Identity Theft – Not Just an Issue for the Living

Identity theft is the last thing a grieving family should have to worry about after the loss of a loved one. Unfortunately, identity thieves have increasingly targeted the identities of deceased people, using their names and other identifying information to get credit cards, apply for loans, collect refunds based on fraudulent tax returns, and even obtain “proof” of U.S. citizenship. Although family members are not personally responsible for the debts of their deceased loved ones, it may take an effort to resolve the situation if a loved one’s identity is stolen. You and your family can take action to prevent identity theft from happening.

Can a Trust Own My Business after I Die?

In general, the answer to the title question is yes, your trust can own your business after you die. However, there are a number of considerations that may impact the answer to this and the other questions in this video.

LGBTQ+ Estate Planning to Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones

For LGBTQ+ Americans, estate planning can be even more important. Despite same-sex marriages being legally recognized since 2015, couples composed of sexual and gender minorities still face estate planning challenges not encountered by other “traditional” same-sex couples. Issues such as unaccepting family members, child adoption by nonbiological parents, and LGBTQ+ couples living together unmarried underscore the need for proper estate planning documentation.

Dutiful Child or Manipulator of the Elderly?

As parents age and their physical and mental capacities diminish, it is natural for their adult children, recognizing the parents’ decreasing ability to care for themselves, to step in and help them. Often, a specific child will take over the bulk of the responsibilities such as taking the parent to doctor’s appointments or the attorney’s office. As the parent begins to depend on the child more and more, it may make sense to appoint the child as a trusted decision maker and even to give them a larger inheritance to compensate them for their time. At the same time, other family members must take extreme care to ensure that the elderly parent is not being exploited by a manipulative caretaker.

Make Sure Your Kids Are Prepared with This Summer Camp Checklist

Camp is a unique experience, in part because it may be the only time during the year that kids are away from home—and parental supervision—for an extended period. Although the time spent apart can be positive for the parent-child relationship, there are a number of contingencies that families should plan for ahead of time. After your child is off at camp, it may be too late to update contact information, medication lists, and temporary guardianship permissions.

An Estate Plan Should Not Be a Set-It-and-Forget-It Endeavor

As we all know, life happens. There is really nothing we can do about it. However, some of the most common life events can have a dramatic effect on your estate plan. If you think your estate plan is like a slow cooker and you can set it and forget it, you and your loved ones may be in for a stomach-turning surprise when it is time to put your plan into action. Let us take a look at some common life changes and the impact they may have on your already established estate plan.

Planning for Stepchildren and Step-Grandchildren

The structure of families has changed in the United States: According to statistics cited by the Pew Research Center, six out of ten women who remarry are in blended families, and in about half of those remarriages, stepchildren live with the remarried couple. If you or your grown children are part of a blended family, your estate planning should reflect the special considerations and complexities involved.

Does a Domestic Partner Have the Same Rights as a Spouse When It Comes to Estate Planning?

Does a Domestic Partner Have the Same Rights as a Spouse When It Comes to Estate Planning? The short answer to whether couples in a domestic partnership have the same rights as married couples when it comes to estate planning is probably not. To a large extent, the state in which you live, and maybe even the city or county, determines domestic partners’ rights.

Silent Trusts: Could I Be the Beneficiary of a Trust and Not Know It?

People who have accumulated a substantial amount of wealth during their lifetime are often reluctant to disclose the full extent of their wealth to their children. Although there may be a number of good reasons for high-net-worth individuals to create a trust with their children as beneficiaries, the phrase “trust fund baby” immediately brings to mind images of apathetic adults living lavish, substance-abusing lifestyles with no need or desire to work and no purpose or direction in life. Creating a silent trust may be the solution to such nightmarish beneficiary-gone-wrong scenarios.

Important Estate Planning Considerations for LGBTQ Couples

Everyone needs estate planning. Regardless of your age, race, gender, or sexual orientation, properly protecting your future and your loved ones requires a plan. For LGBTQ couples, there are a few things you should consider when thinking about crafting an estate plan. Each couple is unique, and it is our goal to ensure that your personal wishes are carried out and that no one else is dictating what should happen with your money, property, or children.

How to Protect Your Family When You and Your Spouse Work in the Same Business

You and your spouse live together, you work together, and chances are you spend a lot of your free time together. Having a successful marriage and business takes a lot of hard work and dedication but can also be among the most rewarding things in life. To help keep you on the right track, here are a few tips.

Assisted Reproductive Technology and the Real Impact on Estate Planning

ART can provide a solution for those who are struggling with infertility, interested in avoiding passing on genetic risks, or want to store genetic material for later use, as well as for same-sex couples who want to have children. Although it may be surprising, ART is an issue that could have a major impact on estate planning for families seeking to have children through its use.

Using Beneficiary or Transfer-on-Death Deeds

If you own real property, such as a home, in your sole name but you have not created a trust and transferred your property’s title to the trust, it is virtually guaranteed that your beneficiaries (or heirs) will have to deal with probate after your death. If the time and expense required to create a living trust does not make sense for your situation but you still want to avoid the probate process, a transfer-on-death (TOD) deed may be the solution.

What to Know about Nonfungible Tokens or NFT

Learn about NFTs. NFTs can generate new streams of revenue for creators and be a store of value for collectors. If you own NFTs or plan to invest in them, you should update your estate plan accordingly. Handing down an NFT is more complicated than passing on a physical item or other traditional asset. But with buzz building around NFTs, they could end up being among the most valuable items in your estate.

529 Plans – What You Need to Know

There are many ways that you can begin saving for your children or grandchildren’s college expenses: 529 plans are among the most popular types of accounts used to set aside these funds. There are a variety of factors you should consider in determining whether a 529 plan is the best option for your family, including some that may impact your estate planning.

Springing Financial Powers of Attorney

While every estate plan should feature a financial POA, a springing financial POA requires a little more nuance to overcome its limitations. Additionally, even when carefully written, a springing financial POA can pose problems that may not be easily resolved. That said, some people dislike the idea of making a financial POA effective immediately. They prefer to have a financial POA kick in only when it is absolutely necessary.

Statements of Intent or Purpose in Estate Planning Documents

The reasons you, as a trustmaker, create a trust are certainly special and important to you, but your intent or purpose for creating a trust can also have significant legal ramifications. For this reason, it is often critical that a trustmaker express in writing their purpose for creating the trust. There are essentially two different ways of documenting a trustmaker’s intent—each have slightly different purposes, and sometimes both are generally called a “statement of intent.”

Marital Disclaimers and the Clayton Election: Last-Minute Estate Tax Planning

Deferring, minimizing, or avoiding estate taxes altogether is often an important estate planning goal for married couples. However, uncertainty surrounding what the estate tax laws and the value of their accounts and property will be at the first spouse’s death can leave a couple feeling that they need a crystal ball to make the right decisions. Using either a disclaimer or the so-called Clayton election as part of their estate plan can allow at least some hindsight and, consequently, peace of mind.

Yours, Mine, and Ours: How Including a Pour-Over Trust Can Simplify Your Planning

A number of married couples think about their accounts and property as “yours, mine, and ours,” especially if either or both spouses have gotten or will be getting remarried, married late in life, or have brought or will be bringing significant amounts of money and property into the marriage. Deciding what should happen to all of these accounts and property at death can be a big undertaking. To help alleviate some of the stress that may come from making such decisions, we like to suggest a unique estate planning tool called the pour-over trust.

QTIP Trust – Will My Spouse Get What They Need?

A qualified terminable interest property (QTIP) trust is an estate planning tool that married couples can use to minimize uncertainty about the future and maximize certain tax advantages. Since no one can predict how much they will own at the time of their death, which spouse will die first, whether the surviving spouse will remarry, or what the estate tax rate will be when they die, a QTIP trust can help deal with and minimize these uncertainties without the need for a crystal ball.

Common Trusts: Parenting Beyond The Grave

Common Trusts. Should something happen to you and your accounts and property pass to your minor children in equal shares, there may not be enough money for each individual child’s expenses. Almost certainly, one child will require more funds than another. Instead of simply dividing your accounts and property equally among your children, you can place accounts and property in what is known as a pot trust or common trust with instructions for your trustee on how to spend the money and property on behalf of all the beneficiaries.

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