Articles Posted in Estate Planning

social-security-300x200If a loved one has named you as their POA (Power of Attorney), you now have written permission to help manage that loved one’s financial decisions during his or her lifetime.

It’s a powerful document.  It puts complete trust and authority in you to handle the financial matters of the person who has named you as their agent.

Depending on how the document is constructed, as POA, you may have the authority to oversee transactions such as changing beneficiary designations, accessing a safe deposit box, dealing with the IRS and the State on tax matters, or creating, funding, and requesting distributions from trusts.

Dollarphotoclub_69690745-300x212By Brendan Daly

The Senate recently introduced two bills that include proposed changes to the federal estate tax laws. The reason?  To raise revenue due to the pandemic relief and infrastructure packages. These bills will have a significant impact on future estate planning, and may also disrupt existing plans with the increased risk of estate tax exposure.

The two bills currently under consideration are:

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(Note: this post has been updated due to potential IRS changes)

Do you know about the new changes that could affect your retirement accounts? Some are positive, others may require you to make some new planning decisions.

Either way, the goal of this new legislation is to improve retirement security for many Americans. And that’s a good thing.

New Car GiftWhen you die, someone is going to benefit from the use of your car. Wouldn’t it be nice to decide now exactly who that person should be?

You can do that today – it’s easy!  When registering a vehicle, you can designate a transfer-on-death (TOD) beneficiary, not unlike what you can do with a bank account.

How to designate a beneficiary

Simply complete the area reserved for this purpose on the reverse side of your registration certificate. If you do not have a registration certificate, or if you are registering a new vehicle, complete the Official Registration, Form H-13, and designate the Owner in Box 1 as “John Doe, Transfer on Death to Jane Doe.”

When you die, the transfer-on-death beneficiary need only bring a certified copy of your death certificate to the nearest Department of Vehicles office to have the registration transferred. Continue reading


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If you’re confused, or unfamiliar with trusts as part of an estate plan, you’re not alone! Some people need to have a trust, others do not.

Then there’s the probate process. Does having a trust impact the probate process? Should you have a trust to avoid the probate process?

To answer your questions about trusts and probate, read on!

 

 

When you are putting your estate plan together, one of the advance directives you will want to  create is a Designation of Conservator.  It is probably something you haven’t thought about, or maybe even knew it existed! But it is really important.

What is this Designation of Conservator?  It’s where you decide ahead of time who will manage your affairs – and under what certain circumstances – if you become incapacitated.

So what is a conservator?

A conservator is a person appointed by the probate court to oversee the financial and/or personal affairs of an adult who is determined by the probate court to be incapable of Continue reading

Who Blue cubes. Part of a series.

There are many ways a trustee of a special needs trust could cause harm to a beneficiary, however unintentionally. This is why many people choose to have a disability planning attorney take on this critical role.

Here are 10 things to consider when deciding who should administer a special needs trust:

1. SSI, SSDI, Medicare, Medicaid… sound confusing? It can feel like alphabet soup to the uninitiated. Does the prospective trustee understand the differences between these public benefit programs and the rules that govern them? A trustee with limited understanding could unwittingly jeopardize a beneficiary’s eligibility.

Continue reading

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Do you have to pay tax on all gifts that you give?  For the majority of Americans, the answer is a resounding NO!

So, we all know that the federal government imposes a gift tax, but did you know that only Connecticut imposes a gift tax? Luckily, if you understand how the federal government’s gift tax works, you will understand the Connecticut gift tax, but just in case you don’t, the following is a brief overview.

What is a gift? 

A gift occurs whenever you transfer something to another person or certain trusts for less than the item’s fair market value. Continue reading

AdobeStock_82245763-copy-300x200By Ruth Fortune

When you create a revocable trust, also known as a living trust, one major benefit is probate avoidance, meaning assets in your revocable trust can be distributed to your beneficiaries without going through probate.

But, this begs a question we are often asked:

iStock_000010559825SmallWho would ever want to pay a gift tax if they did not have to?

The answer: Your children!

Let’s take a closer look at this and let me give you some background.

The IRS has a gift tax. If you are a very generous person who makes lots of big gifts, you may have to pay a tax while you are alive, for the privilege of making that gift. But there are two protections against the tax.

  1. As of the 2021, the IRS has a $11.70 million lifetime federal exemption from any taxable gifts.
  2. There is also an annual exemption from taxable gifts of $15,000, per person and per gift recipient.

How do these interplay? Continue reading

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