Estate Administration

August 12, 2013   Estate Administration

What Exactly Happens to an Estate After a Person Dies?

Estate administration is the process that occurs after a person dies. During this process, a person’s probate assets are collected, his or her creditors are paid, and then the remaining assets are distributed to his or her beneficiaries in accordance with his or her will. Probate assets are all assets that the decedent owned, in his or her name alone, when he or she died. If a person left a will, the will determines the distribution of those assets.   In order to determine who the decedent selected to administer his or her estate, locate the decedent’s will. The person named as the administrator must file the will with the court and petition to open the process of probate. When the administrator’s petition is granted, the process of probate officially begins.  ...
July 1, 2013   Estate Administration

What Will Your Paper Trail Say About You?

By Wendi Temkin
As with many people of their generation, my Great-Uncle Marcus managed the family finances, thinking he was doing my Aunt Bobbie a favor by leaving her out of this chore entirely.  When he died last year, she was left with the problem of having to reconstruct their financial lives based on random pieces of paper stuffed in drawers, buried beneath 40 years’ worth of miscellany.   While it took weeks to try to figure this all out, imagine how much harder it would have been if there had been no paper trail at all for some of their accounts.  How much of your life is lived on-line?  Do you have bills that you pay automatically, based on emailed invoices and on-line payments directly out of your checking account? Are your paychecks automatically deposited into your che...
January 1, 2016   Estate Administration

What's Happening in Estate Planning

On December 17, 2010 President Obama signed into law the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010.This legislation had some surprises for those who had been following the process. In addition to extending unemployment benefits, current income tax rates (the Bush tax cuts) were extended for all taxpayers for two years, and the estate tax was also extended for two years -- with a $5 million exemption and 35% tax rate.Here are the highlights of this law and how these changes can affect your estate planning through 2012.Estate Tax Exemption and Tax RateYour estate will have to pay federal estate taxes if its net value when you die is more than the exempt amount in effect at that time. For 2011 and 2012, the individual exemption is $5 million (adjusted fo...
February 29, 2016   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 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...
May 25, 2012   Estate Administration

Why You Should Name a Retirement Trust as Beneficiary (For IRAs and Other Tax-Deferred Retirement Accounts)

IRAs and other tax-deferred retirement accounts allow your savings to grow tax-free until you retire. At that point, typically the year after you become age 70 ½, you must begin taking required minimum distributions, on which you pay ordinary income taxes. The rest of the money in your account continues to grow tax-free until it is distributed to you. If you die before depleting your account, the balance of your account will go to the beneficiary you have named.Naming the right beneficiary is critical. Most people want to continue the tax-deferred growth for as long as possible, paying the least amount in income taxes. This is called “stretching out” the account. Distributions after you die will be based on the new beneficiary’s age and life expectancy, so the youn...
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