Posts Categorized: Estate Planning

Own a Business? Do This By December 31st to Get a Year-Long Extension To The Corporate Transparency Act Reporting Deadline

Embarking on business ownership is a gratifying venture, albeit one accompanied by regulatory obligations and reporting responsibilities that may pose challenges to manage. Small business proprietors and those with business interests held in trusts are mandated to adhere to the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA) starting January.

Commencing January 1, 2024, the CTA necessitates that small enterprises divulge the identities of owners holding a 25% or greater ownership stake, alongside individuals exercising substantial control over the company’s operations. This regulation extends to trusts with ownership or control of a business. READ MORE

The Life and Legacy of Jimmy Buffett 

Jimmy Buffett died on September 1, 2023, at age 76 after a diagnosis of Merkel cell carcinoma (skin cancer) four years earlier. He was a renowned singer-songwriter, film producer, businessman, novelist, and philanthropist.

Buffett released his first album, Down to Earth, in 1970. By 2023, his net worth was officially $1 billion, including a $180 million stake in his company, Margaritaville Holdings LLC, which opened in 1985 and now brings in $1 to $2 billion annually.  READ MORE

What You Must Know About Your Right to Your Spouse’s Retirement Benefits

If you are part of a blended family, navigating the complexities of estate planning is crucial to ensure your assets are distributed according to your wishes. Managing considerations such as holiday arrangements for children and planning family vacations is part of the routine. However, it’s equally important to address the fate of your assets, particularly retirement assets, through careful planning.

In the context of blended families, failing to establish a clear plan for your assets before your passing means that the law will dictate the distribution, potentially conflicting with your intentions. This oversight, especially in the case of retirement assets, can lead to significant financial consequences for your loved ones and even result in prolonged and costly conflicts. READ MORE

Estate Plan Lessons from DeMuth v. Commissioner

Lifetime gifts are commonly utilized to minimize estate and inheritance taxes, particularly given the current federal estate tax threshold of $12.92 million. In addition to federal regulations, twelve states and the District of Columbia impose their own estate or inheritance taxes.

Individuals seeking to reduce their taxable estate often consider gifting assets to friends and family. However, a recent case from the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit underscores the importance of carefully timing and structuring such gifts. In this case, the failure to finalize gifts in the form of checks before the donor’s death resulted in a significant financial loss for the estate and its heirs READ MORE

How to Talk Money With Your Family Over The Holidays

The holiday season is approaching, offering a unique opportunity for family gatherings. If you’ve been contemplating discussions about financial matters, inheritance, end-of-life decisions, estate planning, and family wealth, having everyone together presents an ideal scenario. However, broaching these sensitive topics during festive occasions may not be appropriate.

1. Share Your Intention Ahead of Time: Initiate discussions about financial matters well in advance. If you have regular interactions with your family, casually mention your thoughts about creating a plan for your finances and family care. Planting the seed early on can make the idea more palatable. As the family gathering approaches, revisit the topic with more intention, seeking input on the best time for a dedicated conversation. Address any concerns the host may have, ensuring everyone is prepared for a meaningful discussion. READ MORE

Can Artificial Intelligence Programs Write Basic Estate Planning Documents? 

With the increased coverage of artificial intelligence (AI) and all of the applications it can have in our everyday lives, some people may wonder whether an AI program can create an estate plan for them. While AI may be able to generate basic estate planning documents, including wills and trusts, there is no guarantee that they will be valid and enforceable.

Providing accurate information and executing the documents in compliance with your state’s laws is critical. Otherwise, your documents will not work as intended. Most people do not have the legal knowledge necessary to determine what clauses and language should be included in a will or trust to accomplish estate planning goals. They also are not familiar with state laws or how to comply with them. This is why people rely on experienced attorneys to prepare the necessary documents to carry out their wishes. READ MORE

Transition to Adulthood: What Happens Legally When My Child Turns 18? 

Soon after the challenges of puberty and the excitement of high school, an even larger milestone looms: the 18th birthday. It marks your child’s transition from childhood to adulthood, and with it new responsibilities and rights. From a legal standpoint, this milestone also brings significant changes that every parent should be aware of. 

In the eyes of the law, an individual is considered a legal adult at the age of 18. This means that your child gains certain rights and privileges, including the ability to enter into contracts, vote, buy property, and make medical decisions for themselves. While this newfound independence is a crucial part of growing up, it can also pose challenges for parents, especially when adult children need their parents’ help or need someone to make decisions on their behalf. READ MORE

Sometimes Stuff Is the Most Important Part of Your Estate Plan

When planning for the future, it’s common to consider who will inherit financial accounts, properties, and other valuable assets. Yet, it’s equally important to recognize the worth of personal belongings. These items, often overlooked, hold their own significance. To ensure a comprehensive estate plan, take a moment to ponder these questions about your personal property. This step can greatly contribute to a well-rounded approach in securing your legacy.

Value is subjective and varies from person to person. For example, an antique clock may hold significant monetary worth, whereas your grandmother’s class ring may carry sentimental value. It’s important to recognize that different types of value require distinct strategies when considering how they will be passed on or distributed in your estate plan. READ MORE

The Scary Truth: Naming Godparents Does Not Create Legal Guardians

As a parent, your foremost concern is the welfare and future of your children. This encompasses planning for their education, health, and overall happiness, which often includes the tradition of selecting godparents to offer guidance and mentorship in the event of unforeseen circumstances.

While appointing godparents holds significant cultural and personal meaning, it is crucial to recognize that designating a godparent is distinct from naming a legal guardian for your children. In practical terms, even if you have designated godparents, there exists a possibility that, in the event of your absence, your children may end up in the care of unfamiliar individuals, child protective services, or with someone you would not choose to raise them. READ MORE

Estate Planning for Expatriates

The United States has the highest number of immigrants globally, but more and more Americans are considering relocating to another country permanently. Many wealthy Americans are also interested in buying property overseas and spending at least part of their time there.

However, moving abroad has practical implications, such as taxation and estate planning. Even when living outside the U.S., Americans still have financial obligations to the U.S. government. They should also have someone legally authorized to make financial decisions on their behalf. READ MORE

Year-End Tax Planning Starts Now: 8 Things To Do Now to Lower Your 2023 Taxes – Part 2

Last week, we explored four methods to reduce your 2023 tax burden, ranging from tweaking your withholding to smart medical planning. In this week’s blog, we’ll cover four additional ways you can employ to minimize your tax bill in April 2024.

Supporting causes you care about and giving back to your community is not only fulfilling but can also offer tax benefits, especially if your family’s deductions are approaching the standard deduction threshold. READ MORE

Year-End Tax Planning Starts Now: 8 Things To Do Now to Lower Your 2023 Taxes – Part 1

While it may feel premature to consider your 2023 taxes, now that the year is wrapping up, it’s an ideal moment to examine your finances and make strategic decisions that could reduce your tax burden in April.

Don’t wait until the last minute for year-end tax planning. You can begin taking thoughtful steps now. In this blog series, we’ll outline eight important actions you can take in this final quarter of the year to cut down on your 2023 taxes. READ MORE

Estate Planning Awareness Week: Reasons You Need an Up-to-Date Estate Plan

In today’s digital age, information is readily available online. However, there remain misconceptions about estate planning. Many of us don’t invest time in understanding it, possibly because we underestimate its necessity and the advantages it offers. There are common misunderstandings about estate planning: assuming a will bypasses probate, thinking that marriage ensures automatic inheritance, and believing that minimal assets mean no need for an estate plan.

Being educated about estate planning is crucial to avoiding potential complications in terms of time, money, and emotional distress. Take a moment to grasp the significance of an updated estate plan – it not only addresses post-mortem matters but also provides protection in the event of incapacitation for both you and your loved ones. READ MORE

What Do I Do If I Want to Undo My Revoked Will?

When life circumstances change, you may alter the decisions you have made in your estate planning documents. You might choose to revoke your will at some point. But what if you have a change of heart and want to reinstate it? There are different ways to revive a revoked will.

Depending on the laws of your state, you may have several choices for legally reinstating a previously revoked will. This can be done by either revoking the new will that cancelled the old one, expressing your intention to revive the old will, or re-executing the originally revoked will. READ MORE

Flu Season Fundamentals: How to Keep Seniors Safe This Fall 

The fall season is a beautiful time of year, yet it signals the start of flu season, potentially endangering your elderly loved ones. Thankfully, there are ways to guarantee their safety in the colder days ahead, such as being prepared to assist with their health and financial matters.

A Healthcare Power of Attorney (POA), also known as a Medical Power of Attorney, is a legally binding document that grants authority to a trusted individual to make medical decisions on your behalf in the event that you are unable to do so. If your elderly loved one has yet to establish a Healthcare POA, it is advisable to take the necessary steps to create one promptly. READ MORE