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Stop: Don’t Designate Your Investments As “Transferable On Death”

After his wife died Frank, a retiree, updated his estate planning. His new will passed his estate in equal shares to his three children.  Most of his assets consisted of investments managed in a brokerage account. Frank, unbeknownst to his lawyer and on the advice of his financial planner, later designated the assets in his

Four Provisions People Often Forget to Include in Their Estate Plan

Even if you've created an estate plan, are you sure you included everything you need to? There are certain provisions that people often forget to put in a will or estate plan that can have a big impact on a family. Alternate Beneficiaries One of the most important things your estate plan should include is at

How Long Should I Hold on to Important Documents?

It is hard to know what documents to trash and when. Before you know it, your spare room, office, basement, or garage is overflowing with boxes of papers that all seem important. Trying to weed through the mess and figure out what to toss? Keep reading. Which Documents Should I Keep? There are some documents

Medicaid – With “Gift & Annuity” You Don’t Have to Wait Five Years

Medicare and health insurance don’t pay for long-term nursing home care. Medicaid does, without any time limits or dollar caps. But For nursing home residents, impoverishment is the price of admission into the Medicaid program.  While most spend themselves broke, a savvy few manage to qualify for Medicaid without forfeiting their estate.  One way to

How Changes to Portability of the Estate Tax Exemption May Impact You

On July 8, 2022, the Internal Revenue Service issued new guidance that allows a deceased person’s estate to elect “portability” of their unused gift and estate tax exemption for up to five years after their death. So, if your spouse passed away less than five years ago, you may be able to file an estate

Is a Grantor Retained Annuity Trust Right For You?

What is a GRAT? Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts (GRATs) ­are a mechanism by which wealthier individuals and couples can transfer appreciating assets to their heirs and minimize gift or estate taxes. High-net-worth individuals and couples can use GRATs to freeze the value of their estates and transfer any increase in the value of their assets

The Powers and Responsibilities of Representative Payees

Do you have a friend or loved one who receives Social Security and is unable to manage her payments? If so, you can request that the Social Security Administration (SSA), the government agency that disburses Social Security, name you as the representative payee for that person. Being a representative payee gives you the power and

When Is a Nursing Home Eviction Legal, and What Can I Do?

Nursing home evictions, or involuntary discharges or transfers, disrupt the lives of residents, leading to homelessness, separation from familial support systems, and loss of care. As federal law covers all federally funded nursing home residents, nursing home evictions are legal only in particular instances, such as: The nursing home can no longer provide for

Executors: Were You Caught With Your Pants Down By A Stock Market Crash? Here’s What You Should Have Done

Getting socked with drastic stock market losses is bad enough.  But Executors face the added problem of having to answer to disgruntled beneficiaries.  The current market meltdown illustrates an important point many Executors fail to recognize. An Executor is the person named in a Last Will & Testament who is responsible for distributing a decedent’s

Dynasty Trusts: A Tax-Efficient Way to Pass Wealth Down Through the Generations

If you want to pass money to future generations without having it subject to gift and estate taxes, then a dynasty trust may be right for you. A dynasty trust allows trust assets to be used for the benefit of multiple generations while keeping the assets out of the grantor’s and the beneficiaries’ taxable estates.