Updating Your Estate Plan

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Organizing for Tax (and Estate Planning) Season

It’s the start of a new year, which means tax season—and this year’s April 17th IRS filing deadline—is just around the corner. Soon you’ll be receiving tax forms such as your W-2 or 1099s, and you’ll start thinking about the life events that could affect your taxes in various ways.

This flurry of tax prep activity is the perfect opportunity to get your estate plan in order, too, and kill two birds with the proverbial stone.

Why? Because as you run down your list of “tax prep” questions, you will find that your answers could also impact your estate plan.

Some things to think about:
● Did you get married or divorced? Did any of your children or grandchildren?
● Did you welcome a child or grandchild into your family by birth or adoption?
● Have any of your children or grandchildren reached the age of majority?
● Have you dealt with illness or hospitalization? Have you incurred medical expenses?
● Did you buy or sell a new property or any other major assets, like a vacation home?
● Did you move to another state?
● Did you buy, sell, open, or close a business?
● Have you made any charitable donations?
● Do you have any new life insurance or pension plans?

After you’ve answered these questions, get to work on gathering the corresponding paperwork.
Read more . . .

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

What to Expect from Estate Planning in 2018

2017 is now fading into the rearview mirror. As we all look ahead to 2018, let’s consider a few things to watch regarding estate planning, so you and your family can be completely protected.

 ●     The death tax. The death tax has been in a state of flux ever since the early 2000s when the Bush administration’s first tax cuts changed the exemption and tax rates. The recently-passed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is the latest significant change.
Read more . . .

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Why Your Estate Planning Project Must Morph into a Process

Many people put their estate plan on their to-do list as a one-time project: “Create estate plan” or “Meeting with lawyer 10:30 a.m. Thursday for estate plan.”

Thinking of your estate plan as a single project or task to complete and move off your list is a common approach – but it’s also an approach that can land you in considerable hot water. Here’s why it’s essential to view your estate plan as a process, rather than a project.

Read more . . .

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Your Estate Planning Binder: Tips for Proper Care and Maintenance

You finally crossed “getting your estate plan done” off your list, and you’ve (rightly) breathed a huge sigh of relief. By tackling this challenge, you’ve not only established protections for your loved ones and legacy, but you’ve also freed up some important “mental space” that had previously been preoccupied.

Once you create the documents that make up your estate plan, your estate planning attorney will likely prepare a binder containing all pertinent documentation. This estate planning binder is critical because it provides key information regarding your intentions after you pass away or if you become incapacitated. Once your trust is fully funded, your binder should also contain information about your assets.

Read more . . .

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

What These 4 Famous Estate Planning Debacles Can Tell You About Proper Planning

Are you failing your family the way these 4 celebrities failed theirs?  These four celebrity estate planning fiascos offer lessons about how to handle your own planning and legacies.
Read more . . .

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Your Cyber Legacy: 3 Tips for Your Digital Assets

There’s an entire category of commonly-overlooked legacy to consider – digital assets. Don’t worry if you didn’t consider these assets when made your will or trust – it’s surprisingly common and, luckily, easy to correct.

What are digital assets? They include:

● your photos (yes, all those selfies are a digital asset),
● files stored in the cloud or on your local computer,
● virtual currency accounts,
● URLs,
● social media profiles (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.)
● device backups,
● databases,
● digital business documents, and
● because technology is ever-evolving, much more will be added as the months and years go by.

These assets can have real value, such as virtual currency accounts, a URL, or digital business assets.

Read more . . .

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Updating Your Revocable Trust: How Many “Tweaks” Are Too Many?

If your life or the law has changed since you signed your trust, it needs to be updated. Updates can be made by way of an amendment - or - a complete restatement. An amendment updates a specific part of the trust; whereas, a restatement, updates the entire trust. You might think that an amendment would cost less than a restatement, but that’s not necessarily true. Let’s chat about which is best for you.

Read more . . .

Friday, October 21, 2016

How Often Do You Update Your Estate Plan? More Often Than Your Resume?

A resume is a “snapshot” of your experience, skill set, and education which provides prospective employers insight into who you are and how you will perform. Imagine not updating that resume for 5, 10, or even 15 years. Would it accurately reflect who you are? Would it do what you want it to do? Likely not. Estate plans are similar in that they need to be updated on a regular basis to reflect changes in your life so they can do what you want them to do.
Outdated estate plans - like outdated resumes - simply don’t work.
Read more . . .

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Wondering Whether You Need to Update Your Estate Plan? Yes, You Do and Here’s Why

Please allow us to be frank. It’s unrealistic to think that a piece of paper you draft, reflecting your life at a certain time, will work when your life has completely changed some years later. We’ll use the Kendrick family as an example as to why estate planning needs to be reviewed and updated periodically.

Read more . . .

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Is Your Estate Plan as Stale as Last Week’s Ham Sandwich?

Estate plans are almost magical: they allow you to maintain control of your assets, yet protect you should you become incapacitated. They take care of your family and pets. And, if carefully crafted, they reduce fees, taxes, stress, and time delays. Estate plans can even keep your family and financial affairs private. But one thing estate plans can’t do is update themselves.

Read more . . .

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