April 10, 2010   Inheritance

Are We Helping to Pass on the Farm?

By John R. Baker, J.D.
An interesting quote but, what does all this have to do with farming, farm business suc­cession planning, estate planning and pre­serving wealth? What did Aristotle mean by this? What he meant was that there is nothing intrinsic in a tree, an inanimate object, that, when falling to the forest floor, transmutes it into a Greek trireme with oars and sails and a ram. Obviously when a tree falls to the forest floor it decomposes. No ship, no oars, no sails, just rotting wood.   Aristotle could just as well said, “If the farming art were in the land, it would produce the same results by nature.” Simply stated, there is nothing intrinsic in land, equipment, buildings, facilities or machinery that transmutes these inanimate objects into a farm business. As we all know, fa...
January 3, 2011   Inheritance

Becoming the Parents We Want to Be

By Martha Hartney, J.D.
Estate Planning is an Initiation in Parenting You are the bows from which your children as living ar­rows are sent forth. The Archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far. Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness; For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.  ~Kahlil Gibran   Parenting is a Spiritual Discipline What being a mother of two sons brings to my legal work is certainty that parenting is a spiritual journey, as much as it is a care giving role, and a never-ending set of tasks. Parenting consciously is a discipline requiring study, diligence, surrender, humility, gentility, and most definitely, grace under pressure. Parenting r...
November 22, 2013   Inheritance

Before You Transfer Your Home to Your Child – Read This

For every person who transfers his or her home to an adult child without incident, there is another person who regrets his or her decision to do so. As with many estate planning tools, transferring a residence to an adult child is not the best option for everyone. If you are considering transferring your home to an adult child, it is important to first consider the risks involved.   Loss of Control Although obvious, it is important to remember that by giving your home away, you deprive yourself of the right to control it. This means that your adult children can charge your rent to live in your home, or simply kick you out. Moreover, you cannot keep the home from being mortgaged or sold.   Medicaid Ineligibility One common reason people choose to transfer their homes to their chil...
October 16, 2011   Inheritance

Blood & Money: Why Families Fight Over Inheritance

By P. Mark Accettura, J.D.
Those of us who practice in the area of estate planning are regularly confronted with families behaving at their worst. People who are normally thoughtful and connected with their emotions revert to fighting children, figuratively, sometimes literally, scratching, punching, and pulling each other’s hair. Even where there is no overt conflict, it seems that nearly every family has some amount of tension percolating just beneath the surface as they address family inheritance issues.Stories of families in conflict at the death of a loved one are regular fodder in the media. It is easy to mock them; they look ridiculous, and it all seems so petty. We wonder why people just can’t get along. But, after some study I have learned that what appears as greed and pettiness are really symp...
September 25, 2013   Inheritance,   Estate Planning

Estate Planning for Divorced Parents with Minor Children

As our families grow, change, and become more complicated, their estate plans must grow and change with them. Those with minor children need to pay careful attention to their estate plans after divorcing their spouse. These individuals have two main estate planning concerns: guardianship and inheritance.   Guardianship determines who you would like to care for your children if you’re unable to care for them because of your incapacity or death. The child’s guardian will be responsible for providing the child with food, shelter, support, and education. Guardianship also concerns visitation of your family should you die before your former spouse.   For the benefit of your children, it is important to sit down with your former spouse to develop a unified plan for guardian...
July 12, 2012   Inheritance

Family Values and History Are Still the Best Inheritance

If you are concerned that your children’s inheritance is being reduced by the collapse of the housing and investment markets, rising medical costs, a sluggish economy and a longer-than-expected lifetime, you needn’t be. According to a recent study, family values, traditions and history still mean more than money as an inheritance.   These results are from the 2012 Allianz Life American Legacies Pulse Study* which surveyed baby boomers (age 47 to 66) and “elders” (age 72 and older). Allianz Life conducted a similar study in 2005. Interestingly, despite the financial crises that occurred between 2005 and 2012, the results were strikingly similar, with a high percentage of both boomers (86%) and elders (74%) agreeing that family stories, values and life lessons ar...
November 3, 2011   Inheritance

Giving Your Assets to Your Children Now Can Cause Serious Problems

Sometimes people will transfer title of their assets to their adult children while they are living, thinking it will make things easier for their children when something happens to them. Doing this will prevent the court from controlling the assets if you become incapacitated and it will avoid probate when you die. And while there can be valid tax reasons to transfer some assets now, it can also create problems.First, when you give away an asset, it's gone. You may think your children will give it back to you if you change your mind, but they don't have to, and things can change in families when money is involved. They could sell the asset against your wishes, they could lose it to creditors, or they could be influenced by a spouse. If you outlive your children or they divorce, a d...
November 27, 2013   Inheritance

How to Disinherit a Family Member

When planning your estate, you have the right to distribute your assets any way you choose. There are a myriad of reasons why a person may decide to disinherit a would-be beneficiary from taking under his or her estate. The method of disinheriting a person depends on what their relationship to you is.   If You Would Like to Disinherit Your Spouse Unless your spouse agrees in writing, it is impossible to disinherit him or her completely. If your spouse agrees to be disinherited, he or she must either abandon you or agree to be disinherited through a legal contract. Otherwise, state law protections will keep a decedent’s surviving spouse from getting nothing from the decedent’s estate. In most states, a spouse who has not agreed to be disinherited but was left out of his or...
March 6, 2013   Inheritance

How to Leave Assets to Adult Children

When considering how to leave assets to your adult children, first decide how much you want each one to receive. Most parents want to treat their children fairly, but this doesn’t necessarily mean they should receive equal shares of your estate. For example, you may want to give more to a child who is a teacher than to one who has a successful business. Or you may want to compensate a child who has taken care of you during an illness or your later years. Some parents worry about leaving too much money to their children. They want their children to have enough to do whatever they wish, but not so much that they will be lazy and unproductive. Well, no one said you have to give everything to your children. You may prefer to leave more to your grandchildren and future generations throug...
August 21, 2014   Inheritance

Inherited IRAs No Longer Protected From Creditors

By Matthew T. McClintock, J.D. Vice President, Educational Content, WealthCounsel In a major decision, the Supreme Court ruled this past June that inherited IRAs are not considered protected retirement funds—and are thus subject to creditors’ claims if the beneficiary files for bankruptcy. In the case of Clark v. Rameker, Heidi Heffron-Clark argued that a $300,000 IRA she inherited from her mother in 2001 qualified as a protected retirement account. As such, she contended, the account was exempt from the claims of creditors after Heffron-Clark and her husband filed for bankruptcy in 2010. However, under U.S. tax code regarding inherited IRAs, Heffron-Clark was required to withdraw a minimum amount of money from the account each year, even though she is not yet retirement age...
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