Estate Planning Law Articles

Articles written by lawyers and expert witnesses worldwide
explaining the different aspects of Estate Planning.

Veterans Benefit Can Defray Long-Term Care Costs

There are some statistics that you run across that are kind of hard to believe if you have not already done some research into the subject in question.

Should Dying Be a Taxable Event?

There are those who refer to the federal estate tax as the "death tax, «and though this can sound like a flippancy there is actually reasonable logic to support this name. To explain, let's take a look at the anatomy of this levy.

Your Business Needs a Succession Plan

Most people think to create a plan for their personal assets in the event of their death; however, if you are an owner, or part owner, in a business, you need to include your business assets in your estate planning.

Lessons Learned from a Famous Supreme Court Justice’s Will

Even U.S. Supreme Court Justices are required to leave legally valid written wills to save their executors from unnecessary probate fees.

How to Use an AB Trust

One of the biggest concerns for individuals and couples with a sizable estate is how to accomplish the transfer of assets upon death without incurring estate taxes.

Without a Will

Some people never get around to planning their estate or creating a will. In this situation, there is no will to determine how affairs are to be handled and how assets are to be distributed.

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 could name any medications their parents take.

The Most Important Key to an Estate Plan That Works

Most people sign their estate planning documents, breathe a sigh of relief, pat themselves on the back for completing the task, and don’t think about their estate plan again.

Giving Gifts Can Provide Tax Savings

The federal estate tax looms as a significant source of asset erosion and taking steps to mitigate your estate tax exposure is a big part of what estate planning is all about.

The Pitfalls of Probate

A lot of people equate the process of estate planning to the execution of a last will. While it is true that you can choose to use a last will as your primary vehicle of asset transfer and a lot of people do, it is not always the best choice.

Direct Asset Transfers Free of the Gift Tax

Taxation is an interesting thing, and a lot of people would question why you should have to pay a tax when you give someone a gift.

When Will You Be Retiring?

If you want to be prepared for the future you need to engage in careful and intelligent advance planning.

Reducing the Taxable Value of Your Home

When you are inventorying your assets in anticipation of distributing them to your loved ones after your death you may find that your home is your single most valuable asset.

Estate Tax Relief to Expire in 2013

If we said 2010 was an interesting year in the field of estate planning it would be a gross understatement.

Massive Numbers of Baby Boomers Retiring Unprepared

There are those who hear retirement planning attorneys say that it is important to make preparations for retirement but let this advice go in one ear and out the other.

What’s the Most Important Part of Disability Planning?

The absolute most important part of disability is naming successor trustees and power of attorney agents.

The Hand of Taxation

Much of estate planning focuses on the reduction or elimination of taxes, with good reason. Consider the “hand of taxation «which represents all the taxes during your lifetime and at your death.

Why You Must Fund Your Trust

TThere are not too many people who like paperwork; and, funding a revocable living trust is a lot of paperwork. Yuck

What is a Codicil?

A “codicil” is an amendment to a will; it’s an addition or change. Codicils were commonly used before the computer age when wills were written by hand or typed on a type-writer.

How to Avoid Probate

When an individual dies, the assets owned by the decedent are often required to pass through a legal process known as probate.

What Is a Joint Tenancy?

Joint tenancy is a form of property ownership that comes to us from the common law of feudal England.

North Dakota Adopts the Uniform Real Property Transfer on Death Act

On April 27 of 2011, North Dakota became the first official state to adopt the Uniform Real Property Transfer on Death Act.

Estate Planning Keeping Raiders in Davis Family

If you were to make a short list of the most influential owners in the history of professional football Al Davis would certainly be at or near the top of the list.

A Look at Qualified Personal Residence Trusts

Estate planning obviously involves deciding how you would like to provide for each of the ones that you love after you pass away.

Recognition of a German Will in New York / USA (Formal Validity)

This article provides an introduction to the recognition of German wills in New York / USA.

Estate, Gift, and Generation-Skipping U.S. Tax Treaties

The U.S. is a signatory to several important estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer tax treaties. The article gives a short introduction to the requirements and the benefits of the existing treaties.

Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy (IMCA)

Read this guide concerning independent mental capacity advocacy to enable you to help someone who does not have mental capacity and where there are no appropriate friends or family members.

Late Singer Winehouse had Solid Estate Plan

The entertainment industry was dealt a blow last month when the British singer Amy Winehouse was found dead in her posh North London home.

Difficult Issues Elders Face

As you reach the latter stages of your working years it is likely that you are simultaneously tying up any loose ends that remain as you prepare to ease into retirement.

Tax Measure Details Relevant to Estate Planning

As we allow the impact of the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 to set in some of the finer details are starting to come into focus.

Mitigate the Damage with Generation Skipping Trusts

Due to the new tax relief measure that was passed in mid-December we are working with an estate tax rate of 35% in 2011 and 2012.

Estate Tax Changes Loom Over Horizon

One of the things that you have to keep in mind when you are serious about crafting your legacy is the fact that updates to your estate plan are probably going to be necessary.

QPRT For Tax Savings

If you are like a lot of people when you inventory your assets you may find that your home is the most valuable thing that you own.

Payroll Taxes and Trust Fund Recovery

The IRS has made some changes, taking advantage of new payment technologies that remove any wiggle-room for employers to make the payroll tax payments. As of January 1, 2011 Employers are required to make their federal tax payments through the electronic federal tax payments system. This system is free but employers must register to get started. To make things more complex the employer must make separate payments for each different tax return type including tax forms 940, 941 and 945.

2013 to Bring Changes to Estate Tax

They say that the only constant is change, and some of these changes are for the better while some of them are for the worse.

IRS Wage Levy Can be Stopped by Legal Action

Of all of the methods the IRS can employ to collect on back tax debt none are worse than the Wage Levy. Also called wage garnishment, an IRS wage levy is when the Internal Revenue Service forcibly takes or “levies” up to 85% of your wages prior to writing your paycheck. Many people have a hard enough time making ends meet with their full check and will find it impossible to get by with most of the check gone.

Reasons to Hire a Tax Attorney and Not a CPA for IRS Problems

While there are many reasons to hire a local tax attorney for tax problem resolution there are two major reasons above all others.

How Do Powers of Attorney End?

You have the right to give other people the authority to make decisions on your behalf by creating a power of attorney.

Asset Protection Planning Tips

Asset protection is often coupled with thoughts of high-powered attorneys and other executives poring over your financial documents in order to reach one common goal – protecting your estate to include your assets and properties. However, it doesn’t have to be that complicated or that expensive.

Care Planning and Advance Decisions

People often plan the care they want in the future when they are diagnosed with a serious illness, or go into a care home; read this briefing note about what it involves and the types of decisions and guidance to you may consider giving to your caregivers.

The Division of Marriage and Property in Florida

It is important to know and understand how the division of property works in your marriage. There are properties that will be considered marital property and properties that will be considered non-marital property.

Uncovering Hidden Assets in a Divorce

Divorcing can be exceptionally tricky. Not only are you taking a life that was formally combined with someone else and separating it to a single’s life, but more often than not asset division is not agreed upon by both parties involved. Your Florida divorce attorney will be able to advise you and all matters regarding the division of assets.

Life Insurance in Estate Planning

Life insurance is a key component to the estate planning process. Gone are the days when life insurance was primarily thought of as a means to pay for funeral expenses and burials.

Davis Family Will Retain Ownership of Raiders

There are few if any National Football League franchise owners who had the type of long-term success that Al Davis was able to achieve.

Does My Revocable Living Trust Avoid Ancillary Probate?

If fully funded, your revocable living trust avoids both probate, in your state of residence when you die, and ancillary probate, in any other state where you own property. If you don’t fund your trust, it will NOT avoid probate anywhere.

Types of Wills in Turkish Succession System

In general, wills must be in writing and signed by the testator in the presence of two witnesses before a public notary, magistrate or an authorized officer. In practice, official wills are issued before public notaries. Witnesses must be adults and must have full legal capacity.

How a Revocable Living Trust Can Minimize Federal Estate Taxes

We all want to pay the least amount of tax dollars possible; a revocable living trust may be able to help minimize federal estate taxes.

17 Things You Need to Know about Your Estate Plan

There’s lots to know about your estate plan; that’s why it’s important to work with a qualified estate planning attorney.

Care Home Fees – Using Your Will to Protect Your Money

Use your Will to protect some of your assets from being used to pay for care home fees. Around 70,000 homes a year (190 every day) are taken by councils throughout the UK, to recover long term care costs.

The Basics of a Financial Power of Attorney

A power of attorney is the next best thing to a magic wand.

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.

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