Articles Posted in Asset Protection

Many people find great enjoyment in sharing their life with a pet. Data reveals that about 90.5 million families in the United States own pets. For both people who are natural caregivers and those who require a pet’s companionship, pets can introduce a great sense of belonging to people. The consideration of pets is routinely overlooked when anticipating death and incapacity, though.

Consider Your Pet’s Specific Needs

When creating a trust or last will and testament, the needs of specific animals should be considered. Passing on responsibilities associated with small pets that live indoors is substantially different than requesting someone watch barnyard animals. You should consider who might be able to act as a future caregiver for your pet. Remember to be realistic about how this person will likely handle taking care of your pet. 

The 1988 film Rain Man was directed by Barry Levinson and is cited by many people as a favorite film. Rain Man tells the story of Charles Babbitt (Tom Cruise) who finds out that his estranged father has passed away and left all of his large estate and its associated assets to the other son, Raymond (Dustin Hoffman), who is an autistic savant. Only after the father passes away does Charles Babbitt learn of Raymond’s existence. Rain Man shines some interesting issues in regards to estate planning and many people have questions about how the movie would play out in real life. 

In the real world, Sanford Babbit would likely meet with his estate planning attorney before his death. Sanford would likely inform his lawyer that he has two children at this point. Sanford would also likely tell the lawyer that he had placed his autistic son in a private care facility for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Sanford would also likely express a legitimate concern about Raymond and his desire to make sure that his son can always live at this facility and remain protected. 

A knowledgeable attorney would likely recommend that Sanford establish a revocable trust. Following Sanford’s death, the trust would continue for the benefit of Raymond, while also potentially making annual distributions to Charlie. Following Raymond’s death, the trust would then be distributed to Charlie. Sanford would also likely execute a no-content clause stating that if Charlie seeks to argue or place aside the trust or Sanford’s will or disrupt Raymond’s situation, annual distributions to Charlie would be discontinued and the trust is passed from Charlie to the facility when Raymond passes away. 

Many myths exist about the rights and responsibilities of U.S. citizens. For example, if you are not a U.S. citizen but are married to a U.S. citizen and have permanent resident status, you might have heard that if your spouse passes away without an adequate estate plan you will be required to pay more taxes on your property than if you were a citizen of the United States. 

In reality, if you are the owner of property located in the U.S. but are neither a citizen nor permanent resident, you cannot claim exactly the same advantages in taxes as citizens of the United States. Consequently, you might end up immediately facing estate taxes if your spouse passes away. Various notable estate planning issues occur when either non-citizens or permanent residents are married to U.S. citizens. This article reviews some of the most common ones.

Permanent residents (or holders of green) are viewed as almost identical for tax purposes as United States citizens. These individuals must pay the U.S. tax on income earned anywhere in the world as well as U.S. estate and gift tax on assets owned anywhere in the world. 

As we approach the end of 2021, you should remember to consider and approach many aspects of estate planning. There are also several considerations given potential legislative changes. You should make sure to review your end-of-year estate planning concerns now instead of waiting. This article reviews some of the important issues that you should remember while you prepare your estate plan for the future.

Passing on Gifts Before 2022

The rate for federal tax exemptions is currently higher than it has ever been. If a person does not use these high thresholds, they cannot do so in the future. As a result, now is an ideal time to make the most of available valuation discounts. Some of the factors to consider for gifts that are made in 2021 include:

Family law addresses the rights of family members including spouses during marriages as well as after divorce. When one spouse passes away, however, complex estate planning issues can arise. 

In the recent Third District case of In Estate of Wall, a federal district court held that title presumption had authority over community property presumptions. The court also found that the surviving spouse in the case still won the case due to the role of undue influence. 

Benny Wall had two descendants with his first wife. Benny’s home 

Estate planning conversations often give off the impression that everyone is elderly and has multiple children. In reality, however, this is not true and people who do not fit this description require estate planning assistance at least as much as people who fall into more conventional models. 

For example, unmarried individuals often also need to create an estate plan that relates to the disposition of property health care proxies, or financial power of attorney. Without these estate planning documents, if an unmarried person cannot make medical or financial choices, someone else might not exist who will be readily recognized. 

Financial Power of Attorney

After a divorce, it’s understandable that you’re tired of sifting through legal documents. If you do not take the actions now to revise your estate plan in light of your divorce, you could end up facing undesirable estate planning results. As a result, you should at least consider gathering your old estate planning documents and evaluating what you will need to update. This article reviews a few of the most commonly used types of estate planning documents that you should make sure to update after a divorce.

Create a New Will

Wills are the central document in most estate plans. This is why it’s a good idea to make sure that your will is adequately updated in light of your divorce. You will likely want to create a will that will no longer pass on your assets to your former spouse. You should also make sure to revoke your old will. 

The rise in the number of divorcees in New York as well as the rest of the country has led to a larger amount of blended families. While similar in many ways to traditional families, blended families face some unique estate planning challenges. This article reviews some of the most important issues that blended families should consider when tackling estate planning

# 1 – Divorce Agreements

Your estate plan should reflect any applicable terms of your divorce agreement. This might mean including statements to provide for your former spouse or making sure that your children are sufficiently provided for following your death. 

Planning for your children’s educational needs is a worthwhile goal. Fortunately, various options exist for satisfying this goal. A 529 plan can prove to be a powerful tool for paying tuition as well as paying for other education-related expenses while realizing tax advantages. 

Following your death, however, no certainty exists that later plan holders will continue utilizing these plans to pursue your educational goals. Instead, you might decide to create one or more 529 plans to make sure that your children, grand-children, or other loved ones can pursue educational objectives. 

How 529 Plans Function

Democrats in the House of Representatives recently released their plan on how to adjust basic income and estate taxes for both businesses and families. While it’s impossible to provide a comprehensive review of what these various pages contained. This article addresses a few of the major announcements.  

Only a few of the proposed changes would end up impacting either transactions or transfers that are made before the Act would be passed and many of these changes would not be implemented until January 1, 2022, but people who are being advised to transfer substantial values to irrevocable trusts as gifts before exemptions amount are lowered by half or people might be required to plan to gift the amounts to people or entities other than grantor trusts. 

Estate and Gift Tax Exemptions

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