When someone has named you as the fiduciary in a will or trust (personal representative or trustee), when that person passes away you are obligated to distribute their money and assets to the beneficiaries who have been named in the document. Sometimes, perhaps because of a family Continue reading
One classification of trusts is whether the trust is a grantor or nongrantor trust. Although every trust has at least one grantor (the trustmaker or settlor who creates the trust), the terms grantor or nongrantor are used to classify the trust’s income tax liability.
Grantor Trust Continue reading
Are You Sure You Want That Inheritance?
Are there ever times that you might not want to accept an inheritance? While it might be an honor to receive something from a loved one who has passed, there may be reasons that an inheritance may not be desired. In some cases, receiving an inheritance may create logistical or financial Continue reading
Using Assisted Reproductive Technology: What Happens to Unused Genetic Material at Your Death?
The use of genetic material, such as frozen sperm, eggs, and embryos, in reproductive technology creates unique issues in estate planning. Is that material considered property that needs to be planned for as part of your estate? Is it like your home, your cars, your jewelry? Who owns Continue reading
Cryptocurrency and Your Estate Plan
Do you own any cryptocurrency? If yes, here are a few things you should know about cryptocurrency in relation to your estate plan.
Beware of the Tax Consequences
Transferring your cryptocurrency to other people, either during life or at your death, could have income, estate, and gift Continue reading
Dutiful Child or Manipulator of the Elderly?
Elder abuse is a serious and increasingly common problem in our society. As people are routinely living into their eighties and nineties, physical and mental capacities may diminish, causing the need to rely on others for help with physical or financial matters. A relative or friend Continue reading
Three Steps to Take When the Deceased Has Controlled Substances
There are many things to deal with when a loved one passes away. One that should not be overlooked is dealing with prescription drugs and other controlled substances that they possessed. There are laws governing the disposal of these substances, so it is important to understand the Continue reading
If I Give My Home to My Child in My Will, Can They Take My Home While I Am Still Alive?
One common approach to estate planning is to leave a home to children in one’s will. Does this give your child any current rights to your home while you are alive? Can your child then possibly take your home from you? The short answer to this question is no. A child named as beneficiary Continue reading
What Happens to Your Social Media Accounts at Your Death?
Are you one of the many Americans who uses social media? Have you ever considered what will happen to your social media accounts when you die? If you have spent time creating, uploading, and sharing content, it is important to be aware of how your accounts are treated after your death Continue reading
Estate Planning Considerations for Couples with an Age Gap
With couples of similar ages, planning for the future is quite naturally a joint effort. However, if you are married to someone who is significantly older or younger than you, the future can look different and mean different things to each of you. To protect yourself, your spouse Continue reading
Springing Financial Powers of Attorney
Estate planning involves both preparing for the inevitable and planning for the unexpected. Your plan should have detailed instructions for what happens when you are no longer around, but what if something goes wrong while you are alive?
If you can no longer manage your affairs, you Continue reading
Different Types of Deeds
When transferring real estate, there are different types of deeds that can be used. Following is a brief discussion of three types of deeds that are commonly used and why they might be considered.
When someone wants to transfer whatever property rights they have in a Continue reading
QTIP Trust – Providing For a Surviving Spouse
What is a QTIP trust?
A qualified terminable interest property (QTIP) trust is an estate planning tool that married couples can use to minimize uncertainty about the future and maximize certain tax advantages. Since no one can predict how much they will own at the time of their death, Continue reading
Pour-Over Will – Not Your Average Will
Wills and trusts are two basic legal instruments used to direct the transfer of assets after someone passes away. A revocable living trust is often referred to as a will substitute, but wills and trusts are not mutually exclusive. You can have both a will and a trust, and in fact, Continue reading
The ABCs of RLTs
A revocable living trust (RLT) is a commonly used estate planning tool. But what exactly are they, who is affected by them, how can they be changed, and what do they accomplish?
What Are They?
Trusts are legal mechanisms for the ownership of property for the benefit of a person or entity. Continue reading
Five Questions to Ask Yourself About Your Social Media Presence
Social media is all about putting yourself out there to connect with people, wherever they may be. If you are active on social media, not only are you being social, you may also be gaining a following that could result in an inflow of cash. If you are using social media to earn income, Continue reading
Reasons a Trust Might Terminate
Trusts can be designed for any number of reasons and can be created to last a short time or to stretch across generations. Properly designed, a trust can keep valuable money and property within a family for an extended time, but no trust has unlimited funds or can last forever. Every Continue reading
Qualified Personal Residence Trust – What Is It and When Should You Consider One?
For those who have estates large enough to be subject to estate taxes, either currently or when the estate tax exemption falls as scheduled in 2026, various planning options are available to reduce or eliminate the estate tax liability. One strategy is the qualified personal residence Continue reading
Why You Might Want to Go Through Probate
Avoiding probate is a common goal expressed in estate planning. Avoiding the costs, delays, and loss of privacy caused by the probate process is often desirable. However, in some cases, there may be some value found in using the probate court process.
Probate is the court-supervised Continue reading
Aligning Your Assets With Your Trust
For many, a comprehensive estate plan begins with a living trust agreement. Working with an attorney to create a trust is an important step. But just getting the document drafted and signed is not enough. For any trust to be effective, you must complete the process of aligning your Continue reading
The Importance to You and Your Loved Ones of Having an Estate Plan
In 2008, Congress recognized the need for the public to understand the importance and benefits of estate planning by passing House Resolution 1499, designating the third week of October as National Estate Planning Awareness Week. Current surveys still reveal that the vast majority Continue reading
What You Should Know About Life Insurance
A comprehensive estate plan is necessary to protect your loved ones when you pass away. Another key component of your plan is making sure that the right amount of money is available to carry out your goals for their futures. Life insurance helps many people provide for their loved Continue reading
Don’t Let Creditors Inherit from You or Your Spouse
For many people, their retirement accounts, such as an IRA, are the largest assets in their estate. Although spouses receive special treatment when inheriting a retirement account, including the ability to roll over the account into a personal retirement account and to stretch the Continue reading
Questions to Ask When Hiring a Fiduciary
A comprehensive estate plan includes several documents that accomplish three key things. First, they lay out your wishes for the handling of your money and property during life and at death. Second, they explain your medical wishes if you are no longer able to make them yourself or Continue reading
Estate Planning Concerns for the Unmarried
As an unmarried individual, you may feel overwhelmed when you think about who will step in and make decisions for you if you cannot make decisions for yourself and who will receive your money and property when you die. A married person often assumes a spouse would have authority to Continue reading