Estate Planning Law Articles

Articles written by attorneys and experts worldwide
discussing legal aspects related to Estate Planning.

Seniors on Social Security to Get Boost

One of the reasons why retirement planning attorneys always emphasize how important it is to make preparations for the future is because they understand the fallout that results from a lack of long-term planning.

Cuts by “Super Committee” Could Impact Elder Americans

Most people are well aware of the fact that the subject that is consuming the lawmakers in Washington is the federal debt.

4 Revocable Living Trust Key Players

The revocable living trust is a commonly used estate planning tool; it is often the center of an estate plan and has many benefits.

Start Estate Planning Early

It might surprise you, but the ideal time to start estate planning is the minute you turn 18 years of age and can sign legal documents. Start estate planning early, because it can become too late.

Who Needs to Plan for the Federal Estate Tax?

In 2011 and 2012, your estate will pay up 35% of any assets that go over your federal tax exemption amount.

Tax Act Expiration May Impact Your Estate Plan

You have to keep abreast of the ever-changing tax laws if you want to be prepared every step of the way as you are crafting your legacy over the years.

Probate Avoidance: Is it Right for You?

Hollywood’s depiction of Estate Administration leaves the impression that a last will is something that is read by an attorney and then the assets are handed out to the family members after a relative passes away. In reality, when you use a last will to express your final wishes your estate is going to have to pass through a process called probate.

Organ Donation

Advance medical directives are an essential part of an estate plan, but where and when do you express your wishes regarding organ donation?

Retirement Pitfalls

Retirement planning in any economy is a challenge, and people can make mistakes if they choose to go it alone. We discuss five common errors that are made by many in retirement planning.

Medicaid Planning Terms

Medicaid is a joint federal and state, need-based program that is often needed by senior citizens to pay for the catastrophic costs of nursing home expenses.

Reasons for Special Needs Trust

A special needs trust is an estate planning tool used to allow assets to be held in trust for the benefit of a physically or mentally challenged individual, or a person with a chronic or acquired illness. We outline four reasons to consider creating a special needs trust.

FAQ of 401K and Estate Plans

A retirement fund plays an important role in establishing a comprehensive estate plan, and we answer the most frequently asked questions regarding 401K accounts, the popular employer sponsored plans.

Do Your Estate Planning Early

Don’t procrastinate when it comes to estate planning; do your estate planning early. Why? Because you may become incompetent or uninsurable. If that happens, it is likely that your estate planning goals will not be met.

You Need These 4 Documents to Prepare for Incapacity

Each individual has the chance of becoming incapacitated at some point during his or her lifetime. For many people, incapacity is more likely each year than death.

Succession: Structured Solutions for Estate Planning

The author has prepared this document to assist in the evaluation of alternatives offshore structures for the better planning of their assets, estate and business transactions.

End of Life Decisions in Ontario, Canada – Do Doctors Have the Right to Decide?

As Shia Muslims, Mr. Rasouli’s family believed that as long as a person was alive everything should be done to prevent death. Accordingly, they opposed the doctors’ plan to withdraw the mechanical ventilation. This case was first heard by Madam Justice Himel of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. It was appealed to the Ontario Court of Appeal. Now leave is being sought to have the matter heard by the Supreme Court of Canada. Thus far, the courts have sided with Mr. Rasouli’s family.

On Social Security? Expect 3.6% COLA

Americans who are relying on Social Security too heavily can find it difficult to get by, especially given the ever-increasing costs that they face. The law does allow for regular cost-of-living adjustments that are tied to the rate of inflation on a yearly basis.

Oakland Raiders Will Remain in Al Davis' Family

Al Davis was an enigmatic figure who was loved by most in the “Raider Nation” but was sometimes criticized by outsiders.

Keep Long-Term Care Costs in Mind

Unfortunately too many people don't take retirement planning seriously enough, and as a result a significant percentage of Americans are not prepared.

DIY Estate Planning Not Advised

We live during a time when everyday people can find information on just about any subject with the click of the mouse.

What Happens to My Life Insurance Policy After I Die?

Many people choose to invest in life insurance. This can be a great way to offer protection to your loved ones, especially if you’re a provider for your family.

Large Numbers of Americans Have No Estate Plan

When you hear estate planning attorneys encouraging people to take action and create an estate plan for the protection of their families you may think that they are preaching to the choir.

Who Needs a Living Will?

Facing the prospect of becoming seriously ill is bad, but becoming seriously ill and not being able to tell your doctor what kind of treatment you want is worse

The Charitable Remainder Unitrust or CRUT

There are many things to consider when you are arranging your affairs financially for the latter portion of your life. Depending on the exact nature of your wishes and the form that your assets are in, a number of different financial instruments could be utilized in combination.

Have Patience After Losing a Loved One

When you lose a loved one, give yourself time to grieve. Whether the death was sudden or expected, it is often best not to rush to make the decisions that are needed. One way to minimize the issue is by proper estate planning.

Assisting with Long Term Care? Is a Caregiver Contract Right for You?

In many cases, family members help their loved ones with their long term care needs. This may be a better option than bringing in a stranger.

What if I Don’t Want to Serve as Guardian?

When asked to serve as guardian for a loved one’s minor children, you may feel compelled to serve. After all, you love your brother, sister, friend or cousin and their children.

Will: Did You Know?

A will is one of the most important estate planning devices. If you’re ready to execute a will, it’s a good idea to make sure that you understand the uses for this important document.

DIY Estate Planning Kits and Software

We live in the Internet age, and as a result there is a vast store the information available to all of us sitting right at our fingertips.

2013 Estate and Gift Tax Exclusion Rollback Being Advanced?

In December 2010, Congress quickly passed some changes to the Estate and Gift Tax law that increased the lifetime gifting exclusion from $1,000,000 to $5,000,000.

An Overview of Probate Procedures

When somebody dies, their estate will go into probate. Probate is a crucial legal procedure that verifies a decedent’s will and divides their assets according to their wishes.

Choosing an Executor for Your Estate

Choosing an Executor to handle your estate after you pass is difficult. It is tempting to name a spouse or family member – but do you know the responsibilities and duties of an Executor? An Executor is named within a will to administer an estate, and they will be tasked with several responsibilities during the probate process, which is the legal process that takes place in Probate Court that handles the administration of a deceased’s estate.

Should Henry Update His Financial Power of Attorney?

Because a friend was recently hospitalized with a heart condition, Henry is thinking about his own financial power of attorney. Is it time to update?

Do I Need an Estate Plan?

Many clients ask whether they really need an estate plan. After all, they don’t have a cattle ranch, oil wells, or gobs of money.

5 Reasons Not to Pass Inheritances Outright

Simple wills often provide that all assets will pass to the spouse; and, if the spouse is not then living, to all children, divided equally.

Poll Indicates Many Baby Boomers Will Never Retire

These are interesting times in the elder law community because of the fact that the population is aging so rapidly.

What Steve Jobs Might Have Done to Protect his Vast Estate

There is no doubt that Steve Jobs was a visionary. From the mouse to the iPad, Steve Jobs forever changed the way we communicate. Soon after the tragic news broke of the passing of the Apple co-founder, people began wondering what would become of his $6.7 billion fortune and how much, if any, would be paid to Uncle Sam in the form of estate taxes.

Wills and Living Wills Distinguished

Wills and living wills are two different terms which refer to two different things in Thailand.

Estate Planning is for Everyone!

If you’re like some people, you may assume that only rich people or people with kids need estate planning.

What are the Different Types of Guardianship?

A Guardian / Conservator is appointed by the Court when someone is unable to make their own decisions and/or ensure their own care.

Planning for Your Personal Effects

When we think of “assets” to consider during estate planning, we often think of cars and homes and our best diamonds.

3 Legal Secrets All Parents Should Know

What would happen to your children if something happens to you? This is a tough question that no parent wants to think about. I hope all our tomorrows are filled with joy, educational experiences, dreams and goals. Yet, for those of us who have been faced with life threatening situations, we know how important it is to be prepared.

U.S. Capital Gains: An Introduction

An introduction to U.S. Capital Gains for international clients.

Long-Term Care Considered

Planning ahead is relatively simple and straightforward, when you have a good handle on what your expenses are going to be.

Deathbed Will

A Deathbed Will is a Last Will Testament that is created and executed when the testator (the person distributing his/her property) is facing imminent death.

Young, Healthy, and Single? Time to Create an Estate Plan

Many people assume that because they’re young, healthy, and single, they don’t need an estate plan. You may think that you need to have a family to protect or need to be battling an illness in order to take the time to plan. This is not the case. Now is the time to create an estate plan if you are age 18 or older. Take a look at the following information to learn more.

Estate Tax: A Lot is Riding on This Gamble

Whether you are the gambling type or not, you have no choice but to be involved in a high-stakes gamble regarding the estate tax. Depending on the whims of the lawmakers in Washington, your family may wind up paying nothing at all to the IRS or millions of dollars on the same amount of money.

Pet Trusts Can Care for Your Animals

Trusts are not just an estate planning tool to provide for your human family members. Many states now recognize "Pet Trusts" that allow you to consider your dog, cat or other companion animal as part of your estate plan.

Final Arrangements

Aside from the financial aspects, planning comprehensively for the latter portion of your life requires a 360° perspective

Estate Planning: You Have Options

A lot of individuals who have not done any research into the subject assume that they are going to be drawing up a last will when they get serious about estate planning. In fact, you’ll see websites out there contending that planning your estate is the easiest thing in the world. All you have to do is purchase a blank generic last will document and fill in the blanks and it is as simple as that.

Who Will Manage My Child’s Finances if I Die?

Many parents with children under the age of 18 create a will to name a guardian for their children should both parents die unexpectedly. While they name a personal guardian for their children, what about the financial aspect – particularly if their children inherit the parents property outright as well?

Last Minute Medicaid Planning

While planning for long term care should ideally occur years before entering a nursing home, this is not always possible or even considered until it is too late. The following article, however, outlines several strategies that are available for individuals with "a foot in the door" of a nursing home with respect to their available assets.

Cost of Long-Term Care Should Not Be Underestimated

When you are looking over the horizon toward your active retirement years and beyond you have to make estimates regarding your anticipated expenses.

Disinheriting a Child

Father wants to discuss disinheriting a child. Legally, that can be done in Florida, however, emotional issues are set in play that can last for several generations.

Do it Yourself?

When you decide to take care of your Estate Planning or Probate matter yourself you are flirting with disaster. You do not have the many years of experience with finances and family dynamics to make the best choices. You do not have the background to know if a document is outdated or based on law that has changed.

Estate Planning is Relevant to All Adults

Estate planning is something that a lot of people put on the back burner for any number of reasons. Perhaps the most common one would be the fact that many individuals look at the average life expectancy of 78 years plus and figure that they have plenty of time before they have to start taking estate planning seriously.

Estate Planning and Unusual Will Bequests

Unusual last wishes are nothing new in the estate planning business, in fact, there are several famous last wishes throughout history, including: Napoleon Bonaparte left a wish to have his head shaved and the hair divided up amongst his friends.

Understanding How a Living Trust Works

Understanding how trusts can work can be confusing. In the following article, the particular nuances surrounding living trusts are outlined and explained.

What Is Probate?

When looking into estate planning, probate is often one of the most confusing processes for most people. Want to know what it means? In the following article, we will explain the process, the importance, as well as how a lawyer can help.

Many Surprised by Cost of Long-Term Care

When you are looking ahead to your active retirement years and the twilight period that will follow you must evaluate your anticipated expenses.

Estate Tax & the Gift Tax Exemption

The most significant source of asset erosion you have to be prepared for when planning your estate is the estate tax. If you have never looked into the subject, you may be surprised to hear just how high the rate of this tax actually is.

Information about Spousal IRA Accounts

A Spousal IRA is a type of retirement account that is available to someone that is married to a working spouse, but does not work themselves. This type of account is just as important as a regular IRA account due to the fact that it offers tax deferrals.

What Happens to Your Property When You Die?

There are three ways that you can have an ownership interest in property: individually, jointly with another person, or through contract rights.

What Is a Governmental 457(b) Plan?

A governmental 457(b) plan is an employer-provided retirement savings plan, similar to a 401(k). It’s for employees of local and state governments, like police officers, fire fighters, government workers, or public school teachers.

Who Will Manage My Child’s Finances if I Die

Many parents with children under the age of 18 create a will to name a guardian for their children should both parents die unexpectedly. Although they name a personal guardian for their children, what about the financial aspect – particularly if their children inherit the parents property outright as well?

Do Not Make This Major Estate Planning Mistake

Most people know that the proceeds of a life insurance policy are generally free of income taxes. What many do not realize, however, is that life insurance proceeds are included in their estate for estate tax purposes.

Why Writing a Will Saves Money

Creating a will is one of the cornerstones of estate planning. Not only does it allow you to name the Executor for your estate, the guardian for your children and the plan for distribution of your property, but it can save money as well. How?

Sentimental Favorites

The death of a loved one can bring out either the best or the worst in families. Typically, it is not the major pieces of property that cause conflict, but the smaller sentimental pieces.

Avoiding Living Trust Mills

A living trust can be a powerful estate planning tool – it not only allows you to control the distribution of your property after you die, but it offers a mechanism to manage your property in the event of your incapacity.

Estate Planning: When Good Intentions Result in Bad Gifting

Many of the clients we meet with have misinformation regarding gifting their property. When properly used, gifting can be a valuable estate planning tool.

Four Ways to Protect a Spouse Should the Unthinkable Occur

Setting up a comprehensive estate plan is the key to easing the burden of passing on your estate to your spouse or loved one.

Pets Must Be Included in Your Estate Plan

If you want to be totally prepared for all of the possible contingencies that go along with aging there is a lot to take into account.

Are You Getting Prepared for Retirement?

When you are immersed in your career during your working years it is understandable that you may be living in the present as you address all the twists and turns that come your way.

Tax-Free Educational Gifts & The Estate Tax

The estate tax is one of the first things that you should take into consideration when you are planning your estate.

Working Longer Can Be Retirement Planning Solution

They say that "50 is the new 40," and it is true that people are living longer, healthier lives so the implications that go along with reaching a certain age are different today than they were decades ago.

7 Estate Planning Insurance Considerations for You

Insurance planning is part of comprehensive estate planning. All your good efforts in planning may be for naught without proper insurance coverage.

How to Store Estate Planning Documents

Estate planning documents need to be stored safely, yet be available, when needed. Here are 6 easy to implement tips on storing your estate planning documents.

Handling Your Power of Attorney for Health Care Affairs

A power of attorney for health care is an extremely important estate planning document. With this tool, you’re able to have a plan in place so that you’re prepared for medical emergencies.

When a Health Care Power of Attorney Works

You need a health care power of attorney. So does your mom, dad, spouse, aunt, uncle, brother, sister, and child (age 18 or older.)

Baby Boomers Becoming Caretakers

A recent survey reported by the newspaper USA Today had some surprising findings for the growing group of baby boomers that are anticipating caring for their aging parents - only half can name any medications their parents take.

18 Questions to Ask During the Estate Planning Process

Rest assured that your estate planning attorney expects you to ask questions. It’s completely normal to ask the same question more than once.

Estate Planning – The Benefits of Peace of Mind

The author has been practicing exclusively in the area of estate planning for over 27 years. Yet, last week a questioned posed by a young couple seemed to resonate in his mind like never before. “What is the number one benefit of doing a trust?”

Do You Need a Durable Financial Power of Attorney

Many people think that the only document they need to have upon their death is a valid will. However, there are many different legal documents that you might need during your life and for your loved ones after you have passed away.

What is a Pooled Charitable Trust?

When many people think about a trust, they automatically conjure up images of a wealthy person with lots of money.

Estate Planning & Medical Gift Giving

On the surface it could seem to the casual observer as though passing along your assets to your family members after you die is a procedurally simple matter.

A Look at Gift/Estate Tax Exemption

One of the reasons why it is advisable to retain the services of an experienced estate planning attorney is to guide you in a manner that enables you to gain tax efficiency

Generation-Skipping Trust Can Provide Estate Tax Relief

There are a lot of people who think that the estate tax is fundamentally unfair for a number of different reasons.

Why Avoid Probate?

When you use a last will as your primary instrument of vehicle transfer your estate must pass through the process of probate.

Long-Term Care Costs Raising Eyebrows

The rapid aging of the population is one of the most amazing demographic trends of our times, with the “oldest old,” those 85 and up, being the fastest growing group among us.

Gift Giving Can Provide Estate Tax Efficiency

When you are planning for the future with the well being of your loved ones in mind one of the things that you must address is the massive bite of the estate tax

What “Unification” of Gift & Estate Tax Means to You

When you hear that the estate tax is poised to take 35% of the taxable portion of your estate you may get to thinking about giving gifts to your loved ones while you are still alive.

Poll Indicates Many Baby Boomers Not Ready for Retirement

You will usually find that those who are in fact enjoying retirement to the utmost with no financial worries are those who had the foresight to plan in advance.

Be Prepared to Adjust Your Estate Plan

There are those who are under the impression that estate planning is something that only the elderly must consider, but this is not a very pragmatic way of thinking

Don't Forget Your Pets When Planning Your Estate

There are a lot of factors to consider when you are making final plans, and with so much to take into account it would not be impossible to overlook some of the “little things.”

Is Disinheritence because of Sexual Orientation Legal in Canada

In Canada, the law balances the idea of testamentary independence against public policy concerns. Two British Columbia courts have ruled that in today’s society, homosexuality is not a factor that would justify a judicious parent disinheriting or limiting benefits to a child. To date, this issue has not been addressed in Ontario's courts.

Extending Retirement Date Can Be Wise

There are folks who go through life with the vague belief that they will be retiring when they reach their middle 60s without recognizing the fact that this is not a given. The word “retirement” can sometimes sound like a entitlement and it would certainly be nice to be able to relax and enjoy the latter portion of your life without having to work. But in the end, the word simply defines the decision to step away from your career. Poll: Baby Boomers Unprepared for Retirement

At the present time there are 10,000 people applying for Social Security for the first time each and every day because of the fact that the baby boomer generation is reaching retirement age. This in itself is a stunning statistic, but when you hear that this number of daily applicants is expected to persist for the next twenty years it really gets your attention. Are all of these people prepared for retirement financially?

Estate Planning Making Provisions for Pets

When you are planning your estate failing to remember all of the people that you would like to include on your inheritance list is probably not going to be much of a concern. Yet, you may be surprised to hear that there are a lot of people who actually do fail to make provisions for loving dependents who are actually still living at home.

Retirement Planning: Is Social Security Safe?

The sooner you get started planning for your retirement years the better, because the longer you have to reach your goals the more likely it is that you will achieve them.

Advance Health Care Directives: A Basic Adult Responsibility

There are those who say that they don't need to worry about estate planning because they are nowhere near the age when people typically pass away. This is a gambler's mentality because of course you are more likely to pass away at 80 than you are at 30, but there are no guarantees.

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