Have You Had The “Talk” With Your Family Members?

If you are a parent, you may be thinking of the “talk” you had with your children when they were pre-teens, but, that is not what I am referring to. This “talk” is with your family members about your “later in life” thoughts. Do your family members know your preferences about critical life support?  Funeral details?  […]

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Making Sure Your Will and Your Wishes Are Met

In 2005, Edwin Fisher executed a Will which established two trusts for the benefit of his wife.  The trusts were established to minimize death taxes upon their deaths.  His wife predeceased him.  He died in 2008.  The remainder of one trust was to be distributed among a variety of charities.  The other trust was to […]

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Use Caution With UTMA Accounts

Many of you have been in this situation. Grandma or Aunt Tillie wants to give your child money or stock – not enough to warrant some more aggressive estate planning techniques, but enough that the donor wants the funds to be invested for the long term.  This is where the Uniform Transfer to Minors Act […]

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How to Stop a Will Contest

As a recent saying goes, “If there is a Will, there may be a Will contest.”  Probate litigation continues to increase, especially when there are families who have some level of discord.  Frequently, families want to disinherit or limit the share of one of their children.  However, they also wish to insure that when they […]

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Have a Very Portable New Year

Whew!  I don’t know about you but I am glad that Fiscal Cliff stuff is over — well, at least the automatic tax increase part of it. Among other issues covered in the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, Congress finally resolved the uncertainty in the federal estate and gift tax law that has been […]

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Grantor Trust – The Gift That Keeps on Giving (Tax Free)

Gifts, both tax and non-tax, are great to accomplish estate planning goals. A gift to a special type of trust, called a Grantor Trust, can be one of the best types of gifts you can make. The primary non-tax benefit of a gift is seeing the recipient use the funds for college, drive the car, […]

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It’s Not Just Documents

Frank Casagrande set up an irrevocable trust in which he was to transfer his life insurance policies.  At the time, he was married to Roberta, who was named as the beneficiary of one of his policies.  The beneficiary designation was never changed. Subsequently, Frank divorced Roberta and married Rosemary. After Frank died, Rosemary filed an action […]

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What?! – I Can’t Amend My Irrevocable Trust?

I can’t tell you how many times I have heard this question, usually years after the irrevocable trust was signed: “You mean I can’t change the trust?” The short answer to the question is “No, an irrevocable trust is, by its terms, irrevocable and cannot be changed”. The long answer is… well, first some basics. […]

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Special Tax Alert

Well, the results are in.  President Obama has been re-elected.  The Democrats have won the Senate.  The Republicans have won the house.  No party can claim a mandate. What does this mean for us?  From the standpoint of estate and gift taxes, it means a lot.  Currently, each individual has a $5,120,000 exemption from the federal estate […]

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Government Sets Obstacle for the Disabled

Earlier this year, the Social Security Administration released a substantial revision to its Program Operations Manual System (POMS) which has a dramatic impact upon those who are classified as disabled and receive needs based government benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid and Section 8 Housing.  Specifically, POMS SI 01120.201 has been modified to […]

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