Chances are at some point or another you and your spouse have brought up the topic of estate planning. Whether it was talking about writing wills or how to plan for retirement, it’s a common discussion for married couples to find themselves in. Often, though, couples are not entirely familiar with the planning doors marriage opens up.
Estate and Gift Tax
Welcome to 2017! If you’re like me, you’ve spent the first few days of the New Year trying to get organized and set some goals for the year to come. Whether it’s a new workout regimen, quitting smoking, spending more time with family, or something else, the start of a new year presents a natural opportunity to make some small changes to improve ourselves and our lives. One item that you may have been putting off for a while may be putting an estate plan in place to protect your family. And, if you haven’t done so, I’m happy to help you make 2017 the year you finally cross that ever-looming item off your to-do list.
Welcome to 2016! If you’re like me, you’ve spent the first few weeks of the New Year trying to get organized and set some goals for the year to come. Whether it’s a new workout regimen, quitting smoking, spending more time with family, or something else, the start of a new year presents a natural opportunity to make some small changes to improve ourselves and our lives. One item that you may have been putting off for a while may be putting an estate plan in place to protect your family.
A revocable trust is one that is created during the life of the grantor, and its primary uses are to manage property during the grantor’s life and reduce the cost and time associated with probate upon the grantor’s death while permitting the grantor to retain an amount of control over the assets it holds. Along with the ability to retain control over the assets in a revocable trust, a grantor retains the power to amend or even revoke the trust entirely during his life.
Knowing the differences between federal and state estate tax laws is essential for estate planning attorneys that want to ensure they are minimizing any tax burden on their clients.
Estate Planning for Same Sex Couples presents some challenges not otherwise seen when planning for married couples. In states like Illinois, where same-sex marriage is legal, the challenges are now much easier to conquer than they were even a year ago, however, it's important for same-sex couples, both married and unmarried to know the implications to their estates should one of them become incapacitated or die.
There are numerous considerations when contemplating making gifts to minor children. Outright gifts are frowned upon because, under the eyes of the law, children are under a legal disability, which means that they do not have the legal capacity to administer property. That means that a guardian is necessary to hold or manage property for a minor child. Without some planning, it may be necessary for a court to appoint that guardian- a process that may outweigh any benefits of making the gift to a minor child in the first place.
Upon death, individuals are entitled to leave their assets to chosen beneficiaries tax free so long as the total value of those assets is less than the current estate tax exclusion amount in place for the year in which the death occurs. Apart from real estate, one of the most valuable assets that many people own, or will consider purchasing during their lives is life insurance.
When a family member passes away there are often more questions than answers. Naturally, some of those questions are about what needs to be done in order to transfer the deceased individual's assets and property to loved ones, friends or charities. Depending on what the deceased individual owned at the time he or she passed away it may be necessary to go through probate.
With 2014 fast approaching, many are looking for ways to improve their lives for the better in the year to come. Whether it’s a new workout regimen, quitting smoking, spending more time with family, or something else, the New Year is an opportunity to improve yourself and your life. As you take stock of the past year and think about resolutions for 2014, consider taking stock of the current state of your estate planning. Whether you put a plan in place this past year or 10 years ago, with the year winding down, it’s a good idea to ensure that it still reflects your wishes.