In estate planning involving spouses there may be issues surrounding how to deal with separate property acquired prior to marriage or as a result of inheritance. As part of your estate planning consultations with your attorney, you may be asked whether you wish any particular property or financial assets you currently consider to be your sole and separate property to remain your sole and … [Read more...] about Deciding Whether to Convert Separate Property to Community Property
Winter can be a busy time for travel. Snowbirds try to escape the cold. Grandparents long to visit loved ones in distant cities. Jetsetters want to ring in the New Year in a memorable locale. Regardless of the season, travel brings photo opportunities that are prime for posting on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms. But fraud-savvy people think twice before engaging in … [Read more...] about Is Social Media Activity Putting You or Your Clients at Risk?
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
Have you ever thought about becoming a landlord? This option may be tempting if your local real estate market is surging and rental rates are strong, especially if you're already planning to relocate or downsize to a smaller home. Ideally, you'll be able to shelter most or all of the rental income with tax deductions and eventually sell the property for a higher price than you originally … [Read more...] about Consider Taxes before Converting Your Home to a Rental Property
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
Some common myths about doing your own Estate Plan. MYTH: I have chosen a godparent for my children, so it is not necessary for me to nominate a legal guardian for them in case something happens to me. FACT: Traditionally, the role of a godparent is to faithfully assist the godchildren in leading a spiritual and moral life. It is not a nomination or appointment to become the child's … [Read more...] about Common Myths About Do-It-Yourself Estate Planning
Many believe that credit card debt dies along with you. That is not exactly true. So what does happen to credit card debt after you pass away? There is no simple answer to this question. And the complete answer depends on a number of variables such as who else is on your account, whether you have a living trust, and what state you live in. When you die, your estate is required to pay any … [Read more...] about Does Credit Card Debt Live Beyond Your Lifetime?
Most gifts of money or valuable assets to another are considered by the IRS to be taxable to the person making the gift. Exceptions Under current IRS rules there are four ways to make tax free gifts that are not taxable to the person making the gift: Annual gifts capped at $14,000 (indexed for inflation) Lifetime gift exclusion ($5.45 million in 2016 indexed for inflation) Payments … [Read more...] about How to Make Tax Free Gifts