Dividing some assets is a simple matter of math. Other assets, however, seem to pose as large a problem as the baby in the legend of King Solomon. Family farms, like that infant, are often both beloved and challenging to divide. For those who have poured years of work into a family farm or similar… Read More . . .
By now many of you carved the turkey and enjoyed the last slice of pumpkin pie. In the United States, Thanksgiving marks the beginning of a string of holidays, festivities, parties, celebrations and more! It is tempting to float through the end of the year putting things off until January, but this… Read More . . .
You are getting ready to purchase your first home and you are presented with a question: "How do you want to hold title to the property?" Huh? You'd learned all about qualifying for a mortgage, interest rates, home inspections, and countless other things. You must have missed this one.… Read More . . .
Americans are living longer than ever before. At the turn of the 20th century, the average life expectancy was about 47 years. As we enter the 21st century, life expectancy has increased significantly. As a result, we face more challenges and transitions in our lives than those who came before us.… Read More . . .
Until recently, and even if they were married in a state that recognizes same sex marriage, married same sex couples were treated differently under federal law than heterosexual married couples. On June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court changed that by striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”)… Read More . . .
As a child with cognitive disabilities nears his or her 18th birthday, parents often wonder whether they should seek a guardianship over their child. The short answer to this question is, "it depends." In most states, a parent is deemed to be the legal guardian of his or her child until the child… Read More . . .
How to Use Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts For a married couple who fully utilizes their estate tax exemptions with "Bypass" Trusts, the Federal estate tax effectively "cuts in" on assets in excess of $4,000,000. For single individuals, this "estate tax threshold" is $2,000,000. For estates in… Read More . . .
"When you have a child with special needs, you have to educate yourself on a host of topics other parents never encounter. It's unfair - but they don't get to hang out with your awesome kid, so it all evens out. At any rate, you need to learn about your rights, what you can and can't get for your… Read More . . .
A multitude of seniors, having paid off their mortgages many years ago, currently own their homes free and clear of any debt. Some are fortunate, and they have a nest egg that, along with their income (Social Security / pension), allows them to maintain their home and provide for themselves without… Read More . . .
Many people are currently in the process of organizing their financial information in preparation for the completion of their yearly income tax returns. If you have kept your records in a scatteredand unorganized fashion all year,this can be a daunting task however, if you have kept yourfinancial… Read More . . .
Now that Congress has made some decisions on 2013 taxes, let's take some time to review what has changed for individuals and businesses. First, as everyone has noticed, the employee portion of the Social Security payroll tax has increased. The temporary lowering of the rate to 4.2% has not been… Read More . . .
Here are some interesting tidbits about the annual gift tax exclusion: 1. No gift taxes are imposed on the first $14,000 in gifts that you make to any person during 2013. This exclusion from federal gift taxes is known as the "annual gift tax exclusion." This exclusion is indexed for inflation so… Read More . . .
Congress rang in the New Year by enacting legislation to save us all from the "fiscal cliff" the country was precariously dangling from - the "American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012". The most important impact the legislation has on estate and gift taxes is that it makes the system that was in place… Read More . . .
1. Not knowing what you are really worth. Take the time to write down every asset you own. Include all life insurance (individual or group) at its death benefit amount and all reasonably anticipated inheritances. Surprised? If the total value is (or may become) more than $2 Million, you might want… Read More . . .
Executors frequently go to work with no "on the job training." They are often well intentioned volunteers, chosen on the basis of family relationship rather than knowledge and experience. However, ignorance of income and estate tax law can be costly to the beneficiaries and the executor. First… Read More . . .
We who are involved in Elder Law have to be vigilant about recognizing the symptoms of depression in our older clients. For one thing, it can affect the care we put in place. This concern becomes even more acute during the holiday season, when the symptoms of depression can become heightened. This… Read More . . .
Many of you have a Will (or Trust) that protects your assets in the event of death. A Will ensures that physical assets make their way to your spouse, siblings, children or other loved ones. But what about your "electronic assets" such as online bank accounts, website domain names, Gmail, Facebook,… Read More . . .
Understanding a family's dynamics in estate planning is very important. Frequently, I have clients that come to me requesting a "simple will". For example, a couple in their mid 60s comes to my office for estate planning. They have three kids all over the age of 30. They own a primary residence, a… Read More . . .
Not only does going into a nursing home mean losing one's independence, but it also means that the cost of living in a nursing home can be a huge financial drain on your estate and your family. Unfortunately, it's not uncommon for elder adults to pay for nursing home care until after their savings… Read More . . .
Mixed families, when at least one child comes into a marriage from a different parent, are not uncommon but require special treatment in estate planning. Some unfortunate outcomes have occurred when property gets passed down to everybody but the step-child due to unforeseen circumstances. Wills are… Read More . . .