If your life or the law has changed since you signed your last will and testament (will) or trust agreement, you need to update your document! Do you know how change are made to wills or trusts? What's the difference between a codicil, amendment and a restatement? Read this blog for answers to those questions and some guidance on when and how to update your estate planning documents.
Estate planning is not just a once in a lifetime event. Your plan is a set of living, breathing documents that can be impacted by many common life events. However, some of those life events can have a dramatic effect on your estate plan. In this blog, we take a look at some common life changes and the impact they may have on your already established estate plan.
For LGBTQ+ Americans, estate planning can be even more important. Despite same-sex marriages being legally recognized since 2015, couples composed of sexual and gender minorities still face estate planning challenges not encountered by other “traditional” same-sex couples. Without a plan, you and your family could be subject to your state’s default or intestate succession law, which may not take into account LGBTQ+ couples’ realities, families, and dynamics. And if your plan was created before 2015, you may need to revise it to ensure that it reflects the latest legal rights granted to married same-sex couples. Read this blog to learn more about the need for an estate plan!
There is no questioning the legacy of one of rock and roll’s biggest icons - Meat Loaf - given his rise to fame, financial "fall" and successful "rebirth". But there are still unanswered legal questions about the fate of Meat Loaf’s estate. Although there is no evidence to suggest that Meat Loaf died intestate (i.e., without a will), we can speculate about his estate plan based on his life, legacy, and available legal instruments. Read this blog for more background on his life, death and legacy.
Even if you do not have a lot of money to leave to your family, you can still leave them a great legacy with seven simple steps. Read this blog to learn more about creating a legacy for your family.
Elder abuse can take several forms, such as physical, sexual, emotional, and verbal abuse or caretaker neglect or exploitation. Financial exploitation includes outright theft of money or property, illegal transfers of property, identity theft, and misusing a position of trust, such as through a power of attorney. Read this blog to learn more about financial exploitation of an elderly person to ensure that your loved one does not become a victim.
Camp is a unique experience for both kids and parents. Although the time spent apart can be positive for the parent-child relationship, there are a number of contingencies that families should plan for ahead of time. Read this blog for an overview of things to do to prepare for your child's summer camp this year.
Most of us strive to earn a living to support our families. Stay-at-home parents also work to provide valuable non-monetary contributions to their families everyday. If something were to happen to the stay-at-home parent, how would the family’s needs be met? Read this blog to learn more about the planning you should do now before the worst-case scenario happens to you and your family.
Legal vehicles, such as trusts and LLCs, can be used to manage and protect assets, minimize taxation, and avoid probate. The type of asset will generally determine if a trust or LLC is the best choice; however, you should know that an LLC can be placed in a trust. Read this blog to better understand each type of entity and clear up some common misconceptions about them.
Although there may be a number of good reasons for high-net-worth individuals to create a trust with their children as beneficiaries, the phrase “trust fund baby” immediately brings to mind images of apathetic adults living lavish, substance-abusing lifestyles with no need or desire to work and no purpose or direction in life. Creating a silent trust may be the solution to such nightmarish beneficiary-gone-wrong scenarios.
Naming your child as the recipient of your home in your will does not give them any right to your home while you are still living. However, putting your child’s name on the deed to your home would indeed give them–and their creditors–that ability. Read this blog to develop a better understanding of the differences in these approaches.
Marital assets—including a business—are divided between the parties as part of the divorce process. But determining who the business belongs to and ascertaining its fair market value can be very complex. And, if the business has other owners, a divorce for one owner will probably impact the other owners. To gain more knowledge about issues that need to be addressed when you are a business owner getting a divorce, read this blog.
Don't assume that couples in a domestic partnership have the same rights as married couples when it comes to estate planning! In fact, the state in which you live generally determines a domestic partner's rights. Read this blog to learn more about domestic partnerships and the estate planning issues such partners may face.
Have you ever thought about what to do with your loved one's prescriptions after their death? Probably not! To avoid running afoul of laws governing the disposal of drugs, it is important to understand the proper procedures for disposing of a deceased person’s controlled substances. Read this blog for more insight.
As a small business owner, you are probably concerned about losing everything you worked so hard to build if you are forced to pay money due to a claim or lawsuit against your business. You can implement some of these strategies at your business’s inception while other measures need to be consistently followed to maximally protect your personal assets. For more information on this topic, please read this blog.
If you are married to someone who is significantly older or younger than you, the future can look different and mean different things to each of you. It is important that you have an open and honest conversation with your spouse about the financial and estate planning topics. Read this blog to learn more about the issues that couples with an age disparity need to consider.
The sale of multi-million dollar NFTs over the last year has prompted growing interest in them, as well as plenty of questions. Namely, what exactly are NFTs, how are they used, and why would anyone be interested in them? This blog will provide some basic information about NFTs and how to plan for their transfer after your death.
Loan agreements are contracts between you and the lender describing the mutual promises the two parties owe each other. One of the promises you may be required to make is that, in the event of a default on the business loan, your personal assets can be used to satisfy the debt. This is a personal guarantee and can make it easier to borrow money if your business does not have the assets or track record needed to secure a loan.
The federal tax code has very specific rules about how much you are allowed to transfer to others each year—and over the course of your lifetime—in the form of a gift. Any gifts above that amount may be subject to gift tax. But not every gift is subject to gift tax. There are annual exclusion amounts, a lifetime exemption amount, and other exclusions, such as education or medical exclusions, that relieve a giver of paying federal gift taxes. Read this blog to gain a better understanding of the taxation of gifts that you want to give.
Courts are increasingly being asked to determine whether a will that was created and stored on a computer, tablet, or cell phone and e-signed (i.e., an electronic will or e-will) meets the traditional requirements of being “in writing” and “signed by the will maker” to be valid. To learn more about electronic wills, read this blog.
Despite a simple definition, self-dealing is much harder to identify in practice and is often done in ignorance, particularly when there are complicating factors, such as the trustee also being a trust beneficiary. If you are serving as the trustee for a trust, or is you want to learn more about self-dealing, you need to read this blog!
As a small business owner, you are adept at handling challenges. But when it comes to parsing the fine print of the law, you may feel that you are in over your head. You cannot do everything on your own. Every business relies on other businesses to accomplish its goals. Accordingly, there is arguably no partnership more important to your long-term success than the one you have with your business lawyer. If you need a business lawyer, you need to read this blog.
If you own real property and the time and expense required to create a living trust does not make sense for your situation, a transfer-on-death (TOD) deed may be the solution you need to avoid the probate process. Read this blog to understand more about TOD deeds, known as a Transfer on Death Instrument in Illinois.
Deciding what should happen to all of your accounts and property at death can be a big undertaking, especially if either or both spouses have gotten or will be getting remarried, married late in life, or have brought or will be bringing significant amounts of money and property into the marriage. To help alleviate some of the stress that may come from making such decisions, we like to suggest a unique estate planning tool called the pour-over trust. Read this blog for more information on a pour-over trust and how it is utilized in an estate plan.