Wills, Trusts & Dying Intestate: How They Differ

Most people understand that having some sort of an estate plan is a good thing. However, many of us don’t take the steps to have an estate plan prepared because we don’t understand the nuances between wills and trusts – and dying without either. Here’s what will generally happen if you die, intestate (without a will or trust), with a will, and with a trust. For this example, we’re assuming you have children, but no spouse: If you should die intestate, your estate will go through probate and all the world will know what you owned, what you owed, and [...]

By |2021-01-27T11:30:12+00:00June 4th, 2019|Categories: Design, Estate Planning, Trusts, wwPROBATE|Tags: , |0 Comments

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 levels can benefit from a comprehensive estate plan. Sadly, many have not sat down to put their legal house in order. According to a 2016 Gallup News Poll more than half of all Americans do not have a will, let alone a comprehensive estate plan. These same results were identified by WealthCounsel in its Estate Planning Awareness [...]

By |2021-09-30T14:41:42+00:00April 23rd, 2019|Categories: Design, Estate Planning, Trusts, wwPROBATE|Tags: |0 Comments

Wills vs. Trusts: A Quick & Simple Reference Guide

Confused about the differences between wills and trusts?  If so, you’re not alone. While it’s always wise to contact experts like us, it’s also important to understand the basics. Here’s a quick and simple reference guide: What Revocable Living Trusts Can Do – That Wills Can’t Avoid a conservatorship and guardianship. A revocable living trust allows you to authorize your spouse, partner, child, or other trusted person to manage your assets should you become incapacitated and unable to manage your own affairs. Wills only become effective when you die, so they are useless in avoiding conservatorship and guardianship proceedings during your life. Bypass probate. Property in [...]

The Pros and Cons of Probate

In estate planning circles, the word “probate” often comes with a starkly negative connotation. Indeed, for many people — especially those with larger estates — financial planners recommend trying to keep property out of probate whenever possible. That being said, the probate system was ultimately established to protect the property of the deceased and his/her heirs, and in a few cases it may even work to an advantage. Let’s look briefly at the pros and cons of going through probate. The Pros For some estates, especially those in which no will was left, the system works to make sure all [...]

By |2021-09-21T19:28:54+00:00December 1st, 2016|Categories: Estate Planning|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Michael Jackson’s Estate Pulled Into Seemingly Endless Probate Court Battles

Michael Jackson, the “King of Pop,” had always been a controversial superstar. Over the years, he became the father of three children, Prince Michael Jackson II, Paris-Michael Katherine Jackson, and Michael Joseph Jackson, Jr.  While Jackson created a trust to care for his children and other family and friends, he never actually funded it. The result? Embarrassing and seemingly endless probate court battles between family members, the executors, and the IRS. 4 Essential Purposes of a Trust A trust is a fiduciary arrangement which allows a third party (known as a trustee) to hold assets on behalf of beneficiaries. There are four [...]

By |2021-09-21T19:31:16+00:00August 18th, 2016|Categories: Estate Planning|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

Skyrocketing Probate Fees – Another Reason to Avoid Probate Court

As of July 1, 2015, Connecticut probate courts earned the dubious distinction of charging the highest probate fees in the U.S.  Amazingly, the Connecticut legislature voted to completely cut general fund support for the state’s probate courts for the next two fiscal years, thereby creating a $32 million deficit.  In order to cover the shortfall, the fees charged for settling a deceased person’s estate in Connecticut were significantly increased and the $12,500 cap on probate fees was eliminated.  To make matters worse, these changes apply retroactively to all deaths dating back to January 1, 2015.  As a result, it is estimated [...]

By |2021-09-21T19:40:17+00:00August 3rd, 2015|Categories: Estate Planning|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

Year End Estate Planning Tip #4 – Check the Privacy of Your Estate Plan

With the end of the year fast approaching, now is the time to fine tune your estate plan before you get caught up in the chaos of the holiday season. One area of planning that many people overlook is ensuring that their final wishes remain private. Will Your Final Wishes Become a Public Court Record? Let’s face it, planning for what happens if you become mentally incapacitated or die is an extremely personal matter. Why? Because this type of planning deals with all of the intimate details of your life, including any skeletons in the closet, who you consider to [...]

By |2021-09-21T19:47:08+00:00October 23rd, 2014|Categories: Estate Planning|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Does Your Revocable Living Trust Reduce Your Estate Tax Bill?

Many people believe that once they set up and fund a revocable living trust, property held in the trust will avoid estate taxes after they die.  In reality, this may or may not be true depending on your choice of beneficiaries and the terms written into your trust agreement. Single Trustmakers and Estate Taxes If you’re single and you create and fund a revocable living trust, all of your assets held in the trust will be subject to estate taxes after you die if your beneficiaries are individuals.  In other words, if your beneficiaries are your children, your brothers and [...]

By |2021-09-21T19:47:45+00:00September 15th, 2014|Categories: Estate Planning|Tags: , , , , , , |0 Comments
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