With the proliferation of the internet has come a plethora of websites claiming that individuals may take a “Do It Yourself” approach to Estate Planning. While individuals may think that a plan created by one of these companies will meet their needs and save them money, the opposite is true. These plans often fail to contain necessary provisions and usually cost the family more in attorneys’ fees. In addition, a Trusts and Estate practitioner can alert a family to techniques designed to lower the tax burden upon the death of an individual. It’s easy to make costly mistakes if you don’t have an attorney both at the drafting stage and the administration stage of Estate Planning.
Is creating an estate plan a single action or a continuous process? Once you’ve created an estate plan, you must take the time to review it as often as necessary! In addition to annual reviews, review your estate plan when major life events occur. Examples of these events can include divorce, marriage, or bringing a …
Those who take the time to create an Estate Plan usually desire to keep it private and to ensure that no beneficiary can alter the plan after their death. Sometimes, the desire to maintain privacy backfires and produces unanticipated consequences, such as litigation.
Despite knowing that they should have an estate plan, many individuals look for shortcuts to creating an Estate Plan. They rely upon advice from seemingly well-intentioned individuals that if avoiding probate is their main goal and they don’t have a taxable estate, they need not seek out an attorney to create an Estate Plan. While options exist to avoid probate, probate avoidance is just one of many considerations in creating an Estate Plan.
IRAs have become ubiquitous components of estate plans. The SECURE Act of 2019 altered the landscape for IRAs significantly by eliminating the stretch benefit for most designated beneficiaries and forcing all designated beneficiaries other than Eligible Designated Beneficiaries to use the 10-year rule for distributions. The 10-year rule was thought to operate much like the 5-year rule that existed before the passage of the SECURE Act. Recently issued proposed Treasury Regulations dispute that and instead require annual distributions for any beneficiary subject to the 10-year rule.
Why might you create and grant a power of attorney? Let’s consider some common scenarios: military personnel may grant power of attorney in anticipation of an overseas tour of duty. Likewise, those taking extended vacations will need someone to look after their interests in their absence. Health reasons, either in anticipation of extended physical rehabilitation …
Estate planning attorneys need to understand and explain taxation of trusts in order to properly advise clients. Individual clients need to understand the implications of the plan their attorney suggests in order to properly file their own taxes. Determining whether a trust qualifies as a grantor trust or a nongrantor trust is the first step in determining tax liability for a particular year.
Many Estate Planning attorneys shy away from business succession planning, but if you approach it like you do any other asset, it’s not so scary! First, it’s important to understand that entities involve not just the business relationship, but family relationships as well. Often, businesses start with one or maybe two members of a senior generation who have the funds, desire, and connections to create the business. It’s not always clear, though, what will happen when that senior generation retires, or worse yet, dies unexpectedly.