Articles Posted in Estate Planning

The state of New Jersey recently passed the Medical Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill (MAID) Act. This law permits physicians to assist in the suicide of terminally ill patients following three requests by the patient to do so. To achieve physician assistance, one of the requests must be in writing. Following verification by a second physician, the treating physician can then prescribe medication for the rest of the patient’s life. While the law had controversial origins, it was later upheld by the New Jersey Supreme Court. While the law only directly impacts the state of New Jersey, it has implications for everyone in the country who is interested in estate planning.

New York’s Death with Dignity

The New York Medical Aid in Dying Act is currently under consideration by both the Assembly and Senate Committees.  If passed, New York’s law would require that a patient who requested aid in dying medication must be at least eighteen years old, a resident of New York, mentally capable of making and communicating health care decisions, and diagnosed with a terminal illness that will result in death within six months. A patient who meets these requirements will then only be prescribed medication if:

Many people are surprised by just how extensive their digital presence is. This digital life must be integrated into a person’s estate plans. If you fail to consider your digital life while estate planning, your heirs are likely to face many challenges including anxiety and additional costs. Today, your estate plan is not complete unless you have taken digital assets like accounts and files into consideration. This article reviews some important issues you should consider as you engage in estate planning for your digital assets.

# 1 – Realize Digital Assets Include Several Things

Digital assets include any online accounts or services that are protected by a login identity. This includes accounts associated with email, social media, message boards, and subscriptions. Additionally, any files or web domains that you might own also constitute digital assets. Online financial accounts also constitute digital assets.

When a family business owner has the goal of passing on ownership in the business to the following generation, it is important to include details about business succession in your estate plan. The most challenging issue presented in many family business plans relates to identifying who will control the business. This article reviews some of the important pieces of advice that you should remember to follow if you are engaged in estate planning. 

Planning in Uncertain Times

One of the most difficult aspects of business succession planning today involves the uncertainties of  federal estate tax law. Under existing federal estate law, every citizen of the United States in 2019 can give during their lifetime or at death a maximum of $11,400,000. This amount is often referred to as the “basic exclusion amount”. Without Congressional intervention, the Exclusion Amount is set to be lowered on January 1, 2026. Given that federal estate tax law is as advantageous it has ever been and that this policy will not last forever, many business owners have decided to take advantage of these laws while they can. 

Deciding which type of IRA works best for your estate plan can be challenging. While Roth and traditional IRAs are the most common types of retirement accounts, there are other options that you should consider as well. These lesser-known accounts can provide numerous tax advantages based on a person’s situation. This article reviews the six most common types so that you can begin considering which retirement account works best for you.

# 1 – Traditional IRAs

The most popular type of retirement savings account, there are several reasons why traditional IRAs are so common. Contributions are deductible from a person’s current income and consequently lower the individual’s taxable income for a year. Withdrawals from the account are then taxed at the tax rate at that time. 

One of the major elements of most estate plans is deciding how to handle your home. For many families, a home is among its most valuable assets. While everyone can benefit from an estate plan, it is particularly that homeowners create a plan. 

To make matters more complex, there are many estate planning strategies to choose from when it comes to deciding what to do with your home. This article reviews some of the various strategies used to pass on ownership of a home.

# 1 – Probate

Most of us have either seen a commercial or heard someone mention reverse mortgage. While some people have been left with the notion that this is a way that elderly individuals “lose” their homes, other people have heard that reverse mortgages can play a valuable role in estate planning. Even though reverse mortgages are difficult to understand, this article briefly examines the role of these mortgages.

How Reverse Mortgages Work

On its simplest terms, reverse mortgages involve taking a loan out against the equity in a person’s home. Proceeds from the loan can be received either monthly in a lump sum. A person is then charged interest on what they owe. An individual must be 62 years old to qualify for a reverse mortgage and must reside in their home. Even though a person receives payment from a reverse mortgage, the individual must continue to pay real estate taxes, insurance, and homeowner association dues. The lending institution will then collect on the debt when the borrower dies or moves out of their residence.

With the end of the year quickly approaching, it is a good time to make some important estate planning decisions before 2020 rolls around. This article reviews some of the often overlooked but particularly powerful estate planning strategies that you might consider putting into practice.

Convert Traditional IRAs into Roth IRAs

Several years ago,  converting a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA was not always an available option. Instead, this was limited to the modified adjusted gross income of $100,000 or less. This restriction, however, has since been removed. Consequently,

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently issues a noteworthy decision in the case of In Re: Estate of Krasinski. The case involved the estate of Sophia Krasinski, who passed away in 2006. The primary assets of Krasinski’s estate were three real estate parcels. One of Krasinski’s four children was appointed to act as an executor under the terms of Sophia’s will, which requested that the four children equally split the estate. In 2010, the Executor filed a petition to permit the sale of real estate to heirs, which was subsequently granted by orphans’ court. One of the beneficiaries subsequently sued the estate based on the alleged existence of an oral contract with Sophia Krasinski regarding her estate. Following a nonjury trial, the trial court held that there was no enforceable oral contract and dismissed the case. The beneficiary failed to appeal and a sale occurred. 

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court was subsequently presented with the opportunity to determine the proper scope of Rule 342(a)(6) of the Pennsylvania Rules of Appellate Procedure, which provides for an appeal as of right from an order that determines an interest in real or personal property. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court, in turn, determined that the beneficiary waived all objections to the court’s order and approved the private sale. 

Each year, many estates are divided in a way with which beneficiaries disagree. If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, one of the most common questions faced is what options you have to remedy the situation. 

If you are a parent with a college-age child, you likely have many concerns. One often overlooked thing is estate planning. Even though some people think estate planning documents are only necessary for the elderly or wealthy individuals, in reality, these documents are helpful for people who are no longer able to care for themselves. While young adults are often focused on making the most out of their lives, it is an unfortunate truth that each year numerous young people end up incapacitated or killed as a result of emergencies. The best way to avoid undesirable consequences in these situations is to make sure that you have adequate estate planning tools in place. This article reviews just some of the critical estate planning documents that college-age students should consider creating. 

Why Healthcare Planning is Important for College Students

Many college students are at least 18 years old, which means that they are viewed in the eyes of the law as adults who are capable of making their own healthcare decisions. As a result of the Privacy Rule of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), parents are at risk of being found without any decision-making abilities if something happens to the child and the parent becomes injured. This is because HIPAA applies even with a college student’s parents and even if the student is still listed on the parents’ medical insurance. To avoid being locked out of learning about a child’s health or decision-making abilities in case of an emergency, it is important to be mindful of either HIPAA or estate planning documents like financial powers of attorney.

The remarriage rate has decreased over time for all individuals except those individuals who are 55 and older. For people who remarry but who also want to make sure that children from a first or previous marriage receive certain assets, it is vital to engage in estate planning as well as to exercise caution. 

Otherwise, there is a risk that you might end up accidentally disinheriting your children. As a result, it is a good idea to follow some important estate planning to make sure that your children are not accidentally disinherited during the estate planning process.

# 1 – Engage in an Estate Planning Conversation

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