IRAs are one the trickiest assets for estate planning attorneys to handle for many reasons. First, they often are overlooked in the estate planning process because they cannot be transferred during lifetime. This asset, like some other assets, are controlled by beneficiary designation. While the client might remember a large IRA, they often forget smaller IRAs. As a result, beneficiary designations often are left unchanged even when circumstances have changed, making those designations no longer appropriate. Continue reading
A businessman with a $2.5 billion estate passed away in 1976. He was single and many individuals, mostly unrelated to him, filed more than 40 wills with the probate court. Twenty-two cousins fought with all of the other individuals claiming a share of the estate. In the end, the wills were all ruled invalid and the 22 cousins plus the federal government divided up the estate.. This may occur because one of your family members or potential heirs might believe that he or she can receive a larger portion of the estate. Continue reading
The mere passage of time has no effect on the validity of the will. Individuals and families experience life changes every 2 to 5 years. So even though a will remains valid, the individual and family’s needs change. Tax laws and statutes controlling wills and trusts change as well. Continue reading
Special needs trusts come in three main flavors — first-party special needs trusts, third-party special needs trusts, and pooled trusts. All three trust varieties are designed to manage resources for a person with special needs so that the beneficiary can still qualify for public benefits like Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid. While first-party special needs trusts and pooled trusts hold funds that belong to the person with special needs, third-party special needs trusts, as the name implies, are funded with assets that never belonged to the trust beneficiary, and they provide several advantages over the other two types of trusts. Continue reading
Great review of basic considerations before finalizing your estate plan.
“Who should receive my property?” asked Helen to her attorney, Clara. “There are so many decisions to make. Since Morgan passed away, I need to make these decisions myself. Should I give property to the children outright or in trust? Is there a best age for them to receive the property? And what if one of them were to pass away before I do? The grandchildren are still too young to manage property. I also have made a loan to one of the children. Should I forgive that loan? And what about my dog Rover? Who will take care of Rover?” Continue reading