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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such as lawsuit settlements, divorce and marriage certificates, and estate planning materials, unless they have been replaced by amended materials.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.

Estate Planning and Goals: What You Need to Know

October 30, 2017

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

Estate planning goes beyond just planning for taxes; you need to have specific goals for your estate plan, such as whether or not you want to encourage your children to be entrepreneurs and carry on a family business, how you may be able to support your grandchildren with regards to educational goals and whether or not there are specific charities you would like to support. 

Answering these questions may be difficult because many people find it challenging to contemplate their own mortality. However, this can help you to frame your estate plan and even to practice your first meeting with an experienced estate planning attorney in New Jersey. It can also generate valuable discussion opportunities among family members who are in different generations. 

If you find that it is difficult to find such discussions, you may schedule a consultation with an estate planning lawyer first and walk through the different ways that your goals can be articulated to your loved ones. One of the best ways to bring up your estate planning options to your loved ones is to talk about your legacy.

As a legacy, you will want to pass on your personal property and other assets to loved ones and other entities. But your legacy also helps to ensure that the philanthropic approach and general approach towards hard work or saving over the course of your life can be passed down to future generations. No matter the reason, these are all well worth discussing and considering in your estate planning’s goal setting stage.

Think About More Than Just Money for Your Children’s Estate Planning

October 25, 2017

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

If you are thinking ahead about how you can support your minor children, you need to consider more than just the money. estate planning in NJ about more than money

Do you know what would happen to your minor children if you were to pass away unexpectedly? This is a difficult topic to think about, but it is also a crucial estate planning decision that is well worth making. The answer may seem obvious, depending on your individual situation.

If you and your partner were both to pass away, then the juvenile courts or domestic relations courts will get involved if you do not name a guardian for the minor child. However, if only one parent is lost, then the surviving parent would simply assume custody.

If the surviving parent is unfit, estranged or otherwise uninvolved, the answer could be more complex and it may require the appointment of a guardian on your child’s behalf. No matter what you choose, it is well worth having a conversation with an estate planning lawyer, who can walk you through various options available to you and help you find the right solution for your needs.

                                                                                                             

A Personal Note from Managing Attorney Neel Shah 10/20/2017

October 20, 2017

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 4:37 pm

Last week I was privileged to present at a National Symposium in Los Angeles as part of WealthCounsel & ElderCounsel, which is an elite network of Estate Planning and Elder Law practitioners from across the country. Needless to say, it was a humbling experience to be considered an expert on something amongst a group of my colleagues and peers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But it didn’t take long for my head to shrink back down to normal size, because the very next day, upon returning from California, I was tested for my yellow belt in Tae Kwon Do (for those that don’t know – this is only 1 step “up” from being a beginner). Suddenly instead of being the expert in the front of the room, I was now the novice, this time being judged by the experts. Also a humbling experience.

 

The point is, you can easily be an expert in one thing and a novice in another. When I need instruction on my forms & self-defense skills, I turn to the Masters. When it comes to estate planning, if you are not an expert, you should seek the advice of one. You ‘don’t know’ what you ‘don’t know’.

If you would like to learn more about the things you may not know regarding estate planning, please consider joining us for our free workshop coming up on Thursday, Oct. 26th at 10am in our In Office Classroom. You can email us at Seminars@LawEsq.net to RSVP or request more details.

We hope you can join us, but if not, you can also use this link below to schedule a brief call. And don’t forget to check out this past week’s articles.

Best wishes,

Neel

So My Estate Plan is Finally Complete. What Do I Need to Do Now?

October 16, 2017

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

After you’ve put together your ancillary documents, your power of attorney, your trusts and your will, you might assume that you’re prepared for anything. While having a comprehensively prepared estate plan is a crucial first step, you need to ensure that you finalize this process of protecting your interests. You need to ensure that all relevant team members are aware of the role they play and their responsibility. You should certainly advise those closest to you and your trusted professionals such as your CPA or your estate planning lawyer about the plan you have in place. estate planning in NJ

Depending on the relationship you maintain with the beneficiaries and their age, you may want to provide additional details and copies of associated documents. But it is always a good idea to provide directions, detailing the initial steps that should be taken after you pass away. After this first conversation, you may want to create a blueprint of critical information for the individual who will organize your affairs such as:

  •       A list of important people to contact.
  •       Your personal balance sheets.
  •       A list of contact details for your estate beneficiaries.
  •       Copies of retirement asset, annuity and life insurance policy beneficiary designations.
  •       Individual instructions regarding your children, your business affairs and your funeral and burial desires.
  •       A digital asset inventory.

All of these steps can help to clarify things for your loved ones and make things easier if you were to suddenly and unexpectedly pass away.

The right lawyer is a big asset when planning your estate- consider scheduling a meeting now to learn more.

Are You Overlooking These Common Digital Assets in Your Estate Planning?

October 12, 2017

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

It makes sense that any digital assets that contain money or something of value should be considered in your digital estate plan. However, with a growing number of accounts and assets online these days, it’s all too easy to downplay digital assets. In addition to your tangible assets, the sentimental value of and the potential financial value associated with your digital assets makes them well worth including.

A new study out of Australia found that people are most likely to own emails, banking records and social media accounts but they may also have domain names, online businesses, bitcoins, iTunes accounts and medical records online that should be incorporated into a comprehensive digital estate plan.

Online service providers will have different rules and strategies associated with how to deal with the deceased user’s account and will typically close them automatically after an individual has passed away. This may not be in your best interests or something that you desire, which makes it all the more important to review these policies now and have a stipulated plan for addressing them. Consulting with an estate planning attorney can help to clarify the most important issues involved in your digital estate and how you should approach the subject overall. digital estate planning just as important

Don’t forget about how all your documents should work together- for example, your beneficiaries on your retirement policies need to be updated because this will be looked at instead of what you list on your will. In addition to reviewing your will on a minimum of an annual basis, you’ll also want to take a look at your beneficiary forms requested by any of your bank, brokerage, retirement, and life insurance accounts to make sure they reflect what you’ve got in your plan.

New Research Shows That Parents Play Favorites with Children in Estate Planning and More

October 11, 2017

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

 

Parents may try their best to treat children equally. However, a new research study shows that they may have a favorite and it will play out in multiple ways. The Journal of Consumer Psychology shows what may parents choose which child to give a $25 bond gift to. Fathers were most likely to choose their sons and a majority of mothers selected their daughters. 

Scientists say that this is because parents are more likely to identify significantly with their same gender child. Parents spend more money on a child of the same sex as themselves. This is true when it comes to savings bonds, cash allowances, back to school supplies and estate planning.

Research out of Rutgers Business School, State University of New York Oneonta and the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management found that consumers tend to favor investing in children who are the same sex as them because they are more likely to identify with those children. Have you thought about which of your children would benefit from receiving your assets and the most appropriate way to transfer these on? To minimize tax consequences and to ensure everyone is cared for? Consult with an estate planning attorney today.

Key Questions to Ask When Giving Away Your Money Before You Pass Away

October 10, 2017

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

There are ten key questions that you should consider in the process of thinking about giving away money as part of your estate. giving away money with estate planning

Consulting with a knowledgeable estate planning lawyer can help you get half the way towards protecting your interests and ensuring that you’ve considered all potential outcomes. These questions include:

  • Have you already appointed someone to make medical decisions on your behalf and have you told them what you would want?
  •       Can you afford to give away your money now? You may be able to take advantage of the annual gift tax exclusion rather than waiting till you pass away.
  •       Do you have the appropriate beneficiary listed on your life insurance and retirement account?
  •       Do you have a will?
  •       Are you worrying about federal estate taxes unnecessarily?
  •       Should you maintain your Roth IRA for your heirs?
  •       Does your state impose an inheritance or estate tax?
  •       Are the charities you support running properly?
  •       Have you talked to your adult children about your intentions with your estate?
  •       Could you donate appreciated assets to save even more on your taxes?

These are just a sampling of the questions that you should walk through before scheduling a consultation with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney.

Looking at All Sides of Your Estate Plan

October 5, 2017

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

Most estate planning conversations with a lawyer have to do with the trusts that are set up upon each individual’s death, their attitudes or self-sustaining care towards the end of the life and the distribution of their assets. estate planning options

However, you should never neglect the softer side of your estate planning including your care of your pets, and other important topics like your attitude towards getting care in a facility or in your home. Some people may choose to stay at home towards the end of their life and would be uncomfortable placed in a hospital.

One of the crucial aspects of approaching estate planning at this level has to do with naming someone as a trustee, guardian, executor or establishment of power of attorney is a statement that you trust that individual to do what is best in various situations. Such a designated agent may struggle to make these decisions if you have not had a comprehensive conversation about what you intend to accomplish towards the end of your life and certain things that you do and do not want to be taken into consideration should problems emerge.

Consulting with an experienced estate planning attorney can open your eyes to the various issues often encountered by people at this level of estate planning. Both the procedural and the softer side of your needs need to be evaluated.

Maximizing the Value of Your Estate: Hire a Lawyer When Considering Real Estate

October 3, 2017

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

Leaving behind sizeable cash assets, gifting or transferring this type of wealth to family members is part of your estate plan and could be subjective to significant taxes if you are not careful. However, if you transfer real estate investments of similar value, this could lead to significant discounts. include real estate in your estate planning

Real estate investments in which the investor transfers less than 50% of the assets means that the lack of voting rights or control can be considered when identifying the value for tax purposes.

This could lead to lower taxes because of discounts on the overall value. When evaluating potential transfers of assets, it is necessary to find an accounting professional in addition to an experienced estate planning attorney who can tell you more about how the different decisions you make will influence your future and the future of those you leave the assets to. The possibilities for discounts greater than what you might have expected to pay, identifying the best assets to transfer and the overall potential tax liability can all be discussed directly with professionals.

Even if you are a 100% owner of a property, you could be eligible to receive a discount if you give less than a 50% interest to any one individual. Doing this with your children maybe one common method to help minimize the potential taxes. You should never attempt to develop these strategies on your own and should instead consult with a knowledgeable estate planning and financial professional to assist you with a meaningful set of tactics.

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