How long should I keep old tax returns, estate plans, house closing papers, and other important documents?

How Long Should You Keep Important Documents? In a society dominated by paperwork, the question of how long to hold on to important documents has been baffling for most people. We especially worry about documents of a financial or personally identifying nature. People who worry about losing something important sometimes hoard everything; others who worry

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IRAs, Annuities, and Guardianship – Providing for your Minor Children after You Die

IRAs, Annuities and Guardianship: Providing for Your Minor Children after You Die Deciding on a guardian for your minor children may very well be the most vexing decision you’ll make regarding your estate planning. Not only must you trust the appointed guardian to raise your children as you’d want them raised, but you also need

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Planning for the Future without a Crystal Ball

Planning for the Future (Without a Crystal Ball) Creating a will, trust, or any type of estate plan has always involved dealing with an uncertain future. Consider that just 20 years ago in 1997, the estate tax had an astonishing 55% rate with only a $600,000 exemption. Back then, tax-driven estate planning was a mathematical

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How Does My Annuity Fit Into My Estate Plan?

How Does My Annuity Fit Into My Estate Plan? Selecting the right type of annuity for yourself is no small feat. Of course, you’ve put in the research and planned with your financial advisors. But, you might still be wondering what happens to those annuity payments upon your death. In addition to their benefits as

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Does My Estate Plan Need to Include My Vacation Property?

Does My Estate Plan Need to Include My Vacation Property? Yes! If you own a vacation home, timeshare, investment property, or any other asset outside of the state where you are domiciled you must make sure it’s included in your estate plan. If you fail to include these in your estate plan, or fail to

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Can You Bequeath Your Frequent Flyer Miles?

Can You Bequeath Your Frequent Flyer Miles? If you’re a frequent airline traveler, one of your estate planning concerns may be what will happen to your accumulated miles once you’re gone. They could be worth thousands of dollars, so you probably don’t want them to just disappear, but some airline policies say that’s exactly what

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Do you own rental property? How proactive, comprehensive estate planning can help

Do You Own Rental Property? How Proactive, Comprehensive Estate Planning Can Help A comprehensive estate plan should address all of your assets. For most people, an estate plan must include three common categories: (1) your home; (2) financial accounts, like your checking and savings account; and (3) personal property. Other types of assets – such

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How to Share the Memories and History of Family Heirlooms with Your Estate Plan

How to Share Family History and Heirlooms with Your Estate Plan The best time to share your family history with loved ones is right now, before the memories are forgotten. The coming holiday season is a great opportunity to reminisce because you’ll probably have your loved ones nearby. While you can always pull aside children

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Organizing for Tax (and Estate Planning) Season

Organizing for Tax (and Estate Planning) Season It’s the start of a new year, which means tax season—and this year’s April 17th IRS filing deadline—is just around the corner. Soon you’ll be receiving tax forms such as your W-2 or 1099s, and you’ll start thinking about the life events that could affect your taxes in

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4 Reasons Estate Planning Isn’t Just for the 1%

Four Reasons Why Estate Planning Isn’t Just for the Top 1 Percent There is a common misconception that estate plans are only for the ultra-rich – the top 1 percent, 10%, 20%, or some other arbitrary determination of “enough” money. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. People at all income and wealth

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There’s never a better time than now to get your affairs in order

There’s Never A Better Time Than Now To Get Your Affairs in Order The idea of getting your financial and legal house in order is likely the last thing on your mind during the busy holiday season. But, getting started is much easier than you think. In fact, the end of the year is a

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Why a Spendthrift Trust Can Be a Great Solution for Your Heirs

Why a Spendthrift Trust Can Be a Great Solution for Your Heirs There are many tools that can be used when putting together your estate plan. One such tool is a trust. A trust is a fiduciary arrangement, established by a grantor or trustmaker, which gives a third party (known as a trustee) the authority

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What to Expect from Estate Planning in 2018

What to Expect from Estate Planning in 2018 2017 is now fading into the rearview mirror. As we all look ahead to 2018, let’s consider a few things to watch regarding estate planning, so you and your family can be completely protected. ● The death tax. The death tax has been in a state of

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Kids Going Away to College – Why You Should Include Estate Planning in the Preparation

Kids Going Away To College? Why You Should Include Estate Planning in the Preparation You may have been running around for weeks, getting your new college student off to school. It’s exhilarating, and your heart likely is bursting at the seams. You’re probably prouder than you can say, but you’re a little afraid, too. How

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Three Liability Planning Tips for Physicians that Anyone Can Use

Three Liability Planning Tips for Physicians Anyone Can Use Whether you are a physician or not, you probably know that the practice of medicine is a profession fraught with liability. It’s not just medical malpractice claims either – employment related issues, careless business partners and employees, contractual obligations, and personal liabilities add to the risk

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Baltimore Register of Wills Can’t Find Her Father’s Original Last Will, Will Your Family Be Able to Find Yours?

Baltimore Register of Wills Can’t Find Her Father’s Original Last Will, Will Your Family Be Able to Find Yours? While it’s not unusual for an original last will and testament to be misplaced, it is when your daughter happens to be the Register of Wills for Baltimore City. What is a Register of Wills? In

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3 Ways to Minimize Estate Planning Fees

3 Ways to Minimize Estate Planning Fees Today, it is impossible to put together even a simple estate plan without the assistance of an experienced estate planning attorney. Why? Because estate planning laws vary greatly from state to state and these laws are extremely convoluted and constantly changing. One wrong word, one missing signature, or

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Debt After Death? Why You Should Think About It When Estate Planning

Debt After Death: Why You Should Think About It When Estate Planning If you carry debt, do not assume that your death or incapacity will make it automatically disappear. To the contrary, the money you owe may eat away at the assets you were planning to leave to your heirs or — if you owe

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Who should I pick to be successor trustee?

Who should I pick to be successor trustee? When you create a living trust, you usually need to choose who to name as your successor trustee. It is crucial that this decision is not taken lightly and that the right person is selected for the job. Role of Successor Trustee If you become incapacitated, your

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