Estate Planning Blog

ESTATE PLANNING STEPS FOR EVERYONE

Most people think they do not need to worry about estate planning until they have fulfilled at least a few big life goals like buying a home, starting a family, having their first child. However, this is simply not true. Here are few steps everyone needs to take, regardless of the size of their estate or age.  1. Draft a health care directive to layout your medical wishes and appoint an agent to make medical decisions for you in case you are unable to do so. 2. Draft a durable power of attorney for your finances. 3. Name a guardian for your minor children. 4. Update beneficiaries for your life insurance. 5. Update beneficiaries for your financial accounts. 

HOW DOES OBERGEFELL VS. HODGES AFFECT ESTATE PLANNING FOR SAME SEX COUPLES?

The Supreme Court in Obergefell vs. Hodges made same-sex marriages legal across the nation holding same-sex married couples are now entitled to the equal protection of the laws of the United States. Prior to the Court’s ruling, same-sex couples were denied many rights and privileges afforded to other married couples, including no spousal rights of inheritance, no spousal support in cases of death or divorce, no intestate inheritance rights, no legal priority to act as a conservator or a guardian in case the other partner become incompetent, and no right of access to each other in the hospital. The Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell, however, guarantees that same-sex couples are entitled to marry regardless of which state they reside in and they are guaranteed equal treatment under the law.  Here are some important highlights of how the Court’s ruling will impact same-sex marriages:  They can now file taxes jointly as…

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT ESTATE PLANNING

1. Do I need a living trust? A living trust allows you to transfer your assets into your trust to administer for your benefit while you are still alive and it allows you to pass your property to your loved ones outside of the probate process, which can be lengthy and costly. With that said, not everyone needs a living trust. If you don’t have significant assets and if you don’t own any real property, you will not receive the benefits of a living trust. Additionally, individuals who want court supervision over the distribution of their assets might prefer to have a will in place rather than a living trust.  2. What is the difference between a will and a living trust? A living trusts takes the place of a will for those who own real property and other significant assets. It makes the administration of an estate easier in…

ESTATE PLANNING FOR YOUNG ADULTS

For many young adults, drafting an advance health care directive is the last thing on their minds. Many of us, at some point or another, have thought about what we would want the doctors to do in case we are in a coma or a vegetated state. Some of us would want to be kept alive through artificial life support, some would prefer to let nature take its course while others would rather leave the decision to their families. Whatever their wishes might be, most young adults do not make their decisions official through proper estate planning. The main goal of an advance health care directive is to allow us to disclose our health care wishes in case we are incapacitated and designate a trusted family member or a friend to carry out our health care decisions if we are ever unable to speak for ourselves. This document can be tailored to…

WHAT IS ESTATE PLANNING?

Estate Planing allows you to determine how your property will be distributed at your death, specify your health care wishes in case you are incapacitated and ensure your loved ones are provided for in your absence. A comprehensive and a well-drafted estate plan can eliminate various legal questions that may come up when someone dies. What real and personal property do you own? Who gets what? How will your financial affairs be settled? Does a guardian need to be appointed for the care of minor children? How much tax will need to be paid in order to transfer ownership of property? Your estate includes everything you own, such as your house, bank accounts, stocks, life insurance policies and all of your personal property. Regardless of your age or the size of your estate, one of the most important reasons to have a plan is to ensure that your loved ones…

HOW TO GET STARTED WITH YOUR ESTATE PLAN

‘Estate’ is a fancy word. It merely means every asset you own, including your home, bank accounts, all your personal property. Depending on the size of your estate and the type of assets you own, there are various estate planning documents you can utilize to pass your property to your loved ones, determine what happens in case you are in an accident or have an illness that renders you mentally or physically incapacitated. Here are a few things to consider as you get started with your plan.DETERMINE WHO GETS WHATAs you gather up an inventory of your assets, consider how you want them to be distributed to your loved ones. If you don’t have a will, the laws of your state will determine who inherits your property. On the other hand, a valid will or a trust will allow you to control the distribution of your property to whomever you…
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