Summer is the time when most families decide to take their vacations. with the kids out of school and the weather nice across the country, it provides a perfect time for everyone to spend some time with one another.
In a previous post, we began discussing the importance of estate planning, noting that everyone can benefit from at least some basic estate planning. Basic estate planning can include a number of aspects, but it commonly includes setting up a will and a trust, as well as an advance healthcare directive and possibly a power of attorney. More can be done, of course, depending on the needs of the individual and his or her family and financial situation.
Transitioning to a position of more dependency on children can be a difficult thing for parents, especially those who pride themselves on their independence. The transition can be difficult not only on a personal level, but also on a family as a whole, particularly when there are disagreements about how to handle the transition as a family.
Estate planning is not only for the rich, for those whose assets exceed the estate tax threshold. Almost everybody can benefit from some amount of estate planning. The simple reason is that, without specifying your wishes for your property, guardians for your children, your health care goals, and other basic matters, somebody else will decide for you, whether a state law, or a judge or a family member. What other people decide for you in these matters is probably not going to be what you want. Better to specify your wishes when you are able to do so.
Couples looking to protect their assets for the surviving spouse may be wise to work with an estate planning attorney. While some may feel they are aptly covered simply by the fact that they are married or have a written document in place the fact is that any property held in one spouse's name alone often isn't enough. If the deceased spouse owned property in his or her own name, his or her will bequeathed it to his or her trust, but such post-death funding of a trust requires a probate proceeding.
The same technology that is said to simplify life is causing savvy estate planners to make adjustments to their estate planning to include their digital life. While the intangible aspect of that area of life may leave some people wondering what exactly would be bequeathed to survivors, further thought may bring about "Oh yeah ..." realizations.
Family disputes are one of the big concerns estate planners have to deal with in coming up with a plan to works for their clients. The way in which attorneys plan for potential disputes depends not only on the state of their client’s residence, but also the value and types of assets, and the number of heirs or beneficiaries.
Our Alpharetta readers know the importance of estate planning. What isn't emphasized enough, perhaps, is that the estate planning is only as good as the planner. There are many mistakes that can be made in estate planning. Let's take a look a several common categories of mistakes.
Are regular readers know that there has been a lot of buzz in the estate planning world over the recent changes introduced by President Obama’s 2013 budget plan. Among other things, the changes included a permanent estate and gift tax exemption of $5 million, to be adjusted annually for inflation. Unfortunately, though, it has become clear that that change may not be as permanent as previously hoped.
In our last post, we noted that changes could be coming in 2018 with respect to tax exemption amounts because of a proposal in President Obama’s 2014 budget plan. Changes could also be coming in terms of how to approach family inheritance planning. One area is that of discounted values on assets given to minorities.