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Following the passage of President Biden’s COVID-19 relief bill, the administration began to focus on what tax changes to implement to help pay for this support measure. These tax changes are anticipated to be wide-ranging and significant. This article reviews just some of the most substantial of these likely changes and how they will impact estate plans.

The Potential Timing of These Changes

Both House and Senate committees are working on both budget and tax proposals that will become part of a second budget reconciliation measure. Congressional committees are currently at work on proposals that will be included in the second budget reconciliation bill. The House and the Senate will create and approve a budget resolution to function as a means for the reconciliation process. 

Many people associate estate planning with the extremely wealthy, but in reality, most people benefit from creating a strategy for how their assets should be handled. Anyone who has anything to leave behind needs to create an estate because an estate plan will function as a guidebook for how anything you leave behind should be handled. 

This article reviews some of the most critical reasons why people should consider engaging in the estate planning process.

# 1 – Estate Planning Can Include Documents of Varying Purposes

As Bill Gates prepares to navigate the divorce process, divorce has again entered the public consciousness and caused many people to question the nature of how marriages dissolves and how it impacts various aspects of our lives. One often overlooked aspect of divorce is how it can impact overall plans for the future. 

To minimize the potential impact that divorce has on their lives, many high-power couples including Bill and Melinda Gates enter into settlement agreements. Even ordinary couples, however, discover that divorce has the potential to impact their estate plans. This article discusses some of the most important issues that couples should consider about how divorce can impact estate plans as well as what you can do to make sure that your estate plan continues to achieve your goals.

Life Insurance

For many business owners, it’s a critical issue to make sure that business organizations including LLCs are properly structured. While many business owners have created revocable living trusts to articulate how their assets should be managed and to avoid probate, it’s a good idea that LLC interests are not put into the trust. This means that even if everything else with an estate plan is done correctly, a family would still likely need to undergo the probate process to both access and manage LLC interests. This, however, is not the best situation and there are more preferable options.

Placing an LLC interest into a trust is often a simple and affordable option. While it might be possible to simply file paperwork if an LLC involves a single member, it might be necessary to articulate such arrangements in an operating agreement. Many times, there are provisions in operating agreements that allow individuals to make these transfers. If no such provision exists however or there is not an operating agreement, the consent of the other LLC members is often required to perform such a transfer. 

The Advantages of Utilizing an LLC for Estate Planning

The crisis brought by COVID has served as a stress test for many of the laws and regulations effecting our nation’s seniors.  The power of attorney, a document that gives one person, the agent, the legal power to act for another, the principal, fills a dire need to put control over their health and resources in trusted hands in the event of incapacity, especially in times of crisis.  Patients in nursing home facilities, for example, need quick and durable responses to the crisis.  And guarantees that the courts, and third parties such as banks, will respect their decisions.  

In 1948, the “Short Form” POA was created to simplify the process for New York citizens.  Since then, it’s become anything but.  A new law rectifies this.  

New Power of Attorney Bill Comes into Effect June 13, 2021 

A Court of Appeals in California recently affirmed a trial court’s award of attorney fees to a trust. This decision came after the trust tried to enforce a conservation easement. The defendants in the case owned land and were accused of intentionally violating an easement. This case raises an important lesson about the role that conservation easements can play concerning trusts.

How the Case Arose

A conservation agreement refers to a voluntary arrangement between a landowner and either a land trust or government agency that limits land use to protect a property’s condition. When an entity violates a conservation agreement, courts are permitted to award injunctive relief as well as financial compensation. 

Perhaps at the beginning of your marriage, you met with an estate planning attorney. If children have recently entered your life, however, it’s important to make sure that your estate plan contains various important details. This article reviews just some of the most key considerations that you must have if you plan on updating your child’s estate plan.

# 1 – Address Who Would Function as Guardian

It’s critical to make sure you consider who would take care of your children if they were still young when you and your partner passed away or become incapacitated. If you have not made these arrangements, you are leaving your child in a vulnerable position.

  One of the most undesirable situations in the field of estate planning is a person becoming incapacitated or passing away without the proper estate plans in place. To die intestate means that a person passes away with no legal will. This means that if a person intestate, the distribution of that person’s assets is determined based on New York law rather than any consideration for the needs of the deceased person’s loved ones. 

Tragically, many people die without the proper estate planning tools in place. For example, Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman passed away without a will. Boseman’s case is unique because he filed some estate planning documents, but not enough to fully oversee how his estate was handled. Consequently, the distribution of Boseman’s assets was left to the control of a California probate court to distribute Boseman’s estate which is valued at $939,000. Given the celebrity of Boseman’s film roles, his estate was likely worth much more but passed on many assets to trusts. Curiously, however, wills are often written contemporaneously to wills. Boseman’s story brings to mind why you should ignore some of these common reasons and engage in adequate estate planning sometime soon.

# 1 – To Make Sure Your Children Are Cared For

In the recent Texas case of In Re Estate of Tillotson, the administrator of a deceased individual’s estate filed a motion to have the deceased individual’s husband turn over the deceased individual’s community property interest in several accounts. When the trial court granted the motion, the surviving spouse appealed. 

The court of appeals found that the administrator had the power to file a motion seeking partition of community property. The appeals court noted that the state’s estate code provides that an executor or administrator through a written application can request the partition and distribution of an estate. The court also noted that if an intestate deceased spouse survives a child, the deceased spouse’s undivided one-half interest in the community estate passes to the deceased spouse’s children. 

The appeals court went on to discuss the Texas estate code that permits a surviving spouse to seek a partition but noted that this code does not make this right exclusive to the surviving spouse. Consequently, the court of appeals affirmed the trial court’s order.

If you decide to create a trust as part of your estate plan, there are various tasks that you must successfully navigate including appointing a trustee who can oversee the trust. A trustee performs the critical task of both managing the trust and distributing assets in a manner that conforms to the trust’s terms. 

While a trustee performs a critical task, many people have misconceptions about the role. For example, some people think that picking a friend or family member to serve as a trustee is a wise idea because it’s a potentially cost-effective option. In reality, there are some distinct benefits to selecting a professional trustee. This article reviews some of the important to consider when deciding whether to select a professional trustee or a loved one to function as a trustee for your trust.

Experience Can Prove Helpful

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