If you’re like most people, you’ve probably encouraged your elderly relatives to list of all their assets and contact information, including passwords to online accounts. This will enable you or other family members to access vital information at times when you must act on their behalf. (more…)
Insight on Estate Planning
Family Advancement Sustainability Trust - A Flexible Trust That Can Achieve Many Estate Planning Goals
While, ultimately, you create an estate plan to meet technical objectives, such as minimizing gift and estate taxes and protecting your assets from creditors’ claims, you should also consider “softer,” yet equally critical, goals. Because you’ve spent a lifetime building your wealth, it’s important to educate your children or other loved ones on how to manage wealth responsibly. In addition, you may want to promote shared family values and encourage charitable giving. Using a “family advancement sustainability trust” (FAST) is one option to achieve these goals. (more…)
Estate tax planning can become complicated when multiple parties are involved. For example, you may be concerned about providing assets to a surviving spouse of a second marriage, while also providing for your children from your first marriage. Of course, you also want to take advantage of favorable estate tax provisions in the law.
Fortunately, there’s a relatively simple way to meet your objectives with few dire tax consequences. It’s commonly called a spousal lifetime access trust (SLAT). (more…)
Suppose you’re contemplating a bold move — literally: pulling up stakes and moving to a foreign country. There are many possible reasons for this drastic change of scenery. For example, you may be enticed by a new career opportunity, looking to retire to a warmer climate, or wanting to live closer to loved ones.
Regardless of whether you’re targeting a move “across the pond” or to a tropical paradise or elsewhere, be aware of the estate tax planning implications. (more…)
The past few years have been a roller coaster between the pandemic, the California wildfires, and the political climate. We have seen massive tax acts enacted, including the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 that doubled the estate and gift tax exemption to $11.7 million for single filers and $23.4 million for joint filers (indexed for inflation). (more…)
It’s been said repeatedly: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Yet many individuals often disregard this saying. And it comes back to haunt them or their heirs at a future date.
If you’ve built up a substantial nest egg over the years, it’s likely you feathered it through various investments. This growth may have been fueled by one or two specific stocks. For instance, if you acquired Amazon or Apple before those stocks took off, you may be sitting on a goldmine. (more…)
Maybe you thought that a member of your immediate family — perhaps your spouse or oldest child — would serve as the executor of your estate. Or you may have planned for a close friend to handle these duties. But the person you assumed would be the obvious choice turned out not to be the best one for the job.
Notably, choosing the “wrong” executor could cause a multitude of problems. For example, missteps by this person could lead to financial or logistical troubles. He or she may make mistakes that hinder the probate process or jeopardize estate planning benefits. And the executor might make decisions that defeat your intentions. (more…)
There are many obstacles in the path to estate planning. One of the more difficult to overcome is when an elderly parent or family member refuses to cooperate or even acknowledge the need for estate planning measures. And this could lead to problems — such as family feuds and potential financial disasters — down the road.
You’ve probably spent a lot of time creating documents for your estate plan, including a will, trusts and a power of attorney. While these documents are essential for your plan, your family could also use a “road map” to navigate the aftermath.
Typically, the road map will be in the form of a “letter of instructions” or similar missive that isn’t legally binding. But it can still be a valuable source of information in trying times. This is especially true if your family is devastated by a loss due to COVID-19 or some other unexpected calamity. (more…)