Estate Planning Law Articles

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


Find a Law Firm:

Not Having a Healthcare Power of Attorney May Leave You Unprepared

  February 9, 2012     By The Law Offices of James A. Miller
Part of creating your estate plan should include executing a healthcare power of attorney document. This tool allows you to have some control over your medical care, if you’re ever incapacitated. The health care power of attorney is important if you want to make sure that you’re receiving the best care possible and that someone is making good decisions on your behalf. Take a look at some of the information below, to better understand the use of the document.

Why Would Someone Renounce a Will?

  February 9, 2012     By The Law Offices of James A. Miller
Renouncing a will means giving up your inheritance as provided in the will of a deceased. But why would anyone want to give up their inheritance? Renunciation may be a tactic used by a spouse who would choose to take a share of an estate as specifically provided by state law, rather than a smaller portion of the estate that may be provided for in the will.

Dividing Your Personal Property

  February 9, 2012     By The Law Offices of James A. Miller
Unlike cash or real estate that can be divided neatly into shares, tangible personal property, including jewelry, furniture and family heirlooms, can pose a challenge when creating a Will.

Asset Planning Can Help Avoid Probate

  February 9, 2012     By The Law Offices of James A. Miller
Avoiding probate requires thoughtful planning. Creating a Living Trust through an experienced Estate Planning attorney is an important tool in ensuring your assets are distributed in accordance with your wishes and without much of the hassle associated with probate. But there are a number of other tools available to help keep your assets away from the probate court.

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

  February 9, 2012     By The Law Offices of James A. Miller
Your Last Will and Testament is the a starting point for your entire Grafton estate plan. For this reason, your Will should be well thought out and updated on a regular basis. While there are some precipitating events that commonly prompt most people to make a change in their Will, there are some other reasons that may also warrant an update that are frequently overlooked.

Hollywood Highlights the Need for Estate Planning

  February 9, 2012     By The Law Offices of James A. Miller
Hollywood is never short on sensational accounts of legal disputes over money. Often, these disputes are over million dollar deals for recording contracts or movie scripts of publishing rights topics that have little relevance to the average American’s life. Sometimes, though, Hollywood money disputes can be relevant and actually teach us something.

How to Create an Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust

  February 9, 2012     By The Law Offices of James A. Miller
Estate planning can be complicated, even for a relatively small estate. If you are fortunate enough to have a sizable estate, estate planning becomes even more complicated, yet takes on a heightened importance as well. Along with deciding who will receive your assets upon death, you must take into consideration things such as avoidance of estate taxes and limiting the assets that will be part of the probate process.

Fitchburg Estate Planning Attorney Discusses Grantor Retained Annuity Trust

  February 9, 2012     By The Law Offices of James A. Miller
If you have spent a lifetime building up your estate, then you likely don’t want to lose half of it to estate taxes upon your death. Unfortunately, without careful estate planning, that can happen. Although each estate is entitled to an exemption amount which is subject to change, any estate assets above the exemption amount will be subject to the typically high rate of estate taxes.

Your Trustee Questions Answered

  February 8, 2012     By Duffy Law Office
Trusts are an integral part of estate planning and trusts only work when trustees carry out trust instructions. To that end, we’re answering your trustee questions here. If you have additional questions or need help choosing a trustee, ask your estate planning attorney.

Making Long Term Care Decisions for a Loved One with Dementia- June

  February 8, 2012     By Duffy Law Office
A loved one with dementia has special needs that should be taken into consideration, especially when choosing a long term care facility. It’s important to take extra care so that your loved one is able to live a comfortable and safe life. There are steps that you can take to make sure that you’re choosing the best possible facility for your loved one. We discuss those steps below.

Identify and Plan for Your Digital Assets

  February 8, 2012     By Duffy Law Office
Think about your online life. Many of us bank online, communicate online, conduct business online, socialize online, and market our businesses online. Keep a notebook next to your computer for one month. Each time you access an account or digital asset site, jot down the account number, web address, password, user ID, and PIN. Then, organize the list so your loved ones will be able to handle your digital assets if you become incapacitated or die.

Your Probate Questions Answered

  February 8, 2012     By Duffy Law Office
If you’re like most people, you’ve heard the term, “probate, «but aren’t really sure what it means other than it happens when someone dies and lawyers are involved. To bring some clarity to the subject of probate, we’re answering common probate questions below:

Understanding Trust Administration

  February 7, 2012     By Watkins, Blakely & Torgerson, LLP
Managing a trust is an extremely important responsibility. For the trustee, it is crucial to become well informed of their rights and responsibilities in order to avoid any legal conflict in the future. It is not uncommon for people to be confused about what exactly a trust is and what its functions are. A trust refers to property given to a trustee to manage for the benefit of a third person.

You Need a Custom Estate Plan

  February 6, 2012     By Duffy Law Office
Many people assume that an estate plan is a relatively easy tool that can be completed in a matter of minutes by downloading documents from the internet. This is why many people attempt to do their own planning. It’s important to understand how beneficial a custom plan can be for you and your life and how worthless a generic is.

Why Might a Will Be Contested?

  February 6, 2012     By Duffy Law Office
When creating a will, it’s important to take extra care to ensure that you have a legal and valid will. This can allow your wishes to be respected and can help to keep a will contest, or challenge of a will, at bay. Are you wondering what may warrant a will contest? Take a look below, to learn more.

Why is Probate Necessary?

  February 6, 2012     By Duffy Law Office
If you’re like many people, you may have the desire to avoid the probate process. Because it can be a public, lengthy, and expensive process, many people plan their estate in hopes to avoid it. There are reasons why probate is necessary in some cases. Take a look at the reasons below to see how probate can be helpful. If you have any questions, or if you’d like to discuss the probate process, contact an estate planning – probate attorney.

What is a Pour?

  February 6, 2012     By Duffy Law Office
A pour-over-will is the will that is used in trust based estate planning. It has three important functions. The pour-over function funnels any assets not funded into your revocable living trust at your death, into the trust, through the probate process. In addition, you appoint your personal representative (i.e. executor) and guardians for your minor children in your pour-over-will.

What are Unintended Heirs?

  February 6, 2012     By Duffy Law Office
Unintended heirs are those people who end up with your money, without you intending to give it to them. Often the government, your surviving spouse’s new significant other, or an estranged relative are unintended heirs. Unfortunately, children are unintentionally disinherited with poor estate planning and inappropriate asset ownership. Instead the assets go to unintended heirs. Every adult needs a comprehensive up-to-date estate plan that is customized for his or her individual situation.

Child Custody for Fathers

  February 4, 2012     By Law Office of Elliot S. Schlissel
If child custody and/or visitation arrangements have not worked out, the non- custodial parent can bring an application to either the Family Court or Supreme Court to modify the child custody arrangements (if the parties have remarried). Men often do poorly when dealing with the Family Court or the Supreme Court in child custody and visitation matters.

The Will Fact Sheet

  February 4, 2012     By Duffy Law Office
Everyone, who has attained the age of 18, needs his or her own will. There is often some confusion about what a will can and cannot do so we created this will fact sheet to guide our clients. We hope you find it helpful.

The Importance of EP

  February 4, 2012     By Duffy Law Office
If you have not yet handled your estate planning affairs, you will want to carefully consider your needs to determine your individual estate planning goals. It's important to have planning in place so that you're always prepared. If you don't have an estate plan, you may have to deal with serious consequences.

The Importance of Asking Questions

  February 4, 2012     By Duffy Law Office
Taking the time to develop your estate plan can be an overwhelming and confusing process. When you’re new to planning, you will likely have a lot of questions and concerns. It’s important to have an open line of communication with your attorney so that you’re able to better understand your planning and get the help that you need.

Problems that Can Go Wrong with Your Estate Plan

  February 4, 2012     By Duffy Law Office
If you want to have the best estate plan possible, you need to be aware of potential pitfalls and plan so that you avoid potential problems. Your wishes may also not be respected if there are errors. Take a look at the following information, to learn more. If you have any questions, or if you’d like begin creating your estate plan, contact an estate planning attorney.

Lessons Learned Through Famous Court Cases

  February 4, 2012     By Duffy Law Office
In 2006, Anna Nicole Smith made headlines when she appealed a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The famous model and later reality television star made headlines when she married billionaire J. Howard Marshall. Marshall, 62 years older than Smith, was her second husband. Many speculated that she wed Marshall solely for his sizeable estate and wealth.

Follow These Steps through the Estate Planning Process

  February 4, 2012     By Duffy Law Office
It may seem confusing and scary having to plan your own estate planning affairs. Know that by creating a plan you will be taking the first steps in preparing yourself for the future. If you’re just getting started with your planning, take a look at the following steps; this will help to guide you throughout the process. If you have any questions, or if you’d like to begin your estate planning, contact an estate planning attorney.

Credit Card Debt Could Destroy Your Retirement

  February 4, 2012     By Duffy Law Office
When most people think of the elderly, they envision someone that is very thrifty with their money, and in some cases they’d be right. Some of the elderly people of today lived through events like the Great Depression. Due to their experiences, these people learned to put away for a rainy day, and only purchase items that were necessary.

Life Insurance During Retirement

  February 3, 2012     By Duffy Law Office
For many people life insurance is an important safety net for their loved ones. With a life insurance policy you know that your family will be financially secure even if something was to happen and you could no longer provide for them. When you have a young family, there is no doubt that life insurance is very important, but is it as important once you are retired?

Do You Have a Strong Incapacity Plan in Place?

  February 3, 2012     By Duffy Law Office
Have you heard of incapacity planning, guardianships, or conservatorship? Have you heard of a living willpowers of attorney, and trust planning. If you’re like most folks, you’ve heard the terms somewhere but don’t have a full grasp of how it all fits together; that’s totally normal. But, incapacity planning is much more important than you think. Just ask anyone who’s ever had to use a disability plan, which worked or didn’t work.

Discuss End of Life Decisions and Create a Living Will

  February 3, 2012     By Duffy Law Office
If you’re planning for the future, you will have many planning needs, including a living will in your comprehensive estate plan. This will allow you to legally spell out your end of life treatment decisions. Without a plan in place, others will be left to guess and make difficult choices. Take a look at the following information, to learn more about this planning need.

Can You Disinherit Your Spouse?

  February 3, 2012     By Duffy Law Office
Sometimes, probate lawyers become involved in cases where their clients ask for their assistance in drafting wills that will give their spouses very little of their estates or nothing at all. Probate lawyers may also become involved in cases representing spouses who receive nothing through disinheritance.

As a Single Parent, Do I Need Trust Planning?

  February 3, 2012     By Duffy Law Office
If your children are minors and/or you want to protect the assets that go to your children from creditors and divorcing spouses, you need trust planning. As a single parent, there is no back up if you become incapacitated or die. A strong, comprehensive, and up-to-date trust-based estate plan needs to be in place to protect your children.

Are You Ready to Serve as a Guardian for Minor Children?

  February 3, 2012     By Duffy Law Office
If you’ve been named as a guardian for minor children in a loved one’s will, your hands will be full if you are called upon to act. It’s important to fully understand your duties before agreeing to serve as a guardian. This will allow you to be better prepared and can make it possible for you to decide if you’re the right fit.

Annuities as Part of Your Retirement Plan

  February 3, 2012     By Duffy Law Office
One way that you can invest in your retirement is through annuities, though this retirement tool may not be right for everyone. If you are still young and would like to save more for retirement than what you can contribute to your retirement plan each year, an annuity may be a good option.

Are You Having Trouble Choosing a Guardian?

  February 3, 2012     By Duffy Law Office
Many parents with young children have difficulty deciding on a guardian. In many of these cases the parents have many possible guardians to choose from or they don’t have someone who is a complete fit. This is completely normal. If you’re having trouble deciding on a guardian, take a look at some of the tips below. Your estate planning attorney can help you decide on a guardian for your children.

5 Benefits to Creating a Will

  February 3, 2012     By Duffy Law Office
A will is an important estate planning document that many people never take the time to create. A will can help you achieve many of your estate planning goals. It can also be used to determine how many of your affairs will be handled after your death. Take a look at the following 5 benefits to creating a will. If you have any questions, or if you’d like to create a will, meet with an estate planning attorney.

32.9 Billion Reasons to Engage in Estate Planning

  February 3, 2012     By Duffy Law Office
The Wall Street Journal reported, “[a]ccording to the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators, state treasurers currently hold $32.9 billion in unclaimed bank accounts and other assets. (You can search for unclaimed assets at MissingMoney.com.)” For the most part, this is money heirs didn’t know about because their loved ones either didn’t do estate planning or didn’t stay organized and it was missed.

10 Benefits of a Revocable Living Trust

  February 3, 2012     By Duffy Law Office
If you’re planning or updating your estate plan, you may want to consider creating a revocable living trust. Trusts are a highly beneficial estate planning tool. Take a look at the following information, to better understand 10 benefits of a revocable living trust. If you have any questions, or if you’d like to create a trust, contact an estate planning attorney.

Estate Tax Changes for 2011

  February 3, 2012     By Duffy Law Office
In estate planning circles the estate tax is always a core issue, but it was an especially hot topic in 2010. A provision contained in the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (commonly referred to as the “Bush tax cuts”) called for a repeal of the estate tax for the 2010 calendar year. It was set to return in 2011 with an exclusion of just $1 million and a top rate of a whopping 55% (it was 45% in '09).

Arrange for the Family Business as Part of Estate Planning.

  February 3, 2012     By Duffy Law Office
Some of the concerns related to the changing economy and an agricultural relationship between the generations of farmers, in an industry that pushes small businesses to failure. A simple understanding of how to leave your small business or farm to the right persons or family members in planning your estate ahead of time can be vexing, especially when such an action is necessary.

Don’t Forget to Plan for Retirement

  February 3, 2012     By Duffy Law Office
A lot of people these days are not seeing consistent growth in their retirement savings, if they have a retirement account at all. The reason why retirement accounts fail to grow often has nothing to do with the market, and everything to do with the everyday cost of living.

Death and Taxes

  February 2, 2012     By Deborah Sexton Law Office, PA
The “death tax” is a euphemism for the estate tax. Estate tax is imposed "on the transfer of the taxable estate of every decedent who is a citizen or resident of the United States.

What is Elder Law?

  February 2, 2012     By Deborah Sexton Law Office, PA
Elder Law is a term that has been coined to encompass the body of law regarding the aging population. It is an area of law that has seen significant growth as the baby boomer generation ages.

Estate Administration

  February 2, 2012     By Deborah Sexton Law Office, PA
If you’re like most people, you’ve heard of the term, “probate.” Essentially, the term “probate” and “estate administration are used interchangeably and refer to the winding down of a person’s financial life after death. Technically, the term, “probate,» refers to court validation of your will.

Arkansas Pet Trusts What the Law Says

  February 1, 2012     By Deborah Sexton Law Office, PA
Arkansas enacted its Pet Trust Law in 2005. Since then, pet owners have been able to create a Trust to ensure that their pets are properly cared for after the pet owners die. Though you should talk to a qualified estate planning attorney if you want assistance creating a Pet Trust or have specific questions, let’s take a moment to look at what the Arkansas statute states.

Q and A of Wills (2)

  February 1, 2012     By Law Offices of Richard B. Schneider, LLC
Creating a will is the starting point of estate planning, but it certainly should not be the ending point. While there are several other documents that make up a comprehensive estate plan, we answer questions involving the most important document, the will.

Elder Law

  February 1, 2012     By Law Offices of Richard B. Schneider, LLC
The practice of elder law is an area of expertise that developed from the need of a growing population of senior citizens with specific legal issues. What can an elder law attorney do for you or a loved one? Elder law is a relative new area in the practice of law, arising from the need of a growing population of senior citizens with specific legal needs.

Will Updates

  February 1, 2012     By Law Offices of Richard B. Schneider, LLC
Despite its purpose, a will is a living document, meaning it should be updated or changed as situations warrant and life changes occur. In fact, even if circumstances do not change, a will should be reviewed every three to five years.

The Role of a Trust in Disability Planning

  February 1, 2012     By Law Offices of Richard B. Schneider, LLC
One aspect of estate planning involves disability planning, which is creating a contingency plan in case of incapacitation in later years. A living trust is one estate planning tool that can often be put to good use within a disability plan.

Estate Planning with Second Marriages

  February 1, 2012     By Law Offices of Richard B. Schneider, LLC
Estate planning for clients who are in their second marriage often presents some challenges that are not present where the clients are in their first marriage.Sorting through a confusing mix of what belongs to whom, and who gets what belonging to whom, can produce feelings of hurt and resentment.

Duties of the Executor of a Last Will and Testament

  January 31, 2012     By Law Offices of Richard B. Schneider, LLC
When most people create their Last Will and Testament, they nominate a spouse, partner, child or parent as the executor of the Will without giving much thought to what the position of executor actually entails. However, once you understand the complex nature of the duties of an executor, you may decide to give a little more thought to the choice of the executor.

Trust Fund Recovery Penalty – A Nightmare for Businesses

  January 31, 2012     By Gilland Law Firm PC
Payroll tax problems are highly unique by a number of measures. Payroll tax problems are generally regarded much more seriously than other tax issues and are also detected and moved against by the IRS much faster. In addition Payroll Tax Problems are different in another way – the number of people who can be personally liable. When it comes to payroll tax problems it’s not just the business owners or the “corporation” that can be held liable for the back taxes.

How to Use the Gift Tax Exemption and Exclusion

  January 31, 2012     By The Law Offices of James A. Miller
Anyone who has a substantial estate knows that avoiding estate taxes is one of the primary goals of estate planning. The estate tax rate changes on a regular basis; however, it is typically high, meaning an estate could lose as much as half of its value to taxes. One option for avoiding estate taxes is to gift assets to family members and loved ones during your lifetime.

A Look at the Future of the Estate Tax

  January 31, 2012     By Law Office of Roy W. Litherland
Back in 2010, there was a lot of uncertainty surrounding the estate tax. The tax was repealed for that year due to provisions contained within the Bush era tax cuts. However, as the laws stood throughout most of 2010, the estate tax was scheduled to reappear in 2011. At that time the exclusion was scheduled to be $1 million, and the maximum rate was set at 55%.

Hurdling a Round of Taxation

  January 31, 2012     By Ryan, Hicks, Cumpton & Cumpton, LLP
Taxes are an interesting thing because they can spawn conflicting emotions. Money is hard earned and nobody wants to part with a significant portion their earnings and give them to the tax man. However, the vast majority of thinking people recognize the need to fund certain foundational elements of society.

German Law on Inheritance and Gift Tax: New Regulations for Situs Taxation in Force

  January 30, 2012     By WF Frank & Partner LLP
Under § 16 (1) of the German Law on inheritance and gift tax a tax free amount on the taxable acquisition of up to €500 000 (depending on the degree of kinship) is generally granted. However, this exemption is only €2 000 if both the decedent and the beneficiary are not resident in Germany. The new law now allows to avoid choose the application of the full tax free amount if the beneficiary taxes his worldwide acquisition.

Advance Directives are Not to be Overlooked

  January 27, 2012     By Anderson, Dorn & Rader, Ltd.
People tend to procrastinate when it comes to addressing the issues of aging and the inevitability of death and you are probably among them. Of course, these are not especially pleasant subjects to consider. These are realities all the same and it is useful to remember that you are assisting your family members when you take action and make the appropriate arrangements.

Intelligent Planning for Gay Couples

  January 27, 2012     By Augulis Law Firm
It is important to consult with a Central New Jersey Estate Planning attorney when you are making plans for the future regardless of your family dynamic. There are a lot of different bases to cover if you want to be comprehensively prepared for all the eventualities of aging and your eventual death. Professional guidance is key if you want to be certain that nothing is being overlooked.

Reducing Tax Exposure

  January 27, 2012     By Augulis Law Firm
The estate tax can have an enormous impact on the family members that you will be leaving behind and it is something to be very aware of when you are making preparations for the future. A single imposition of this federal levy is a big deal because it carries a 35% rate at the present time, and in fact this rate is scheduled to rise to 55% at the beginning of next year. But imagine having to pay this twice.

The Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust

  January 27, 2012     By John Rogers Burk, A Law Corporation
Among the many estate planning tools, an irrevocable life insurance trust, or ILIT, offers numerous advantages with few disadvantages. The primary goal of an estate plan is to determine how you wish your assets to be distributed upon your death; however, there are often important secondary goals and considerations.

Adopted Children’s Probate Rights in Florida

  January 27, 2012     By Robert J. Kulas, P.A.
Generally, Florida law does not allow an adopted child to inherit through intestacy from his or her biological parents. The limited exception to this rule is when an adopted child’s birth parent dies but his or her surviving parent remarries a stepparent who subsequently adopts his or her deceased spouse’s biological child. In this limited situation, the adopted child of his or her stepparent and biological child of his or her deceased parent can inherit from both parents.

Florida Estate Taxes

  January 27, 2012     By Robert J. Kulas, P.A.
Many states enacted estate tax programs which supplemented the federal estate income tax laws. Known as “pick-up” taxes, state estate tax programs typically picked up where federal taxes left-off. Thus, since most estates did not owe federal income taxes, a small number of Floridians paid state pick-up estate taxes.

Inheritance Tax Nil Rate Band Trusts in Wills

  January 25, 2012     By Purely Probate
Why Nil Rate Band Trusts in Wills should be reviewed. Until 2008 lots of people made what was called nil rate band trusts in their Wills. They were designed to save inheritance tax. This is how they worked: Inheritance tax (IHT) can be charged on gifts of money or property during someone’s lifetime and when they die.

Budgeting for Future Life Expenses

  January 25, 2012     By Law Office of Roy W. Litherland
If you expect to retire when you are in your mid-60s, you are going to have to save enough money to provide for your needs for perhaps 20 years or more. Most people will require a thoughtful and practical plan to be able to accumulate the resources that they need to comfortably enjoy their retirement years.

Property Division: What Can I Keep and What Must be Divided?

  January 24, 2012     By Blahnik Law Office, PLLC
Adam J. Blahnik, a Minnesota divorce and family law lawyer, explains how Minnesota is considered a common law property State (or marital property State) as opposed to a community property State. He then details the difference between "marital property" and "non-marital property" in Minnesota.

How to Limit Anxieties about an Upcoming Nursing Home Move

  January 24, 2012     By Deborah Sexton Law Office, PA
If it’s time for a loved one to move to a nursing home, it is likely that your entire family is upset about the situation. This is because living in a nursing home is a big change. Luckily, there are steps that you can take that will make the move easier. Take a look at the following information to learn more. If you have any questions, or if you’d like to discuss nursing home options, contact an estate planning attorney.

Dying Without a Will in Arkansas 4 Scenarios

  January 24, 2012     By Deborah Sexton Law Office, PA
Even if you don't have a lot of property, you can benefit by creating an estate plan that chooses how your property passes after you die. If you don't set your choices out in a legally recognized manner, Arkansas state law makes the decision for you through its laws of intestate succession. These laws are quite complicated and can lead to a number of different scenarios, so you should talk to a qualified estate planning attorney for specific advice about what might happen to your estate.

Assisted Living Costs Trending Upward

  January 21, 2012     By Esther Wang - The Elderly and Disability Law Firm
When you are anticipating the eventualities of aging long-term budget projections are necessary. To estimate your future expenses accurately you have to be fully aware of the facts, and with this in mind you would do well to know a few things about long-term care and the costs involved.

Durable Powers of Attorney and Incapacity Planning

  January 21, 2012     By Esther Wang - The Elderly and Disability Law Firm
If you are not apprised of current elder law statistics you may be somewhat surprised to hear about the facts regarding incapacity among those who reach an advanced age. According to the Alzheimer's Association, some 13% of senior citizens are afflicted by the disease. Alzheimer’s causes dementia, which can rob its victims of the ability to make sound personal, financial and medical decisions.

Estate Tax: An Instance of Double Taxation?

  January 21, 2012     By Esther Wang - The Elderly and Disability Law Firm
Nobody wants to pay their taxes twice, and this is why a lot of people take umbrage with the federal estate tax. The estate tax can be logically called an instance of double taxation, and we will explain by way of example. Let's say that you work for a company and receive direct deposits every two weeks throughout your forty-year career. When that money gets to your account it is going to be markedly less than your gross income, right?

Arkansas Advance Directive

  January 20, 2012     By Deborah Sexton Law Office, PA
A properly drafted medical power of attorney in Arkansas, sometimes known as a durable power of attorney, is an essential part of a good estate plan. State laws have very specific rules when it comes to making these advance medical directives, and you must follow these requirements to ensure your power of attorney is legal.

Estate Pet Care – 3 Basic Concepts

  January 20, 2012     By Deborah Sexton Law Office, PA
For many of us, the idea of leaving our pets without adequate care after we die is not an option. While you know how much you love your pet, the law doesn't recognize the right for an animal to own property, which means you cannot leave your property to your pet after you die.

Estate Planning Basics

  January 20, 2012     By Pyke & Associates, P.C.
Many people hear the term “estate planning «and immediately think it doesn’t apply to them. After all, estate planning, is only for the rich or the elderly, right? Wrong. Basic estate planning is a necessity for everyone. As you age, or your estate grows, you can revise your estate plan to include more complex tools. Understanding some of the most basic estate planning tools, can help you on your comprehensive estate plan and should be started, preferably, early on in life.

Choosing a Nursing Home for Your Loved One

  January 20, 2012     By Pyke & Associates, P.C.
At some point in your life you may have a loved one who requires the care and attention that only a nursing home can provide. The decision to place your loved one in a nursing home is never reached easily. Once you have reached the decision, it is important to choose the best nursing home possible for your loved one’s care.

How Can an Elder Law Attorney Help Me?

  January 20, 2012     By Pyke & Associates, P.C.
Although we may dread the aging process, most of us hope to live long enough to enjoy our “golden years». If you still have many years to go before your own “golden years», there is a good chance that you have a loved one who is currently enjoying his or hers.

Florida Living Wills and Health Care Surrogates

  January 19, 2012     By Robert J. Kulas, P.A.
A living will becomes valid in Florida upon the incapacity of the person drafting or making it. An individual can revoke or cancel his living will as long as he is mentally competent to do so. You may cancel or revoke your living will by physically destroying it, creating a new one or in writing through a letter of revocation. You can also revoke or cancel your health care surrogate designation in the same way.

Federal Income Taxes on Inheritances

  January 19, 2012     By Byrd Garrett PLLC
In most cases, the Internal Revenue Service does not impose federal income taxes on inheritances. Thus, recipients of large inheritances may not have to pay income taxes on the value of their gifts. Instead, Congress enacted tax laws imposing the federal income tax liabilities on estates.

Filing a PA Inheritance Tax Return

  January 18, 2012     By The Martin Law Firm, P.C.
In Pennsylvania, decedents' estates are required to file a PA Inheritance Tax Return (Form REV-1500) as part of the probate and estate administration process. A PA Inheritance Tax Return should be filed on behalf of any decedent who (1) resided in Pennsylvania at the time of his or her death, and/or (2) owned or had an interest in reportable property that is subject to inheritance tax.

Texas Pet Trust – 3 Questions

  January 18, 2012     By John R. Vermillion & Associates, LLC
In 2006, Texas enacted legislation that allowed residents to create pet trusts, specific types of trusts that allow you to leave property for the care of your pet. The trusts are an ideal way for any pet owner who wants to leave their pets safe and secure after they die. Let’s look at some common questions about Texas pet trusts.

How to Get the Most Out of a Grantor Retained Annuity Trust

  January 17, 2012     By Law Offices of Richard B. Schneider, LLC
Given the typically high rate of both gift taxes and estate taxes, the grantor retained annuity trust, or GRAT, has become a popular estate planning option over recent years. Although the rules for a GRAT are complex and ever-changing, the basic concept is simple enough to understand.

How Does an Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust Operate?

  January 16, 2012     By Law Offices of Richard B. Schneider, LLC
The avoidance of estate taxes and the often costly and lengthy process known as probate, are two important goals of many estate plans. For those who have substantial assets that they anticipate leaving to family and loved ones, estate taxes are a prominent consideration when estate planning. Although the estate tax rate changes on a regular basis, it is typically extremely high -- often hovering around 50 percent.

3 Estate Plan Changes to Make Now

  January 15, 2012     By The Law Office of Michael Robinson, P.C.
An estate plan, once created, is not set in stone. You can, and should, make changes to your plan as time goes on. If you haven't made changes recently, there are several areas you should look at and update as necessary.

Living Will and Medical Power of Attorney

  January 15, 2012     By Ryan, Hicks, Cumpton & Cumpton, LLP
It is important to be aware of just how likely it is that you may go through a period of incapacitation before you pass away. Alzheimer's induced dementia is very common among our nation's elderly, and this is one of the reasons why it is good idea to be prepared. However, there are other causes of incapacity as well and it is better to err to the side of safety rather than leaving things to chance.

Communicate Your Wishes While You Can

  January 15, 2012     By Augulis Law Firm
A high percentage of people are not at all prepared for the eventualities of aging. One of the primary reasons for this is the fact that many individuals don't want to consider unpleasant possibilities. While this may be understandable on a particular level it is actually quite irresponsible. There are certain realities that are facts of life and there is really no excuse for refusing to accept them.

The Value of a Probate Attorney

  January 15, 2012     By Augulis Law Firm
When you use a last will to direct the transfer of your assets after your death it is not just passed around among your loved ones. The probate or surrogate court must determine its validity, and most lay people have no understanding of the expectations of the probate court. This is one of the reasons why the guidance of a good central New Jersey probate lawyer is important when you are drawing up your will.

NY Probate Basics - Surrogates Court-1

  January 12, 2012     By The Law Office of Michael Robinson, P.C.
All states have their own set of probate laws and procedures that govern what happens to your property after you die. They also have their own court systems that handle probate cases. In many states, these cases are heard by probate court judges, while in others they are handled by district or circuit court judges. In New York State, probate cases are heard in front of the Surrogate's Court.

Asset Protection Errors - How to Avoid the Most Common Errors in Setting Up an Asset Protection Strategy

  January 11, 2012     By Carlo Scevola & Partners
Many of you probably receive unsolicited junk e-mails offering different Asset Protection schemes. With so many "tax haven" jurisdictions and unlicensed companies selling unproven and unreliable Asset Protection techniques and entities, which do you trust? There are many flawed asset protection packages offered on the internet now days.

Ten Steps in Estate Planning in California

  January 10, 2012     By Meissner, Joseph & Palley, Inc.
This article lists out the ten steps involved in Estate Planning in particular reference to the State of California. The following are the ten complete steps involved in the process of Estate Planning.

Pet Planning as an Integral Part of Estate Planning

  January 10, 2012     By The Law Offices of James A. Miller
To pet lovers, the fact pet planning as part of estate planning has now become commonplace, is a “What took you so long?” In recognition that our pets are beloved members of our families, animal advocates, the Massachusetts state legislature, and estate planning attorneys have brought pet planning to the forefront of many estate planning discussions.

Do I Need to Worry about Estate Taxes?

  January 10, 2012     By The Law Offices of James A. Miller
In America, it seems as though we are always worrying about one tax obligation or another. Everything from our income to the food we purchase is taxed. Most Americans devote a considerable amount of time and effort to limiting their tax burden throughout the year and looking for every possible deduction and credit at the end of the year.

ABLE – “Achieve a Better Life Experience”– Federal Legislation - What You Need to Know About the Proposed Law

  January 9, 2012     By Jaburg Wilk
“ABLE,” has been proposed again in both houses of Congress. The purpose is to encourage and assist individuals and families in saving private funds and to provide secure funding for disability-related expenses. At the urging of a number of national disability advocacy groups, federal legislation to "Achieve a Better Life Experience", more commonly known as "ABLE," has been proposed once again in both houses of Congress (HR 3423 and SB 1872) in November 2011.

Do You have Enough Life Insurance Coverage?

  January 7, 2012     By Kevin Pillion - Co-Executor PLLC
If you are planning for the future, you probably have considered the use of life insurance. This can be a great tool to help protect your loved ones. However, many people don’t carefully consider their life insurance needs. Take a look at the information below, to better understand the need for enough life insurance coverage. If you have any questions, or if you’d like to discuss life insurance options, contact an estate planning attorney.

Make Sure that Your Loved Ones have an Estate Plan

  January 7, 2012     By Kevin Pillion - Co-Executor PLLC
If you have friends and family members who mean the world to you, it’s important to discuss their need for an estate plan. This can be easy to approach if you’ve recently handled your planning affairs. You likely want to make sure that your loved ones will always be protected with an estate plan, throughout all of life’s events.

Is Aging at Home a Good Long Term Care Option?

  January 7, 2012     By Kevin Pillion - Co-Executor PLLC
If your loved one is in need of long term care, you’re probably taking the time to compare different long term care facilities and options. Many seniors prefer to age at home so that they’re able to live a more comfortable life in a familiar environment. If you’re considering at home care for your loved one, you will need to carefully consider his or her needs.

A Bullet Point List for Talking to Your Family

  January 7, 2012     By Kevin Pillion - Co-Executor PLLC
Few people want to have to talk about estate planning because it involves uncomfortable subjects like money, health, disability, death, and dying. However, having a conversation or series of conversations over the years truly will benefit you and your family.

Beneficiary Designations

  January 7, 2012     By Kevin Pillion - Co-Executor PLLC
Your will or revocable living trust may indicate that if you are legally separated or divorced, your ex will be deemed to have predeceased you and cannot inherit from you. However, certain plan documents containing beneficiary designations – such life insurance, annuities, retirement plans, and pensions - do not have this same provision. These later plan documents rule and can result in your ex inheriting from you.

This Estate Planning

  January 7, 2012     By Kevin Pillion - Co-Executor PLLC
Sometimes the unthinkable can occur, and it can be all the more tragic if there are no estate planning tools in place to address the ‘what ifs. It’s unfortunate that more young couples don’t have an estate plan in place, neither a basic will nor durable power of attorney. They often wait until after they have started a family, or when they purchase their first home or even when they reach their 30’s or 40’s.

Who Needs an Estate Plan?

  January 7, 2012     By Kevin Pillion - Co-Executor PLLC
There are people out there who feel as though estate planning is something that is only relevant to those who reach an advanced age. Of course it is pure common sense to recognize the fact that the likelihood of your death becomes greater as you age, but this does not mean that estate planning is something that only senior citizens need to engage in.

Gift Giving and Your Estate

  January 7, 2012     By Kevin Pillion - Co-Executor PLLC
Estate planning attorneys will often say that it is important to avoid asset erosion when you are engaged in legacy planning. This causes a lot of people to scratch their heads. They wonder why there should be any reason to be concerned about the value of their assets being reduced simply because they pass away and want to transfer them to family members.

Three Reasons to Avoid Probate

  January 7, 2012     By Kevin Pillion - Co-Executor PLLC
You hear a lot about probate avoidance when you start to delve into the subject of estate planning, so let's take a look at three of the most common reasons why people choose to avoid probate. When you use a last will as your primary vehicle of asset transfer there could be disgruntled parties who learn of your wishes and feel as though they want to contest them.

CRUT Can Provide Asset Protection

  January 7, 2012     By Kevin Pillion - Co-Executor PLLC
A charitable remainder unitrust or CRUT is a financial instrument that is utilized to provide the grantor with tax efficient income while simultaneously protecting assets placed into the trust. The grantor would generally act as the beneficiary and the trustee, but he or she must also name a charitable beneficiary.


Find a Local Lawyer