In estate planning circles, the word “probate” often carries a negative connotation. Indeed, for many people—especially those with valuable accounts and property—financial planners recommend trying to keep accounts and property out of probate whenever possible. That being said, the probate system was ultimately established to protect the deceased’s accounts and property as well as their family, and in some cases, it may even work to an advantage. Let us look briefly at the pros and cons of going through probate.
While it is an honor to be named as a trusted decision maker, also known as an executor or personal representative, in a person’s will, it can often be a sobering and daunting responsibility. Being an executor requires a high level of organization, foresight, and attention to detail to meet responsibilities and ensure that all beneficiaries receive the accounts and property to which they are entitled. If you are an executor who is feeling overwhelmed, here are some tips to lighten the load.
Trusts are typically set up for the benefit of a trustmaker’s loved ones, a charitable organization, or a third party, with the trust money and property being distributed to the beneficiaries upon the trustmaker’s death. But there are situations in which a person may want to set up a trust to be used during their lifetime for their own benefit to maintain privacy or avoid a potential conflict of interest. In such cases, a blind trust might be appropriate.
When a married couple creates an estate plan using a revocable living trust, they have the option of creating a single joint trust or two separate individual trusts. While the pros and cons of each are beyond the scope of this article, spouses may choose to create separate trusts for a variety of reasons.
Handling S Corporation Interests in Estate Planning: Electing Small Business Trusts and Qualified Subchapter S Trusts
One of the many challenges of owning a small business is determining the appropriate tax classification of the business. When an individual owns a business entity that is classified either entirely or partially as an S corporation, it is important to seek the guidance of an experienced estate planning attorney and tax advisor when planning for death. Depending on your estate planning goals, the advice provided by these professionals may be very different from the advice given to another business owner.
When it comes to federal taxes, most people are very aware of the federal income tax because, if they earn a paycheck, they cannot help but notice the deductions each pay period. But there are lesser-known taxes such as the capital gains tax (a form of income tax), the estate tax, the gift tax, and the generation-skipping transfer tax, which is perhaps the least-known tax scheme.
Welcoming a child into the family is a major milestone in every parent’s life, especially if you have utilized assisted reproductive technology (ART). With this blessing comes the need for comprehensive financial and estate plans that are uniquely tailored to your family’s needs. As you continue your journey, we want to provide you with answers to some common questions you may have about planning for your family.
If you are among the minority of US adults who have prepared a will, living trust, and other end-of-life documents, you may think that your estate plan is settled. But you might want to think again. An estate plan is a living set of documents that should be regularly reviewed and updated. Even if you are vigilant about changing your estate plan over time, there may be aspects that you have missed.
Estate planning is about protecting you and your loved ones. Sometimes this can be a difficult endeavor when there is a loved one who may require additional support at your death. While you may want to give as much as possible to this individual, you may not want to do so at the expense of others you care about. A right of occupancy trust can help you plan for this situation as it relates to property use and ownership.
Every trust has at least one grantor, also known as the trustmaker, i.e., the person who creates the trust. So, it can be confusing when terms like grantor trust and nongrantor trust are used. It is helpful to understand that neither of these terms refers to the existence or nonexistence of the trustmaker (the person who created the trust), but are terms that have to do with the trust’s income tax (typically not estate or gift tax) liability.
About 40 to 50 percent of all marriages in the United States end in divorce. Regardless of how you feel about your child’s spouse, you must face the possibility that they could become your child’s ex-spouse. Should that day come, the money you leave to your child could be subject to a division of marital assets. But with careful estate planning, your child’s inheritance can be kept safely out of the hands of their spouse or former spouse.
A trustee has a duty under the law to communicate with beneficiaries and keep them reasonably informed as to the progress of the trust administration. Unfortunately, some trustees fail to comply with this duty to inform, leaving beneficiaries in the dark as to what is happening with the trust. Some trustees are ignorant as to what their duties are under the law and think that being a trustee means that they can do whatever they want. Regardless, if your trustee is unresponsive to your requests for information regarding the trust, what should you do?