a loved one passes away is how can they access their deceased family member's iPhone or Mac account to retrieve precious family photos or messages. Until recently I would tell those family members that they would need a court order from the Probate Judge to gain access. In December 2021, Apple released a new update for their products that now allows individuals to designate a Legacy Contact (or contacts) to have access to their data in their Apple accounts after their death. If set up properly, designating your Legacy Contact will eliminate the need for a costly and time consuming court petition. This blog post contains step by step instructions from Apple, Inc. Support for adding a Legacy Contact to your Apple ID account.
Should you leave a portion of your estate to your professional advisor who has grown to become a close family friend? Read this blog post to find out if you can.
This blog post will help you take the right steps if you are ever involved in a car accident.
Studies have shown that 70% of family wealth is lost by the end of the second generation and 90% by the end of the third. Don’t let your loved ones become part of these statistics. You need to understand, and work to overcome, the disconnect that occurs between generations regarding the transfer of wealth.
Next week is Estate Planning Awareness Week (October 18–24, 2021). To that end, this month’s newsletter is geared toward helping you become aware of and better understand common estate planning myths. Left unaddressed, these myths can create serious trouble for your loved ones, often leading to intrafamily conflict, permanently damaged relationships, and lengthy and expensive court battles. Read about these myths in this blog post.
For many pet owners, pets are members of the family. These individuals often say that if something happens to them, they are more concerned with what will happen to their pets than to their children or spouse. This post examines the issues surrounding caring for pets after the disability or death of the pet's owner.
In late May of this year, the U.S. Treasury released a publication detailing a number of the proposed tax code changes that the Biden administration would like to usher through Congress in an ambitious effort to modernize the US tax system to meet its citizens’ needs. While reasonable minds may differ strongly on the best way to stimulate the US economy and create wealth and security for the American people, one thing is certain: the need for individuals to engage in careful estate and tax planning to avoid paying more tax than necessary is not going away.
When selecting a successor trustee for a trust, it is common for the individual who creates the trust (the trustmaker) to choose one person to serve as a successor trustee at a time. Some attorneys routinely recommend that only a single successor trustee be appointed to avoid the potential for conflicts between co-trustees during trust administration. This can be a prudent approach and works well in many situations. But there are situations where having more than one trustee may be a good idea. Read more about this in our latest blog post!
Believe it or not, there are some essential things you must consider when you anticipate receiving an inheritance. Understanding these issues can be crucial to protect that inheritance from unnecessary taxes and outside threats like creditors, divorcing spouses, and bankruptcy.
So, you're thinking of leaving money to your grandchildren. Read this blog post to learn what options are available to you.
This year has been unprecedented from a political perspective in many ways. President Joe Biden stepped into office facing huge obstacles related to the COVID-19 pandemic, an economy battered by the pandemic, a crumbling national infrastructure in dire need of repair, an ongoing immigration crisis at our southern border, and deep political and social divisions in this country, among other challenges.