Common Trusts: Parenting beyond the Grave
You probably do not keep a ledger of how much each child costs you. You spend as much money as each child requires. Inevitably, there are spending imbalances. Although not perfectly equal in terms of dollar amounts, such an approach can be considered fair because you allocate funds based on need instead of an arbitrary measure such as age.
Fairness involves accounting for the differences among your children. You want to be fair to them in life – and in death. When setting up an estate plan, you are acknowledging the unpleasant possibility – no matter how remote – that you may not be around to care for your minor children while they are growing up.
5 Ways DIY Estate Plans Can Fail & Leave Your Family At Risk – Part 1
Creating your estate plan using online document services can give you a false sense of security – you think you’ve got estate planning covered when you most likely do not. DIY plans may even lead you to believe that you no longer need to worry about estate planning, causing you to put it off creating a proper plan off until it’s too late.
In this way, relying on DIY estate planning documents is one of the most dangerous choices you can make. In the end, such generic forms could end up costing your family even more money and heartache than if you’d never gotten around to doing any planning at all.
QTIP Trust – Will My Spouse Get What They Need?
A qualified terminable interest property (QTIP) trust is an estate planning tool that married couples can use to minimize uncertainty about the future and maximize certain tax advantages. Since no one can predict how much they will own at the time of their death, which spouse will die first, whether the surviving spouse will remarry, or what the estate tax rate will be when they die, a QTIP trust can help deal with and minimize these uncertainties without the need for a crystal ball.
The most common form of a QTIP trust is a testamentary QTIP, created when the first spouse dies. This QTIP is a marital trust established as part of a married couple’s estate plan to hold money and property for the surviving spouse’s benefit. This trust may be the only one created at the first spouse’s death, or it may be part of a multiple trust arrangement where, after the first spouse’s death, the family trust (or credit shelter trust) receives an amount equal to the federal estate tax exemption and the marital trust gets the rest.
Preventing Family Conflict And Disputes Over Your Estate Plan
Family dynamics are highly complicated and prone to conflict even during the best of times. But when tragedy strikes a household member, even minor tensions and disagreements can explode into bitter conflict. And when access to money (or even quite often, sentimental items of furniture or jewelry) is on the line, the potential for discord is exponentially increased. Ultimately, there is no higher cost to families than the cost of lost relationships after the death or incapacity of a loved one.
By becoming aware of some of the leading causes of conflict over your estate plan, you’re in a better position to prevent those situations through effective planning. Though it’s impossible to predict how your loved ones will react to your estate plan, the following issues are among the most common catalysts for conflict.
Using Real Estate Deeds in Estate Planning
An important question arises regarding the type of deed that should be used for transferring real property into the trust’s name. Several types of deeds can be used, one of which is a general warranty deed. The other types of deeds commonly used in the United States for transferring property are quitclaim deeds and special warranty deeds. Although a complete discussion of the differences among the types of deeds is not possible in an article of this length, the following information briefly explains each type of deed and why someone might want to use it when transferring ownership of real property.
When someone wants to transfer whatever property rights they have in a parcel of property, they can use a quitclaim deed. When individual drafts and sign a quitclaim deed, they are, in effect, making a statement that whatever they own regarding the property described in the deed is now transferred to the transferee.
Life Insurance and Estate Planning: Protecting Your Beneficiaries’ Interests
A common misconception people have about life insurance is that they only need to designate their spouse, child, or loved one as the policy’s beneficiary to ensure that the life insurance benefits will be available to the beneficiary when they die. Life insurance is a significant financial and estate planning tool. Still, there is no guarantee that your beneficiary will receive or keep the benefit from your insurance without certain protections in place.
Despite the estate tax exemption currently being at a historic high, the exemption amount will likely change under the current administration or sunset in 2026 at the latest. Therefore, if you have purchased life insurance, consider taking the extra step to ensure that your loved ones’ financial futures are secure.
What Happens to Your Social Media Accounts at Your Death?
According to Statista, more than 295 million people in the United States use social media. If you are an avid social media user, have you considered what will happen to your accounts when you die? If you have spent time creating, uploading, and sharing content, it is essential to take a look now at what will happen after you pass away so you can determine your content’s future.
Because the process for each account is different, your loved ones must know what social media accounts you have and what your wishes are for their future after you have passed. By adequately laying out your wishes in your estate plan, you can guide your loved ones and reassurance that your legacy will live on.
One of The Greatest Gifts To Your Family Is The Plan For Incapacity
Incapacity can be a temporary event from which you eventually recover, or it can be the start of a lengthy and costly affair that ultimately ends in your death. Indeed, incapacity can drag out over many years, leaving you and your family in an agonizing limbo. This uncertainty is what makes incapacity planning so incredibly important.
The goal of effective estate planning is to keep your family out of court and out of conflict no matter what happens to you. So if you only plan for your death, you’re leaving your family – and yourself – extremely vulnerable to potentially tragic consequences.
All Good Things Must Come to an End: Reasons a Trust Might Terminate
The reasons why a trust might terminate can vary. Still, in general, termination occurs because the trust has accomplished its purpose, is no longer economically feasible, has distributed all its property, revoked, or is dissolved by the court because of a dispute or illegality.
A trust is a legal arrangement in which one person (the trustmaker) places their property in a trust and appoints someone (a trustee) to hold title to and manage the trust property for the benefit of one or more people (the beneficiaries). The property placed in a trust can be money, real estate, securities, business interests, insurance policies, and other types of assets.
Why Putting Your Family Home In A Trust Is A Smart Move – Part 2
We explained how revocable living and irrevocable trusts work in part one. We discussed the process of transferring the legal title of your home into a trust to ensure it’s adequately funded. Here, in part two, we will outline the key advantages of using a trust to pass your home to your loved ones compared to other estate planning strategies.
One of the primary advantages of using a trust to pass on your home to your heirs is avoiding the court process known as probate. Unlike a will, assets held in trust do not have to go through probate. During probate, the court oversees the will’s administration, ensuring your assets are distributed according to your wishes, with automatic supervision to handle any disputes.
Untangling Tangled Titles: Homeownership, Property Deeds, and Estate Planning
Do you own the home you live in?
If you are currently living in a property that you inherited, but the deed has not been transferred into your name, you may be surprised to learn that, under the law, you are technically not the owner. This legal situation is known as “tangled title.” A tangled title negatively impacts a property’s current occupant in several ways. It can also harm generational wealth and even contribute to fraud.
Most of their wealth is tied up in their home for many households. However, until a tangled title is resolved, you cannot take full advantage of your home’s value. Untangling a tangled title is often a complicated legal process that requires attorney assistance. There are costs, but not straightening out a title could be much higher in the long term.
Title and deed are legal terms used in real estate. The person who holds the title to a property is that property’s legal owner. A deed is a legal document used to transfer property ownership to another. Although a deed is an official written document, the title merely refers to the concept of ownership rights. You cannot hold a home’s title in your hands.
Titles can often get tangled in the intrafamily transfer of homeownership. A tangled title most commonly occurs when the person whose name is on the deed passes away and a surviving relative continues living in the home without their name being on the deed.
Why Putting Your Family Home In A Trust Is A Smart Move – Part 1
A proper estate planning is as much a part of responsible homeownership as having homeowners insurance or keeping your home’s roof well maintained. When it comes to including your home in your estate plan, you have a variety of different planning vehicles to choose from, but for a variety of other reasons, putting your home in a trust is often the smartest choice.
Although you should consult with us your Family Lawyer to identify the best estate planning strategies for your particular circumstances, in this two-part series, we’ll discuss how trusts work (both revocable and irrevocable), and then outline the most common advantages of using a trust to pass your home to your loved ones compared to other planning strategies.
Decanting: Redoing Your Loved One’s Estate Plan
Decanting is an essential tool that emerged in some states in the last century. This tool is increasingly being used to remedy situations where a now-irrevocable trust needs to be fixed because of changing circumstances that appear to work contrary to the trustmaker’s intent.
Decanting gets its name from the practice of pouring wine from an old bottle into a new container, allowing the undesirable sediment or impurities to remain behind in the original container and the pure wine to be held in a much cleaner container, thereby enhancing the quality of the wine before consumption. Similarly, trust decanting aims to pour the trust property from an outdated or problematic trust into a newly drafted trust with the necessary improvements so that the beneficiaries can enjoy the trust property without the undesirable elements of the old trust.
The Basics On NFTs: The Newest Cryptoverse Craze
An NFT is a cryptographic token on a blockchain in the most basic terms. It is used to establish proof of ownership of digital artwork, videos, GIFs, collectibles, and other digital assets. While NFTs use the same blockchain technology that underpins cryptocurrency, NFTs themselves are not a traditional currency, though they can operate similarly to currency. Some people call them JPGs because they are graphic images, but they represent much more than a simple JPG file.
NFTs have been generating a significant buzz in the tech and art sectors for years now. Still, after Christie’s auction house sold a single NFT collage from the digital artist Beeple for a staggering $69.3 million this March, NFTs have begun making mainstream headlines.
Are Family Limited Partnerships under Attack?
An FLP is a business entity created under state law to hold and manage the property. It comprises partners that can be either individuals or other entities such as trusts and limited liability companies (LLCs). An FLP must have at least one general partner liable for the partnership’s debts and liabilities. The other partners can all be limited partners, which means they are personally insulated from liabilities arising within the partnership. The partnership is generally protected from liabilities that a limited partner may incur outside the partnership.
In an estate planning context, FLPs are often created when a parent or parents own property such as real estate or business interests that they would like to retain control and management of but at the same time want to begin the process of transferring to their children for transfer tax purposes. The parents can form the FLP with themselves (or another entity such as an LLC they own) as the general partner and name their children (or trusts created for their children’s benefit) as limited partners.
FAQs About Long-Term Care Insurance
With the booming aging population, more and more seniors will require long-term healthcare services, whether at home, in an assisted living facility, or a nursing home. However, such long-term care can be costly, especially when it’s needed for extended periods.
Moreover, many people mistakenly believe that their health insurance or the government will pay for their long-term care needs. But the fact is, traditional health insurance doesn’t cover long-term care. And though Medicare does pay for some long-term care, it’s typically limited (covering a maximum of 100 days), challenging to qualify for, and requires you to deplete nearly all of your assets before being eligible (unless you use proactive planning to shield your assets, which we can support you with if that’s important to you and your family).
Mental Health Considerations in Estate Planning
Saying that America is dealing with a mental health crisis is not an exaggeration. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, approximately 20 percent of US adults experience mental illness, including 1 in 20 who experience serious mental illness, and 17 percent of American youth experience a mental health disorder.
The mental health crisis has worsened during the coronavirus pandemic. Loneliness and isolation are fueling increases in anxiety, depression, and thoughts of suicide and self-harm report Mental Health America. More people are seeking mental health screening and treatment, but around 23 percent of Americans with mental illness are still not receiving the services they need.
10 Things You Should Know About Living Wills
A living will often called an “advance healthcare directive,” is a legal document that tells your loved ones and doctors how you would want decisions related to your medical care handled in the event you become incapacitated and are unable to make such decisions yourself, particularly at the end of life. Specifically, a living will outline the procedures, medications, and treatments you would want – or would not want – to prolong your life if you become unable to discuss such matters with doctors yourself.
For example, within the terms of your living will, you can spell out certain decisions, such as if and when you would want life support removed should you ever require it, and whether you would want hydration and nutrition supplied to prolong your life.
Questions First Responders Must Consider to Best Protect Their Loved Ones
Being unable to work or make decisions for yourself can seem like an unimaginable scenario. You spend your time coming to other people’s rescue, so it may be difficult for you to imagine a time when you might need help or rescue. However, such things happen to people every day. To best protect yourself and your loved ones, there are a few things you should consider.
Disability insurance allows you to supplement some of or all your income (depending on your level of coverage) while you cannot work. With the proper range in place, you know that, should you be injured, you and your loved ones will still have money coming in to support you. If you have no disability insurance or are concerned that its coverage is insufficient, consider reaching out to an insurance agent to review your current situation and future needs expertly.
Think You Are Too Young to Need An Estate Plan? Think Again
All adults over age 18 should have some basic estate planning documents in place. And this is true regardless of how much money you have, whether you are married or single, and whether or not you have kids. On that note, if you are an adult of any age and the pandemic didn’t inspire you to create your estate plan, here are four reasons why you shouldn’t wait another day to get your plan started.
Most people assume estate planning only comes into play when they die, but that’s dead wrong – pun fully intended. Although planning for your eventual death is a big part of the process, it’s just as important – if not more so – to plan for your potential incapacity due to a severe accident or illness.
Should You Consider a Life Estate for Your Home?
A life estate, sometimes called a right of occupancy, is a property law concept that allows a property owner to split their interest in real estate and other types of property into different kinds of ownership that can exist simultaneously. For example, the owner of a cabin could legally split their ownership interest in the cabin, allowing them to possess and enjoy the cabin for the remainder of their life and then, at death, automatically pass full ownership of the cabin to a named individual.
Using a life estate deed is one way to establish a life estate in your home. This type of deed must be drafted carefully to identify who will own the life interest (the right to possess and enjoy the property during their life) and who will receive the remainder interest (the right to receive the property when the individual owns the life interest dies).
Estate Planning Must-Haves for Parents – Even If You Have Legal Documents
A comprehensive estate plan can protect the things that matter most. For many, this means their property and their family.
When naming a legal guardian for your minor children, there are many factors to consider, such as whether the guardian has similar values to yours or can provide a welcoming home environment. But the most challenging decisions are often the most important. Consider the outcome if you died without having legal protections for your children in place. Your children could be subject to conflict between relatives, or they could be raised by someone you would never want or in a way you wouldn’t want. They could even temporarily be taken into the care of strangers.
10 Reasons Why Your Business Needs a Family Business Lawyer™
Without the guidance and support of trusted legal counsel, you are likely not aware of all the ways your business is leaking money, putting yourself and your family at risk, and possibly limiting the positive impact you have on the lives of your clients.
Beyond those potential issues, if you are handling all of your company’s legal, insurance, financial, and tax decisions yourself, you’ll likely get overwhelmed by all the necessary pieces required to run a business daily – crunching numbers, negotiating contracts, dealing with insurance, and preparing your taxes – and something will suffer.
2021 Estate Planning Checkup: Is Your Estate Plan Up to Date?
Even if you put an excellent estate plan in place, it can turn out to be worthless for the people you love if it’s not regularly updated.
Estate planning is not a one-and-done type of deal – your plan should continuously evolve along with your life circumstances and other changing conditions, such as your assets and the law.
No matter who you are, your life will inevitably change: families change, laws change, assets change, and goals change. In the absence of any significant life events, we recommend reviewing your estate plan annually to ensure its terms are up to date.
5 Mistakes Start-ups Make When Forming Their Business
It seems that everywhere you look, a new start-up is trying to make it big with a game-changing idea. But it’s only the ones that can turn that idea into a reality that reach business success. Too many start-ups fail to transition from concept to execution or encounter significant setbacks along the way. While developing your growing start-up, don’t make the common mistake of disregarding tedious but vital tasks such as making sure all your legal, insurance, financial, and tax ducks are in a row.
Establishing a solid legal system can help you avoid costly mistakes and save time and stress down the road. Many entrepreneurs struggle with developing such systems because they don’t foresee the most common mistakes start-ups make. Avoiding these only takes a little self-awareness and planning, so read on to learn how to sidestep the five biggest legal mistakes a start-up can make.
How Estate Planning Can Bring Blended Families Closer
Yours, mine, and ours, in today’s modern family, it’s oh so familiar. The blended family is the product of 2nd or more marriages, in which one or more of the parties comes with children from a prior marriage. And then, they may even go on to have children together.
Suppose you have or are part of a blended family. In that case, it’s essential to understand how estate planning could be precisely what you need to keep your family out of conflict and in love, both during life, in the event of incapacity, and when one or more of the senior generation or parents dies.
Let’s begin with understanding where potential conflicts could arise when you have a blended family.
Why Operation Agreements Are a Must For Business Owners
As with so many things in life, some of the same qualities that help small businesses succeed can also lead to their demise. Fortunately, much of that risk can be lessened through operational excellence.
For example, the owners and managers of small businesses often know each other before going into business together. Sometimes, they’re even related. Preexisting relationships can help propel small businesses forward, especially when there are high levels of trust and competence.
Unfortunately, however, familiarity is sometimes accompanied by a lax attitude toward operational formalities. Owners and managers may skimp in critical areas such as:
Governing documents such as articles of incorporation, partnership agreements, and bylaws;
Solid or regular auditing and accounting practices; and
Shareholder meetings and minutes.
Why You Need a Trust – Even if You Aren’t Rich
When you hear the words, “trust fund,” do you conjure up images of stately mansions and party yachts? A trust fund – or trust – is actually a great estate planning tool for many people with a wide range of incomes who want to accomplish a specific purpose with their money.
Simply put, a trust is just a vehicle used to transfer assets, and trusts are especially useful for parents of minor children as well as those who wish to spare their beneficiaries the hassle of going to Court in the event of their incapacity or death.
And why would you want to keep your family out of court (known as avoiding probate)?
Estate Planning Awareness Week: Don’t Fall Victim to These Common Myths
This week is Estate Planning Awareness Week. To that end, we are geared towards helping you become aware of and better understand common estate planning myths. Left unaddressed, these myths can create serious trouble for your loved ones, often leading to intrafamily conflict, permanently damaged relationships and lengthy and expensive court battles.
With Tax Laws in Flux: What Should Business Owners Do Now?
If you read last week’s blog titled, “House Democrats Propose Sweeping New Changes To Tax Laws That Stand To Have Major Impact On Business Taxation and Estate Planning—Part 1” or if you’ve been following the news about the coming changes, you know that none of us know what will ultimately happen – or even when we will know the final outcome.
Given that the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was not passed until December 2017, and the same thing could happen here, with some provisions potentially impacting your taxes this year, as well as provisions that could impact decisions you’d make for next year, but those decisions must be made now, what should you do?
With Tax Laws in Flux: What Should You Do Now?
Last week in our blog titled “House Democrats Propose Sweeping New Changes to Tax Laws That Stand To Have Major Impact on Estate Planning – Part 1,” we discussed the new bill’s proposed changes to tax rates and estate planning vehicles, including several different types of trusts.
Here, in part two, we’ll focus on what you should do now, given that the tax law is in flux and we may not have clear answers until close to the end of the year.
House Democrats Propose Sweeping New Changes To Tax Laws That Stand To Have Major Impact On Business Taxation and Estate Planning – Part 1
On September 13, 2021, Democrats in the House of Representatives released a new $3.5 trillion proposed spending plan that includes a wide array of changes to federal tax laws. Specifically, the Democrats have proposed a number of significant tax increases and other changes to fund the plan, including increases to personal income tax rates and
House Democrats Propose Sweeping New Changes To Tax Laws That Stand To Have Major Impact On Estate Planning – Part 1
On September 13, 2021, Democrats in the House of Representatives released a new $3.5 trillion proposed spending plan that includes a wide array of changes to federal tax laws. Specifically, the Democrats have proposed a number of significant tax increases and other changes to fund the plan, including increases to personal income tax rates and the capital gains tax rate, along with a major reduction to the federal estate and gift tax exclusion and new restrictions on Grantor Trusts that would basically eliminate such trust’s ability to be used as planning vehicles.
While the proposed legislation is still under consideration and far from being finalized, given the broad-reaching impact these changes stand to have, we strongly encourage you to take action now if you would be affected by the proposed legislation if it does pass. With the exception of capital gains rate increase, which could go into effect on transactions that occur on or after Sept. 13, 2021, most of the proposed changes would be effective after December 31, 2021, meaning that you have time to plan now.
That said, due to the time it takes to plan and execute some of the financial and estate planning actions we’d need to support you with, we suggest you start strategizing now. That way, you’ll have plenty of time to take the appropriate action before the end of the year. With that in mind, here we’ll outline how the proposed tax law changes stand to affect your financial, tax, and estate planning, so you can contact us if you would be impacted if the new bill does pass.
3 Pitfalls To Avoid When Buying An Existing Business
Whether it’s your very first or your fifth company, if you’re looking to start a new business venture, you have two options: 1) build your own from scratch or 2) buy an existing one. And while many entrepreneurs dream of building their own company from the ground up, the reality is, launching a brand-new business can be incredibly difficult.
Building a business from scratch can involve years of working long hours for little to no financial reward. In fact, whether your company is ever able to generate a profit or not, starting your own business can consume your life like few other activities. What’s more, no matter how much you sacrifice, there’s no guarantee the venture still won’t fail miserably.
On the other hand, buying an existing business and successfully making it your own can be somewhat less stressful. After all, you’re buying an operation that has already proven successful, with an existing customer base, brand recognition, and cash flow.
A Not-So-Happy Accident: Bob Ross’s Estate Planning Failures Leave His Son With Next to Nothing – Part 2
Bob Ross’ planning failures led to an ugly court battle between his former business partners and his family, who were fighting for control of the lucrative intellectual property rights to the Bob Ross brand.
Unfortunately, Bob’s son Steve ultimately lost his fight to benefit from the business empire built on his father’s persona and painting skills. Here in Part Two, we’ll explain the steps you can take to ensure that your loved ones don’t suffer the same fate and are able to fully benefit from all of your business assets following your death.
When it comes to the ownership of business assets, the legal agreements governing the ownership rights of a business are what determines who owns the business and its assets upon the death of an owner, regardless of what your estate plan says. This is why it’s essential that you make certain that any business agreements you enter into are in coordination with your estate plan. We can help you do this as long as we know about all of your business holdings, including your intellectual property and business entities when we handle your estate planning with you.
The Big-Time Benefits Of Hiring Your Kids
One of the biggest benefits of running a family business is being able to employ your minor children. By hiring your kids, you have the opportunity to teach them the value of hard work, give them experience managing money, and support them to save for their future.
A Not-So-Happy Accident: Bob Ross’s Estate Planning Failures Leave His Son With Next to Nothing – Part 1
As the host of the wildly popular The Joy of Painting TV series on PBS, Bob Ross became a pop-culture icon, who was equally famous for his giant head of hair, soothing baritone voice, and folksy demeanor as he was for his iconic landscape paintings. And like so many other artists, Bob’s artwork and image would become even more popular following Bob’s death in 1995.
Bob’s philosophy in both painting and life was that there “were no mistakes in life… just happy little accidents.” Sadly, as detailed in the recent Netflix documentary Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal & Greed, Bob’s failure to coordinate his business agreements with his estate plan was anything but happy, leaving his only son largely unable to benefit from his father’s fame and fortune.
As we’ll discuss in this series, Bob’s planning failures have led to an ugly court battle between his former business partners and his family, who were fighting for control of the lucrative intellectual property rights to the Bob Ross brand.
Estate Planning Must-Haves For Single Parents
Having an estate plan that covers the care of your children in case you should be in a severe accident, fall ill, or die welcomes peace of mind for the single parent knowing everything and everyone they love is taken care of. Here are the must-haves that can protect your children if something were to ever happen to you:
With Remote Work Here to Stay, Maximize Team Engagement and Productivity With These 3 Strategies
The shift to remote work has transformed the way the American workforce operates, and even now that vaccines are widely available, many companies are choosing to keep a large number of their workers at home.
Legendary Rapper DMX Dies With No Will, Millions in Debt, and 15 Children – Part 2
As we reported last week in part one, Legendary hip hop artist DMX born Earl Simmons passed away on April 9 at age 50 after suffering a massive heart attack a week earlier at his home in White Plains, New York. The heart attack was reportedly triggered by a cocaine overdose on April 2, which left the rapper hospitalized in a coma. After a week of lingering in a vegetative state, his family made the decision to remove him from life support.
Although DMX was wildly successful in both music and movies, the rap icon experienced serious legal and financial problems, along with frequent issues with drug addiction throughout his career. Having fathered 15 children with nine different women, DMX’s money issues largely stemmed from unpaid child support, but he also failed to pay income taxes, and both of these issues would land the rapper in prison and rehab on more than one occasion.
The saddest part of this whole situation is that virtually all of the conflict, expense, and trauma that DMX’s loved ones are likely to endure could have been easily prevented with straightforward estate planning. Using revocable living trusts, for example, DMX could have ensured that his children and fiancée would have immediate access to his assets upon his death or incapacity, avoiding the need for court involvement altogether and keeping the contents and terms of his estate totally private.
5 Mistakes To Avoid When Investing In Business Insurance
Business insurance is your first line of defense in protecting your company from a wide variety of different potential threats. Without the right insurance or with too little of the insurance you do need you could be at great risk from the costs of a lawsuit, judgment, or in the event of an unforeseen emergency or disaster.
Legendary Rapper DMX Dies With No Will, Millions in Debt, and 15 Children – Part 1
Legendary hip hop artist DMX, born Earl Simmons, passed away on April 9 at age 50 after suffering a massive heart attack a week earlier at his home in White Plains, New York. The heart attack was reportedly triggered by a cocaine overdose on April 2, which left the rapper hospitalized in a coma. After a week of lingering in a vegetative state, his family made the decision to remove him from life support.
DMX and Desiree, who were engaged in 2019, had been together for seven years, and she gave birth to his 15th child, a boy named Exodus Simmons, in 2016. However, because the two were never married and DMX did not create any estate planning providing for her, Desiree will likely inherit nothing from her late fiance’s fortune.
Don’t let what happened to DMX’s family happen to your loved ones. Whether you have no estate plan at all or have a plan that needs review, even one created by another lawyer, contact us, as your Family Lawyer, today. With our support and guidance, we can ensure that your loved ones will always be provided for and stay out of court and out of conflict no matter what happens to you.
4 Factors To Consider When Choosing a Business Entity – Part 2
When starting a business, you have to make a ton of different decisions. From deciding what to name your company to hire employees, getting your business off the ground comes with a nearly endless number of decisions.
Last week in part one, we discussed the first two of four leading factors to consider when selecting your entity, and here, we cover the final two.
Properly selecting, setting up, and maintaining your business entity is far too important of a task for you to try to handle all on your own. We offer you trusted advice on the most advantageous entity for your particular business and then help ensure that your entity is properly set up. We can also provide you with sound business systems to make your business more efficient and establish a clear separation between your business and personal finances, which is a crucial part of maintaining your entity’s liability protection.
Don’t Forget To Protect Your Furry Family: Estate Planning For Your Pets
Humane Society estimates that between 100,00 to 500,000 pets are placed in shelters each year for exactly this reason, and a large number of these animals are ultimately euthanized.
Unfortunately, the law considers pets to be nothing more than personal property just like cars, furniture, and electronic devices. So unless you take the proper steps to include your pet in your estate plan, your beloved companion could end up in a shelter or worse following your death or incapacity.
4 Factors To Consider When Choosing a Business Entity – Part 1
When starting a business, you have to make a ton of decisions. Deciding what to name your company and hiring employees, what kind of products or services you should sell, and how to fund your operation, getting your business off the ground comes with a nearly endless number of decisions.
all these decisions, perhaps none is more important or has a more significant impact on your success (or failure) than your choice of business entity structure. Indeed, the entity you choose for your business will affect everything from the amount of taxes you pay and what kind of records you are required to keep to how vulnerable your assets are to lawsuits incurred by your company.
Everything You Need to Know About Including Digital Assets In Your Estate Plan – Part 2
Last week in part one, we discussed some of the most common types of digital assets and the current legal landscape governing what happens to those assets upon your death or incapacity. Here, we offer some practical tips to ensure all of your digital assets are properly included in your estate plan, so these assets can provide the most benefit for your loved ones for generations to come.
Everything You Need to Know About Including Digital Assets In Your Estate Plan – Part 1
Recent advances in digital technology have made many aspects of our lives exponentially easier and more convenient. But at the same time, digital technology has also created some serious complications when it comes to estate planning.
How to Dissolve a Partnership on Good Terms
Many business partnerships eventually come to an end. Like other types of relationships, when business partners decide to split up, the process can be amicable or contentious.
Preserving Your Money and Property Beyond the Third Generation
Whether you have inherited your wealth or have built it yourself, you likely want to share this wealth with the next generation and beyond. Providing for multiple generations through your financial and estate plans is a significant legacy to leave your family. As previously mentioned, ensuring that it is done properly requires careful planning with experienced professionals. To take the next step in your planning, consider the following steps (if you have not already done so):
Benefits of Having Your Business Donate to Charity
Giving money to charity might seem counterintuitive to those running a for-profit company. However, it is important to keep in mind that charitable giving can not only make a big difference to the recipients of your generosity, but it can also provide a net gain to your business. In addition to the potential tax advantages of charitable giving, donations have been shown to boost employee morale and productivity, improve a company’s brand image, and build customer relationships.
The Difference Between a Prenuptial Agreement and a Will or Trust
Having a will or a trust is something responsible people do, but despite the more common use of these tools today, a certain percentage of the general population still misunderstands the difference between the reasons for creating a will or a trust and the reasons for entering into a prenuptial agreement. What do these different legal documents do? And when should you use them?
What Employers Should Know about Giving Gifts to Employees
In today’s competitive job market, giving gifts and other fringe benefits to employees can be an effective way for employers to show appreciation. But generous employers should understand that most gifts and bonuses, even small ones, have tax implications.
Britney Spears’ Nightmare Conservatorship Underscores The Vital Importance Of Incapacity Planning – Part 2
This week, we continue the conversation about Britney Spear’s nightmare conservatorship. Last week, in part one, we highlighted the real potential for abuse that exists within the conservatorship and guardianship system.
What You Need to Know about Hiring Seasonal Employees
A lot has changed since last summer, but the same federal and state laws still apply to employers that hire seasonal employees. If your business is considering bringing on summer help to handle an increased workload, you may need a refresher on navigating benefits, taxes, overtime, pay, and employment of teenage workers.
Britney Spears’ Nightmare Conservatorship Underscores The Vital Importance Of Incapacity Planning – Part 1
Since the age of 16, when she burst onto the charts with her debut single, “…Hit Me Baby One More Time,” Britney Spears has been one of the world’s most famous and beloved pop stars. Yet despite her massive fame and fortune, Britney, who is now 39, has never truly had full control over her own life.
How to Maximize Your Startup Cost Deductions
Coming up with a solid concept for a new business and working to get your operation off the ground can be an expensive undertaking. But the good news is that you can write off a number of the expenses involved with the startup process.
Estate Planning For A Child With Special Needs: What Parents Need To Know
Estate planning is an obvious concern for all parents, but if you have a child with special needs, it’s crucial that you are aware of the unique considerations that go into planning for a child who may be dependent on you at some level for their lifetime.
My Loved One Has Died – What Do I Do Now?
When a family member or other loved one dies, grief and shock can sometimes be overwhelming. The last thing most people want to think about is making phone calls or funeral arrangements. Some things do not need to be done immediately, but there are some steps that should be taken soon after the loss of your loved one. We hope the following guide will help facilitate this process during a stressful and emotional time.
Just Married? 6 Estate Planning Essentials for Newlyweds – Part 2
Indeed, once your marriage is official, your relationship becomes entirely different from both a legal and financial perspective. With this in mind, last week in part one, we discussed the first three of six essential items you need to address in your plan, and here we cover the final three.
Just Married? 6 Estate Planning Essentials for Newlyweds – Part 1
Indeed, once your marriage is official, your relationship becomes entirely different from both a legal and financial perspective. With this in mind, if you’ve recently said “I do” or have plans to do so in the near future, check out the following six essential items you need to address in your plan.
The Perfect Father’s Day Gift for Every Father
We may go to great lengths to protect and pass on our family’s financial wealth. Still, very few of us take the time to even document, much less preserve, our family’s legacy. The stories, values, insights, and life lessons of our parents, grandparents, and those who came before them— are typically lost forever when a beloved father figure passes away.
Why Is My Trust So Long?
When you met with an attorney a few weeks ago, perhaps all you expected was a simple will. Maybe you thought that, with your situation, the work should be easy and the documents should be few. But now that you have finished working with the attorney, your parting gift is a large binder filled with hundreds of pages. You may be wondering, “Why is my trust so long?”
3 Vital Estate Planning Documents For High School Graduates
With the arrival of summer, young people across the country are about to reach a key milestone: high school graduation. If you have a child claiming their diploma, now is the time to prepare them for life after leaving the nest.
Should You Own Your Timeshare in Your Trust?
When it comes to your estate planning though, how should you handle your timeshare? If you have a revocable trust, should you transfer ownership of the timeshare to your trust?
Four Things to Make Your New Job a Success
Congratulations on your new job! Getting a job begins a major chapter in your life. As you navigate this new territory, we are here to help ensure a prosperous transition.
What is Long-Term Care and Who Provides It?
Most long-term care involves assisting with basic personal needs rather than providing medical care. You are usually determined to need long-term care if you need help with two or more “activities of daily living” (such as bathing, dressing, eating, and going to the bathroom). Family members usually provide long-term care to start, but as an illness escalates paid care may become necessary.
Selling a Deceased Loved One’s Real Estate: Things You Need to Know
After the death of a loved one, such as a parent, there are a variety of tasks that must be handled to wrap up your loved one’s final affairs. Selling your deceased loved one’s real estate is one of the more daunting ones. But before you call a real estate agent, you should take some time to get familiar with and consider a few of the key issues as you work through this process.
What Are the Rights of a Child Born Outside of Marriage?
If you are a nonmarital child or have a nonmarital child, it is essential to understand how rights to inherit are formed and defined. Failure to adequately provide estate planning for a nonmarital child could be problematic for children and families attempting to assert their rights following the nonmarital father’s death.
Don’t Let Diminished Financial Capacity Put Your Elderly Loved Ones At Risk – Part 2
In the first part of this series, we discussed the early warning signs of diminished financial capacity in the elderly. Here, we’ll discuss planning strategies that can protect your loved ones from incapacity of all kinds.
Don’t Let Diminished Financial Capacity Put Your Elderly Loved Ones At Risk – Part 1
Coinciding with the boom in the elderly population, the number of Americans suffering from Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia is expected to increase substantially as well. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that the number of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease will double by 2060, when it’s expected to reach 14 million—more than 3% of the total population.
Money Talk: How Much Will You Share With Your Kids (and When)?
In many families, money still is not a typical dinner table discussion, but we think it should be. Surprisingly, this is especially true when it comes to affluent parents. And, we hope to change it because one of the most important things you can do is talk to your kids (and your parents) about money.
Simultaneous Deaths: What If My Spouse and I Die at the Same Time?
The chances of a married couple dying in a common accident or within a very short time of one another are probably quite slim. However, it does happen. And it happens frequently enough that most states have laws to address the issue and the problems that can arise from simultaneous deaths. What are these laws, why do we need them, and can we work around them if we need to?
It’s All in the Family: Understanding Common Legal Terms
The wrong word can lead the courts to incorrectly interpret your documents and therefore cause an unintended result. Here are a few commonly confused words, their proper meanings, and some usage scenarios.
Do I Have to Leave Anything to My Children?
One common storyline in Hollywood movies is the rich father disinheriting the family outcast. The story usually traces the child’s attempts to win the father over and be considered a part of the family again. But can fiction imitate reality? Can you actually disinherit a child?
Planning Considerations for Unmarried Partners
While do-it-yourself options may be cheaper, they can sometimes create more problems than they solve, and the problems can be expensive to remedy.
How to Plan a “Pet Trust” to Protect Your Pet After Your Death
In my previous article, I talked about what to take into consideration when you’re planning for your pet’s care, in the event of your incapacity or your death. This week, I’m going to give you the steps to take in creating a pet trust to provide for your companion animal, or animals, if you cannot be there.
What Happens to Your Pets When You Die?
If you have pets, my guess is that you love them as much as you do your children, but I’m also guessing that you have not provided any written or, better yet, legally documented instructions about what should happen to them, if you become incapacitated or when you die. If you have, read this article with an eye to ensuring you’ve checked all the right boxes for the beings you love. If you haven’t, read on because it’s time to take action, and we can make it easy for you to do the right thing by the pets you love.
Five Mistakes Successor Trustees Make (and How to Prevent Them)
When establishing a trust, you must give serious thought to who you choose as your successor trustee. The successor trustee is the person who will manage, invest, and hand out the trust’s accounts and property once you are no longer able to do so.
What If No One Wants My Property?
A critical question to ask yourself when creating an estate plan is who will get your stuff when you pass on? While most people think about who they would like to receive the major items, such as homes, retirement accounts, savings; however, personal property, such as jewelry, clothing, sports equipment, vehicles, and other possessions are often overlooked.
Four Common Myths about Estate Planning
Almost everyone will benefit from estate planning, which addresses non-wealth aspects of your legacy along with the financial aspects. Estate planning can ensure someone you trust will care for your children and pets after your death, and make sure treasured family heirlooms end up where you want them to go. Estate planning also can help you pass along your values.
Does Your Estate Plan Protect Your Intellectual Property?
Even if you’ve worked with a lawyer to set up your business entity or a CPA to file your taxes, those advisors may not be thinking about or helping you plan for what happens to your intangible business assets upon your death. Similarly, most lawyers who focus on estate planning don’t really understand the value of intellectual property and how to protect it.
Reviewing Your Estate Plan after the Death of a Loved One
Although your estate plan primarily focuses on what will happen if you become incapacitated (unable to make or communicate your wishes) or die, the death of a loved one can have a major impact on your planning. If you have an estate plan, one of the first items you need to do when a loved one dies is to review the documents with the following questions in mind:
Moving To A New State? Remember to Update Your Estate Plan
Although you likely won’t need to have an entirely new estate plan prepared for you, upon relocating to another state, you should definitely have your existing plan reviewed by an estate planning lawyer who is familiar with your new home state’s laws. Each state has its own laws governing estate planning, and those laws can differ significantly from one location to another.
5 Questions To Ask Before Hiring An Estate Planning Lawyer – Part 2
Although hiring the right estate planning lawyer may not seem like a really important decision, it’s actually one of the most critical choices you can make for both yourself and your family. After all, this is the individual you are trusting to serve on your behalf to protect and provide for your loved ones in the event of life’s most traumatic experiences.
Should you choose the wrong person for the job, your family could potentially face all manner of unnecessary conflicts, expenses, and legal entanglements during a time when they are at their most vulnerable. In the end, estate planning is about far more than having a lawyer create a set of documents for you, and then never seeing you again, or only seeing you when something goes wrong.
5 Questions To Ask Before Hiring An Estate Planning Lawyer – Part 1
Since you’ll be discussing topics like death, incapacity, and other frightening life events, hiring an estate planning lawyer may feel intimidating or morbid. But it definitely doesn’t have to be that way.
Instead, it can be the most empowering decision you ever make for yourself and your loved ones. The key to transforming the experience of hiring a lawyer from one that you dread into one that empowers you is to educate yourself first. This is the person who is going to be there for your family when you can’t be, so you want to really understand who the lawyer is as a human, not just an attorney. Of course, you’ll also want to find out the kind of services your potential lawyer offers and how they run their business.
What You Should Know About Long-Term Care Insurance
With people living longer than ever before, more and more seniors require long-term healthcare services in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. However, such care is extremely expensive, especially when it’s needed for extended periods of time.
Third-Party Supplemental Needs Trusts
If you want to provide for a loved one who is disabled or has special needs when you are no longer here, care must be taken to ensure that the inheritance you leave will help rather than harm your loved one. An inheritance received outright could negatively impact your loved one if he or she is currently receiving government aid or benefits or will need to apply for aid in the future.
Things You Need to Know as Successor Trustee
Accepting the role of successor trustee can seem a little intimidating when you look at the job description. However, you are not alone. Your advisor team (trust administration attorney, certified public accountant (CPA), financial advisor, and insurance agent) can guide you through the various steps of the administration process. If you are feeling overwhelmed, you may want to consider delegating trust administration tasks to another person with comparable, more advanced, or specialized skills such as an attorney, CPA, or financial advisor. Also note, services completed on behalf of the trust can be charged to the trust, not to you personally.
Who Should I Choose to Be Successor Trustee?
When you create a living trust, you must name a successor trustee to take over for you if you are unable to act due to incapacity or death. It is crucial that this decision be given careful consideration and that the right person be selected for the job.
How to Choose a Trustee
When you establish a trust, you name someone to be the trustee. A trustee does what you do right now with your financial affairs – collect income, pay bills and taxes, save and invest for the future, buy and sell property, provide for your loved ones, keep accurate records, and generally keep things organized and in good order.
The Recipe for a Satisfying Estate Plan
Misconceptions about who needs an estate plan abound. Most people believe that estate planning is only for extremely wealthy business moguls or celebrities. But that could not be further from the truth. Estate planning is the process of making decisions about what happens to you, your money, and your property when you pass away or can no longer make decisions for yourself. Thus, estate planning should be standard practice for every adult age eighteen or older.
To learn more about Cheever Law, APC and estate planning, please register for our FREE educational Life & Legacy Planning Webinar. We look forward to serving you!
4 Tips for Talking About Estate Planning with Your Family Over the Holidays
With COVID-19 still raging, your 2020 holiday season may not feature the big family get-togethers of years past, but you’ll still likely be visiting with loved ones in some fashion, whether via video chat or in smaller groups. And though the holidays are always a good time to bring up estate planning, given the ongoing pandemic, talking about these issues is particularly urgent this time around.
Remarrying In Midlife? Avoid Accidently Disinheriting Your Loved Ones
Today, we’re seeing more and more people getting divorced in middle age and beyond. Indeed, the trend of couples getting divorced after age 50 has grown so common, it’s even garnered its own nickname: “gray divorce.”
With divorce coming so late in life, the financial fallout can be quite devastating. Indeed, Bloomberg.com found that the standard of living for women who divorce after age 50 drops by some 45%, while it falls roughly 21% for men. Given the significant decrease in income and the fact people are living longer than ever, it’s no surprise that many of these folks also choose to get remarried.
And those who do get remarried frequently bring one or more children from previous marriages into the new union, which gives rise to an increasing number of blended families. Regardless of age or marital status, all adults over age 18 should have some basic estate planning in place, but for those with blended families, estate planning is particularly vital.
6 Things You Should NOT Include In Your Will
A will is used to designate how you want your assets distributed to your surviving loved ones upon your death. If you die without a will, state law governs how your assets are distributed, which may or may not be in line with your wishes.
Getting Divorced? Don’t Overlook These 4 Updates to Your Estate Plan – Part 2
Going through divorce can be an overwhelming experience that impacts nearly every facet of your life, including estate planning. Yet, with so much to deal with during the divorce process, many people forget to update their plan or put it off until it’s too late.
Last week in part one, we discussed the first two changes you should make to your plan: updating your beneficiary designations and power of attorney documents. Here in part two, we’ll cover the final updates to consider.
Getting Divorced? Don’t Overlook These 4 Updates to Your Estate Plan – Part 1
Going through divorce can be an overwhelming experience that impacts nearly every facet of your life, including estate planning. Yet, with so much to deal with during the divorce process, many people forget to update their plan or put it off until it’s too late.
Black Panther Star Chadwick Boseman Dies Without A Will – Part 2
Last week in part one, we discussed a few potential explanations for this apparent blind spot in Boseman’s estate plan, and how the young actor might have prevented the situation by creating a pour-over will to be used as a backup to any trusts he had put in place. Here in part two, we’ll focus on another critical component of Boseman’s estate plan – incapacity planning.
Regardless of his age or health condition, Boseman, like all adults over 18 years old, should have three essential planning documents in place to protect against potential incapacity from illness or injury. These include a medical power of attorney, living will, and durable financial power of attorney.
Black Panther Star Chadwick Boseman Dies Without A Will – Part 1
On October 15th, nearly two months after the death of Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman, his wife, Taylor Simone Ledward, filed documents with the Los Angeles probate court seeking to be named administrator of his estate. Earlier this year, Boseman and Ledward were married, and the marriage gives Ledward the right to any assets held in Boseman’s name at his death.
What makes Boseman’s story somewhat unique from the others is that it seems likely the young actor put some estate planning tools in place, but it’s possible he didn’t quite finish the job. Based on the number of hit films he starred in and how much he earned for those films, several sources have noted that Boseman’s assets at the time of his death should have been worth far more than the approximately $939,000 listed in probate court documents.
Questions & Answers On COVID-19 Tax Changes for 2020—Part 2
Last week in part one, we answered questions about tax changes offered by the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC). Here in part two, we’ll wrap up this series by answering questions about the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and four additional tax breaks offered by the CARES Act that could save your business even more on your 2020 taxes.
Questions & Answers On COVID-19 Tax Changes for 2020—Part 1
Throughout 2020, Congress passed multiple pieces of legislation—most notably the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act—offering numerous forms of tax relief to help businesses like yours deal with the economic fallout of COVID-19.
That said, these new laws have also created a tangled web of new tax and accounting changes that can be quite challenging to keep track of. To help you sort through all of the new programs and ensure your business takes advantage of the full range of tax breaks available, in this two-part series, we’ll provide answers to some commonly asked questions about the coronavirus-related tax changes for 2020.
Once Your Kids Are 18, Make Sure They Sign These Documents
While estate planning is probably one of the last things your teenage kids are thinking about, given the dire threat coronavirus represents, when they turn 18, it should be their (and your) number-one priority. Here’s why: At 18, they become legal adults in the eyes of the law, so you no longer have the authority to make decisions regarding their healthcare, nor will you have access to their financial accounts if something happens to them.
COVID-19 Highlights Critical Need for Advance Healthcare Directives—Part 2
With new cases of COVID-19 currently surging in dozens of states, doctors across the country are joining lawyers in urging Americans to create the proper estate planning documents, so medical providers can better coordinate their treatment and care should they become hospitalized with the virus.
The most crucial planning tools for this purpose are medical power of attorney and a living will, advance healthcare directives that work together to help describe your wishes for medical treatment and end-of-life care should you become unable to express your own wishes. While all adults over age 18 should put these documents in place as soon as possible, if you are over age 60 or have a chronic underlying health condition, the urgency is paramount.
COVID-19 Highlights Critical Need for Advance Healthcare Directives—Part 1
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage the country, doctors across the nation are joining lawyers in urging Americans to create the proper estate planning documents, so medical providers can better coordinate their care should they become hospitalized with the virus.
The most critical planning tools for this purpose are medical power of attorney and a living will, advance healthcare directives that work together to help describe your wishes for medical treatment and end-of-life care in the event you’re unable to express your own wishes. In light of COVID-19, even those who have already created these documents should revisit them to ensure they are up-to-date and address specific scenarios related to the coronavirus.
Avoiding Financial Grief: How to Protect Your Significant Other from Frozen Accounts
The death of a loved one is one of the most difficult times in a person’s life. Nothing can truly prepare a person for such a loss. However, dealing with the financial stress of frozen bank accounts can exacerbate the stress. Without proper planning, your significant other could struggle to gain access to your accounts. The frustration is especially distressing if the frozen account was the primary source for paying joint or household expenses.
How to Avoid the Need For a Prenuptial Agreement—Part 2
Prenups aren’t your only option. With proactive estate planning, for example, you can structure your assets in such a way that not only protects them from being lost to divorce, but also provides for both your future spouse and any children you may have from a previous marriage in the event of your death or incapacity.
How to Avoid the Need For a Prenuptial Agreement – Part 1
If you’re counting down the days to your wedding, divorce is probably the last thing you and your fiancé want to be thinking about, and yet you might be rightfully concerned about what would happen to your assets in the event of a divorce – or your death. In this two-part series, I’ll first discuss the pros and cons of prenuptial agreements, and then in part two, provide estate-planning alternatives you may want to consider.
Sandwich Generation Month: Considerations When Caring for Both Children and Parents
July is National Sandwich Generation Month, a time to honor those who are caring for both their children and their aging parents.
Your “Blended” Family Is Likely Headed to Court Unless You Do This
If you have a blended family and do not plan for what happens to your assets in the event of your incapacity or eventual death, you are almost certainly guaranteeing hurt feelings, conflict, and maybe even a long, drawn out court battle.
Is It Time to Go Solo(preneur)?
There’s nothing like a major change in the economic climate to make you rethink your day job. “Business as usual” currently means a large element of uncertainty about what the future holds for your working life. Whether you’ve lost your job, had your hours cut, or have seen these things happen to people you know, your feeling of security has likely taken a hit. And, maybe that can be a good thing, something that calls you to start taking action.
Learning to Flourish, Even in a Financial Crisis
A financial crisis doesn’t have to be a crisis for you or your family. In fact, this could be the perfect time to access the wealth of resources currently available to fund your next level of growth. It’s a time to invest in yourself, and to learn to use your gifts, skills, and talents to serve others in a big way. That way, you won’t have to depend on anyone else, including your job, corporations, or the government, to sustain you.
The Basics of Disability Insurance and How It Can Help During COVID
The Americans with Disabilities Act has detailed specifics on what a disability is, but the most basic definition is that an individual has “A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such individual.” That can apply to a car-accident or other injury, or a debilitating illness documented by a doctor, including mental illness.
Who Would Care For Your Children If You Got Sick With COVID-19?
If you are young and healthy, it might be hard to imagine that you won’t be there to care for your kids. But if the COVID-19 pandemic is showing us anything, it’s that even a healthy person can contract a serious illness that leaves them incapacitated and unable to care for their children.
3 Unique Ways to Handle the Guilt Inherent to Being a Parent
If you are like most parents, you were probably struggling with guilt even before the virus. You simply can’t make it to every award ceremony or recital, and you might not have as much time to play with your kids or help them with their homework as you’d like. Those feelings of guilt may now be compounded by all the additional responsibilities you’ve had to take on in a short space of time.
Getting Legal Documents Signed During COVID — Another Reason to Not Go It Alone
There are many ways that plans fail, but one of the worst ways we see is when someone starts a plan and doesn’t get it signed properly. You do not want this to happen to your family. If you care enough about estate planning, you will want to make sure your plan will work when your family needs it.
Protecting Your Parents From Undue Influence During COVID and Beyond
It’s an unfortunate fact that predators emerge during times of upheaval to take advantage of people. That means the COVID-19 pandemic can leave your parents vulnerable in more ways than one. But even when things go back to normal, this chronic problem of financial exploitation will still be a risk.
Should You (or Your Parents) Be in the Stock Market Now?
With everything that is happening in the world—and with the volatility of the stock market and our current reality —knowing your options is vital to preserving the life and legacy your parents have worked to build. If you need help figuring out how to best preserve these assets, we are here and ready to support you.
Online Wills? When You Should, When You Shouldn’t and Where to Do It
With all of the media about “digital wills” and “online estate planning” it could be tempting to think you can do your estate planning yourself, online. And, maybe you can. But, if you do, you need to know the potential pitfalls. Online estate planning could be a big trap for the unwary and actually leave your family worse off than if you had done nothing at all.
How To Get Access to Your COVID Stimulus Money
On March 27, President Trump signed a $2.2 trillion stimulus bill into law that will hopefully provide some relief for many, perhaps including you. The CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) sends money directly to Americans, expands unemployment coverage, and funds loans and grants for small businesses. So let’s look at how you can access these funds.
The Most Important Legal and Financial Actions To Take Right Now
As you already know, the COVID-19 pandemic means nothing is business as usual.
In this time of stress and chaos, your parents may be resistant to talking about estate planning. Perhaps you have not completed your own planning and are hesitant to get started. It may feel too pessimistic to plan for the worst in the midst of a scary situation. However, that’s exactly why it’s the most important time to do so. Plus, since hopefully you are staying inside, you may actually have the time to dedicate to getting these tasks taken care of.
How To Talk To Your Parents and Get Them To Stay Home
There’s no doubt that your parents have survived frightening world events, whether that was World War II, the war in Vietnam, nuclear threat, illness, poverty, civil unrest, or all of the above. However, the use of the word “unprecedented” regarding what’s happening now is not an exaggeration. And they may not understand it all or what they should do, not because they aren’t wise, but because the news has been confusing to interpret. Here are some tips to help you speak with your parents about staying home.
Are You Clear About How Your Parents Estate Plan Will Impact You?
It is my hope that your family is safe and healthy during this COVID-19 pandemic. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, I invite you to ask several important questions, such as: Do your parents have an estate plan? Is it up to date? These times provide us with a reminder that estate planning is critical for all of us.
Unprecedented Times: Time to Get Prepared
In light of these unprecedented times and the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued guidelines for all of us to follow in order to protect yourself and to protect others. Large gatherings are cancelled and we are encouraged to limit physical contact and take extra precautions to take care of ourselves and our families, not out of fear, but out of concern and care for those around us and to stop the spread. In order to minimize exposure and the spread of the virus, take extra steps to protect yourself and your family by actively supporting your immune system, practice proper personal hygiene, which includes proper hand-washing, and limit physical contact with others. Additionally, ensure you are prepared and have food, supplies and resources for 30 days at home. Please visit the CDC for a complete list of the Guidelines if you haven’t done so already.
Your health and safety is important to me and the extra precautions include implementation of virtual meeting options by partnering with Zoom, a video conferencing technology solution. Utilizing technology, my office can continue to serve and support you while staying connected and minimizing physical contact. These are the times where it is more important than ever to ensure you are prepared, which includes having your estate planning in place.
CORONAVIRUS: Impact to Your Wealth, Health and Happiness
While it’s still hard to tell how the Coronavirus will impact us in the long term, it’s become a subject that’s impossible to ignore. Here are some resources to stay up to date on the virus and to keep yourself and your loved ones healthy.
4 Things Trusts Can Do That Wills Can’t
Both wills and trusts are estate planning documents that can be used to pass your wealth and property to your loved ones upon your death. However, trusts come with some distinct advantages over wills that you should consider when creating your plan.
That said, when comparing the two planning tools, you won’t necessarily be choosing between one or the other—most plans include both. Indeed, a will is a foundational part of every person’s estate plan, but you may want to combine your will with a living trust to avoid the blind spots inherent in plans that rely solely on a will.
Kobe Bryant’s Untimely Death Highlights the Vital Need for Estate Planning at All Ages
The death of Kobe, his daughter, and the others is overwhelmingly tragic and heartbreaking. The entire matter is terribly painful. It highlights our mortality and that our tomorrows are not promised. We cover these issues in hopes that it will inspire you to remember that life is not guaranteed, death can come at any moment, and your loved ones are counting on you to do the right thing for them now.
The SECURE Act’s Impact On Estate and Retirement Planning—Part 2
In light of the recent SECURE Act, there are strategies for maximizing your retirement account’s potential for growth, while minimizing tax liabilities and other risks that could arise in light of the legislation’s legal changes.
The SECURE Act’s Impact On Estate and Retirement Planning—Part 1
The changes ushered in by the SECURE Act have dramatic implications for both your retirement and estate planning strategies—and not all of them are positive. While the law includes a number of taxpayer-friendly measures to boost your ability to save for retirement, it also contains provisions that could have disastrous effects on planning strategies families have used for years to protect and pass on assets contained in retirement accounts.
The SECURE Act: How Does It Affect Your Retirement Accounts?
On December 20, 2019, President Trump signed the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act (SECURE Act), which became effective on January 1, 2020. The Act is the most impactful legislation affecting retirement accounts in decades. It will have a positive impact for many older Americans but could have negative tax consequences for many beneficiaries of their retirement accounts.
7 Events That Necessitate a Review of Your Estate Plan
Even if you put a totally solid estate plan in place, it can end up proving worthless if it’s not properly updated. Estate planning is not a one-and-done type of deal: It should continuously evolve along with your life circumstances.
Productivity Tips for the New Year
Are you feeling bogged down in a swamp of clutter, deadlines, and incomplete tasks? As we draw closer to the end of the year, make it your goal to do a few simple things over the course of a day or two that will result in increased productivity and peace of mind for 2020.
4 Tips For Discussing Estate Planning With Your Family This Holiday Season
The holidays offer an opportunity to visit with loved ones you rarely see and get caught up on what’s been happening in everyone’s life. And though it might not seem like it, the holidays can also be a good time to discuss estate planning. In fact, with everyone you love, from the youngest to the oldest, gathered together under one roof, the holidays provide the ideal opportunity to talk about planning.
Buyer Beware: The Hidden Dangers of DIY Estate Planning—Part 2
Online planning documents may appear to save you time and money, but keep in mind, just because you created “legal” documents doesn’t mean they will actually work when you (or most importantly, the people you love) need them. Without a thorough understanding of how the legal process works and impacts family dynamics upon your death or incapacity, you’ll likely make serious mistakes when creating a DIY plan.
Buyer Beware: The Hidden Dangers of DIY Estate Planning – Part 1
In this way, relying on DIY planning documents is one of the most dangerous choices you can make. In the end, such generic forms could end up costing your family even more money and heartache than if you’d never gotten around to doing any planning at all. At least with no plan at all, planning would likely remain at the front of your mind, where it rightfully belongs, until it’s handled properly.
Your 5 Tax Year-End Estate Planning To-Do List
2020 is fast approaching. As we all prepare for the holidays and a new year, it is important that we wrap up any loose strings. Before entering into the new year, here are some things that need to be on your end of year checklist.