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Category Archives: Estate Planning

Five Bad Reasons to Delay Writing Your Will

Various surveys indicate that more than 40 percent of Americans over age 55 ― and half of Americans with children ― don’t have a will. Following are five common reasons people give for their delays, and why they are poor excuses for not organizing an estate: I’m not wealthy enough to need a will. An… Read More »

The Revocable Living Trust

Revocable living trusts, also known as inter-vivos trusts, are prepared for individuals and couples with sufficient property to alleviate the burdens and expenses of the probate process, and who wish that information about their assets and testamentary wishes be kept private. Like all legal documents, there are certain elements that a revocable living trust must… Read More »

Can I Prepare My Will on My iPad?

Javier Castro’s last will and testament, drafted at his deathbed on his brother’s Samsung Galaxy tablet, was recently found valid by an Ohio court. The electronic will was signed and witnessed with a stylus, and this was sufficient to meet the requirements under Ohio law, which states only that a will be a written document… Read More »

Protecting Your Special Needs Child After Your Death

A recent study shows that in 2011, 5.1 percent of American children between the ages of 5 and 15 were identified as disabled. That amounts to more than 2.3 million children with special needs. The study also shows that only 20.7 percent of working-age adults with disabilities had a full-time job that year, compared to… Read More »

International Issues in Estate Planning: When Your Spouse Is Not a U.S. Citizen, Part II: The QDOT

The unlimited marital deduction allows a person to transfer any amount of funds to a spouse free from tax. However, if your spouse is not a U.S. citizen, your estate cannot use this marital deduction without a Qualified Domestic Trust (QDOT). QDOTs were designed to stop noncitizen surviving spouses from leaving the country with a… Read More »

International Issues in Estate Planning: When Your Spouse Is Not a U.S. Citizen, Part I: General Estate Planning Considerations

When it comes to estate planning, one size doesn’t fit all, especially if your spouse is not a U.S. citizen. This is the first of two blog posts focusing on what you need to be aware of if your spouse is a noncitizen. If your estate is below the federal estate tax exclusion threshold ($5,250,000… Read More »

Understanding Estate Tax Thresholds

George Steinbrenner had great timing. He was born on the Fourth of July and died in 2010, a year that there was no estate tax in the country. If Steinbrenner had died in 2009 when the estate tax threshold was $3.5 million and the rate 45 percent, the billionaire’s heirs would have had to pay… Read More »

What Is Included In My Estate for Federal Estate Tax Purposes?

You may be struggling to pay your mortgage and may not remember the last time you could afford a nice vacation without realizing that, according to the government, you’re a millionaire. Most people are surprised by the value of their gross estate. Although the amount that is exempt from federal estate taxes is currently $5,250,000… Read More »

The Effect Dementia Has on an Estate Plan

The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that more than five million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease and that by the year 2050 that number could triple. It also claims that one in every three senior citizens today dies with Alzheimer’s or some other type of dementia. What is dementia? Dementia is a broad term used to describe a… Read More »

Financial Abuse of the Elderly: Tips for Detection and Prevention

Anthony Marshall made headlines again this past summer when the 89-year-old son and heir of deceased philanthropist Brooke Astor was released from jail on medical parole. Otherwise known as the “octogenarian fraudster,” Marshall was convicted in 2009 for crimes connected to the mishandling of his mother’s estate, including tricking her into changing her will for… Read More »