Monroe Township NJ Estate Planning and Elder Law Attorney Blog | Neel Shah - Part 2
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Women Are Now Taking A More Prominent Role with Financial Planning

September 6, 2018

Filed under: Asset Protection Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

A new study has found that younger wealthy women are taking on a big role in terms of family financial planning. Among younger women recently surveyed, nearly 72% said that they were the primary financial planning decision makers in their individual households. That’s a result of a study conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit. 

Hands typing on computer keyboard

They looked at perceptions around wealth by speaking with more than 1,000 individuals who had at least a million dollars in investments. Those respondents were sorted into three specific categories; baby boomer women, millennial women and men of all ages. Young women with money are far more idealistic and entrepreneurial than their mothers’ generation and they have more control of the family estate than ever before, according to the results of the study.

A number of different areas yielded clear differences of opinion. For example, younger women were most interested in directing their wealth to social causes, even if this meant minimizing their children’s inheritance. Approximately 22% of older women were more inclined to keep investment and charity decisions separate. Only 7% of younger women who responded to the study would say the same. They chose to invest based on their principles and younger women were more likely to bequeath some of their wealth to charities. This reflected a bigger sense of obligation to society as a whole. Younger women were more likely to claim ownership of making the financial decisions within their household in direct comparison to older women. Many of the women who were included in the study amassed wealth prior to meeting their spouses, which led many financial advisors to comment on the study to state that this seemed natural that those women will want to maintain some control over their finances. Approximately half of the time, older women self-identified as the key decision maker. However, they couldn’t name any particular area where they had more influence than their spouse. If you’re interested in estate planning, financial planning and retirement planning, you need the support of an attorney.     

Top Reasons to Consider Using A Living Trust

September 5, 2018

Filed under: Asset Protection Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

Have you ever thought about using estate planning tools including a living trust to protect your loved ones and your own future? If so, scheduling a consultation with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney is strongly recommended because a living trust has to be properly drafted and funded in order to be valid. People often assume that trusts can do everything, however, not every problem is solved by having a trust. 

A trust can address many different issues, particularly when you have an experienced estate planning lawyer on your side who is very familiar with trust language. Here are some of the most important and valuable things that clients often choose to do with a living trust. These include:

  •      Protecting minor children by holding money in the trust until they are responsible enough to manage it themselves.
  •      Reducing estate taxes, particularly if your state assesses their own taxes as well.
  •      Keeping assets inside the family if you are concerned about potential divorce for your beneficiaries.
  •      Protecting your grown-up children from not being able to manage the money due to alcohol, drug related issues or mismanagement, allows a trustee to hold the money for the lifetime of the child and distribute it as necessary.
  •      Avoid probate. If you place assets inside your trust during the course of your lifetime rather than relying on your will, you can avoid the probate process and make things easier for your loved ones.
  •      Ensure privacy within the family. A will that is probated becomes matter of public record along with personal details about you, such as an inventory listing of your assets and the value of those assets. Using a living trust can help to guard against this.
  •      Protect you while you are still alive. If the trust is funded during your lifetime and you later develop an incapacity, a successor trustee is eligible to manage the trust assets on your behalf. This important for those people who do not have children and those people who are single.

Schedule a consultation with an estate planning lawyer today.

 

Don’t Forget These Four Issues in Your Business Succession Plan

September 4, 2018

Filed under: Business Succession Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

A person running a business cannot have an estate plan without a business succession plan and vice versa. These items must work together to protect your individual interests, your future beneficiaries and the future of the company. All too often, however, critical details are overlooked in your individual or your business succession plan. 

Time is Money Concept. Clock with Dollar Signs on a white background

A rock-solid plan for the future can give you greater peace of mind and help to protect your beneficiaries if and when you become incapacitated. The first of these issues has to do with incapacity.

Far too many people approaching estate planning look at it just for handling what happens when you pass away. However, it is becoming more likely that the average person entering retirement will at least one or more periods of incapacity during their lifetime in which they are unable to make decisions for themselves. Make sure that you appoint someone else for seamless asset management during these periods of incapacity.

Continued management of your assets and the business should also be included after you pass away. Place these assets inside a trust if necessary because the beneficiaries are not of sufficient maturity or age. Another thing to consider on behalf of your beneficiaries is divorce protection. Although your loved ones might appear to be married happily right now, nearly half of marriages end in divorce. Divorce protection can be one way to give you peace of mind about your loved one’s future. Finally, also consider whether or not beneficiaries could have creditor issues. Asset protection involves developing trust and other strategies that can help to shield these assets from being attacked by creditors. One of the easiest tools to do this, with the help of an experienced estate planning attorney, is to put the assets inside a fully discretionary trust managed by a third-party trustee. If you have questions about approaching the estate planning and business succession planning process, the support of a lawyer is instrumental in helping you to accomplish your goals. Schedule a consultation with an attorney today.

New Study Shows That Retirement Could Enhance Charitable Giving

September 3, 2018

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

There has long been a perspective that people stop giving assets away to charity when they get older. But a study shows that this is simply not the case. Research completed by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute shows that charitable giving stays the same after retirement while other types of spending drops significantly. The study also identified differences in how single men, single women and married couples give to charity. 

Senior Couple Walking Along Coastal Path

Retired couples are often portrayed as not having the money or refusing to give. However, an Indiana University study found that this was not true, and this is good news for any non-profit that relies on donations received for financial support. Many of these retired couples could choose to give while they still are alive and are also including estate planning charitable options when putting together their documents for the distribution of assets.

The study looked at charitable giving among single men, single women and married couples starting in 2001. Overall, the report looked at data for more than 6,000 people who fit into their various categories, and individuals in these cohabitating, married or single households were between the ages of 55 and 101. The study found that the likelihood of giving to charity decreases by approximately 4% in the 5 years immediately after and before retirement. However, that was considerably less than the overall decline in general spending, which is approximately 16%. If you are contemplating including charitable giving in your overall estate planning, schedule a consultation with an experienced lawyer today.   

What Is Self-Directed Long-Term Home Care?

August 30, 2018

Filed under: Aging In Place — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

Many people approaching retirement today will need long term care at some point in the future. Long term care typically brings to mind an image of nursing homes, but one growing trend is known as self-directed long-term home care. There are many different options available and more people than ever are choosing to self-direct their own long-term care when this is a possibility. 

An elderly Indian man at the retirement house

Person-centered choices are becoming increasingly requested, especially as people wish to age in place, even when faced with physical or mental challenges that require long term care. Individual states are choosing to create self-directed programs that enable the person in need of care to pay home care providers and schedule them as they wished.

This removes some of the limitations typically associated with long term care policies, which have become very expensive in recent years or through Medicaid. Many people are choosing to direct their own care, because there is a major problem associated with using agencies where the assigned caregiver doesn’t show up.

Customized care services also appeal to those who want individualized support and in general, research has shown that these people who were able to take control of their care were more satisfied and their overall experience was just as good or had better outcomes when compared with traditional care. There are now 1 million people in more than 200 different self-directed, veteran and Medicaid programs across the country.

And since 2011, enrollment in these services has increased by more than 2011. More vetting and management is required if you choose to go the route of self-direction. If you’re interested in protecting yourself with regards to a long-term care plan, you need an experienced estate planning lawyer who understands the scope of your state’s Medicaid rules and can help you design strategies and goals for the long term.

How Long Does It Take for Your Estate to Be Settled?

August 29, 2018

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

Whether you’re serving as an estate administrator or thinking about appointing a person just to serve in this role, you should be familiar with the fact that every estate is unique, and it can take various amounts of time in order to settle an estate. The more work you do in advance by hiring an experienced estate planning attorney can greatly help your loved ones, as well as the person appointed to serve in the role of personal representative. The complexity of your estate will also dictate how quickly it can be effectively settled. It does not take long to settle simple estates.

However, if it’s beyond more than just a 401(k) and a house that is being given to family members, you need to be prepared by having estate planning tools and strategies like a living trust. The first steps involved in probate administration are to get the will admitted as the last will of the decedent and having the executor personal representative be appointed by the surrogate.

Image of a business work place with papers on the table

This usually does not require an appearance in front of a judge so long as the original will has been submitted, is shown to be valid and there are no disputes like a will contest. The proposed executor will then visit the county surrogate’s office and prepare the necessary paperwork. These usually are ready in less than a week. However, there can be complicating factors if it is difficult for the executor to gather the necessary materials.

Some assets will not be processed through the probate process to begin with, such as retirement accounts and life insurance policies. This is because beneficiary forms are used by these individual companies for the person to fill out and have passed on directly to the beneficiaries. However, other assets need to be included in an inventory and also processed in relationship to claims that have to do with creditors or taxes. The estate administrator has to process all of this material before the assets can be distributed to the relevant beneficiaries of the estate.

If you have questions about the process of probate administration and how estate planning tools and strategies such as living trusts can be used to help keep many of your assets outside of probate, you need the support of an experienced estate planning lawyer from beginning to end.

What You Need to Know About Part Time Work in Retirement

August 28, 2018

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

What do you have lined up for your retirement plan and the time you’ll have? You might want to stay working in a part-time capacity, but make sure you understand how that could influence your financial situation.

Most people find that having something to do in their retirement that gives them an additional purpose is extremely beneficial to their wellbeing and possibly even their physical health, but it’s important to realize how retirement part time work can affect your Medicare costs and social security taxes. 

Older workers who decide to file for social security prior to full retirement age must account for the impact of their wage income on their possible benefits. Benefits might be reduced temporarily up to 85% and those benefits could be taxed if their combined income exceeds a particular level. A higher level of income can also push you into a bigger tax bracket, putting you in an unfortunate situation and one that should at bare minimum be anticipated.

Planning ahead for retirement and for estate planning and elder law concerns should all be done together. Amassing a team of professionals who each have their individual knowledge in these areas can help you to work through some of the most common pitfalls experienced by people approaching and advancing into retirement. One of the leading concerns for the elderly today, for example, has to do with paying health care.

Being able to afford long term care insurance might be something that is outside your realm of possibility, but advanced Medicaid planning can ensure that you have put projects into motion that will allow you to tap into this federal government program if and when you need to due to a sudden health care event. Only an attorney should advise you about these complicated issues and you should retain a lawyer sooner rather than later to give yourself the best possible chance of guarding yourself well into the future.

 

New Study Shows That Retirement Savers Are Struggling to Catch Up

August 27, 2018

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

A new study completed by Allianz Life Insurance Company identified that people who are trying to catch up on their savings goals feel financial pressure. Approximately half of American retirement savers, for example, believe that they are already too behind in order to accomplish their savings goals. However, 90% of that same group agrees that being able to enjoy their future retirement hinges on accumulating enough savings in advance.

A happy senior couple sitting on the front of a sail boat on a calm blue sea

Chasers are known as Americans between the ages of 45 and 65, who are currently saving for retirement and they count for 49% of Americans at this point in time. Many of them are actively saving for retirement but believe they need to catch up significantly and believe that they need help understanding the various solutions offered to them that could help to increase the savings gap in time for retirement.

There are two factors that help to define chasers. First, they are people who could be worried that if they don’t accumulate savings in near future, they will not have a chance at retirement comfortably and then there are also savers who have fallen behind on where they should be in order to retire.

Nearly 85% of the people who participated in the study felt that they have fallen behind in their savings goals and the same percentage of them are worried that it is too late to be able to have a comfortable retirement. Many of them are not willing to assume additional risk even though they are desperate for additional retirement savings and the resulting benefits.

If you have not considered how retirement planning and estate planning work together, now is a good time to take a hard look at your goals with an analysis and support from an estate planning lawyer who can advise you through this process and help prepare you for what to anticipate in the future.

 

What You Need to Know About Medicaid Planning

August 23, 2018

Filed under: Medicaid — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

Long term care is extremely complicated and very expensive and simple errors in your planning or in the submission process can cost you in a big way. The motivations behind Medicaid planning are to be as organized as possible and to ensure that you get the support that you need when you need it most. Medicaid crisis planning can still be effective; however, it is far better to work many years in the future towards establishing a Medicaid plan that considers all of your unique needs and family dynamics.

Doctor’s hands with health care words isolated on white

The sooner that retain the services of an estate planning attorney who works in the area of elder law and helps numerous people with target Medicaid plans, the more confident you will feel about your own future. A Medicaid planning attorney will understand the complexity associated with resources, monthly income and financial eligibility limits. They will also advise you on how to use different tools such as trusts to ensure that your assets are protected. Every state has different Medicaid rules, which is why you should work with an attorney in your individual state.

Some of the most common reasons to engage in Medicaid planning sooner rather than later are to ensure that a family’s limited assets are protected and to have peace of mind that the next generation can afford an education or live in a home, to ensure that a healthy spouse staying in a home will still maintain financial resources and continue to do so if you need to leave the home and receive care in a facility, and because the process of applying and having your case reviewed is very time consuming.

A Medicaid planner who knows the ins and outs and also the common missteps and problems associated with this process will help to protect you and your loved ones for many years to come. You can never anticipate when you may experience a challenge that could leave you incapacitated or in need of long term care. So, make sure that you have an attorney at your side as soon as possible.

 

The True Cost of Long Term Care Highlights Longevity Concerns

August 22, 2018

Filed under: Long Term Care — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

A recent survey shows that many people are willfully unprepared for the significant out of pocket costs from long term care facilities. More than 2,000 family caregivers and patients were recently surveyed, and most underestimated the possible need for long term care as well as the typical expenses connected with getting the support. Approximately 70% of all patients today end up needing some form of long term care support, but just under half of patients who responded in this study felt that they would need long term care.  

Patients also underestimated the age at which it was likely for them to need long term care. Most survey respondents anticipated that they would need this additional support from a facility or caretaker at age 79, although the national average in the United States for getting this kind of treatment is 73. This gap of 6 years’ worth of treatment can mean that you don’t have enough money set aside to prepare yourself for the rising cost of long term care.

Long term care has an average cost of $47,000 or more, depending on the facility that you select. A private nursing home, for example, comes with a price tag of $100,000 whereas an assisted living facility comes in at an average of $45,000.

When discussing a possible move to a long-term care facility, the family caregivers and patients who participated in the study said that the cost of care was one of their biggest concerns and for those family members who had already undergone this situation, the cost of long term care ended up being much higher than they anticipated. Although there is no way to guard against all possible negative outcomes or issues associated with long term care, there are many things that you can do to protect yourself as well as your loved ones from the challenges of recovering after an incapacitating event or needing consistent long-term care from a facility.

While it’s impossible to predict just how long you’ll live, it’s good to plan for a long and healthy lifestyle.

Talking with an estate planning and elder law planning lawyer now can open your eyes to all of the opportunities available to you and can help to ensure that you have the appropriate documentation and strategies in place to guard against the problems.

 

How to Select the Right Executor for Your Will

August 21, 2018

Filed under: Probate — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

An executor should be someone you can trust who will make things easy for your loved ones when closing out your estate. This person should be well prepared for the process.

last will and testament with dollar , certificate and key.

When dealing with all end of life issues, it’s far too easy to get overwhelmed. If you have been named the executor of someone else’s will or if you are thinking about who to name as the executor of your own estate, you need to follow some simple guidelines to ensure that you have made the right choice. First of all, an executor has many different responsibilities, so you should never put someone in this role without first discussing it with them. There are legal and financial obligations that must be addressed by the executor after you pass away.

These include maintaining property until the estate is settled, paying taxes and bills for the estate, notifying creditors about the death of the deceased, making court appearances on behalf of the estate and distributing assets according to the will. If significant court time is required or if the will is especially complex, an executor might need to hire an attorney to assist with probate administration.

Typically, you can select anyone to serve in the role of will executor and no financial or legal knowledge is usually required. For that reason, many of the most common executors to wills you’ll find are children, siblings and spouses. You need to have an executor who has organization, honesty and communication as top qualities. People often overlook the ability to communicate and the requirement of being organized. However, during a challenging time for your loved ones, they deserve to have someone with these qualities instilled in such a role.

Other important factors you need to contemplate when selecting an executor include family dynamics, such as whether or not your loved ones will get along with the executor, the executor’s physical location when it comes to issues such as checking the mail, court appearances and property maintenance, and whether or not you need to name an alternate executor. Talk to a lawyer about how to select the right executor to help you.

 

Five Tips to Avoid the Probate Process

August 20, 2018

Filed under: Probate — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

You might have heard that probate is an expensive and time-consuming process, and that is certainly true. Another added downside of probate is that your personal estate becomes a matter of public record. This is one of the biggest reasons to consider avoiding going through the probate process.

Inheritance paper scrap on US cash

A properly structured estate plan makes things easier to transfer those assets efficiently without a grueling process known as probate. Without a will, the probate process is officially guided by your state’s legal standards for the distribution of property after a person passes away.

Avoiding probate now will help your family members in a difficult time and ensure that your estate is managed as efficiently as possible.

There are five simple ways that you can discuss with your estate planning lawyer about how to keep an estate out of the probate process. These include:

  • Proper titling, including joint tenancy with rights of survivorship or tenancy by the entirety.
  • Using certain accounts that allow for beneficiaries to be designated, such as a life insurance policy.
  • Gifting assets while you are still alive.
  • Establishing a living trust that you can make edits to over the course of your life.
  • Using a life estate.

No matter what type of estate plan you intend to pursue, you should consult with a lawyer about how to handle this situation and what makes the most sense for you and your loved ones.  No matter your reasoning for wanting to keep your estate private, but it needs to be accomplished with a lawyer’s help.

Avoiding probate might not seem like something that benefits you directly, but during a time when your loved ones are already grieving and attempting to move on from the loss of someone they care about, having a thoroughly established estate plan means one less thing for them to worry about, enabling beneficiaries to receive assets sooner rather than later and minimizing the chances for a conflict or dispute around your estate planning intentions.

 

Estate Planning and Looking Ahead for Longevity

August 16, 2018

Filed under: Aging In Place — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

There are many different steps you can take to increase your chances of a successful retirement and many years lived beyond that point. Longevity has increasingly become an important component of overall estate, financial and retirement planning. Since although people are living longer, they are also more likely to be in need of long term care assistance.

Friendly young doctor talking with older patient in hospital

While a long life might be seen as an excellent gift, there are also legal and financial challenges that could be present. The earlier you can work to address or to prepare for these, the easier your older years will be. A non-smoking 65-year-old man today has a 50% chance of living until age 85 and a non-smoking 65-year-old woman has a 50% chance of living until age 88.

These four different steps can help you to be aware of the risks and the benefits of living into old age. These include:

  • Contemplate long term care since it’s likely that at least one member of a married couple will end up in a nursing home. Traditional long-term care policies can be extremely expensive, so make sure you do your research before selecting how to protect yourself.
  • Plan for incapacity. While it’s easy to assume that you might never be at risk of being incapacitated and unable to make decisions for yourself, failing to prepare for this possibility can take an emotional and a financial toll on your family members. Make sure that you’ve contemplated who can step in to make decisions on your behalf in terms of medical care and your financial needs.
  • Avoid probate by using an experienced estate planning attorney so that your loved ones can avoid this lengthy and problematic process.
  • Minimize your taxes. Make sure that you sit down with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney to discuss whether or not your estate will be affected by federal estate taxes. Even if it is not, there are plenty of steps you can take to maximize the money that you have set aside for your loved ones as well as for your own retirement.

Use A Solid Foundation for Your Estate Plan

August 15, 2018

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

Teamwork is necessary for the comprehensive estate plan that will accomplish the vast majority of your goals. If you don’t have appropriate estate planning tools in place, your loved ones could be the ones to deal with the consequences. Work with a team of professionals who understand how your estate can be affected by your investments, your taxes, and your retirement income plan.

Business – meeting in an office, lawyers or attorneys discussing a document or contract agreement

This gives you peace of mind that your estate plan is well thought out and all-encompassing. There are multiple steps that you should consider when putting together a thorough estate plan. These include:

  • Looking at your existing will and trusts to determine whether these need to be updated.
  • Putting together a balance sheet of all of your liabilities and assets.
  • Collecting any personal data about you, your family and your personal belongings.
  • Evaluating all estate tax options.
  • Determining the best way to distribute benefits inside your retirement plans.
  • Determining what liquid assets you have that could meet possible estate taxes and expenses.
  • Computing liabilities related to asset protection, gifts, income tax liabilities and estate tax liabilities.
  • Determine the best method to get rid of your share of community property.
  • Thinking about things like the unlimited marital deductions.

These tasks are just some of the most basic and instrumental elements of comprehensive estate planning and of course, your experience will vary based on your individual goals, the structure of your family, and other critical issues linked to the estate planning process. Make sure that you consult with an attorney who is committed to applying your unique situations into your estate planning documentation.

All the right paperwork can be gathered, organized, and reviewed on a regular basis by a lawyer. Remember that as your life circumstances change, so too should your estate plan. New tax laws, marriages, divorces, children, or grandchildren can all prompt you to rethink your existing strategies.

Advance Wealth Planning Tips for Tax Preferred Saving Strategies

August 14, 2018

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

The federal government has long provided incentives for families to save, based on three different types of tax preferences; deferral, deductibility, and tax-free distributions. For wealthier households, however, a more advanced planning strategy is required. The appropriate mix of tax preferenced vehicles should include a conversation with your estate planning and asset protection planning attorney to generate a hierarchy.

The glass wall of the building with the inscription Bank

The right approach considers the preferenced accounts first and after those contribution limitations have been met, this will then spill additional savings over to the following tier. When this is used as part of a holistic planning strategy, the hierarchical model helps those people with significant assets and high levels of income to minimize their tax liabilities, while also maximizing growth of the savings. Tax preferenced retirement accounts come in two different forms; traditional accounts and Roth style accounts.

Roth style accounts are not deductible when contributions are made but are tax free when distributed. Whereas, a traditional account gives a tax deduction for contributions, but the distributions are ultimately taxed. These retirement accounts are, in some sense, double tax preferenced since they get tax-deferred status on assets inside the account in addition to tax free distribution treatment at the end or a deduction up front.

Households that are earning $300,000 or more might have different goals than families with different incomes. Some of the most common goals for these advanced earners include building family wealth, maximizing economic value of the dollars being saved, paying for college or saving for retirement. Consulting with an experienced estate planning lawyer is strongly recommended when you are trying to figure out what is most appropriate for you and your loved ones.

 

Don’t Forget Special Needs in Your Estate Planning

August 13, 2018

Filed under: Special Needs — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

Financial planning is important for all families but having a child with special needs makes it even more imperative that parents consult directly with experienced professionals. Financial and estate planning for families with special needs should look to do everything possible to protect the special needs beneficiary’s rights and entitlement to particular government programs. 

For those parents who have children with special needs, the cost of a college education and adulthood can be catastrophic. In fact, the American College of Financial Services in Pennsylvania estimates that the typical cost of raising a child from birth to age 18 is $250,000, but it could be much closer to half a million dollars for a child with special needs.

Using the right strategies and professionals well in advance can help parents tackle the unique obstacles and issues that may be associated with providing care for a special needs child. Assembling a team of knowledgeable professionals who have worked in this field over the course of multiple years and have helped other families like yours is essential for giving you peace of mind. Some of the most important players on your team included an accountant, a caregiver, an estate planning attorney, and a financial advisor. Available government benefits should always be given top priority when establishing a long-term estate plan.

The support of an experienced lawyer is valuable for guiding families through common missteps that could otherwise expose their loved one to having those benefits slip away. Most parents and families are concerned about how to best protect these benefits, particularly, after the parents pass away and this could be a significant financial resource for the special needs child. However, basic estate planning mistakes could mean that those benefits disappear entirely, and it might be too late for the child after the issues have already emerged following both of the parents passing away.

If no other caregiver has been established in this important role, the special needs child could truly struggle to live their adult life. Careful planning well in advance should look at all of the important issues related to special needs planning and should provide a road map for how to protect current benefits and maximize strategies for care in the future.

 

Art Collecting and Estate Planning 101

August 9, 2018

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

For those art collectors thinking about passing on their most valuable collection to others when they pass away, valuation and organization of this collection is strongly recommended. One way to pass on artwork is extremely risky. This refers to the matter of simply putting post-it notes on the artwork on the wall to explain who gets what. This approach, however, could represent that a significant portion of the value of the estate goes towards estate taxes. 

Estate taxes might not be an issue for many since the federal estate tax and gift tax exemption is $11.89 million per person. However, if an art collector accumulated a great deal of artwork, ignoring the overall value could cause problems later if it is not appropriately reported. You could pass on penalties, tax fraud, unexpected estate taxes and fines to the person who receives the art, in addition to prolonged IRS proceedings. Since the statute of limitations for tax fraud is limitless, you need to understand the possible complications well in advance. Even if artwork comes in at a value well below the estate tax exemption amount, clarity and organization regarding the disposition in the value of the individual artwork plays an important role in keeping the peace among your beneficiaries. The first step in this process is to make an inventory. List out each piece of art and its recommended value. Hire an art appraiser who has extensive experience in the field if you want to verify that the information is correct. It is not a good idea to attempt to ballpark the value of art. Rather it is much more effective to use an actual art appraiser and keep documentation from this process.

Any large items or special collections in your estate deserve extra attention. If you don’t put in the effort for your beneficiaries on these items, the problems all fall to your loved ones. You might be doing unnecessary harm or causing confusion that can be eliminated with just a few meetings with your estate planning lawyer. If you’re not yet sure that what you have qualifies as a collection, consider carrying out the valuation process and talking to your lawyer.

 

What You Need to Know About Successfully Managing A Financial Windfall

August 8, 2018

Filed under: Asset Protection — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

While some people certainly are successful when winning the lottery or receiving a large inheritance, the vast majority are unsure of how to manage these significant financial windfalls, and this can be very frustrating to realize that happily ever doesn’t just materialize. In many situations, sudden money can leave people worse off than they were prior to the windfall. Many people who are not used to managing such a large sum mismanage the funds. Many people blow through an inheritance or financial windfall extremely quickly, according to economists. It can seem like play money and this is where the risks can lurk for someone who is not familiar with how to handle a large amount.

Man in white shirt and black tie holding an empty wallet.

The easiest step to managing a large financial windfall is to understand that it might be best for you to do nothing. It might seem like taking a luxury cruise, buying a new car or upgrading your current housing situation would be the first thing on your list to accomplish. However, this can lead to a number of different purchases in the same manner that will all leave you feeling regret.

Waiting at least six months after receiving a large financial windfall before making any life-changing decisions is strongly recommended. It’s also not a good time to consider quitting your job, at least not right away. Many people who have been in the unfortunate situation of struggling to manage a major financial windfall don’t realize that making these decisions so early on in their process could put them in line for a significant problem down the road.

If you quit your job too soon and then blow through the money, you’ll be right back out on the job market, now with all of the shame and guilt of having to explain what happened if your receipt of an inheritance was in any way public. Make sure that you also think about estate and tax planning concerns.

Scheduling a consultation directly with an estate planning attorney is one way to accomplish these goals and to verify that you have spoken to a professional about what to expect.  When your life changes in a big way, you also need to have corresponding changes in your estate planning and related tools.

 

What You Need to Know About Multi-Generational Estate Planning Concerns

August 7, 2018

Filed under: Blended Families — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

U.S. families are increasingly opting to roll things together. In fact, data from a Pew Research Center analysis identified that 20% of the U.S. population lived in multi-generational homes. This brings about important concerns for estate planning. In some cases, this has to do with older children moving back in with their parents in order to make ends meet while carrying through their student loan payments.

Others may involve grandparents who are involved in providing childcare. No matter what your house looks like, including your loved ones in your estate planning and considering the structure of your family is important.

Many adult children are now considering how they can rework their existing housing arrangements to accommodate the needs of aging parents who require additional healthcare support.

This means that estate planning and financial planning must be calculated because good planning is crucial to the success of all of these arrangements. There are many different multi-generational tax, financial and estate planning issues that can arise. Thought must be given in particular to those questions such as who should own the real estate and if that title is taken jointly in a family partnership, trust or otherwise. Inter-family loans might also be one other option to explore. multigenerational-estate-planning

Additionally, consider whether or not there exist sufficient assets in the parents’ estate to pay for any estate taxes while also providing for other beneficiaries.

Real estate must also be included in the consideration of the overall estate plan and whether or not the plan is fair for all of the heirs. Deciding who should be included on what assets they should receive is extremely important and can help eliminate conflicts in the future. Navigating the decision-making process means thinking about what it means to include all of your key family members and common missteps that you should always opt to avoid, if possible.

Scheduling a consultation directly with an experienced estate planning attorney is often the first step in getting your questions answered and understanding the various tactics and strategies available to you.

 

Don’t Make Estate Planning A Legal Maze

August 6, 2018

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

Does your estate planning need to be difficult? It doesn’t, but that’s one of the main reasons why people put it off. You deserve to have an estate planning lawyer who can help you with understanding each step and keeping you informed as your life and planning needs change.

There are many different complications to having an estate plan, but thankfully, working directly with an estate planning attorney can help minimize the challenges and confusion you experience. Health care and estate plans seem something like a legal maze.

This can become even more difficult if you have existing family drama. There can be feelings of anger, mistrust, shame, and confusion, that come with concerns related to health issues, the aftermath of a loved one’s death or finances. Having your affairs in order in case something catastrophic happens, including the possibility of developing a disabling illness or a condition, is good no matter what your age.

A woman wearing a dress trying to make her way through a large maze.

Many people come to schedule a consultation with an estate planning attorney when they are in their 50s through their 70s, when children have moved out of the house, and when mortality concerns are at the forefront. The primary reason for doing this at that point in time is because many people aren’t comfortable discussing mortality, but furthermore, don’t realize that they could have benefited from estate planning all along.

Older adults have unique issues as it relates to estate planning, including guardianship, probate asset protection planning, and dealing with Medicaid. However, estate planning for blended families can be notoriously complex and is one common way in which many people experience pitfalls in the estate planning process and discover it too late after an issue has emerged.

Late in life marriages also require estate planning help. If one partner brings a significant amount of wealth into the marriage but the other party has few assets, this could be problematic if the party with fewer assets ultimately requires expensive long-term care. Since Medicaid will evaluate all of the couple’s assets in determining whether or not that party qualifies for assistance, both individuals might have to use their own personal assets in order to pay for the health care cost. Scheduling a consultation with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney can help you avoid many issues.

 

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