Practical advice. Flat rates. Plain language.


by

These trusts allow you to transfer ownership of your assets to the trust while still retaining possession and use of your assets while you're alive.

Perhaps you’ve heard the term “revocable living trust.” Its increasing popularity has made it a frequent topic of conversation among tax and estate planners. As daunting and complicated as the term may sound, the process of creating a revocable living trust is actually quite simple. This type of trust allows you to transfer ownership of your assets to the trust while still giving you the right to possess and use your assets while you’re living. Furthermore, these trusts enable you to ensure your estate does not pass through probate upon your death. It may sound crazy to most—give up ownership of all of your property? It’s really not as crazy as it may sound. Read on to find out why…

Read More


by

Under the new rules, when a spouse dies, the executor files an estate-tax return, which preserves the value of that spouse's $5 million exemption.

Many people avoid the estate planning discussion for a variety of reasons—no one wants to think about dying, many are reluctant to analyze personal financials and assets, and with so many changes scheduled to occur in early 2013, why not just wait? The excuses are never-ending. The bottom line is that at some point we will pass away, and at that time, what will happen to your estate? What are the estate-tax consequences of passing your assets to your loved ones?

Today’s post highlights a way that couples can maximize federal estate-tax savings without costly predeath estate planning. The IRS issued guidance in June for an estate-tax law that Congress passed in late 2010.

The Problem
Currently, an individual’s estate is exempt from…

Read More


by

Today's post details the basics of a living will, and explores some of the advantages and disadvantages of not having a living will.

A Wall Street Journal article discussed the often ineffective nature of a living will. A living will is a document that details your wishes for medical treatment and life-sustaining or prolonging procedures. The problem with these simple documents is that spelling out medical treatment has become increasingly difficult due to advances in life-saving technology, and doctors’ increasing inability to accurately predict quality of life or consequences of certain medical procedures. Today’s post details the basics of a living will, and explores some of the advantages and disadvantages of not having a living will.

What is a Living Will?
The living will is the oldest form of an advanced healthcare directive, or document that directs your representative how to make decisions regarding your…

Read More


by

A growing reliance on Internet (“cloud-based”) services has led to a number of growing legal issues related to accessing digital accounts after death.

Have you ever wondered what will happen to your Facebook account or your Shutterfly photo album when you die? Perhaps you wrote a masterpiece novel that is saved in your Gmail account. Can your loved ones access it or will it be lost forever after you pass away? The current laws in the US are vague. As our society becomes more and more reliant on Internet and “cloud-based” services, the legal questions related to privacy issues and access to digital accounts continue to grow.

In late January, the Uniform Law Commission, a national group of lawyers appointed by state governments to research and draft uniform state laws, proposed creating a committee to study issues related digital assets. The major goal is to figure…

Read More


by

Trusts can be an important estate planning and asset management tool that can be used by any individual who is seeking to maximize asset protection.

Not Just a Tool For the Wealthy
One common estate planning misconception about trusts is that they are instruments used by and designed only for wealthy folks. While commonly used by wealthy individuals, trusts can be an important estate planning and asset management tool that can be used by any individual who is seeking to maximize asset protection and minimize estate taxes. Depending on your objectives, a trust can be one of the simplest ways to ensure your estate, no matter what size, is properly distributed according to your wishes. Today’s article will focus on some common types of trusts and the estate planning basics of each.

Trusts For Estate Planning
I’ll begin today’s post by revisiting some of the basic concepts of…

Read More