Articles Posted in Asset Protection

The 2020s have been filled with tension. First, in 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic emerged. Then, race tensions hit an all-time high following the death of George Floyd and several others. Now, the invasion of Ukraine has left many people in more difficult situations than ever before. All of these events are enough to make even the calmest person uneasy.

The most seasoned estate planning professionals are used to addressing two major sources of uneasiness with clients: death and taxation. Planning for these certain events will help to reduce the uneasiness that a person feels. While it’s impossible to control the future and the state of the world, people can engage in thorough estate planning and be fully prepared for any complications that might happen and impact their estate plans.

Estate planning frequently attempts to pass or minimize risk. Some of the most helpful risk-avoiding or risk-shifting techniques that people utilize in an estate planning environment include:

Considering that someday you will no longer be alive is an unpleasant thought. You might be frightened of the unknown, particularly when it involves issues of what will happen to your loved ones. Even though you will no longer be around to play a role in managing your estate, you do have an input in what happens to your estate after you pass away. This article reviews some of the helpful things that you can do to protect your money after you pass away.

A vital part of estate planning is creating a will, which is a type of legally-binding document that articulates your wishes for what should happen after you pass away including who you would like to manage your estate and how you want your assets to be divided. Wills can also include instructions regarding the care of any dependent or pets that you might have.

A poll conducted in 2021 revealed that less than half of the adults in the United States have a will. The results of this study are similar to other polls conducted as early as the 1990s. Even though it can be challenging to consider that you will someday pass away and to place instructions regarding how your family should manage your assets, doing this can be critical to making sure that your assets, as well as your loved ones, remain protected after you pass away. 

The world has changed substantially over the last few decades including in regards to estate planning. Even if you have a detailed estate plan, reviewing and updating the terms of the estate plan as appropriate is still critical. Due to advances with healthcare, more people are living longer and understandably need a wider range of options with their estate planning documents. 

This article reviews some of the areas in the estate planning documents that most commonly need to be updated.

# 1 – Digital Assets

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 

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