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Why Procrastinating Can Be a Huge Mistake for Your Estate Planning

April 9, 2018

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

Everyone has heard some type of nightmare tale about what has happened to a person’s assets when they weren’t properly included in an estate plan. Often it is the remaining family members left behind after a loved one passes away, left to cope with the problems associated with lack of estate planning or improper estate planning. 

Procrastination can generate a great deal more frustration, problems, and grief for your loved ones, all because you simply refused to sit down with an estate planning attorney. Procrastination can put your loved ones in a very difficult situation if something happens to you while you are still alive, such as becoming incapacitated and having no one appointed to make decisions on your behalf, as well as for the management of your assets if you were to suddenly pass away without an estate plan in place.

This empowers the state to make critical decisions about what happens to your remaining property and this can cause numerous different problems in the handling of your future. It is far better to consult with an estate planning attorney well in advance and hope that you don’t need the support provided by an incapacitation plan. However, if you are concerned about incapacitation, having these documents properly created, signed and stored can greatly increase your chances of comfort, knowing that someone else is appointed to step in and make decisions on your behalf if you become unable to do so.

Family Conflict a Key Issue for Estate Planning

April 2, 2018

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

There are many different estate planning challenges facing families, individuals and businesses today, but a new study reveals that family conflict tops the list of estate planning challenges. Although tax reform is on the tip of everyone’s tongue when it comes to looking ahead, it’s not the number one issue facing families at this current point in time. 

A TD Wealth survey of 109 different attendees of an institute on estate planning revealed that family conflict is the leading concern for estate planning today. In fact, 44% of planning professionals shared that the biggest threat to estate planning was family conflict, followed by tax reform and market volatility.

There are mixed reactions from numerous planning professionals about the new estate and tax rules. Although approximately half of planning professionals believe that the tax reforms will help their client, another third are not sure what the impact will be and others anticipate a negative aspect. However, many believe that problems associated with family conflict and family infighting are one of the leading reasons and issues that will affect families going forward. Lack of clarity about planning intentions and fall out including probate conflicts and administration may cause concerns after the fact. Having a comprehensive estate plan is the best way to avoid these issues.

Avoid the Mistake of Leaving Behind a Messy Estate

March 20, 2018

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

Perhaps the best test of how much you care about your survivors and the legacy you’ll leave behind is the organization of your estate. There are two crucial components of your estate to consider. When you work on your estate planning in additional to your physical belongings throughout your life, it makes things easier for you and your loved ones. 

The first is your physical estate and for many people, this refers to their personal possessions as well as their home. Many people have had a personal experience with the physical estate of their parents and many have had unfortunate stories about how many belongings they have had to sort through and dispose of. Your physical estate, in addition to lack of proper planning documents, can present problems for your loved ones. You likely don’t want to leave behind a lot of work for your family members because you haven’t combed through your belongings carefully.

Many people accumulate belongings over their lifetimes and rarely will streamline it. These possessions can compound over the decades and many, by default or through deliberation, allow their children to deal with the consequences. Survivors than feel obligated to sort through all of these things because they may be looking for valuable or sentimental items.

It can take days, weeks or even longer for loved ones to sort through these belongings and you can do your family members a favor by considering the steps you can take in advance.

Gary Coleman’s Messy Estate Provides Lessons for Others

March 15, 2018

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

The child actor popular on the show, Diff’rent Strokes, passed away in 2010 in Utah. His less than perfect estate plan provides critical lessons for people of all asset levels to consider. Avoiding Estate Planning Mistakes Unfunded Living Trusts

Coleman was only 42 years old when he passed away. Although he had gotten divorced from his wife, Shannon Price, they lived together following their divorce. An advanced medical directive that was honored by the hospital allowed Price to remove life support when Coleman passed away.

Even though the advanced medical directive provided that it was his desire to live as long as possible within generally accepted health care standards, his former wife chose not to honor these desires. The medical directive was signed by Gary Coleman prior to divorcing Price, meaning that Price did not have the authority to make medical decisions unless specified in the divorce decree or another advanced medical directive.

The hospital honored Price’s directions anyways despite the fact that she was not entitled to make such a decision. If you are divorced and do not want an ex-spouse pulling the plug or making other medical decisions on your behalf, you need to update your materials as soon as possible after the divorce is final. Doing so could save your life.

 

Don’t Allow Your Estate Plans to Lapse with Life Changes

March 13, 2018

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

You need to ensure that your estate plan incorporates unique considerations about changes in your life. Far too many people create their estate plan once and then promptly forget about it. Updating your documents like your life insurance policies and your wills is a must do if you experience any major changes in your life such as the birth of a child or grandchild, a divorce or even a remarriage. 

Few things are as important as estate planning as far too many families find out after the fact when a loved one who failed to put together the necessary documents or to update them after a major change in circumstances, left behind a mess.

In general, if you are having difficulty approaching the mortality aspect of putting together an estate plan, begin to think about it as who you want to make medical decisions, legal documents that will spell out who gets your assets when you pass away, and who can make financial decisions on your behalf. Ideally, your estate plan helps your loved ones make critical decisions at a time when they need it most. Another common and disruptive life change that can turn everything in your world upside down is the loss of a spouse.

You will need to update your contingent beneficiaries on life insurance and other policies after a first spouse passes away. Doing it yourself can be a big mistake when you are approaching the estate planning process with the end goal of protecting your loved ones in mind.

Millennials and Estate Planning Must Mix

February 22, 2018

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 9:15 am

Millennials and estate planning sounds like it might not necessarily go together but far too many millennials jump to this conclusion and their family members are left dealing with the aftermath. No matter how much money is generated over the course of a lifetime, it is not real wealth if it is not effectively transferred to future generations. Estate planning is one of the most neglected aspects of wealth building and personal finance today, even among high-income professionals and successful entrepreneurs. 

An increasing number of both of these individuals happen to be millennials. Many people assume that they are neither rich enough nor old enough to make estate planning a top priority. Millennials are managing their money just as effectively as baby boomers and generation X, according to recent studies, may have a lot to lose falling for this myth. Estate planning can be a misnomer because it does seem to imply that it is only for the wealthy, leaving far too many of these millennials to ignore the estate planning process and expose themselves and their family members to problems in the event of an accident.

Sudden incapacity or death of millennial without an estate plan can lead to probate disputes and other problems after the fact. Estate planning is simply a prudent look ahead to protect family members and loved ones in the event that something unexpected happens and is increasingly important for millennials who are garnering more and more wealth in the current economy.

 

Put Together the Plan Before You Need It with Estate Planning

February 20, 2018

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 9:15 am

Have you put off an estate plan because you don’t think you need it? Far too many families wind up dealing with the impact of a loved one’s loss without any planning in place. 

Many people don’t realize the value of estate planning until it’s too late. Most people set up their initial consultations with an estate planning attorney after they’ve had a negative experience with a friend or family member, or perhaps after they have seen a news about a celebrity’s death that prompted numerous estate planning issues.

Estate planning involves so much more than simply ensuring that your stuff ultimately gets passed on to your loved ones.

It might be easy to think of estate planning as simply putting together a will and outlining how your physical possessions will pass on to future generations, but you should consider that a good estate plan takes care of you during the course of your life, as well as your individual family members after you pass away.

Tools like wills, trusts, powers of attorney and more can help to articulate the individual decisions and desires you have if something were to happen to you unexpectedly. The right estate planning attorney is an invaluable asset as you navigate these complex processes and articulate a plan that protects you and your loved ones now and well into the future.

New Tax Law Could Tremendous Windfall for Your Children

February 19, 2018

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 9:15 am

The new federal exemption amount has increased as a result of the new tax law, which means that the amount you or your estate can pass on to your heirs free of taxes has increased to approximately $11 million this year from $5.49 million in 2017. 

An existing will that already includes a reference to the federal exemption amount rather than a specific amount for calculating children’s inheritance could mean that more is going to the children and less to your spouse than intended. If you intend to pass on significant wealth to your children and your spouse, you may need to consider reevaluating estate plan based on the wording inside your will. Your spouse could end up with a smaller portion of your estate than you intended due to the new estate tax rules if you have unclear wording in your will. For wealthy individuals who have wills drawn up prior to 2018, there’s a chance that no specific dollar amount is included directly inside the will. This means that it may not be clear how much money goes into a trust for your children.

Rather, the will might refer to the current federal estate tax exemption amount which has changed since you put together the original will. This is why it is worth scheduling a consultation with an experienced estate planning lawyer as soon as possible to give you the clarity you need to restructure your will or include new wording that is clear.

 

James Brown’s Estate Is Still Unsettled

February 15, 2018

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 9:15 am

Eleven years after the death of James Brown, his estate planning has fallen short in the plan to distribute his wealth efficiently. None of the beneficiaries in the will have received even a dime of the money. This includes underprivileged children in South Carolina and Georgia. Mr. Brown intended to donate significant amounts of money to these entities, however, a number of legal disputes have emerged and kept the estate dispute alive for more than 10 years. A dozen separate lawsuits related to the estate were initially filed after Mr. Brown passed away in 2006 on Christmas Day. The most recent of these was filed last month in California. 

Nine of the children and grandchildren of Mr. Brown are suing the widow and the estate administrator, arguing that copyright deals made by the widow were improper and illegal. Another lawsuit alleges that the widow was not actually ever James Brown’s wife. His will initially set aside $2 million to underwrite scholarships for his grandchildren and it gave his household effects and costumes to the six children he did recognize, a bequest that was estimated approximately $2 million.

The will was challenged, however, and an initial settlement was proposed that would give the children and grandchildren a quarter of the estate and the widow another quarter. However, that was overturned by the Supreme Court due to asset distribution that did not appear to be in line with James Brown’s original goals.

Documents to Keep Indefinitely in Your Estate and Financial Planning Process

February 8, 2018

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

 

Although in the previous three blogs, we’ve discussed getting rid of unnecessary paperwork and clutter after three months, one year and seven years, some documents should be kept on hand forever. learn what estate planning documents need to be stored forever

This is because they are so important that you may need to reference them at any point in time and it may be a good idea to keep copies and backups. These should always be stored in a safe location, such as a box that is safe from a fire. These documents should be maintained forever:

  • Personal identification documents like your social security card or birth certificate.
  • Income tax returns.
  • Legal documents such as lawsuit settlements, divorce and marriage certificates, and estate planning materials, unless they have been replaced by amended materials.
  • Loans for your car and vehicle titles. These should be kept for at least three years from the date the transaction is finalized. This information can prove helpful long after the transaction is finished, however, so you may wish to keep it forever.
  • Educational records such as transcripts, degrees and diplomas.
  • All major receipt purchases.
  • Any relevant financial planning documents and records, like pension plan documents, power of attorney designations, burial information, medical details, and living trusts and wills.

Talk to your estate planning lawyer to learn more about how to safely store these items.

 

Documents to Keep For At Least Seven Years in Your Financial and Estate Planning Process

February 7, 2018

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

 

It can be difficult to figure out which documents you’ll need to have on hand, which ones should be stored in a safe deposit box and have a copy at your lawyer’s office, and those that you can eventually get rid of after some time. learn what documents to keep for seven years

This is because there are so many different periods of time associated with holding on to particular documents, and in an effort to clear out clutter and ensure that you are legally protected in the event of a problem, you’ll need to be mindful of both. Some documents need to be kept for at least seven years before you can dispose of them safely. These include:

  • 1099 and W2 forms that can be used for tax audits and prove your income for loans
  • Tax related receipts which can become helpful if the IRS comes asking questions
  • Bank statements which should be kept for at least a year in electronic or printed form. These can be helpful if you have issues of identity theft, fraud or other challenges with your account.
  • Cancelled checks for mortgage, home improvement, business and tax purposes. Some people like to keep all of their cancelled checks, but this is an unnecessary process if you want to cut down on clutter.
  • Disability records or unemployment income stubs. Any paperwork you receive that is directly from the government related to an income source should be kept.

Consulting with an experienced estate planning lawyer in addition to other professionals on your team can be valuable for ensuring that you have the appropriate paperwork, and drafting the paperwork for your estate planning purposes when you don’t have it yet.

Documents to Keep for One Year: What You Should Know About Estate and Financial Planning

February 6, 2018

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

 Some documents need to be kept longer than the three-month period as discussed in yesterday’s blog. These should be stored in a safe location so that they can be accessed quickly in the event of a sudden problem, or in the event that your financial power of attorney agent needs to step in and make critical administrative or financial decisions on your behalf. 

These documents can be disposed of safely such as using a shredding service after a one-year period. These include:

  • Paycheck stubs
  • Monthly mortgage statements
  • Investment account statements
  • Insurance records and statements
  • Undisputed medical receipts and bills
  • Checkbook ledgers

Only hold on to these documents if you currently have a case dealing with the insurance company or a personal injury case.

After you receive your annual W2, there’s no reason to hold on to your paycheck stubs and your annual tax statements can be used in lieu of monthly mortgage statements. Investment account statements can include trade confirmations and monthly statements, but these materials don’t need to be kept longer than one year

Will Less Planning Occur Because Of High Estate Tax Exemptions?

February 1, 2018

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

Do you think you don’t need estate planning?

Perhaps you did estate planning in the past, but you think that new high estate tax exemptions mean that it doesn’t make sense to engage in this process. 

Many estate planning attorneys and clients alike, were interested in how the most recent tax bill will play out. Although plenty of people are still digging into the mechanics of what this tax bill will actually mean for people planning on the ground, the high estate tax exemption is the subject of the most commonly asked question.

Taxes are at the front of many people’s minds these days, even more so than usual. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will double the gift tax exemption and the estate tax exemption. However, many estate planning attorneys expect to still find themselves helping clients of all types to put together an appropriate estate plan. The biggest anticipated growth in coming years is likely to be with income tax planning, with more than 45% of those attorneys expecting to see more work.

Just over one-quarter of estate tax planning attorneys expected to see less of this kind of work for estate tax planning purposes. Many believe that the current changes to the estate tax are not likely to last over the long run, meaning that people will eventually wind back up in their estate planning lawyer’s office.

Consider Your Estate Planning as Some Decisions That Could Last for Many Years to Come

January 22, 2018

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

Consider that by the time you are reading this article, some people who have already articulated their new year’s resolutions, may have broken them. Whether or not you put forward new year’s resolution this year, you do have an opportunity in the New Year to make a decision that can impact you and your loved ones for many years to come. 

This decision has to do with your estate planning. Research shows that more than half of American adults don’t have any estate plan in place, including a basic will. This means that other people and mainly the court system, will be making decisions on their behalf.

If you don’t take actions to plan ahead, your loved ones are left dealing with the repercussions, all of which can be serious.  Going through probate can take time and add frustration to an already-hard situation, so it’s best avoided with the right planning. 

This can put your family members in a very uncomfortable and difficult situation after you pass away because your estate will likely need to pass through the probate system. The court is responsible for determining what happens to your assets and this means any individual wishes you may have had prior to an unexpected death were not recorded and will not be carried out. The decision-making process associated with estate planning is not always an easy one, but sitting down and investing some time into doing it can benefit your family for many generations to come.

What Did Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson And Prince All Do Wrong?

January 9, 2018

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

 

The deaths of icons Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson and Prince rocked the world, but unfortunately, left their families burdened and broken-hearted with estate taxes and fees. Despite having professionals to help with practically every aspect of their lives, none of these artists had a total estate plan, which ultimately ended up costing their heirs millions of dollars and what would have otherwise been avoidable taxes and legal fees. avoid these estate planning mistakes

An estate plan is crucial for the peaceful transfer of assets from your generation to the next. However, even if your estate doesn’t include things like private amusement parks or music rights, there are still takeaways from these artists’ situations to avoid the same costly mistakes. Even though Prince, for example, had paid all necessary taxes without audits from the IRS and had appropriately valued assets, he left no will when he died.

This means that more than 45 people ultimately came forward claiming to be heirs, including nieces, half siblings, siblings and supposed children, which cost the estate tremendous amounts in legal fees to investigate this and respond to it. In order to avoid these challenges, schedule a consultation with an experienced estate planning attorney, regardless of the size of your estate. You can get your own peace of mind and ensure that your beneficiaries receive the assets to which they are entitled well in advanced.

Do You Have to Update Estate Planning Documents When You Move?

December 12, 2017

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

Most people looking ahead to retirement are at least considering moving to another state, if only to be closer to family, maximize their retirement dollars or enjoy better weather. But you need to remember that when you establish estate planning documents in one state, the rules of another state could influence how they are managed. when you move, meet with an estate planning lawyer

Contracts are usually managed the same way and are usually consider effective in any state. One type of contract that this applies to is a living trust. A living trust is one in which you generate, create and control the trust and enter into an agreement with a trustee, who manages those assets for you on behalf of the beneficiary.

Then the beneficiary would receive those trust assets, how and when you choose. Typically, a trust is portable throughout the entire United States and you can identify which state laws you’d like to govern your trust. You can move to another state and not have to change your trust. However, your other estate planning documents like your will, your health care power of attorney and financial power of attorney may need to be updated when you move to a new state.

The drafting of estate plans can be accomplished by consulting with an experienced estate planning attorney as you move to a new state. Bring a copy of all of your relevant estate planning documents and strategies to discuss whether or not these are portable or whether they will be interpreted differently in your new state of residence.

Your home state documents may not offer all of the options that are available in your new residential state and the only way to figure out what is going to work best for you is to schedule a consultation with an estate planning attorney who can walk you through what is required as well as involved.

Hugh Hefner’s Unique Estate Planning Strategy

December 7, 2017

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

Trust arrangements established by the Playboy founder, Hugh Hefner, may enable his third wife to receive income without technically inheriting anything from the estate. He left behind a major estate valued at more than $40 million and that doesn’t even include the $100 million sale of his Playboy mansion that happened last August. His fortune was left behind to his children, charities and the University of California Film School. In the 1970s, the estate was estimated at upwards of $200 million. put together a trust with a NJ lawyer

The 31-year-old third wife of Hugh Hefner won’t inherit anything from the estate due to a prenuptial agreement that was signed in advance of their marriage in 2012. However, news reports indicate that she will be “looked after”.

He may have used a Q-tip trust in order to accomplish this. He may have also used life insurance in an irrevocable trust. Not enough information is yet known about the estate planning tools that Hefner may have used to pass on things more effectively, but even those who are not uber rich or owners of a $100 million home can benefit from the estate planning services provided by a knowledgeable lawyer.

 

What You Need to Know About Updating Transfer on Death Deeds

November 28, 2017

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

One common question that people present to their estate planning attorney is whether or not they can revoke or change the transfer on death deed in the future. This is one of the major benefits associated with the ToD deed because it can be changed at the later date, as it is not irrevocable. This is because the grantor has not transferred any interests in the real estate or given up any rights, so they maintain the eligibility to change it at any time. transfer on death deeds

Remember that the action putting together a transfer on death deed basically adds a beneficiary to real estate. It is quite similar to the process of naming a payable on death beneficiary to your bank account. There is no actual interest in the real estate created, rather an expectation has been created. In order for a transfer on death deed to be effective and legally valid, it has to be recorded and put with the county recorder’s office directly. This also means that another item will have to be filed with the recorder’s office if the grantor changes his or her mind.

This change typically comes in format of a new ToD deed. This is one of the downsides of using a ToD deed because it is not that simple to update. If you change your mind about a provision for payable on death beneficiaries on your savings account, you can visit the bank and be helped by a customer service representative. In order to change a transfer on death deed, however, you will most likely need to hire an attorney to ensure that it is filed properly. This can give you a great deal of peace of mind that the details have been managed effectively, but it can also create an additional obstacle or layer of frustration if you do need to update it.

Do You Need a Digital Executor?

November 13, 2017

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

The concept of digital estate planning is becoming more popular in recent years because of the surge of online accounts and online assets that people possess. If your service provider does not have an online tool or if you want to guard against the potential misappropriation of such a tool, you might wish to establish a digital executor to manage the carrying out of your digital assets when you pass away.

The revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act of 2015 enables you to extend the traditional fiduciary power for tangible property to include management of a person’s digital assets. This also allows a fiduciary to manage digital property such as web domain, virtual currency, and computer files. However, it won’t restrict a fiduciary’s access to only particular electronic communications. This means that text messages, emails and social media accounts will stay private unless the original user gives express consent in a trust, will, power of attorney or another document. getting a digital executor for your estate

Your affiliate accounts, Google AdSense accounts, blog, and website may require someone familiar with the business to serve as your digital executor, such as an employee. However, a close friend or family member may serve as the appropriate digital fiduciary for your social media and personal accounts. Make sure that you choose someone who has the ability and the knowledge to carry out your necessary requests and inform a digital executor about what is necessary to access your digital estate plan as well as the rules and wishes you have for that plan.

Ready to plan? Now is a great time to schedule a consultation with a dedicated lawyer.

How A Death in The Family Can Generate Challenges for Your Loved Ones

November 9, 2017

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

It is never easy to find yourself contemplating your own mortality. However, it can be made much easier by considering how failing to plan could actually cause problems for your loved ones.

In the event that you pass away without having a plan clearly articulated for your loved ones, they may be faced with the challenges of going through the court system and awaiting someone to be appointed to serve as your personal representative.

Furthermore, family members who may not get along may suddenly find themselves in conflict with one another arguing about your intentions. These problems can emerge even before you pass away, such as in situations in which you did not articulate your end of life wishes.

Your family members may be distraught or confused over your intentions about whether you would like to receive life-sustaining care and this can pose problems for your beneficiaries when there is confusion about who is entitled to what and who should be empowered to make these decisions. In the heat of the moment , ou want to ensure that the appropriate people have been equipped with the ability to make decisions on your behalf.

If you fail to take these necessary planning steps, you could be exposing your entire family to a great deal of unnecessary stress and confusion, not to mention the expense and frustration of going through the court system. Having continuous planning and engaging with an estate planning lawyer regularly can help to decrease the chances of problems faced in the estate planning process.

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