Estate Planning Law Articles

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

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.

Estate Tax Relief Is Not Permanent

People who are interested in estate planning are well aware of the fact that there were some significant changes to the estate tax parameters included in the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010.

Measured Giving with Charitable Remainder Unitrusts

When you are taking stock of your legacy making sure that your loved ones are well provided for is very likely to be your number one priority.

The Benefits of Estate Planning

A little known fact is that if you fail to plan your own estate, the state of Colorado will do so for you. The state, however, will not take into consideration your wishes, nor will it be the most cost effective approach to managing your estate upon your death.

Retirement Planning and the HECM

Understanding all the options that are available to you is key when you are planning for your retirement years. This is one of the reasons why it is a good idea to work with a retirement planning attorney well in advance of your retirement so that you can tap into that expertise and formulate a fully informed plan.

Estate Planning: Adjustments Necessary

The day that you get your first job that comes with a benefits package is probably going to be the time when you are first introduced to estate planning.

Pros and Cons of a Life Estate

One way to divide property is by setting up a life estate. Say, for example, you want to leave your home to one person, but when that person dies, you want the home to pass to another person, instead of to someone your initial beneficiary chooses.

Roth Conversions

As you probably know, beginning January 1, 2010, Washington loosened rules for converting traditional IRAs (with taxable withdrawals) to “Roth” IRAs (with tax-free withdrawals). The full amount you convert (minus any “basis” in nondeductible contributions) is taxed as ordinary income now when you convert. However, future withdrawals will be tax-free.

What Should I Do with the Dog When I Die? - UK

This article explains what to do about your dog (and other animals) after you die.

How to Begin Your Estate Plan

If you’ve been meaning to start your estate plan, now is a great time. In fact, there won’t be a better time. If you’re unsure of how to get started with the process, you may be frustrated and stressed out.

How Dying Intestate Affects the Blended Family

Dying without a will, known as dying intestate, can create an avalanche of problems for the surviving family members. But what happens if the family is blended? How do you ensure that everyone receives the portion of the estate that was intended for them?

What Is Veterans A and A

Veterans of the United States armed services have many different benefits available to them throughout their lives. One of those benefits is called Veterans Aid & Attendance.

Are You Ready for Retirement

Unfortunately, many of the latest statistics suggest that the majority of Americans nearing their 60s are not ready for retirement. Although recent findings indicate that people are better prepared for retirement than they were less than a decade ago, all is still not well.

Ignore Your Retirement at Your Own Risk

There are those who are under the impression that they will somehow automatically retire when they reach their mid-60s. They think that they will enjoy their golden years and all of the free time they will have on their hands.

Estate Planning is a Reactive, Dynamic Process

It is not uncommon for people to procrastinate before they put an estate plan in place, and they do this for a variety of different reasons. Perhaps the most common one is the simple fact that they feel as though they have plenty of time before the matter is truly relevant. While it is true that the average life expectancy in the United States as of this writing is 78.4 years, it is probably not a good idea to wait until you are 75 to begin to plan your estate.

Not Eligible for Veteran Aid and Assistance? You May Have another Option

If you’re a veteran in need of extra care and assistance, you may have looked into qualifying for aid and assistance benefits.

Unjust Enrichment, Equity and your Mother-in-Law

Mary, her husband Franco and their children lived on a farm owned by Mary’s mother in law. Franco died & his mother sold the farm & gave Mary and her children got nothing. Mary sought compensation for her husband's work on the farm arguing that even without a legally enforceable contract the estate deserved compensation. This article examines how the Ontario Court of Appeal treated her equitable claim.

A Will is Not Enough: Create a Letter of Intent

Many parents choose to create a will so that their minor children are always protected. While a will allows you to appoint a guardian for the care of your minor children, it doesn’t allow you to fully explain the level of care that is needed.

No Will No Control

If you want to have some control over your future, then you need to create a will. Many people assume that their wishes will be respected, even if they don't have a will in place

What Does It Mean to Fund My Revocable Living Trust?

When creating a revocable living trust, it’s important to make sure that you properly fund the trust. Funding best ensures that your estate plan will work, meaning that it will do what you want it to do

The Settlement of an Inheritance’s Case in Greece-How to Get Your Inheritance in Greece

The Greeks abroad can take their share of their inheritance, without even having to travel to Greece.

Response To Estate Tax Educational Gifts

You may have heard that the estate tax exclusion was raised to $5 million with a maximum tax rate of 35% as a result of the passage of the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010.

Early Retirement and Stress

Many of the people who are thinking about retiring early are doing so because they can no longer cope with the stress of the corporate world. These are people that are only in their mid 50s, and want out of their jobs, the sooner the better.

Talk with Your Parents about an Estate Plan

If you are trying to take care of young children, while at the same time caring for aging parents, you know exactly how difficult it can be.

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