Posts Categorized: Trusts

Pros and Cons of a Family Limited Partnership

An FLP is an entity owned by two or more family members, created to hold the accounts, properties, or businesses that are owned by one or more of the family members. An FLP has at least one general partner who is responsible for the management of the partnership, has unlimited liability, and is compensated by the partnership for their work according to the partnership agreement. An FLP also has one or more limited partners who are permitted to vote on the partnership agreement and are not authorized to manage the partnership.

The limited partners receive the income and profits of the partnership and have no liability. Often, one or both parents are general partners because they contribute accounts, properties, or a business they own to the FLP and want to retain control of them as they transfer them to the next generation. To facilitate this transition, the children are given limited partnership interests while the parents retain general partnership interests. READ MORE

4 Common Mistakes Made On Life Insurance Beneficiary Designations

Although it would seem common sense, whether intentional or not, far too many people fail to name any beneficiary on their life insurance policies or inadvertently name their “estate” as beneficiary. Both of these errors will mean your insurance proceeds must go through the court process known as probate.

During probate, a judge will determine who gets your insurance death benefits. This process can tie the benefits up in court for months or even years, depending on who the beneficiaries of your estate are under the law. Moreover, probate opens up the proceeds to creditors, which can seriously deplete or even totally wipe out – the funds. READ MORE

Don’t Let Your Cryptocurrency Give You and Your Loved Ones Nightmares

Although cryptocurrency may be one of the latest investment strategies with great potential, for some individuals and their loved ones, investing in cryptocurrency has not gone as planned. The following stories are each a little different, but they all underline one simple warning: if you own cryptocurrency, you need a plan.

Cryptocurrency is an amazing advancement for secure and private transactions. This groundbreaking investment strategy has the potential to forever change how we view money and financial transactions. Because it is so new, finding and managing cryptocurrency may present some barriers. To best protect yourself and your loved ones, we encourage you to speak with a trusted advisor to craft your cryptocurrency plan. READ MORE

Revocable Living Trust Or Irrevocable Trust: Which One Is Right For You?

A trust is an agreement between the grantor of the trust (that’s you) with a trustee (someone named by you) to hold title to assets for the benefit of your beneficiaries (whoever you name). When we break it down in its simplest form, it’s that straightforward. It’s an agreement.

Now, the terms of that “agreement,” called a “trust agreement,” can vary significantly, and that’s where we come in as we’ll work with you to clarify the terms that you want between yourself and the trustee for the benefit of the people you name as beneficiaries. READ MORE

Important Milestones You Can Incorporate in Your Estate Plan

Life is full of contingencies. While some outcomes are relatively certain, other events are more difficult to predict. This uncertainty can create estate planning challenges. Because life changes quickly and sometimes unexpectedly, your estate plan needs to be flexible.

You can make changes to your estate plan when you are still alive, but when you pass away, your plan is effectively but not entirely – set in stone. Incorporating milestones into your estate plan is one way to hedge against the unpredictable future. By creating incentives for particular events, you can continue to exercise your values and provide for your loved ones beyond your lifetime. READ MORE

Does the Guardian for My Child Have to Be a United States Citizen?

One of the more uncomfortable aspects of estate planning is deciding what will happen to your child if both you and the child’s other legal parent were to die unexpectedly. While the odds of this happening are low, the consequences of not naming a legal guardian in your will or a separate document can be significant since a court would have to choose somebody to care for your child without your input.

In our globalized and mobile world, it is not uncommon to have close friends and family members who live in a different country. Some of these individuals may be a good choice as a guardian for your minor child, but it raises the question of whether a non-US citizen may legally qualify for guardianship. The short answer is that your child’s guardian does not necessarily have to be a US citizen or a permanent resident. However, it is ultimately up to the court to approve a guardian. READ MORE

Creditors And Your Estate Plan

Maybe you’ve wondered about your own debt or perhaps your parent’s debt – what happens to that debt when you (or they) die? Well, it depends, and that’s part of the reason you want to ensure your estate plan is well-prepared. How you handle your debt can greatly impact the people you love.

In some cases, you could inadvertently leave a reality in which your surviving heirs – your kids, parents, or others – are responsible for your debt. Alternatively, if you structure your affairs properly, your debt could die right along with you. READ MORE

Red Flags When Hiring a Professional To Be Your Trustee

When you form a trust as part of your estate plan, one of the most important decisions you will make is who will oversee the trust’s management when you are no longer able to manage it (also known as your successor trustee). Because a trustee’s work may be time-consuming, complicated, and risk liability, many people who create a trust consider naming a professional fiduciary as their trustee. Keep in mind that if you ask your estate planning attorney to serve as your successor trustee, you should ask for a separate engagement letter from the one you sign engaging them to create your estate plan. When looking to hire a professional to serve as your trustee, the following are several red flags you should keep in mind.

A professional’s agreement to act as your trustee does not guarantee that they have the resources needed to administer your trust properly. Be proactive about asking questions. Trust administration is an important job, and you should satisfy yourself that the person you appoint as your trustee is well-equipped to fulfill the role. READ MORE

3 Essential Questions To Ask Before Creating Your Will Online

If you are looking to create your last will and testament, or will, online, you’ll find dozens of websites that let you prepare a variety of estate planning documents for very little money and even for free. With so many do-it-yourself online document services out there, you might believe you can create your will online, all on your own, without paying a lawyer to help. 

But if you do, you need to understand how these services can backfire on you and your family. Online estate planning can be a catastrophe for those who aren’t aware of the risks. And as you’ll see, creating your will online without a lawyer’s guidance can even be worse for your family than if you’d done nothing at all.  READ MORE

Things You Can Do to Help Prove You Are Mentally Competent When Executing Your Estate Plan

Although we would all like to believe that our family and loved ones will honor our wishes as expressed in our estate plan, contests are more common than you might think. Sometimes, a family member does not receive what they thought they would after a loved one passes away. To try to get what they think they are entitled to, they may file a lawsuit alleging that the person who made the will (the testator) or trust (the grantor) was not mentally competent to create it.

There is a heightened risk that your estate planning documents will be challenged if you disinherit someone who ordinarily would have received money and property at your death or if you have been diagnosed with a medical condition that will slowly decrease your mental capacity. If a court finds that you did not have the mental capacity to sign your estate planning documents, the documents will be invalidated. Your money and property will be transferred to the people identified by state law, who may not be the individuals you would have chosen. READ MORE

5 Financial Decisions to Consider Before December 31

If you have investments in a taxable account (including cryptocurrency investments), you may want to consider selling off any losers to offset any gains you have made. Selling losses can help reduce your tax liability for the year if you have any capital gains. Then you can carry forward investment losses to offset capital gains in the future. 

If you are sitting with cryptocurrency losses that you haven’t recognized yet because you haven’t sold your cryptocurrency due to wanting to stay in the market for when crypto goes back up, you can have the best of both worlds. Sell your cryptocurrency now before the end of the year, and because the “wash sales” rules don’t apply to crypto tokens, you can buy the exact same tokens right back. In contrast,  with non-crypto investments, you’d have to wait 30 days to buy back into the same investment in order to harvest non-crypto losses. READ MORE

Important Issues to Address Before You Leave on Vacation

An estate plan is a set of instructions memorialized in legal documents that explains to your trusted decision makers and loved ones your wishes about your care, the care of any dependents, and how your money and property should be handled.

Depending on your unique situation and needs, you may have a last will and testament (also known as a will) as the foundation of your estate plan. This document allows you to name someone to wind up your affairs (i.e., gather your belongings for safekeeping, create a list of everything you own, pay your outstanding bills and taxes, and give the remainder to the individuals and charities you have chosen). You can also name a guardian for your minor children if you have any. READ MORE

Green Funerals: 6 Eco-Friendly Options For Your Remains

The environmental costs of death are significant and constantly rising. With 8 billion people on the planet right now – all of whom have bodies that die and must be disposed of – we need to start seriously considering alternatives to traditional options for burial and cremation. Fortunately, more and more “green” options are being developed to reduce these costs, and this article looks at some of the latest innovations. 

In most conventional burials, the body is pumped with toxic embalming fluid, placed in a steel casket, and buried within a cement-lined vault six-feet underground. According to the Green Burial Council, burials in the U.S. go through roughly 77,000 trees, 100,000 tons of steel, 1.5 million tons of concrete, and 4.3 million gallons of embalming fluid each year. READ MORE

Legal Perils of Gifts and Joint Ownership between Unmarried Couples

When you live with a romantic partner, it may feel as though you share everything. And to some extent, this may be true, legally speaking. For example, there is a trend toward unmarried couples buying homes together. While this might make economic sense, especially at a time when household budgets are being stretched, it can also create legal complications.

Gifts that are given purely out of affection can create unintended consequences as well. This includes gift taxes and the relinquishing of control over the gift once it is accepted. Your heart might be in the right place, but without understanding gifts and joint ownership, you could be making a decision that you will come to regret. READ MORE

Will The Coming Wealth Transfer Be A Blessing Or A Curse For Your Family?

While most are talking about the many benefits the wealth transfer might have for younger generations and the economy, fewer are talking about the potential negative ramifications. Yet there’s plenty of evidence suggesting that many people, especially younger generations, are woefully unprepared to handle such an inheritance.

In fact, an Ohio State University study found that one-third of people who received an inheritance had negative savings within two years of getting the money. Another study by The Williams Group found that intergenerational wealth transfers often become a source of tension and conflict among family members, and 70% of such transfers fail by the time they reach the second generation. READ MORE