Articles Posted in Asset Protection

The rise in the number of divorcees in New York as well as the rest of the country has led to a larger amount of blended families. While similar in many ways to traditional families, blended families face some unique estate planning challenges. This article reviews some of the most important issues that blended families should consider when tackling estate planning

# 1 – Divorce Agreements

Your estate plan should reflect any applicable terms of your divorce agreement. This might mean including statements to provide for your former spouse or making sure that your children are sufficiently provided for following your death. 

Planning for your children’s educational needs is a worthwhile goal. Fortunately, various options exist for satisfying this goal. A 529 plan can prove to be a powerful tool for paying tuition as well as paying for other education-related expenses while realizing tax advantages. 

Following your death, however, no certainty exists that later plan holders will continue utilizing these plans to pursue your educational goals. Instead, you might decide to create one or more 529 plans to make sure that your children, grand-children, or other loved ones can pursue educational objectives. 

How 529 Plans Function

Democrats in the House of Representatives recently released their plan on how to adjust basic income and estate taxes for both businesses and families. While it’s impossible to provide a comprehensive review of what these various pages contained. This article addresses a few of the major announcements.  

Only a few of the proposed changes would end up impacting either transactions or transfers that are made before the Act would be passed and many of these changes would not be implemented until January 1, 2022, but people who are being advised to transfer substantial values to irrevocable trusts as gifts before exemptions amount are lowered by half or people might be required to plan to gift the amounts to people or entities other than grantor trusts. 

Estate and Gift Tax Exemptions

Much attention has been paid the last year to the conservatorship of Britney Spears. A judge this year recently denied a 

request to remove Spears’ father as her conservator. Consequently, some people expect that Brittney Spears will soon seek for the court to end her conservatorship entirely. Due to this case, many people have begun to consider whether a conservatorship might be right for them or their loved one. This article reviews some of the most common questions that people have about conservatorships and the role that they can play in estate planning.

What A Conservatorship Is

Estate planning is a fundamental aspect of any thought-out financial plan, but when it’s your loved ones who need to create a plan, it can be challenging to discuss this issue. One reason it’s difficult to discuss estate planning with a loved one is that this often involves confronting sensitive issues including that not all of us will live forever. While it’s most common for adult children to help elderly parents with estate planning, this is not always the case. In reality, people of any age who care about one another can help each other with estate planning. If you’re debating navigating the estate planning process with a loved one, there are some helpful pieces of advice that you should remember to follow.

Approach Helping Your Loved One in the Right Way

If a loved one refuses to get his or her estate plan in order, one proven strategy that can help is obtaining the assistance of any financial professionals who your loved one trusts. These professionals can often recommend estate planning attorneys who will be a good match for the needs of your loved one. If your loved one does not have this type of estate planning help in place, you should prepare to attend the first meeting with your loved one’s estate planning attorney to make sure that this proceeds as smoothly as possible. Also, while approaching your loved one about estate planning, you should remember that it’s a good idea to force your loved one into making a decision. Instead, it’s best to take a gentle approach that your loved one considers estate planning.

Transfer on death accounts pass on assets to an appointed beneficiary when the account holder passes away. When you establish a “transfer on death” account, assets pass directly to beneficiaries at the time of the account owner’s death. While assignments of this kind can help to avoid probate, account titling should be coordinated with the account owner’s death, especially when larger accounts and estates are involved. 

     While simply titling an account, “transfer on death”, and adding a beneficiary might seem like a good idea, this is not always the case. Transfer on death accounts can easily be set up on investment accounts. The primary benefit to these accounts is that they can easily be transferred to a beneficiary. Another advantage is that beneficiaries can be revised more easily than amending a trust. It’s important to understand, however, that titling an account “transfer on death” does not resolve all of your estate planning needs. Various mistakes can occur with any type of beneficiary designation. As a result, this article reviews some important details to consider if you plan on using a transfer on death account. 

 # 1 – Life Changes Must Be Addressed

In the recent Texas of Marshall v. Marshall, a beneficiary initiated legal action against a trustee as well as five co-trustees of two trusts addressing claims that they had breached fiduciary duties. After the original lawsuit was filed in Texas, the trustee filed a petition seeking declaratory relief and requesting that the court declare the co-trustees were sufficiently appointed. The beneficiary obtained a temporary injunction preventing the co-trustees from receiving compensation as well as disposing of trust assets or participating in litigation.

The court of appeals reversed the litigation on the grounds that permitting the lawsuit to continue did not constitute a miscarriage of justice. The court of appeals also reversed other aspects of the temporary injunction on the grounds that there was no evidence to support that irreparable harm would occur otherwise.

The Role of Co-Trustees

Data shows that a troublingly large number of Americans do not have estate plans. Besides the challenge presented by not having an estate plan, many more Americans are failing to learn even the basic details about how estate plans function. In the hopes of clarifying some of the most dangerous myths about estate plans and how they operate.

# 1 – Estate Plans Aren’t Necessary If You Let Your Wishes Be Known

In reality, just because you would like your estate handled in a certain manner, there is no guarantee that your goals will be achieved. Even though your loved ones might know and remember your preference, they might find subtle ways to subvert them for their advantage. The best way to make sure that you achieve your goals is to work with an estate planning attorney who can make sure that you write legally recognized documents that uphold your wishes.

For many business owners, it’s a critical issue to make sure that business organizations including LLCs are properly structured. While many business owners have created revocable living trusts to articulate how their assets should be managed and to avoid probate, it’s a good idea that LLC interests are not put into the trust. This means that even if everything else with an estate plan is done correctly, a family would still likely need to undergo the probate process to both access and manage LLC interests. This, however, is not the best situation and there are more preferable options.

Placing an LLC interest into a trust is often a simple and affordable option. While it might be possible to simply file paperwork if an LLC involves a single member, it might be necessary to articulate such arrangements in an operating agreement. Many times, there are provisions in operating agreements that allow individuals to make these transfers. If no such provision exists however or there is not an operating agreement, the consent of the other LLC members is often required to perform such a transfer. 

The Advantages of Utilizing an LLC for Estate Planning

Regardless of your age, it’s critical to engage in estate planning to make sure you assert adequate choices over your financial and medical choices. Estate planning is also critical regardless of your economic status. While you will need to make estate planning decisions as you get older, even young people should also make your wishes known if anything happens. The Covid-19 pandemic has fortunately made many people appreciate the importance of being prepared for the unexpected regardless of age.

While estate planning is important regardless of how old a person is, a person’s estate planning needs to change as a person ages. This often means that younger people need fewer estate planning documents, but require more as they age. This article reviews some critical estate planning steps you should remember regardless of your age.

# 1 – Update Beneficiary Designations

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