Business and Industry Law Articles

Articles written by attorneys and experts worldwide
discussing legal aspects related to Business and Industry.



Estate Planning With a Special Needs Child

When you have a child with special needs, many areas of your life require additional planning and special arrangements, and your estate plan is no different. If your child receives government benefits, you already know that there’s a cap on the amount of assets he or she is allowed to have and still receive those benefits.

Contributions of the Panama Canal – Republic of Panama

A New Panama Canal Administrator is Appointed - The Panama Canal Authority contributed to the Panamanian Government, during the last fiscal year that ended September 30th, 2011, the sum of 1,043 million dollars. This amount breaks down to $366.9 million for fees for net ton, $1.9 million public service duty and $674.2 million for surplus.

Difference Between an Irrevocable and a Revocable Trust?

When you’re deciding what type of trust you need, it’s important to understand what’s available to you. Trusts fall into a few basic categories, and two of these categories are Irrevocable and Revocable.

How Does Your Pet Fit into Your Estate Plan?

We’ve all heard the stories of wealthy eccentrics leaving millions of dollars – or even their entire estates – to their pets. But it’s important for average, ordinary people to think about what who will care for their pets when they’re no longer around to do so.

How Do You Own Your Property?

When it comes to estate planning, it’s essential for both you and your attorney to know how your property is titled. Knowing how you own your property has an effect on what estate planning methods you use – and whether or not your estate plan is even effective. Here are the basic categories of property ownership:

What are the Benefits of a Revocable Living Trust?

If you’re looking into putting together an estate plan, you may have heard about Revocable Living Trusts. You might be wondering what all the fuss is about. A Revocable Living Trust is an effective estate planning tool for many people. Here are the main benefits:

Four Reasons to Consider a Living Trust

A living trust is a powerful estate planning tool, and we discuss four reasons a family should consider using this tool within their estate plan. To review how a living trust works: A living trust is a legal arrangement that manages a person's property during their lifetime and distributes it according to their wishes upon their death.

Payable on Death Accounts are Not a Comprehensive Solution

You don't want to take some type of surface action and go forward with the idea that you have all of your ducks in a row. This is something to carefully consider if you have opened a payable on death or transfer on death account.

Are Estate Planning Documents Public Record?

Your estate plan is not only of the most important things you will ever create in your life, but also one of the most private. In the modern digital age, where it seems as though personal information can be accessed by a few quick clicks of a mouse, it is completely normal to be concerned about what estate documents are public record.

Understand Tax Laws Before Making Asset Transfers

If you were to enjoy extraordinary financial success one of the first things that may cross your mind would be to share the wealth with your loved ones. While generosity is almost universally viewed as a positive trait, you would do well to consider the tax code before you divest yourself of any significant quantity of resources.

Understand Limitations of POD Accounts

There are some rather simple tools that can be utilized to arrange for the transfer of assets to your loved ones, and perhaps the simplest would be payable on death or transfer on death accounts. These accounts are offered at banks or savings and loans and at many brokerages. As the name implies, the accounts become payable or transferable at death.

Tell Your Designated Power of Attorney Agent about Your Finances

If you have followed your estate planning attorney's advice, then you have named someone to be your agent in a General Durable Power of Attorney in case a time arises when you are no longer capable of managing your own finances. Now that you have that key piece of your estate plan accomplished, you need to take the next step and speak to the person who will act as your agent. He or she needs to know what to do.

Cybercrime Under the CFAA: It Depends on the Jurisdiction

In a decision filed on April 10, 2012, the Ninth Circuit in United States of America v. Nosal, No. 10-10038 (9th Cir. 2012), put itself squarely in conflict with the Fifth, Eleventh and Seventh Circuits.

Commercial Agents and Agency Contracts under the new Turkish Commercial Code

The new Turkish Commercial Code will enter into force as of July 01, 2012. Although the provisions regarding the commercial agents are in parallel with the current Turkish Commercial Code in general, the new Turkish Commercial Code has introduced some important novelties in order to harmonize the agency provisions with the Council Directive 86/653/EEC.

Are Estate Planning Documents Public Record?

A comprehensive estate plan typically includes a number of documents that contain highly personal and confidential information. Your estate planning documents may include decisions and choices that you wish to keep private. Given the ease with which information can be gathered and disseminated in the current electronic age, concerns about the privacy of your estate documents are certainly understandable.

3 Ways to Prevent Your Elderly Loved Ones from Fraud

The elderly population has always been an easy target for financial fraud by both illegitimate and legitimate companies. During the recent economic recession, reports of fraud against the elderly have been rising. The Federal Trade Commission in conjunction with state attorney generals has been increasing their consumer protection programs to protect elderly consumers.

How to Address Personal Property with Your Estate Plan: The Distribution Letter

When it comes to the big decisions about your estate plan, such as deciding how much of your estate to divide amongst your children your will is usually going to focus around the important items. However, if you want to distribute your personal property, your Will is often not the best way to do it.

Estate Planning Uncertainty in an Election Year

Tax laws have a direct and significant impact on your estate plan. During an election year, such as this year, the fate of many tax laws is often uncertain. Scheduling a review of your current estate plan with your estate planning attorney is a good way to make sure that your plan takes advantage of the current tax laws and anticipates any scheduled changes.

An Empty Legacy – When Celebrities Choose to Disinherit

As you go about creating your estate plan and making choices about who you want to receive your property, you may experience a feeling of relief in knowing that your family will be cared for after your death.However, for many people, including some celebrities, the final choice they make is to disinherit their family or to leave their children and family members out of any inheritance whatsoever. Let’s take a look at a couple of the more famous examples.

Efficient Philanthropy with Donor Advised Funds

Several months ago there was an interesting story that was floating around various Atlanta area news outlets about a challenge that was issued by Bill Gates and Warren Buffet. Buffet has famously announced his intention to give away most of his wealth to charity and he has, in fact, already donated about $8 billion to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Make an Ethical Will Part of Your Legacy

When you are evaluating your assets and the heirs to whom you intend to make bequests, a lot of thoughts will invariably cross your mind. Money can do a lot, and being able to pass along financial resources to your family members after you pass away certainly provides you with a good bit of peace of mind.

A GST Can Reduce Heavy Estate Tax Erosion

When you are a child you are taught to understand right from wrong. Because so much effort is put into making this point to you, unfairness can seem like a very big deal when you are a youngster. Then, little by little, the landscape of childhood starts to pass away, and you come to understand that the way of the world as we know it is inherently unfair in some ways. But that doesn't mean you lose your ability to see right from wrong.

Waiting on an Inheritance that May Never Arrive

Surprisingly, many Americans are still counting on a family inheritance to support them during their golden years. This may be a seriously flawed estate plan. For centuries, families passed down the family fortune from one generation to the next. This was often done for pragmatic reasons. In many cases, the family wealth was the result of a family business -- a business that the next generation was expected to continue managing.

Battle of the Wills - What Happens When More than One Last Will and Testament Turns Up

Huguette Clark, a New York heiress with an estate valued at more than $400 million, died last year just shy of her 105th birthday. A Last Will and Testament executed by Clark in May of 2005 was entered into probate shortly after her death.

Passing on a Family Business

As the name implies, a family owned business is a business that remains in the family under ideal circumstances. If you are the owner of a family owned business, you have likely considered passing down your business to future generations in the event of your death. While the desire to pass down your business to the next generation is certainly understandable, it is not always the wise choice.

How to Choose Which Trust is Right for Your Estate

If you are one of the millions of people planning to utilize a trust in your estate plan, then you are likely trying to decide which type of trust will best suit your goals and objectives. Only a lengthy consultation with your estate planning attorney can help you to reach a final decision on the issue; however, there are questions that you may wish to answer prior to meeting with your attorney.

Estate Planning and Tax Consequences

Estate planning serves two very important functions. First, it allows you to decide what will happen to your estate assets upon your death. A secondhand corresponding, function is that estate planning allows you to structure those assets in a way that will minimize the tax consequences associated with the transfer of estate assets.

Probate Litigation -- How to Avoid It

Most people go to great lengths to avoid litigation of any sort; however, they often forget about the possibility of probate litigation, relying on the thought that they will not be around to worry about it. First, probate litigation often results from more than one person seeking control over the assets of, or right to make medical decisions for, someone who is living, but incapacitated, meaning you may very well still be around.

Updating Your Will -- There May Be More Reasons to Do So Than You Realize

Your Last Will and Testament is your only chance to decide what happens to your estate assets upon your death. It is the cornerstone of your estate plan -- the document from which all other estate planning tools flow. Once you have taken the time and effort to create your Will, don’t make the mistake of failing to update it when necessary.

How to Know It's Time for an Estate Plan Tune-Up

Anyone with an estate plan should congratulate themselves that they've taken the required steps to adequately prepare for the future. However, just like buying a new car requires you to perform regular maintenance, so too does having an estate plan. If you created a plan and haven't performed regular maintenance on it, you need to review your plan with your estate planning attorney.

What is a Pour Over Will?

Attorneys use many different terms in estate planning and they sometimes use terms without thoroughly explaining what everything means. For example, if you have a revocable living trust, an estate attorney might also suggest that you create a pour over Will. If you do not know what a pour over Will is, you are not alone.

Don't Leave Your Spouse's Probate to Your Children

No one wants to go through the probate process after a spouse dies, but there is an important reason that you shouldn't delay it. If you do not probate your deceased spouse's estate, then your children might have to after you pass away. In fact, they might need to probate both you and your spouse's estates at the same time.

Estate Planning: Why Limit Yourself?

Some people recommend payable on death or transfer on death accounts as a way to transfer assets to your loved ones after you pass away. You can open payable on death accounts at banks, savings and loans, and at some brokerages. While it is true that these accounts can achieve direct asset transfers, it is important to understand their limitations.

Your Final Rest – A Decision with New Options

Though it may not be the most pleasant topic to bring up in casual conversation, we all will face the eventuality of a final resting place. In the past, there were few options available to us when considering our final resting place, but today there are many more from which to choose. Here are a few of the more unique options you have when it comes to burial.

Retiree Wisdom – Advice for Doing it Differently

A recent article discussed retirees and some common regrets they share. Though their answers are often not surprising they can be helpful if you are developing your estate plan and are trying to develop long-term goals for yourself. Much of their advice is aimed at pre-retirement-aged people, although anyone can use it as the basis for making both long-term and immediate plans.

Gina Reinhart – The Richest Australian Decides To Disinherit

You may have recently heard the news out of Australia about the nation's richest woman, Gina Reinhart and her legal fight with her children over her decision to disinherit them from the family fortune. Ms. Reinhart is the heir to her father's iron ore business estimated to be worth about $18 billion.

Early Exercise for your Company’s Stock Option Plan

I’m often asked if an early exercise provision should be included in a company's stock option plan. Many tax advisors recommend an early exercise provision. Many legal advisors are against it. My experience has led me to this conclusion: early exercise can be valuable to a company’s optionees, but usually only at the very early stage of a start up.

Article #7 – Summary and Plan of Action for Stock Option, Restricted Stock, Cash and Phantom Stock Plans

This is article #7 of a 7 article series. In this article #7, I give you 7 steps to implement your stock option plan, restricted stock plan, cash plan, phantom stock plan or stock appreciation rights. To review, there are two types of incentive plans: equity plans and cash plans. I discussed equity plans, that is, stock option plans and restricted stock, in prior articles #2-5. I discussed cash plans, phantom stock plans and stock appreciation rights in article #6.

Article #6 – Cash Plans, Phantom Stock Plans and Stock Appreciation Rights

In this article #6, I explain how you use cash plans, phantom stock plans and stock appreciation rights. To review, there are two types of incentive plans: equity plans and cash plans. I discussed equity plans in prior articles #2-5. With an equity plan, you give employees stock options or restricted stock. Equity means ownership, so with an equity plan you give ownership in the company to the employees.

Financial Abuse: Elders Must Be On Guard

It is good to go through life staying positive, but at the same time you have to be aware of certain dangers that exist and take precautions to protect yourself. This can become even more important as you consider the eventualities of aging.

Attorneys do not Suggest Probate Options for Their Own Benefit

Many people have an estate planning goal that includes avoiding Probate at all costs. Unfortunately, for many people, this includes avoiding the services of an estate planning attorney because they have the mistaken belief that the attorney will intentionally use Probate methods so the attorney can make money by representing the estate in Probate.

Money Pitfalls That Can Damage Your Retirement and Estate

Estate planning focuses on what you're going to leave behind after you die. If you're retired, how you spend your money now will significantly impact what options you have when deciding how to give your property away. It's important that if you're living off your retirement savings, or pension, that you don't fall victim to some common money pitfalls that can significantly deplete your estate.

GRATs with Appreciating Assets

There are two primary advantages to utilizing gift giving as a part of your inheritance planning strategy. For one thing you get to enjoy the simple pleasure of doing something nice for a loved one while you are still alive. This is good for you emotionally, but it is good for your heir as well because he or she doesn't have to juggle the grief/happiness conundrum that goes along with receiving an inheritance.

Financial Abuse of the Elderly

It is useful to recognize the fact that estate planning is just one aspect of elder law, and as elder law attorneys it is our job to stay apprised of all of the issues of the day that affect our seniors. One matter that has been getting a lot of attention recently is that of elder financial abuse, and it is something to keep in mind when you are engaged in planning for your twilight years.

Estate Tax Changes Passed for 2011

As we watch the countdown on New Year's Eve it is a heady time indeed. Another year beckons, full of change and pregnant with possibility. Before you know it, that fateful time arrives and champagne corks take flight, people break into heartfelt song, and anything seems possible. But when you wake up the next morning and make it to work a day or two later, you tend to find the world looking pretty much the same as it did before all of that change that went down on New Year's Eve.

Why Do You Need an Advance Healthcare Directive?

No one likes to think about what would happen to them if they were injured or became ill and could no longer make medical decisions for themselves. But it happens to people of all ages, every day. If you don’t tell your doctors and your family what your wishes would be in a situation like this, then they’re left to try to figure things out for themselves.

Questions to Ask Your Estate Planning Attorney

Choosing an estate planning attorney isn’t as simple as picking one out of the phone book. There are a number of questions you should be asking first to ensure that the attorney you choose can help you create the right estate plan for you.

Fiduciaries 101

Whether you realize it or not, you’re surrounded by fiduciaries. Your banker, your real estate agent, accountants, brokers… the list just goes on and on. So, what do fiduciaries have to do with estate planning?

How to Decide Between a Simple Will and a Living Trust

Distinct differences between a simple Will and a Living Trust will dictate which option is best for your estate planning situation.

The Pros and Cons of Probate

Probate can have a significant effect on how your estate is handled after your death. It can mean the difference between a smooth transition and a draining legal process for your loved ones. What is probate? Probate is essentially when the government steps in to make sure your assets are allocated properly after you die.

What Happens if You Die Without a Will?

When an individual dies without having a will in place, they have died intestate from a legal perspective. So what happens when a person dies intestate, or without recording any of their final wishes? The answer is that the property will be distributed by default according to the laws of the state where they lived. The probate court will appoint someone to administer the estate, and this is sometimes an individual who is nominated by a majority of those who have interest in the estate.

Probate and Asset Retention

One of the primary reasons why it is advisable to retain the services of an experienced estate planning attorney rather than trying to piece a plan together on your own is the matter of asset retention. The objective is to pass along the contents of your estate to your heirs quickly and efficiently without incurring a lot of expense while doing so.

Choosing Your Trustee Naming the Bank

Choosing your trustee is an important choice. The ideal trustee is trustworthy, good with money, and cares about you. If you don’t have a family member helper who fits this description, you may want to name a corporate fiduciary (a bank or trust company) to serve as a co-trustee with a family member or as the sole trustee.

Probate Provides Protective Transparency

There are valid reasons to consider probate avoidance strategies, and the top two would involve time and money. Depending on the specific jurisdiction, how complex the estate is and how well the interested parties are getting along the process can take anywhere from several months to multiple years in some complicated cases. And of course the heirs to the estate will not receive their inheritances until probate has run its course and the estate has been closed.

JOBS Act Makes Major Revisions to Securities Laws; Eases Capital-Raising for Smaller Companies

  By TroyGould
The JOBS Act is intended to stimulate job creation and economic growth by improving access to the capital markets for emerging growth companies. The JOBS Act contains a number of provisions designed to ease capital-raising for private companies, including:

How to Draft Clinical Trial Agreements

  By TroyGould
Clinical Trial Agreements (“CTAs”) can be surprisingly complex documents with numerous legal issues, particularly in the setting of a multi-center trial for a new drug product candidate. This outline highlights the principal issues typically arising in a CTA and some of the considerations for companies sponsoring pharmaceutical trials (“Sponsors”) in addressing these issues.

Essential Information in Doing Business in Thailand

  By Tila Legal
Doing a business in Thailand is now profitable for most investors. It has a very stable economic condition which is favorable for many businesses. Aside from this, the strategic location of Thailand is another factor that makes business in Thailand advantageous. There are many things that are needed in applying business registration in Thailand. Before applying for business registration in Thailand you must choose the type of operation that you wanted for your company.

When to Start Estate Planning

It may be safe to say that most people realize the need for an estate plan. It is also safe to say that the majority of people put off creating one until long after one should have been created. Although each person’s needs are unique to the individual, the general rule when it comes to estate planning is the early the better.

Assisted Living Community Alternative

One thing to consider when contemplating the contingencies of reaching an advanced age, is the possibility of being unable to handle your day-to-day needs on your own. The likelihood of a stay in a nursing home or assisted living community may be the first thing that comes to mind. These options exist, but there are some pitfalls that go along with these types of facilities.

Speak with an Attorney about Your Gifting Plan

You might have heard that you can give some of your money to your heirs before you pass away without any tax consequences. While this is sometimes the case, if you do not speak to an estate planning attorney before you give your money away, you might be making a big mistake. A well-intentioned, but improperly given, gift can cause more problems and greater financial burdens than anyone wants deal with.

Don't Forget Your Online Accounts in Your Estate Plan

An important goal of many estate plans is to make sure that your heirs can quickly and easily get their inheritance and wrap up your affairs. In today's computer-based society, making sure that your heirs have access to your online accounts is an important, but often overlooked, part of this process. Your estate plan should include some way for someone to access your online accounts.

Funeral Planning Without the Funeral – 3 New Options

Once you've begun the estate planning process and start looking towards practical concerns such as funeral planning, you may want to consider some new options that are currently available. No longer are people only limited to a choice between a burial and cremation. Today there are several alternatives you can consider when trying to decide what you wish to do with your earthly remains.

Thinking of Starting a Business in Italy? Beware of Italian Red Tape

  By Giambrone
Gabriele Giambrone, Managing Partner at Giambrone Law ILP, the Anglo-Italian law firm, comments on the failed venture of the British firm, British Gas and its decision to forego its business venture in Southern Italy. Setting up a business in a foreign country can be a daunting endeavor.

Italian Lawyers, Italian Attorneys or Avvocati? - How to Qualify to Practice Law in Italy

  By Giambrone
The Italian term “Avvocato” (from Latin “advocate”) is normally translated with similar equivalent terms in the English language, namely with the expressions “Italian lawyer” or “Italian solicitor” in England, Wales and Ireland or “Italian attorney” in the United States.

My Estate Plan Has a Mistake in It. What Do I Do?

First, don't panic. It is often common to find a mistake or error in your estate plan, especially when you've created your plan yourself or used a website or self-help product. Second, the kind of changes you can make will depend upon the kind of mistake that was made and what you want to change. Let’s look at some common scenarios.

3 Common Retirement Regrets and What You Can Learn from Them

As more and more Americans reach retirement age every day, many often find that their new lives can lead to some regrets. If you have yet to reach retirement age and are creating your estate plan there are several issues associated with retirement you may want to consider as you make your planning choices.

Speak to an Attorney About Planning for Your Blended Family

If you have had children with multiple spouses during your lifetime, your estate planning can get complicated. You will want to make sure that all of your children are provided for in your estate after you pass away. A simple Will from a legal document service is not a good option. Instead, you should speak to an estate planning attorney about how to divide your estate.

Appoint a Power of Attorney Agent Before You Need One

Everyone should have an attorney draft a general durable power of attorney for them as part of their estate plan. If you do not have one, your loved ones may have to scramble to make sure that your interests are protected if you are incapacitated. This can cause needless delays and frustrations for you and your loved ones.

An Estate Planning Attorney Provides the Personal Advice an Online Document Service Cannot

Planning for what will happen to your assets and property after you pass away is one of the most complicated and confusing legal decisions that most people ever have to make. The number of different estate plan options and documents can be overwhelming. Attorneys who specialize in estate planning can alleviate problems that you have in understanding all of the different options.

High Percentage of Boomers Unprepared for Retirement

In 2011, there was a poll conducted by the Associated Press and LifeGoesStrong.com. The purpose of the probe was to get an idea about how prepared baby boomers (people born between 1946 and 1964) are for retirement. The baby boomer generation is reaching retirement age and massive numbers of people are involved.

FLP Can Be Effective Solution

It would be logical to consider giving gifts to people that you would otherwise be leaving inheritances to while you are still alive in an effort to gain estate tax efficiency. However, the powers that be are well aware of this logic as well. Therefore, there is a gift tax in place that is unified with the estate tax.

3 Questions About Changing Your Estate Plan

Like a muscle, a good estate plan is one you regularly use and maintain. It's especially important to change or update a plan if you go through major life event, such as a divorce, the birth of a grandchild, or a substantial increase or decrease in wealth.

Speak With an Expert Before Making Estate Planning Decisions

The typical layperson is usually going to equate estate planning with drawing up a last Will and in fact there are entities out there that will sell you a blank last Will document. They tell you that you just have to fill in the blanks and everything will be set in the event of your death.

Common Questions About Wills

Do I Need a Will – The short answer to that question is yes; everyone should have a will. Although all states have laws that dictate who the people are that are your beneficiaries if you don’t have a will, having one will let you, and not the court, determine who will inherit your assets.

Medical Care vs. End-of-Life Care

There was a 60 Minutes segment that aired in '09 that was entitled "The Cost Of Dying," and this report was very relevant to anyone who is wondering why estate planning lawyers recommend advance health care directives like living wills and durable medical powers of attorney.

How a Trustee Should Communicate

The Successor Trustee of a Revocable Living Trust is the lifeline between the affairs of a decedent’s estate and the beneficiaries. If beneficiaries have no idea what is happening with the estate settlement process, they may feel like they have no control and may begin to protest the actions of the Trustee. As Trustee, you must always keep the lines of communication open.

How to Deal With Elder Abuse

Do you know what to do if you suspect elder abuse? First you must understand what elder abuse is and how to spot it. - Types of Abuse - Elder abuse is the abuse of a retired aged individual in a nursing facility or in his or her own home. There are many types of elder abuse: financial, physical including sexual, verbal, and neglectful.

Understanding No Contest Clauses

If you have a Last Will and Testament, Revocable Living Trust or an Irrevocable Trust, you have the option to include a No Contest Clause in your document. So what is a “No Contest” clause? It is a statement that says any beneficiary who challenges your estate document will be completely disinherited.

How to Lower Estate Taxes

Federal estate taxes are taxes that will be owed upon your estate after you pass away. Your estate will owe taxes if your assets are worth more than a certain amount. The maximum estate tax rate is quite high, so finding ways to decrease your taxable estate is vital.

Is Taking Retirement Funds Early Safe?

During this time of economic woes, more people are turning to their retirement accounts for extra funds. So, is this a safe option to help you get through a job loss or financial crisis? Before you withdraw your funds early you should consider the costs you may incur, if your situation may avoid some of those costs, and if there is an alternative to provide you with the same financial relief.

Contract Disputes

What is a breach of contract? What are the types of disputes that may arise? What should you do if you have found yourself in this situation? Get the information you need regarding business litigation and contract disputes. There are many reasons why a contract may be entered into and there are just as many reasons why a breach of contract may arise.

Should You Include Your Business in Your Estate Plan?

When you start a business, you should not only consider how your business will thrive; you should also think about what will happen to it when you are no longer available to run daily activities. You may have an unspoken plan to hand the business down to your children, but you must evaluate whether this will really work.

Trusts: Revocable and Irrevocable

Trusts, both revocable and irrevocable, offer a variety of options that allow you to tailor your estate plan to your specific needs and desires. If you have an estate that extends beyond a basic Last Will and Testament, you should understand the differences between these two types of Trusts.

Picking Estate Fiduciaries

A fiduciary is someone who monitors assets for you, with your best interests in mind. This may be a financial institution, a property management company or a trustee. Fiduciaries are not only an important part of life; they are also essential during your disability and after your death. During the estate planning process, you must take care when choosing your attorney-in-fact, health care agent, successor trustee, or estate executor.

How to Leave an Inheritance for Your Minor Children

Since you do not know what age your children will be when you pass away, it is best to plan their inheritance as if they have not reached adulthood at that time. You can always update your plan after your children are grown. There are several ways to leave an inheritance for your minor children.

How a Will Can Protect Your Blended Family

The standard image of a family as a mother and father with two children is becoming less frequent. In the current age, families include a variety of situations divorces, single parents, unmarried couples living together, same-sex parents, second marriages and beyond. So how do you ensure that your blended family receives the inheritance you wish to leave upon your death? A valid Last Will and Testament is one way to safeguard your final wishes.

How to Include Your Pets in Your Estate Plan

Your pets are an important part of your family, so it is vital that you include them in your estate plan. Like naming a guardian for your children you can name a guardian for your pets. You should do so to avoid family disagreements if more than one person should want to care for your furry loved ones. A worst case scenario is if no family member is willing to step forward and take your pet into their home.

Do You Need an Estate Plan?

For many, the idea of creating an estate plan is something they’ll do “later.” As in when they’re older, when they have more “stuff” or whenever they have some time to actually sit down and do it. But putting off creating your estate plan isn’t a good idea, and I’ll tell you why.

How to Decide if Someone You Love Needs Long Term Care

The decision to seek long term care for a loved one is a difficult one to make. Perhaps you are afraid of hurting your family member’s feelings by suggesting they are no longer capable. Or maybe your family member isn’t ready to admit the need for help. Despite the difficulty of broaching this touchy subject, you must do so for the health and safety of your loved one. The good news is you don’t have to do it alone.

Financial Security and Early Retirement

Most people like to believe that they will be able to retire years before they reach full retirement age. Although this is a nice thought, it’s not very realistic unless you commit to solid planning early on. One of the first things you should decide is at what age you would like to retire. The second thing you’ll need to know is how much financial security you expect to have.

Protecting Your Loved One with a Special Needs Trust

If, like Sabina and me, you have a loved one who is disabled, then you know how important government assistance programs can be to their well-being. But to qualify for these programs, your dependent must have limited finances. So, any inheritance you leave him or her could potentially put their eligibility for government assistance at risk.

Estate Planning for Blended Families

Because so many families have children from more than one marriage, estate planning for blended families has become a common challenge in the estate planning world. How, for example, do you ensure that your children from a previous marriage will benefit from your assets if you die first?

Estate Planning Dos and Don'ts

Estate planning is a complicated and on-going process. It can seem tiring because you need to frequently update your plan based on changes in your personal circumstances, as well as changes in the tax laws. Although there is no way out of the frequent reviewing of your estate plan, you can simplify the entire process by following a few do’s and don’ts.

Choosing an Executor

Choosing an executor for your will or estate is necessary to make sure your wishes are carried out after your death. Not only should your executor be responsible, but they should also know how you think. Sometimes, we overlook certain parts of our estate, either because they seem insignificant to us or because they simply slipped our mind. Should this happen, your executor will be expected to provide a resolution.

Avoid Common Mistakes

Most people look forward to coming up with an estate plan about as much as they look forward to going in for a root canal. However, with the right help, having an effective estate plan in place does not have to be difficult, and it’s a necessary part of taking care of your family. Here are a few simple errors to avoid:

What is a Pour-Over Will?

If you’re familiar with living trusts, then you know that one of the big benefits of a trust is the ability to avoid probate. This is possible because the trust holds title to your property and assets, with you in control as the Trustee. When you pass on, your Successor Trustee steps in and maintains control over the trust and the assets it holds but the title to those assets never actually changes hands.

When Should You Fund Your Living Trust?

Funding your living trust is an important part of estate planning, especially if your goal is to avoid probate. Here are some tips for how and with what to fund your living trust. A living trust offers a variety of benefits and is an essential component of any good estate plan. With it, you can minimize estate taxes, protect your property from creditors and lawsuits and even avoid the costly process of probate.

IRA Withdrawals

You can withdraw money from your IRA at any time, but there are sometimes penalties or income tax associated. The rules vary depending on whether you have a Roth or a traditional IRA and, as with a 401(k), the “magic” age is 59 ½.

Elder Abuse Revised

Everyone gets older – that’s just a fact of life. And while we can’t avoid aging, we can take steps to ensure that our loved ones are properly cared for when they become elderly and can no longer take care of themselves. It’s a sad fact that abuse of the elderly in nursing homes and medical facilities is an ongoing concern. Not in every facility of course, but it does happen. And unfortunately, the victims frequently suffer in silence.

Fiduciaries

When it comes to financial matters we need several people we can trust to act in our best interest. These people include friends, relatives and professionals. In legal language, such people are called fiduciaries. A fiduciary can be a person or institution that you trust would act in your best interest when you need help. Fiduciaries can include attorneys, bankers, business advisers, mortgage brokers, real estate agents etc.


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