Steps to Take When a Loved One Dies

As your estate planning attorneys, we are here to help you when your family member or loved one dies.  If you are simply too overwhelmed to call us during the first couple of weeks after your loved one passes away, it is important to keep in mind that there are several practical and legal considerations that the person named as the executor of the estate…

Estate Planning Awareness Week: Why Does Estate Planning Matter to Your Clients?

In 2008, Congress recognized the need for the public to understand the importance and benefits of estate planning by passing House Resolution 1499, which designated the third week of October as National Estate Planning Awareness Week. Nevertheless, according to a 2019 survey carried out by Caring.com, 57% of adults in the United States have not prepared any estate planning documents such as a will or…

Estate Planning Awareness Week: Having a Conversation with Your Family About Their Estate Plan

In 2008, Congress recognized the need for the public to understand the importance and benefits of estate planning by passing House Resolution 1499, which designated the third week of October as National Estate Planning Awareness Week. Nevertheless, according to a 2019 survey carried out by Caring.com, 57% of adults in the United States have not prepared any estate planning documents such as a will or…

My Loved One Has Died – What Do I Do Now?

When a family member or other loved one dies, grief and shock can sometimes be overwhelming. The last thing most people want to think about is making phone calls or funeral arrangements. Some things do not need to be done immediately, but there are some steps that should be taken soon after the loss of your loved one. We hope the following guide will help…

Your Fall “Legal Affairs” Checklist

With the fall season approaching, it’s an excellent time to review your affairs. Below is a checklist to ensure your planning meets your needs and is up-to-date: When was your power of attorney last updated? A power of attorney is a valuable legal document, no matter what the circumstance. Not only is it flexible and can be prepared to meet your particular needs, but it…

Why would anyone want to refuse an inheritance?

Although it is surprising to many, there are several circumstances when declining an inheritance can be beneficial. The law does permit you to refuse an inheritance if you comply with certain strict requirements. The legal term for a refusal of an inheritance is a “disclaimer,” which is defined as an irrevocable and unqualified refusal to accept an interest in property. We call a “disclaimer” a…

The ABCs of RLTs

You may have heard of a revocable living trust (RLT), which is a commonly used estate planning solution. But what exactly are they, who is affected by them, how can they be changed, and what do they accomplish? What Are They? Trusts, which are legal entities that hold title to property for the benefit of a living person, are often used as an alternative or…

Tax Strategies to Move Your Clients Forward

The 2019 estate tax exemption is $11.4 million per person, up from $11.2 million per person in 2018. According to the Tax Policy Center, only 4,000 federal estate tax returns were filed this year, with only 1,900 of those returns owing tax. Some industry experts estimate that less than one percent of all estates are taxable federally.  Put another way, over 99 percent of all…

Home DNA Tests – A Bump in Your Estate Plan

Discovering your ancestry can be both fun and fascinating. At-home DNA tests have grown in popularity in recent years. Often given as a unique gift for loved ones, the kits reveal details about our individual and collective pasts. Unfortunately, these tests aren’t all fun and games. When a test reveals an unexpected relative or biological child, your estate plan may need updating. If you do…

Can I Make Estate Plans Without My Spouse?

The average American family has changed a great deal over the last few decades. The assumption that a couple will share finances, tax obligations, and a last name is one that does not necessarily apply in the 21st century. There are more options than ever before to keep your finances, identity, and future plans separate. This sense of independence leads many married people to question:…

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