A trust is a separate legal entity for holding and investing property. One or more persons (the “trustee”) holds property, usually real estate or investments, for the benefit of another or several other people (the “beneficiary”). The trustee can follow detailed instructions under the trust agreement to manage funds and apply them for the benefit of the beneficiaries.
Many clients who come to my office for estate planning bring along a big binder containing a revocable living trust agreement. The trust allows them to “avoid… Continue reading
As an estate attorney advising trustees, executors, beneficiaries and creditors, there are some important procedural limits on claims I deal with regularly. Below I have reviewed the top six ways claims can be barred and often are barred during Estate or Trust Administration.
(1) Notice to creditors: When someone dies, creditors have two years to pursue their claims against that person’s estate. I advise Executors, Trustees and Surviving Spouse’s to publish notice to creditors in a newspaper and give known… Continue reading
It is a near universal sentiment that doing something now, is better than doing something later. This thought is few places more pronounced than in the world of estate planning. Here, people want to see the fruits of their labor, and feel assured that those fruits will pass smoothly to the next generation. That’s why they call me. Unfortunately, estate planning can often feel anticlimactic in this regard. In a common estate plan, we do little more than identify important… Continue reading
One of the most commonly employed estate planning devices is the Power of Attorney. This document generally comes in two varieties; a financial agency and a health care agency. At its basic, the document allows a competent individual (the Principal) to appoint another (the Agent) with the power to make legally binding decisions for him/her in the event the principal cannot make decisions for themselves. In this way, the principal can be assured, whether in financial or healthcare matters; that a trusted,… Continue reading
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, commonly known as HIPAA, was enacted in 1996, to address concerns over unfretted access to individual medical information. The law provided for sweeping new requirements regarding medical privacy, most of which were well intentioned and necessary. Unfortunately, as with most cumbersome federal enactments, HIPAA has had certain unintended consequences. One such consequence is the lack of predictability by which medical information will be shared with one’s family.
Sorry ma’am, we can’t give you that… Continue reading
“I haven’t gotten to it yet”
Nearly 2.5 million Americans die each year and many haven’t signed the most basic of estate planning document, the Will. While many think about it, and say, “I should get to that,” most do not. Well, it’s a new year. Forgot the gym; let’s get that Will drafted.
“Okay, maybe we should talk about it”
Averting the Fiscal Cliff (for now), Congress left the estate taxes essentially untouched for 2013, maintaining the levels set… Continue reading
Everyone is interested in minimizing their taxes. This is especially true with Estate Planning, where inheritance can create a taxable event for your heirs. For tax purposes, Washington employs a Step-up-in-Basis Rule. This rule is important for minimizing the amount of capital gain taxes to your heirs. Here are the basics of the Rule.
‘Basis,’ generally, is the amount of capital costs one has in a given asset; i.e., the price you paid for it. For example: If… Continue reading
The topic of the Presidential Debate on Wednesday was the domestic economy. The umbrella was supposed to contain such issues as taxes, Medicaid/Medicare, healthcare costs, financial regulation, and jobs. And we heard a considerable amount from each candidate on these topics. Among this hemming and hawing however, one conversation was noticeably missing, at least for me—who was listening for it.
The Federal Estate Tax
Unless acted upon by Congress, the Bush era tax cuts are set to expire on January 1, 2013.… Continue reading
Maybe it’s just me (or my chosen profession), but the world nowadays seems controlled by documents. Leases, licenses, contracts, waivers, disclaimers, assumptions, warnings, and wills. The day of the friendly “handshake” is over. We at Carmichael Clark confidently operate in this world and make it our goal that are clients do the same.
In that effort, Carmichael Clark has recently added several important documents to our tool kit. These forms come with the re-introduction of the firms Estate Planning Practice… Continue reading