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?
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
Caring.com conducts surveys periodically to keep a finger on the pulse of the estate planning preparedness of Americans. The results are never encouraging, but things are actually getting worse. Their latest survey that has been conducted this year has found that the number of people who have a will or another estate planning document in place has decreased by 25 percent over the last three years. At this time, just 32 percent of adults in the United States have made the appropriate … [Read more...] about Estate Planning: Emotions Often Lead to Inaction
If you use a will to state your final wishes, your executor would submit it to probate. This is a legal process that takes place under the supervision of a court. To plan your estate effectively, you have to understand this process, and we provide five key facts in this post. It serves a purpose. When you poke around on the Internet looking into the process of probate, you will find negative statements made about it. We will cover the drawbacks in some of the other sections, but it does serve … [Read more...] about Five Things You Need to Know About Probate
Before we get to the increase in the estate tax exclusion, we should explain how taxes apply to inheritances in a broad sense. Many people assume that you are required to report an inheritance when you file your regular income taxes, but this is not the case. Inheritance is not taxable income for a logical reason. Assets that comprise estates are left over after the decedents paid taxes throughout their lifetimes. For example, if a person saved a certain amount of money every pay period for … [Read more...] about Estate Tax Exclusion Has Been Increased
As elder law and estate planning attorneys, we often have to explain details about government benefit programs to our clients. There are some programs that serve related purposes that have similar sounding names so there can be some confusion. This is certainly true of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Need-Based Benefit Supplemental Security Income is a program that provides monthly income to qualified people with disabilities who have very … [Read more...] about What’s the Difference Between SSI and SSDI?
A lot of people procrastinate when it comes to estate planning because they assume that they can take action very late in their lives when the end is relatively near. They know that it is possible that they will die without ever getting to it, but they are not too concerned. These folks are under the impression that the state will take care of everything. It is true that the state would get involved under these circumstances. If you were to die without executing any estate planning documents … [Read more...] about Don’t Let the State Plan Your Estate
Estate planning is one of the basic responsibilities of adulthood, but studies that are conducted show that most people are unprepared for an event that is an absolute inevitability. There are some good reasons why you should consult with an estate planning lawyer if you have been ignoring the matter, and we will look at five of them here. Prevent Intestacy A lot of people are not too concerned about inheritance planning because they assume that the government will step in to take care of … [Read more...] about Five Reasons to Consult With an Estate Planning Lawyer
Elder law and estate planning attorneys help people prepare for their senior years as they take steps to leave suitable legacies for their loved ones if it is at all possible. Loneliness can certainly be a challenge for elders that lose their spouses, and there is no one easy answer that is right for everyone. Some seniors have family members, friends, and neighbors that try to fill the gaps, but people live busy lives, and it can be hard for them to carve out sufficient time. In other cases, … [Read more...] about Estate Planning and Pet Ownership for Lonely Seniors