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
In life in general, when you hear about mistakes that have been made by others, you learn valuable lessons about “what not to do.” Within the realm of estate planning, there are a number of constructive tales that revolve around estate planning errors that were made by rich, famous people. This type of situation has unfolded since the death of the legendary “Queen of Soul,” Aretha Franklin. She passed away as a result of pancreatic cancer in August of 2018 at the age of 76. It has been … [Read more...] about Aretha Franklin Estate Matter Takes a Surprising Turn
You can cross your fingers and hope for the best while taking some estate planning steps that are questionable. But you have to ask yourself if it is really worth the gamble -- one of the these questionable steps is joint bank accounts with children. It took a lot of time and effort to accumulate the resources that comprise your estate and you would probably do well to make a small investment into a properly constructed estate plan rather than seeking out do-it-yourself alternatives. There … [Read more...] about Joint Bank Accounts: Worth the Gamble?
A lot of people who have not probed into the subject of a living trust reduce the process of estate planning to the creation of a last will. In fact, there are other asset transfer vehicles that can be preferable when certain circumstances exist. Plus, a well-constructed estate plan will address end-of-life issues. The estate planning device that is the best choice for many people is the revocable living trust. In this post, we will provide an overview in the form of a hypothetical question … [Read more...] about Living Trust Questions Answered