Estate Administration

May 15, 2012   Estate Administration

Can You Trust Your Trust? Why an Online Will or Trust Could Be the Dumbest Mistake You Ever Make

By David Hiersekorn, J.D.
In this article, WealthCounsel member David Hiersekorn discusses the hidden dangers of consumers using online legal forms, often referred to as “do it yourself (DIY) wills and trusts.” Hiersekorn notes at the end of his article that “You only get to use an estate plan once. If you screw it up, you’ll never know, but your family will.” Online legal document services offer an enticing bargain. Most people realize that they need an estate plan to manage their affairs if something happens to them. And, let’s face it, estate planning attorneys are expensive. That’s why many consumers are now questioning whether it’s possible to skip the attorney fees and use a low-cost website to prepare estate planning documents. The short answer is that, yes,...
February 23, 2016   Estate Administration

Could a Corporate Trustee Help You?

If you can relate to any of these situations, you could probably benefit from the services of a corporate trustee:Building Wealth with Professional Asset ManagementMy spouse took care of all our investments. Since he (she) died, I don’t know what to do or whom to trust.I don’t know where I should invest my money. I’m so confused by everything I read.I just received a large inheritance. I’ve never had to invest this much money before.I travel a lot now (business or pleasure) and I don’t have time to manage my investments like I used to.I recently sold my business (or other assets). Now I just need to figure out how to invest my money.I just received a large settlement from a lawsuit, divorce, etc.Wealth Protection with Retirement/Estate PlanningI’m retiri...
November 11, 2015   Estate Administration

Don't Make the Same Mistakes You've Seen in the Headlines

Now is the time to update your existing estate plan, or proceed with implementing a comprehensive estate plan. Why? First, we now know with certainty that the federal estate tax is not going away, and thus we should establish a plan that avoids or at least minimizes this voluntary tax.More importantly, if you don't, you just might end up like the host of celebrities who have made the headlines recently because they either had no estate planning or because the planning they did have was woefully out of date or otherwise inadequate.As the recent celebrity examples demonstrate, estate planning is not just about planning to avoid estate tax. Instead, estate planning is about accomplishing what is important to you and your family, like: passing values to your children and grandchildren; pas...
January 5, 2010   Estate Administration

Estate Planning for Your Online Identity

By Peggy Hoyt, J.D., M.B.A. and Sarah AuMiller, J.D.
What happens to your online legacy when you die? This includes your websites, email, usernames, passwords, banking information, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook accounts, and even blogs. It is a question most people have not even considered, although you should. Without proper planning and documentation your information may become inaccessible and eventually everything you have invested into the Internet may cease to exist.Almost everyone has some type of online account. You may communicate online, pay bills online, do banking online, have an online personality, some people even date online. You are careful to make sure that the passwords which allow you to conduct these aspects of your online life are protected and that only you have access to the accounts. This is good in most instances, but...
July 15, 2008   Estate Administration

Portability of the Federal Estate Tax Exemption - What does it Mean?

With the political and economic climate as it is in the summer of 2008, we are not likely to see total repeal of the federal estate tax in the foreseeable future. However, both Republican and Democratic Presidential candidates support estate tax reform. Realistically, such reform is at least one year away, but the outlines are already clear. And while the top estate tax rate and the exemption amount are not yet established, both candidates support making the exemption "portable" for spouses.On its face, exemption portability is a good thing. However, like many "good" things from Congress, this one may not be all that it is cracked up to be.What is "Portability"? Under current law, if a spouse dies without having planned for his or her exemption, that exemption...
July 13, 2009   Estate Administration

Roth Conversions 2.0 (The Roth Revolution!)

By John Bledsoe, CFP, CLU, ChFC, MSFS
From the very beginning of Roth IRAs there has been an income limitation on Roth conversions. Only people who had modified adjusted gross incomes of $100,000 or less could convert to a Roth whether married or single. This substantial limitation prevented the majority of people who could benefit from this conversion to a Roth from being able to convert. Ru­mor has it that some people even quit their jobs and a few even got divorced just so they could qualify for the Roth conversion. Well happy days are ahead because beginning January 1, 2010 the income limit is lifted for Roth conver­sions. This opens the conversion field to everyone with an IRA and a pulse; so I wanted to give a few general tips on the new (2.0) age of Roth conversions.   1.  Roth IRAs are better than reg...
January 3, 2016   Estate Administration

Should You Convert to a Roth IRA?

Previously, if your adjusted gross income was $100,000 or more, you did not qualify to convert your tax-deferred savings to a Roth IRA. But this income restriction has been eliminated, so everyone is now eligible to convert to a Roth IRA.You can roll over amounts from your traditional IRA and from eligible retirement plans, which include qualified pension, profit sharing or stock bonus plans such as 401(k)s; annuity plans, tax-sheltered annuity plans; and deferred compensation plans of a state or local government. You do not have to roll these into a traditional IRA first.Of course, you will have to pay income taxes on the amount you convert; it will be included in that year's income. But when you consider the benefits below it may be worth it. BENEFITS OF A ROTH IRAUnlike a tradi...
November 12, 2012   Estate Administration

The Best Estate Plan is No Match for Unprepared Heirs

By Nancy L. Powers, Esq.
Over the course of my career, I have encountered many families who were unprepared for the inevitable aging and loss of parents.   These families experienced unexpected rivalries that threatened to  cripple or destroy the very family unity and wealth that the parents and their estate planning attorney hoped to protect.   Well-drafted estate plan documents are designed to reflect clients’ instructions for passing their legacies to the right beneficiaries and providing for care of  clients and their families.  However, the best estate plan is no substitute for preparing heirs to deal with:  changing care needs of aging parents and other family members, the complexities of estate and trust administration, and how to avoid elder financial abus...
October 10, 2008   Estate Administration,   Business Planning

The Importance of Treating Your LLC as a Business

By Cecil Smith, J.D. & Carol Gonnella, J.D.
Now that you have formed an LLC for your client, the LLC as an independent and separate entity from his other affairs. Among other things, your client’s goals are to:       • Protect his assets from future creditors;     • Protect his other assets from any claims made against the LLC;     • Have centralized management for future generations;     • Protect the assets against failed marriages;     • Facilitate transfers among family members;     • Obtain discounts for estate and gift tax purposes, or for purposes of a sale to family       members or trusts for their benefit.   The IRS often attacks these discounts in LLC planning. Their a...
January 14, 2016   Estate Administration

The Perfect Gift for the New Adult in Your Family

What are you planning to give your teenager when he or she legally becomes an adult? A car? A deposit for an apartment? A trip to Europe?Those are all fine gifts, depending on how much you can afford to spend. But here's one you may not have thought of...and it won't cost you a bundle.Take your son or daughter to your attorney's office and have them prepare a trio of documents: a simple trust or will, a durable power of attorney, and a medical power of attorney.Actually, it's a gift for both of you, because once your child reaches legal age, you will no longer be able to automatically make medical and legal decisions for him or her without the appropriate legal documents authorizing you to do so.If your son becomes ill or injured and cannot handle his own financial affairs,...
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