Here’s a post by one of our favorite consumer watchdogs, Clark Howard: 7 Senior Scams and How to Avoid Them.
One of the most important questions grandparents ask me as their estate planning advisor is how they can help their grandchildren with college expenses. It’s complex, with tax implications for the clients, and financial aid implications for their grandchildren. Here are five options I give them to start with: 1. Make direct tuition payments. Make the payments directly to the college. This way, you avoid gift and generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax without using up any of your gift or GST tax exclusions or exemptions. But this strategy is available only for tuition, not for other expenses, such as room and board,… Read More
Every trust should be reviewed every few years to make sure it is up-to-date with the law and to ensure that it continues to meet your goals. Below is a checklist of trust features that must be reviewed: 1. Do you have the right successor trustees? In most trusts, you will be the trustee of your own revocable trust with your spouse as co-trustee (if you’re married). Trusts should name one or more successors in the event the original trustee or trustees are unable to serve. Make sure that you still want the successors you originally named. Also, do you… Read More
Here’s an important article about pre-paid funerals: “Ponzi-Like” Scheme Highlights Risks of Pre-paid Funerals.
An article about our own Cloyd Havens II in Suit Magazine: A Lawyer Who Avoids Courtrooms.
What is a Revocable Living Trust? A trust is an agreement that determines how a person’s property is to be managed and distributed during his or her lifetime and also upon death. For an explanation of the tax benefits and reasons to establish a trust, go to our estate planning page. A revocable living trust normally involves three parties: The Settlor – Also called grantor or trustor, this is the person who creates the trust, and usually the only person who provides funding for the trust. More than one person can be a settlor of a trust, such as when… Read More
I draft many Powers of Attorney for my clients. It’s a common legal procedure, but often people have many questions about the terms of the Powers of Attorney and exactly what they mean. Here’s a complete explanation. A Power of Attorney (POA) allows a person to take administrative action for you (signing tax returns or legal documents) and manage non-trust assets (retirement plan assets, government benefits, etc.) for you if you are incapacitated. A properly drafted Power of Attorney may avoid the need for a conservatorship if you are incapacitated. A conservator is a person, official, or institution designated to… Read More
Many people have been to trust seminars, or read about trusts in the paper, and believe that if they have a trust, their estate plans are finished. That is not true. The trust is an important part of an estate plan (the centerpiece) but not the entire plan. Other important documents include: A WILL. Yes, you need a will, even if you have a trust. A trustee (a person who has the legal obligation to manage the assets of the trust according to the terms of the trust) can only administer and distribute assets that are owned by the trust.… Read More
An Estate Planning Attorney prepares the collection of documents to manage an individual’s assets in the event of his or her incapacitation or death. This includes the bequest of assets to beneficiaries (people who will inherit after the death of the individual) and the settlement of estate taxes. Some of the major estate planning tasks include: – Creating a will; – Avoiding Probate and minimizing estate taxes by establishing a family trust; – Establishing a guardian for living dependents; – Naming an executor of the estate to oversee the terms of the will; – Creating/updating beneficiaries on plans such as… Read More
If you have adopted children or unadopted stepchildren, estate planning is critical to ensure that your property is distributed the way you desire. If you’re unmarried and in a long-term relationship with someone who has biological or adopted children, planning may be particularly important. Adopted children Adopted children are treated the same as biological children for most estate planning purposes. Thus, adopted and biological children are treated the same way under a state’s intestate succession laws, which control who inherits property in the absence of a will. In addition, adopted children generally are treated identically to biological children for purposes… Read More