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A Special Option for Special Kids

April 1st, 2018

Planning for beneficiaries with special needs requires unique attention. Public benefits can be an essential way to provide for the specialized care these beneficiaries require to allow them to lead fulfilling lives. When assets are given to such beneficiaries, they must be given in a specially-drafted “special needs” trust in order to keep those assets […]

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March 24th, 2018

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 […]

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Privacy and Estate Planning

March 17th, 2018

From the dawn of time, humans have been concerned with privacy. In the biblical story of Adam and Eve, the couple sought the privacy provided by fig leaves as they left the Garden of Eden. When species Homo sapiens emerged, privacy was essential to protect against predators. In today’s world, privacy is more important than […]

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Portability vs. Credit Shelter Trust

March 10th, 2018

Prior to the advent of “portability,” estate planning attorneys used a “credit shelter trust” as the gold standard to preserve the estate tax exclusion of the first spouse to die. Assets up to the exclusion were placed in the trust for the benefit of the surviving spouse and descendants. The assets in this credit shelter […]

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March 3rd, 2018

When a decedent dies, a federal estate tax return (IRS Form 706) is not required to be filed unless the decedent’s gross estate exceeds their remaining federal estate tax exclusion. In 2017, for someone who has not used any exclusion during life, this would be $5.49 million. However, this does not mean filing an estate […]

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Reasons to Establish a Trust

February 27th, 2018

Trusts are an important tool in estate planning and may be created for a variety of reasons, which can include both tax and non-tax reasons. Trusts may be established during an individual’s life, which is called an intervivos or living trust.  A Living Trust does not require probate or court supervision. It is also possible […]

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Financial Power of Attorney

February 20th, 2018

A Financial Power of Attorney is an important document that should be part of any comprehensive Estate Plan.  This document is a tool that gives you the ability to name a trusted individual, called your attorney-in-fact, to access your financial accounts and step into your shoes to manage your assets when you are unavailable or […]

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Health Care Directive

February 13th, 2018

A Health Care Directive is an important document that should be part of any comprehensive Estate Plan.  This document is a tool which gives you the ability to name a trusted individual (and a backup) to make health care decisions on your behalf when you are unable.  The Health Care Directive can also specify what […]

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Health Care Power of Attorney

February 7th, 2018

This week, I’ll focus on health care powers of attorney.  This is one of the typical documents in a basic estate plan. However, people often give little attention to thinking about this POA. People do not like thinking of their own mortality or their own illness. But, unfortunately, it involves issues we all must face […]

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Health Care Agents Matter – More Than You May Think!

January 30th, 2018

Health care agents (or surrogates/proxies/powers of attorney) play a much bigger role in fulfilling your clients’ health care wishes than you or your clients may realize. Did you know: Health care agents make medical decisions for about half of the adults over 65 who are hospitalized. Flipping it around, this means that on average, half […]

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