Before we look at the step-up in basis and a potential change that looms over the horizon, we should take a look at the broader tax picture. Most of the things that you need to know about how taxes can influence inheritances are surprisingly positive. An inheritance is not looked upon as taxable income by the IRS or state tax authorities, and this applies to insurance policy proceeds and direct bequests. If you bequeath an individual retirement account to a beneficiary, the distributions … [Read more...] about Inheritance Planning and the Step-Up in Basis
A lot of people are under the impression that a simple will is the right estate planning document for just about everyone. They think that trusts are very complicated legal devices that are only used by multimillionaires that have to pay estate taxes. This is simply not true. Yes, there are trusts that are utilized by high net worth individuals, but there are reasons why "ordinary people" should use trusts, and we will look at a few of them here. Providing for People With Disabilities If … [Read more...] about Why Would You Need a Trust?
When researchers delve into the subject, they find that most Americans do not have estate plans in place. A lot of these people know that planning is important, and in fact, this has been measured by surveys. One reason why they stay frozen in inaction is because they do not know where to begin. With this in mind, we will provide a simple step-by-step approach that you can take to initiate the inheritance planning process. Take Stock of Your Assets The first order of business will be to … [Read more...] about A Step-By-Step Approach to Inheritance Planning
A revocable living trust is a very versatile estate planning device that can be the right choice for many people. The first thing that you should know about this type of trust is that you do not have to be extremely wealthy to reap the benefits. When you convey property into a living trust, you are making the trust the owner of the property, but you would essentially be the trust in a figurative sense. You would continue to control and access the resources as usual. The idea is to use the … [Read more...] about Choose Your Living Trust Trustee Carefully
A lot of people think that estate planning boils down to one simple task. You take a little bit of time to record your final wishes in a will, and the matter is closed. All you have to do is buy a worksheet online and fill in the blanks, and you are good to go. That may sound sensible on the surface, but in reality, it is a gross oversimplification. Let’s look at some of the reasons why you may want to engage an estate planning lawyer to help you put your plan in place. Make Sound Asset … [Read more...] about Why Do You Need an Estate Planning Lawyer?
According to the Insurance Information Institute, there is a pet of some kind in more than 65 percent of American homes. Dogs are the most popular pets, and believe it or not, there is a canine companion in 63.4 million households in the United States. Since dogs have relatively short lifespans as compared to humans, most dog owners do not have any concerns from an estate planning perspective. This make sense, and in most cases, there are multiple members of a given household that could care … [Read more...] about Can You Include Your Dog in Your Estate Plan?
Estate planning can be approached in a couple of different ways. You can require direct, lump sum inheritances without regard to differences in beneficiaries' situations. The other approach would be a laser-focused plan that is built to suit each member of the family. There are many ways to get assets from point A to point B. The ideal method will vary depending on the situation. If you discuss the possibilities with one of our attorneys, we can gain an understanding of your family dynamic … [Read more...] about Plan Your Estate With Precision
You have options when you are planning your estate, and this is one of the reasons why you should engage an estate planning attorney. If you have specific objectives, there is some type of approach that can be used to address them. With this in mind, let’s look at the legal device called an incentive trust. Encourage Positive Behavior A large windfall of money can potentially do more harm than good if the recipient has not reached full maturity. You may have concerns about this if you are … [Read more...] about Provide Guidance With an Incentive Trust
There are different types of wills and trusts used in the field of estate planning, and it can all be kind of confusing for someone who does not work in the field. This is understandable because we are in the same situation when it comes to subjects that are outside of our profession. In an effort to provide some clarity, let’s look at the different types of wills that are sometimes used. Simple Wills The one estate planning document that everyone has heard of is the simple will, which is … [Read more...] about Wills Demystified
They say that the only constant is change, and this is something to keep in mind when you consider the estate planning process. It is wise to put a plan in place as soon as you are a responsible adult with other people depending on you. Over the years, life will change, and the original estate plan will invariably come become outdated. Let’s look at some of the events that can take place that would trigger the need for an estate plan update. Additions to the Family We are providing a … [Read more...] about Don’t Take Chances With an Outdated Estate Plan