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Planning for Pets

An estate planning attorney strives to provide clients with excellent service and a comprehensive estate plan that will protect all of their interests. We conduct extensive interviews to get to know our clients, and take the time to truly understand their needs and the nuances of their particular situation. The good estate planning attorney truly leaves no stone unturned; no loose ends.

Planning for Animals

Planning for an animal is actually very similar to planning for a minor child. However, in most cases children grow up to be independent adults who can take care of themselves. That is not the case with animals, which is why planning is so critical.
Animal Care Trust

The central component of many estate plans is the revocable living trust, and planning for an animal will generally take the form of incorporating additional provisions for an Animal Care Trust. There are instances when it is appropriate to set up a separate, stand-alone Animal Care Trust, but these situations are not near…
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Choosing the Proper Successor Trustee

When you create a living trust, you usually need to choose who to name as your successor trustee. It is crucial that this decision is not taken lightly and that the right person is selected for the job.
Role of Successor Trustee

If you become incapacitated, your successor trustee will step into your shoes and take full control of your trust assets on your behalf. This means he or she will have full authority to make financial decisions -- including selling or refinancing trust assets. In fact, as long as the act does not interfere with the instructions in the trust document and does not breach any fiduciary duty owed, your successor trustee is given broad authority over your trust assets. The authority is very helpful in many circumstances because it avoids costly, time consuming court proceedings, like guardianship, conservatorship, or probate.
After your death, your successor trustee acts in the same capacity as an executor: taking an inventory of all trust assets, paying outstanding d…

Why Your Estate Planner Needs to Know If You’ve Lent Money to Family

Let's talk about money - or the loaning of money. Many children and grandchildren are skipping the traditional bank and obtaining loans from parents or grandparents.Unfortunately, we have all heard stories of families torn apart because of disagreements over money. So, what can you do to make sure your intra-family loans help — rather than hurt — your family?

As far as estate planning is concerned, money you lend to others is legally an asset. If you have lent money to a family member the presence of these assets in your estate can be problematic for your surviving family members. This is because your executor and successor trustee are under a legal requirement, known as fiduciary care, to collect the outstanding obligation, even if the other party is a family member.
If the amount of money that you have lent out is significant -- and “significant” can be relative -- it is important to let us know as we help you plan your estate. For example, if you wish to forgive the debt there a…

Organizing for Tax (and Estate Planning) Season

It’s the start of a new year, which means tax season—and this year’s April 17th IRS filing deadline—is just around the corner. Soon you’ll be receiving tax forms such as your W-2 or 1099s, and you’ll start thinking about the life events that could affect your taxes in various ways.

This flurry of tax prep activity is the perfect opportunity to get your estate plan in order, too, and kill two birds with the proverbial stone.
Why? Because as you run down your list of “tax prep” questions, you will find that your answers could also impact your estate plan.
Some things to think about:
Did you get married or divorced? Did any of your children or grandchildren?Did you welcome a child or grandchild into your family by birth or adoption?Have any of your children or grandchildren reached the age of majority?Have you dealt with illness or hospitalization? Have you incurred medical expenses?Did you buy or sell a new property or any other major assets, like a vacation home?Did you move to another st…

What to Expect from Estate Planning in 2018

Hello everyone and a happy 2018 to you! I hope you enjoyed the holiday season and this new year is off to a terrific start for you and your loved ones, thus far. I would like to consider a few items to watch regarding estate planning for 2018, so you and your family can be completely protected.

The Death Tax
The death tax has been in a state of flux ever since the early 2000s when the Bush administration’s first tax cuts changed the exemption and tax rates. The recently-passed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is the latest significant change. Starting January 1, 2018, the estate tax exemption amount will double to $11.2 million per person (married couples have $22.4 million of combined exemption). Like the current exemption, this amount will adjust annually for inflation. However, this enhanced exemption expires on December 31, 2025, at which time it will return to an amount similar to the $5.49 million per person exemption we’ve had in 2017. Similar to what happened when the Bush tax cuts phased …

How to Share Family History and Heirlooms with Your Estate Plan

The best time to share your family history with loved ones is right now, before the memories are forgotten. The coming holiday season is a great opportunity to reminisce because you’ll probably have your loved ones nearby.

While you can always pull aside children and grandchildren for a chat about family history, did you know you may also be able to use a personal property memorandum in your estate plan to pass along special memories and stories about specific items that are meaningful to you and connect your family with the past?
What Is a Personal Property Memorandum?
Many states allow you to include a “personal property memorandum” in your estate plan. This supplemental document, specifically referenced in your will or your living trust, lets you describe which personal property items you wish to leave to heirs, without having to call your lawyer and arrange for a meeting. You can handwrite or type this document, but it must be signed and dated to be valid. In conjunction with a will …

Estate Planning Isn’t Spooky! But not planning can be downright terrifying

The idea of implementing an estate plan might be one of the scariest things you have to confront as an adult. But estate planning does not have to make chills run down your spine. On the contrary, estate planning is empowering for both you and your family and allows you to live confidently knowing that things will be taken care of in the event of your passing or incapacity. Remember, estate planning is not just for the ultra-rich. If you own anything or have young children, you should have an estate plan. Read below to find out reasons why.

Benefits of Estate Planning

Proper estate planning accomplishes many things. It puts your financial house in order. Parents designate a guardian for their minor or disabled children, so they’re raised by someone who shares your values and parenting style (rather than whoever some judge picks). Homeowners can make sure their property is transferred to a designated beneficiary in the event of untimely death. Business owners can ensure the enterprise t…