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,...
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, 2009   Estate Administration

When Is It Time to Service Your Estate Plan?

If you own a car, then you know it requires regular servicing in order to perform well and be reliable. More than likely, your car came with a recommended schedule for service, based on how many miles it has been driven. After a certain number of miles, you need to change the oil, replace the brake pads, rotate the tires, and so on.If you have a newer car, you probably have an irritating dash light that comes on when it's time for service and stays on until the mechanic resets it. Either way, whether you pay attention to the odometer or rely on that dash light, it's pretty easy to know when it's time to service your car. And if you keep driving it without servicing it, it's a sure bet your car will let you down.Like your car, your estate plan needs "servicing" if...
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...
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...
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...
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