Articles Posted in Asset Protection

While we don’t like to confront the thought, none of us lives forever. When we pass, we understandably want to leave as manageable a situation as possible for our loved ones. If we fail to create estate plans, our loved ones can end up facing many obstacles. 

Understandably, we want the estate planning process to be as quick and easy as possible. While online estate planning options are widely advertised, these choices often leave people with various questions including whether the documents will hold up in court, whether the electronic documents will conform to state law, and if the documents will successfully achieve your estate planning goals.

This article reviews some issues with electronic estate planning documents that people commonly wonder about.

Many people find great enjoyment in sharing their life with a pet. Data reveals that about 90.5 million families in the United States own pets. For both people who are natural caregivers and those who require a pet’s companionship, pets can introduce a great sense of belonging to people. The consideration of pets is routinely overlooked when anticipating death and incapacity, though.

Consider Your Pet’s Specific Needs

When creating a trust or last will and testament, the needs of specific animals should be considered. Passing on responsibilities associated with small pets that live indoors is substantially different than requesting someone watch barnyard animals. You should consider who might be able to act as a future caregiver for your pet. Remember to be realistic about how this person will likely handle taking care of your pet. 

The 1988 film Rain Man was directed by Barry Levinson and is cited by many people as a favorite film. Rain Man tells the story of Charles Babbitt (Tom Cruise) who finds out that his estranged father has passed away and left all of his large estate and its associated assets to the other son, Raymond (Dustin Hoffman), who is an autistic savant. Only after the father passes away does Charles Babbitt learn of Raymond’s existence. Rain Man shines some interesting issues in regards to estate planning and many people have questions about how the movie would play out in real life. 

In the real world, Sanford Babbit would likely meet with his estate planning attorney before his death. Sanford would likely inform his lawyer that he has two children at this point. Sanford would also likely tell the lawyer that he had placed his autistic son in a private care facility for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Sanford would also likely express a legitimate concern about Raymond and his desire to make sure that his son can always live at this facility and remain protected. 

A knowledgeable attorney would likely recommend that Sanford establish a revocable trust. Following Sanford’s death, the trust would continue for the benefit of Raymond, while also potentially making annual distributions to Charlie. Following Raymond’s death, the trust would then be distributed to Charlie. Sanford would also likely execute a no-content clause stating that if Charlie seeks to argue or place aside the trust or Sanford’s will or disrupt Raymond’s situation, annual distributions to Charlie would be discontinued and the trust is passed from Charlie to the facility when Raymond passes away. 

As the new year begins, new opportunities are created for people to make the most out of their finances. Currently, the country is proceeding through the “Great Reshuffle”, which is seeing a large number of workers leave their jobs and make new ones. While many workers want to do their best to save as much as they can, some people are finding it hard to save and reach financial goals. This article reviews some of the important things that you can do to make the most of your finances in 2022 and beyond. 

# 1 – Examine Existing Retirement Plan Contributions

This year, 2022 workers can contribute as much as $20,500 to a 401(k) or make similar contributions to 403(b) plans and many 457 plans. This is $1,000 greater than the limit established in 2021. If you’re at least 50 years old, you can also add another $6,500 in “catch-up” contributions. 

Many myths exist about the rights and responsibilities of U.S. citizens. For example, if you are not a U.S. citizen but are married to a U.S. citizen and have permanent resident status, you might have heard that if your spouse passes away without an adequate estate plan you will be required to pay more taxes on your property than if you were a citizen of the United States. 

In reality, if you are the owner of property located in the U.S. but are neither a citizen nor permanent resident, you cannot claim exactly the same advantages in taxes as citizens of the United States. Consequently, you might end up immediately facing estate taxes if your spouse passes away. Various notable estate planning issues occur when either non-citizens or permanent residents are married to U.S. citizens. This article reviews some of the most common ones.

Permanent residents (or holders of green) are viewed as almost identical for tax purposes as United States citizens. These individuals must pay the U.S. tax on income earned anywhere in the world as well as U.S. estate and gift tax on assets owned anywhere in the world. 

As we approach the end of 2021, you should remember to consider and approach many aspects of estate planning. There are also several considerations given potential legislative changes. You should make sure to review your end-of-year estate planning concerns now instead of waiting. This article reviews some of the important issues that you should remember while you prepare your estate plan for the future.

Passing on Gifts Before 2022

The rate for federal tax exemptions is currently higher than it has ever been. If a person does not use these high thresholds, they cannot do so in the future. As a result, now is an ideal time to make the most of available valuation discounts. Some of the factors to consider for gifts that are made in 2021 include:

Family law addresses the rights of family members including spouses during marriages as well as after divorce. When one spouse passes away, however, complex estate planning issues can arise. 

In the recent Third District case of In Estate of Wall, a federal district court held that title presumption had authority over community property presumptions. The court also found that the surviving spouse in the case still won the case due to the role of undue influence. 

Benny Wall had two descendants with his first wife. Benny’s home 

Estate planning conversations often give off the impression that everyone is elderly and has multiple children. In reality, however, this is not true and people who do not fit this description require estate planning assistance at least as much as people who fall into more conventional models. 

For example, unmarried individuals often also need to create an estate plan that relates to the disposition of property health care proxies, or financial power of attorney. Without these estate planning documents, if an unmarried person cannot make medical or financial choices, someone else might not exist who will be readily recognized. 

Financial Power of Attorney

In 1990, the United States Supreme Court acknowledged the constitutional right of a patient to decline medical treatment. Over the last couple of decades, New York state has slowly recognized that traditional health care advance directives do not sufficiently deal with mental health issues. Consequently, a large number of states have issued legislation permitting mental health care advance directives. 

New York Law and Psychiatric Advance Directives

A person can utilize New York’s Health Care Agents and Proxies law to nominate an agent to make decisions for them if that individual cannot do so. Additionally, a person might decide to write a living will containing instructions for the mental health care that person would like to receive. 

After a divorce, it’s understandable that you’re tired of sifting through legal documents. If you do not take the actions now to revise your estate plan in light of your divorce, you could end up facing undesirable estate planning results. As a result, you should at least consider gathering your old estate planning documents and evaluating what you will need to update. This article reviews a few of the most commonly used types of estate planning documents that you should make sure to update after a divorce.

Create a New Will

Wills are the central document in most estate plans. This is why it’s a good idea to make sure that your will is adequately updated in light of your divorce. You will likely want to create a will that will no longer pass on your assets to your former spouse. You should also make sure to revoke your old will. 

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