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 good time to reflect upon the year that has passed and focus on your aspirations for the future.  Don’t hold this task off for later.  Some careful thought and a little bit of work now can go a long way to help you feel 100% confident about moving forward in the new tax year. In preparation for the [...]

By |2021-09-21T21:50:56+00:00February 24th, 2020|Categories: Estate Planning, Guardianship, POA, Wills|Tags: |0 Comments

The Top 2 Ways the Court Gets Involved in Your Estate, and How to Avoid Them

No one wants unnecessary court involvement in their life. But without careful and proactive estate planning, chances are that some aspect of your estate will end up being decided there. Here are two of the most common ways court proceedings can make their way into the management and distribution of your assets, along with the estate planning measures you can take to avoid them. Guardianship and conservatorship If you experience an inability to make decisions on your own behalf, also known as legal incapacity, and you don’t have provisions for what to do in this situation clearly outlined in your [...]

By |2021-01-27T12:29:59+00:00January 28th, 2020|Categories: Estate Planning, Guardianship, wwPROBATE|0 Comments

Estate Planning That Expresses Who You Are – 5 Things to Talk About with Your Family

You intend to pass along your wealth through your estate plan, but what about your wisdom? Ensuring you accomplish both calls for a family meeting to have a conversation about your money, your legacy, and your core principles. Most families lead far-flung and busy lives, meaning the only time they see one another face-to-face is around the dinner table during a handful of major holidays. The estate planning process is a perfect opportunity to bring everyone together outside of those scheduled occasions — even if a child or grandchild has to attend via video chat. Working with your estate planning [...]

By |2021-09-30T15:42:23+00:00January 14th, 2020|Categories: Estate Planning, POA, Trusts, Wills|0 Comments

Caution:  Your Traditional Asset Protection Plan is Set Up to Fail

You may be surprised to learn that not only has asset protection planning been around for a long time, but you have already engaged in it at some point during your life.  In fact, you probably have one or more types of traditional asset protection planning in place at this very moment.  The problem is in many cases the type of planning you have right now won’t be enough to protect you and your family. What is Asset Protection Planning? Asset protection planning is done to preserve and protect your property in advance of a claim, or the threat of [...]

By |2021-02-05T11:08:28+00:00December 23rd, 2019|Categories: Business Planning, Estate Planning, Retirement|0 Comments

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 will happen. The law doesn’t consider airline miles assets that can be bequeathed directly to heirs, but there are still some steps you can take to help ensure your miles live on.  It all starts with examining the airline policies in question. Airline Policies Regarding the Transfer of Frequent Flyer Miles Some [...]

By |2021-09-13T20:24:21+00:00December 17th, 2019|Categories: Estate Planning|0 Comments

How Does an IRA Fit Into Your Estate Plan?

When you think of IRAs, you probably think of retirement. But what happens to your IRA money after you’re gone? The answer depends on how you go about creating your estate plan and selecting beneficiaries, and you might be surprised to find out that your money could end up with the wrong people or cause an unexpected tax bill if you don’t take action ahead of time. What your IRA means for your estate plan Individual retirement accounts (IRAs) are often one of the biggest financial accounts you invest in over the course of your lifetime. When you’re working on [...]

By |2021-02-05T12:47:19+00:00December 10th, 2019|Categories: Estate Planning, Retirement|0 Comments

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 a financial tool for your goals, annuities can have a positive impact on your beneficiaries after you’re gone — but only if you take smart estate planning steps to make sure your wealth ends up in the right hands. Types of Annuities Your annuity type affects how things pan out after your death.  In [...]

By |2021-09-14T15:29:07+00:00December 3rd, 2019|Categories: Estate Planning|Tags: , |0 Comments

Estate Planning Considerations for Benefits Open Enrollment

The fall, generally late-October or early-November, is the time when employers send out summaries of employee benefits offered by the company and give employees the option to enroll in these benefits. These can generally include retirement plan options, health care, dental, vision, short and/or long-term disability, and life insurance coverage. Your employer may pay 100 percent of the premiums, split the costs with you, or you may have to pay all of the premiums yourself. Below are several considerations you should keep in mind once open enrollment begins. Benefits Explained When considering any retirement plan offered through your employer such [...]

By |2021-02-05T13:18:47+00:00November 7th, 2019|Categories: Estate Planning, Retirement|0 Comments

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 Maryland, the Register of Wills is an elected official in each county and the City of Baltimore who is responsible for overseeing the administration of the estates of deceased persons during the probate process.  As an added benefit, each Maryland Register of Wills provides safekeeping for the last will and testaments of living persons. Why is it Important to Locate an Original Last Will? [...]

By |2021-09-13T20:16:25+00:00November 5th, 2019|Categories: Estate Planning, wwPROBATE|0 Comments

Legal Paperwork Cheatsheet: A Guide to the Top 12 Must-Have Documents

Whether you own a little or a lot, the last thing you want to do to your loved ones is leave a bureaucratic mess after you pass away or become incapacitated. Aside from mourning your passing or a significant deterioration in your health, this will cause the family additional stress. Heirs may forfeit life insurance payouts, tax deduction advantages, or miss accounts they did not know existed. This is why it is key to have your estate plan in place before life circumstances get the best of you. In order to avoid problems, below is a list of a dozen [...]

By |2021-02-05T13:40:22+00:00October 15th, 2019|Categories: Estate Planning|0 Comments

IRS Announcement:  Estate Tax Closing Letters Will Now Only Be Issued Upon Request

Due to the increased volume of federal estate tax return filings in order to make the “portability election,” the IRS has announced that estate tax closing letters will only be issued upon request by the taxpayer. This change in IRS policy started on June 1, 2015. What is the “Portability Election” and How is the Election Made? The “portability election” refers to the right of a surviving spouse to claim the unused portion of the federal estate tax exemption of their deceased spouse and add it to the balance of their own exemption. The portability election went into effect for [...]

By |2021-02-05T12:32:47+00:00October 12th, 2019|Categories: Estate Planning|Tags: |0 Comments

Do you really need a trust?

Although many people equate “estate planning” with having a will, there are many advantages to having a trust rather than a will as the centerpiece of your estate plan.  While there are other estate planning tools (such as joint tenancy, transfer on death, beneficiary designations, to name a few), only a trust provides comprehensive management of your property in the event you can’t make financial decisions for yourself (commonly called legal incapacity) or after your death. One of the primary advantages of having a trust is that it provides the ability to bypass the publicity, time, and expense of probate.  [...]

By |2021-09-14T13:42:56+00:00October 8th, 2019|Categories: Estate Planning|0 Comments

Do you really need a will?

You May Not Think You Need a Will, But You Really Do. Most Americans do not have a simple will as part of their estate plan.  You might believe that a will is only for the rich and famous, and not the average person who has a far smaller net worth.  On the other hand, you may think that a will is entirely unnecessary since you have a trust, jointly owned property, or have named beneficiaries on your insurance. So, do you really need a will?  The short answer to this question is “yes.” In fact, everyone who owns anything [...]

By |2021-09-14T13:49:12+00:00October 1st, 2019|Categories: Estate Planning|0 Comments

Murphy’s Law and Estate Planning

 As the old adage goes “anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” Referred to as Murphy’s law, this well-known saying has no mercy. Sadly, estate planning is no exception to its wrath. There is hope! Below are five-estate planning mistakes and how to fix them: Incorrect guardian for your children: A will is a way for you to control what happens to your estate and your minor or disabled children from the grave. If you fail to put together a will, the state will decide who cares for them at a court hearing. If you do have a will, [...]

By |2021-02-05T13:40:30+00:00September 24th, 2019|Categories: Estate Planning|0 Comments

Trusts – The Swiss Army Knife of Estate Planning

 To the general public, a trust may seem like an advanced tool only for the wealthiest among us. But, the reality is that trusts are a foundational estate planning tool with a solid history for being highly effective in ensuring a person’s wishes are carried out. The process begins with the maker of a trust – commonly referred to as the trust maker, grantor, settlor, or trustor – transferring his or her ownership of certain assets to the trust. A trustee is then appointed to manage these assets for the beneficiary (or beneficiaries) of the trust. In a “standard” revocable [...]

By |2021-02-05T13:53:09+00:00September 17th, 2019|Categories: Estate Planning|0 Comments

Avoid Living Probate: How to Keep Guardians and Conservators Out of Your Estate

While most proactive individuals know the importance of having a well-rounded estate plan, it is typically considered as something that will take effect after they have passed away. But there are in fact many ways in which comprehensive estate planning can have a positive impact on your life while you are still around to reap the benefits. Planning for Incapacity Most people who reach old age come to a point at which they are no longer in a position to handle all of their affairs on their own. In many cases this incapacity is due to dementia or other cognitive [...]

By |2021-02-05T13:53:39+00:00September 10th, 2019|Categories: Estate Planning|0 Comments

Oral Will in Texas

I recently had a family come through my doors, asking me to probate their loved-one's recorded will. He had fallen ill without making any prior estate planning and had decided to record his "last wishes" on his phone. Now the question becomes. Is a recorded will valid? In this case it was not, because it was created in 2019! Oral Wills or nuncupative wills were valid in very limited circumstances in Texas until September 1, 2007. This means any spoken will created after September 1, 2007, is not a valid will, according to Texas law. What is an oral or nuncupative [...]

By |2021-02-05T12:33:33+00:00September 7th, 2019|Categories: Estate Planning, Wills, wwPROBATE|0 Comments

Why a Trust Is the Best Option for Avoiding Probate

As Ambrose Bierce once darkly observed, “Death is not the end. There remains the litigation over the estate.” Obviously, ideally, when someone passes away, the paperwork and material concerns associated with the estate are so flawlessly handled (thanks to excellent preparation) that they fade into the background, allowing the family to grieve and remember in peace. In fact, the whole business of estate planning – or at least a significant piece of it – is concerned with ease. How can assets and legacies be transferred to the next generation in a harmonious, stress-free, fair process? To that end, one primary [...]

By |2021-02-05T13:40:17+00:00September 3rd, 2019|Categories: Estate Planning|0 Comments

How to Build Freedom From Court Interference Into Your Estate Plan

It’s clear why you might want to avoid court involvement in your estate for financial reasons, knowing that probate can quickly get costly and time consuming for those involved. But there is an emotional component to it as well. Your assets are just that: yours. And the idea of them being discussed and deliberated on in a public forum might not be such an appealing one. If you feel that the matters of your estate should be kept private and that your assets should be distributed to your loved ones rather than eroded by court fees, you’re not alone. And [...]

By |2021-02-05T13:53:15+00:00August 27th, 2019|Categories: Estate Planning|0 Comments
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