No way! Married people need estate plans. Some folks think that because they own assets jointly with a spouse, they don’t need an estate plan. In fact, joint ownership is called a “poor man’s estate plan.” In reality, it should just be called a “poor estate plan.” Joint tenancy ownership is riddled with perils. Likely, the most serious peril is the unintentional disinheritance of your children. Sadly, it happens too often because of joint ownership. This is what can happen when you … [Read more...] about Married People Don’t Need Estate Plans, Right?
Revocable Living Trust
If you become incapacitated at any point in your life, who will manage your finances? You may think that you know the answer to that questions, but from a legal perspective you may not. Incapacity can happen slowly as part of the natural aging process or can happen in a moment as the result of the tragic accident. Regardless of how you become incapacitated, someone will have to manage your finances. If you are married at the time you become incapacitated, your spouse may have access to some … [Read more...] about Who Will Manage Your Finances If You Become Incapacitated?
The health and safety of our clients, staff, and friends of the law firm are top of mind amid concerns about the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). As estate planning and elder law attorneys, our practice is dedicated to serving our most vulnerable citizens, including seniors, those who are ill, disabled, experiencing mental health challenges and children with special needs. The uncertainty around the pandemic has many people with immune system challenges concerned about exposure to the … [Read more...] about Our Available Services During COVID-19/Coronavirus Pandemic
Before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, many of our clients were already assisting elderly or disabled family member and friends with such things as meals, medications, medical visits and shopping. Regular visits just to check in were also part of many folks’ normal routines. COVID-19 restrictions have had a large negative impact on many of these activities. So, how can you continue to assist under these new circumstances? Here are a few thoughts: Medical Issues Under a federal … [Read more...] about Assisting Family and Friends During These Trying Times
If you are one of the millions of Americans who has failed to create an estate plan, you are officially signed up for the government estate plan. When you fail to execute as much as a Last Will and Testament or Living Trust prior to your death, your estate will be handled according to the government’s rules and laws since you are considered to have died intestate. So how does the government estate plan work? For starters, except for the most modest estates, it is likely that everything you … [Read more...] about The Government Estate Plan for Intestacy
If you are working on an incapacity plan, you may wish to consider the use of a revocable living trust. Like its counterpart, the irrevocable living trust, a revocable living trust takes effect during your lifetime. Although a revocable living trust does not offer the same asset protection or estate tax benefits as certain irrevocable trusts, it does allow you the benefit of being able to make changes to the trust. A revocable living trust can also be an extremely attractive incapacity planning … [Read more...] about Living Trusts and Incapacity Planning
We are happy to report that, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, we are still able to deliver quality legal services and to serve our community with their legal needs. We also are doing our part to slow the spread of COVID-19 by wearing facial coverings, disinfecting our office, providing hand sanitizer to all visitors, practicing social distancing, and offering telephonic and video conferencing options. While we navigate our way through this unprecedented era, we will be operating with the above … [Read more...] about Important Notice Regarding COVID-19
Occasionally, a client will ask, “Do I really need all of these estate planning documents?” Usually, it’s rhetorical questions and a joke about trees, but we answer the question anyway. After all, estate planning attorneys like trees. The estate planning documents that your attorney will recommend will be based upon your concerns, finances, goals, and the law. The consequences of not having these documents are often harsh. While you may need advanced estate planning, the typical basic … [Read more...] about Are All of these Estate Planning Documents Necessary?
In previous newsletters, we have discussed both so-called “529 accounts”, which are a type of tax-efficient education savings accounts and ABLE accounts, which are a relatively new type of account that can be established to provide additional resources for persons receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. While each account is for a different purpose, they do share some similar features. Due to a recent law change, it is now possible to make limited transfers from existing 529 … [Read more...] about Interaction between Education Savings (“529”) Accounts and ABLE Accounts
Dying without a will or trust is called dying “intestate;” and, the intestacy laws of your state of residence, at your death, will determine who inherits from you and in what percentages. If you die with a well constructed and comprehensive will or trust plan, you get to decide who benefits from your estate. Typically, state intestacy laws don’t match decedents’ wishes. Furthermore, if you die with assets in more than one state, especially real estate, your assets would be subject to two … [Read more...] about What Happens When Someone Dies Without a Will or Trust?