Sample Case Study: Client in their mid 80’s with an estate of approximately $9,000,000. Children are three daughters in their early 60’s. Two of the three daughters have received substantial help (+/- $500,000 from the parents over the past 30 years). The third daughter has received little or no help as she has been financially successful and responsible. The two daughters that … [Read more...] about Should You Distribute Your Estate Equally Among Children In Unequal Circumstances?
If you are in a second marriage, did you have children from your first marriage? What happens when your spouse has children that you have grown fond of? How do you treat children from a prior marriage versus the children in a current marriage? The best solution is to create Trust(s) for the benefit of all those you want as beneficiaries. Once you have your Trust(s) established, you should … [Read more...] about Creating a Trust for the Benefit of Children from a Second Marriage
The basic idea of a Qualified Domestic Trust or QDOT (normally built into most revocable living trusts) is to avoid the forced payment of estate taxes on the death of the first spouse with a large estate, where the intended recipient is a surviving spouse who is a non-U.S. citizen. Keep in mind that the following persons still enjoy an exemption from estate taxes on the first $5.54M in assets … [Read more...] about Qualified Domestic Trusts (QDOT)
The boomers are coming! That's the gist of the many reports and news stories that have been published in the last few years. It seems that every week there are at least a few new stories which predict the great changes that are coming as 5 million boomers turn 65 every year for the next 15 years. Many of the changes predicted are ones that will affect the economy, social structure, residential … [Read more...] about Estate Planning for Baby Boomers
Treasury Regulations Permit Naming Trusts as (Designated) Beneficiaries of Retirement Accounts While often viewed as a "gray" area, the reality is that a trust can absolutely become eligible for designated beneficiary treatment, qualifying as a "see-through" trust where the post-death RMDs are calculated based on the life expectancy of the oldest of the trust's underlying beneficiaries. In … [Read more...] about Naming Trusts as Designated Beneficiaries of Retirement Accounts
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
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
Adding Children to Title of Real Property or Other Significant Assets May Create Problems People often have their own ideas of the easiest way to pass on their homes or other property to their children when they pass away. Later on, they may seek the services of an attorney to help them prepare a more comprehensive estate plan, such as a Revocable Living Trust. It is not that unusual for … [Read more...] about Adding Children to Title of Real Property