How did the 2020 elections shape the political landscape and what does that changed landscape mean for your estate plan? First, at the top of the ticket, it appears Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are the new President-Elect and Vice-President Elect, with an apparent 306 electoral votes to Donald Trump and Mike Pence’s apparent 232 electoral votes. Democrats retained control of the House of Representatives, although with a narrower majority. The Senate is a more complicated matter. Republicans … [Read more...] about What the 2020 Election Could Mean for Your Estate Plan
Thanksgiving is a time for giving thanks and for community with family and friends. While 2020 has been a difficult year for many of us, there is still much for which we can be grateful. As we gather around the Thanksgiving table with our loved ones, let’s be grateful for the food on our table and the companionship of our loved ones around us, both those seated at the table and those joining us electronically. While the pandemic has altered this traditional holiday and the way many of us … [Read more...] about A Time for Thanks and Community
The acronym HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. In this post, we will explain why this piece of legislation is something to take into consideration when you are planning your estate. Advance Directives for Health Care Everyone is well aware of the fact that you have to facilitate postmortem asset transfers when you put your estate plan in place. A lot of people think this is the long and short of it, but a proper estate plan will also address … [Read more...] about What Is a HIPAA Release?
When you’re planning your estate, among other things, you decide who should inherit your assets. You choose your beneficiaries, typically your children, grandchildren, or other close relatives. But what if all the beneficiaries you’ve chosen and all their descendants have died? Then it would fall to the “contingent remainder” beneficiary. Often the “contingent remainder” beneficiary has a slang nickname, like the “atom bomb” beneficiary or “exploding turkey” beneficiary. The contingent … [Read more...] about What’s an “Atom Bomb” or “Contingent Remainder” Beneficiary?
The star of multiple films, including the blockbuster superhero film “Black Panther,” died on August 28 of colon cancer. “Black Panther” by Marvel was nominated for 6 Academy Awards, including Best Picture. The film grossed over $1.3 billion worldwide. Chadwick Boseman became a role model for millions by playing Marvel Studio’s first Black superhero. Boseman also starred in films portraying real-life heroes, like Jackie Robinson (“42”), James Brown (“Get On Up”), and Thurgood Marshall … [Read more...] about Chadwick Boseman Demonstrates the Importance of Planning
When deciding how to split your assets among your children at death, there are many different factors to consider. Equality is certainly one of those factors. But it’s not the only factor. Fair doesn’t always mean equal and vice versa. Here are some situations in which some parents might think an equal division isn’t necessarily the fairest result: One of the children has greater need due to no fault of their own. One of the children has won the lottery and has much, much more money … [Read more...] about Fair Isn’t Always Equal and Vice Versa
In the United States alone, the pandemic has infected nearly 7 million people and has killed nearly 200,000 of them. In today’s pandemic, it’s more important than ever to make sure your estate planning documents are current. It’s especially important to ensure your documents relating to your health are up-to-date. Those documents are the Health Care Power of Attorney, the Advance Directive, and the HIPAA Power. In the Health Care Power of Attorney you appoint an “Agent” to make health … [Read more...] about Staying Current is Especially Important in the Pandemic
As Autumn arrives, it’s not too early to consider end-of-year planning. Fundamental to end-of-year planning is deciding whether to shift income or expenses from this year to the next, to the extent possible. All other things being equal, typically you’d want to defer income (and the taxation on it) until the following year. However, if your income is lower in the current year, you may want to keep extra income in the current year to be taxed in a lower tax bracket and hence a lower marginal tax … [Read more...] about Planning Is Important
Every year, many people in the United States are unable to manage their own affairs due to incapacity. They might be young or old. They may have had a gradual decline or a sudden onset. They might have had a stroke, heart attack, or some disabling disease such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, or COVID-19. If you are incapacitated without having prepared, it can be an ordeal for you and those who care for you. Your loved ones might need to go to court to have you declared incompetent and have a … [Read more...] about Planning for Incapacity
In 2020, each person can give away $11.58 million during life. Whatever portion they haven’t used during life, they can use it at death. However, that generous exclusion will be cut in half at the end of 2025. Beginning in 2026, the exclusion will be only $5 million adjusted for inflation from the 2011 base year. If you use the exclusion before it falls back, you won’t be penalized by a “clawback” upon your death in 2026 or later. For example, let’s say Mary has $11.58 million and gives it … [Read more...] about Use the Exclusion or Lose It