Articles Posted in Estate Planning

AdobeStock_210046793-1-300x197Just when you think you’ve reached a point in life where you know exactly what love is, along come grandchildren. And it’s fun to spoil your grandchildren! When they are little, it’s so easy. You can let them have ice cream before dinner, give them that amazing game system they wanted (and their parents wouldn’t buy), or let them stay up extra late.

There are more momentous ways to make your grandchildren’s lives a little sweeter as they get older. If you are fortunate enough to have the ability to gift financial assets to your grandkids, there are a lot of different ways to legally sidestep taxes for both you and your grandchildren. And a number of these options also make it possible to earmark the money for specific purposes or protect it for when a child is older.

Cash is King.

Yes-or-No-woman-300x169Someone has asked you to be their power of attorney – but you’re concerned. How do you respond?

Becoming someone’s agent under a power of attorney is not something to be undertaken lightly. It is an enormous responsibility that can potentially become a stressful and time-consuming duty.

So what exactly is a POA? When you are designated as a power of attorney, you are given the power to make decisions on behalf of the “principal” (the person executing the power of attorney) in case the principal should become incapacitated. Your role as the agent is to make choices and take actions to manage the principal’s affairs based on what you believe the principal would have done themselves. In other words, put yourselves in their shoes and act as they would on a situational basis.

AdobeStock_59291200-300x300You can’t predict what might happen tomorrow, but there is something you can do today to help better prepare for whatever comes your way – you can get your estate plan in order.

Putting these documents in place can help ensure that not only are things done according to your intentions, but can also give you peace of mind knowing you’ve set in motion specific plans that can be implemented should the unexpected occur.

Regardless of your age or life circumstances, there are a few basic estate planning documents that every person should have in place.

gift-box-4819-5728-5093-v1-300x200It’s a nice thing to be able to give someone you love a gift, especially when that gift can help ensure their security, wellbeing, and even happiness. But you have to be careful when giving gifts—either cash or property.

The annual gift tax exclusion is $16,000 per recipient in 2022, or—if you and a spouse are making the gift jointly—$32,000 per recipient. If you want to give gifts in excess of those amounts, you need to be strategic about your approach so that you can maximize the gift while minimizing the tax liability.

Here are a few tips that can help you do just that:

resolutionsWe’ll only be hours into the New Year, and most of us will already be steeling ourselves for the annual guilt trip about abandoned resolutions! It never fails. We start out with the best intentions, but as the world cranks back into gear after the holidays, we find ourselves slipping back into old habits and making old excuses. 

Don’t feel too bad. You’re definitely not alone. 

The trouble with most New Year resolutions is that keeping them requires consistent effort over the long term. It can be exhausting just thinking about it.

Give - Man in Word Holding GiftThis is the time of year for giving and receiving. As your mailbox fills up with solicitations from nonprofits – everyone from the Salvation Army to the World Wildlife Fund – how do you know which ones are worthy? And even more important, how can you tell which ones you should steer clear of?

One of the criteria most people are concerned about when choosing a charity is how efficient they are.

  • Does the charity spend all of its revenue on fundraising, or
  • Does a good portion of the contributions received directly support service programs?
  • A rule of thumb is that 60% or more of your contributions should directly support programs.

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Powertodecide-300x200It’s understandable that you might assume “estate” planning is only for people of means. The word “estate”—which conjures visions of Jane Austen-like scenery featuring sprawling mansions, rolling hills, and houses full of staff—is right in the name.

But the truth is, estate planning is a smart idea for pretty much everyone and anyone.

The thing is, estate planning isn’t just about money. It’s about having the power to make your own choices about how you want things handled and how you want to look after the people you love.

undueinfluence-300x200The subject of many a soap opera plot and even some films (like Rian Johnson’s 2019 sleeper hit, Knives Out), undue influence can be a fascinating way to explore family dynamics. But, it’s a little more nuanced than Hollywood makes it out to be – and a little less entertaining in real life.

In this article, we define what is and isn’t considered undue influence, take a look at what happens when someone suspects undue influence, and provide some guidance about how to avoid the drama, inconvenience, and pain that are usually the result of someone contesting a Will.

Defining Undue Influence 

3-generations-284x300Once upon a time, having three generations under one roof was common practice. And, in some parts of the world, it’s still a popular way of life.

Here in the U.S., Pew Research Center estimates that some 64 million Americans—20% of the overall population—live in households that include two adult generations.

And, it’s a trend that appears to be on the rise, and one that was likely influenced by the pandemic.

This-way-or-that-300x214By Colleen Masse

Selecting your trustee is one of the most important estate planning choices you’ll ever have to make.

While your executor’s responsibilities are limited to handling the execution of your Will, your trustee’s responsibilities may extend years or even generations into the future. And the choices they make can have far-reaching repercussions that affect all your beneficiaries in small and large ways.

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