When someone dies, one of the first questions that close relatives usually have is whether they are personally responsible to pay the credit card bills of the decedent. They may even start getting telephone calls from creditors asking them to pay outstanding balances. Close relatives may also want to know: Who is responsible for paying the mortgage of the decedent? If they are entitled to … [Read more...] about Can a Creditor Go After Non-Probate Assets?
After practicing estate planning for almost 20 years, I've learned that having estate-planning documents doesn't always mean the estate planning goals are being accomplished. Usually, this is a result of not clarifying objectives before legal documents are drafted, or failing to review and update legal documents when significant life changes occur. As a primer for Financial Planners seeking to … [Read more...] about What Financial Advisors Should Look for When Reviewing Client(s) Living Trusts
People are living longer than ever before and extended lifespans often come with increased wealth. Decisions regarding your parents' assets can be difficult for everyone, and it's not uncommon for families to be pulled apart in the process. Supervising investments. Setting up an effective estate plan. Planning for the possibility of long-term care. Making charitable contributions. … [Read more...] about Handling Your Parents Wealth
Several significant tax developments happened last year that may affect federal income tax returns that individual and business taxpayers file in 2017. Here's a quick look at 10 key changes that you should be aware of during this tax season. Uncertain Fate of Tax Extenders In 2016, Congress adjourned without addressing numerous temporary tax provisions that were set to expire at the end of … [Read more...] about 10 Important Tax-Related Developments for 2016
Should I be updating my Power of Attorney? There are many circumstances when you might want to update your power of attorney, but generally these fall into three categories. The first is when your life changes, the second is when you have a problem with your designated agent, and the third is what you want your power of attorney to cover. Life changes When you’re creating your estate plan, you … [Read more...] about When to Update Your Power of Attorney
Are you an "experienced" taxpayer? Here are a couple of age-based tax breaks that seniors shouldn't overlook when filing their 2016 returns. 1. Claim Your Rightful Medical Expense Deductions If you're 65 years of age or older, you may have fallen into the habit of automatically claiming the standard deduction instead of itemizing your deductions. Taking the standard deduction is often the … [Read more...] about Tax Breaks Seniors Should Not Overlook
A special needs trust or a supplemental needs trust can be established to help a disabled individual who is receiving assistance from the government -- or is eligible to receive it. Disabled people, who cannot support themselves and rely on government assistance, are not allowed to have more than a certain amount of personal assets, so family members can't just give them money to pay for just … [Read more...] about Special Needs Trust: What Expenses Can They Pay For?
Safeguard and Periodically Review Your Estate Plan. No Estate Plan is ever finalized. Tax laws, economic conditions, estate exclusions, account values and inflation constantly change which affects the way they are implemented. Material events that suggest it is time for a review of your Estate Plan include: Funding your Trust – especially if opening new accounts or moving to a new … [Read more...] about When to Review Trusts and Other Estate Plans
A helpful checklist on how to settle a Living Trust Estate. Most of us have an estate, a legacy we leave to our families. We also have a choice over how that legacy will be passed on. If we choose to do nothing, we are choosing to allow the State to administer our estate and to determine who receives our legacy. An average probate can cost 5 to 10 percent of the gross estate. Avoid probate by … [Read more...] about A Checklist for Settling a Living Trust Estate
Have you tried doing your own physical exam lately? I mean, going to a doctor can be such a waste of time, not to mention the cost. It can be so much better to try to save money and just complete the necessary tests and lab work by yourself. Possibly, you have performed surgery on yourself? Maybe you have extracted your own tooth or filled an annoying cavity all without the assistance of a … [Read more...] about The Dangers of Do-It-Yourself Living Trusts