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Testamentary Trusts: The Best of Both Worlds

Posted by Mona O'Connor | Jan 05, 2024 | 0 Comments

You have several different options when it comes to creating the right estate plan. Some people believe that a revocable living trust is the best way to go, while others think that a last will and testament (commonly known as a will) is best under certain circumstances. Others may find that a combination of both—through the use of a testamentary trust—provides the right amount of control and protection for themselves and their loved ones.

Should You Share Your Estate Planning Details With Loved Ones?

Posted by Mona O'Connor | Dec 21, 2023 | 0 Comments

Sharing your estate planning details with loved ones can offer several advantages, such as transparency and a smoother transition when you die or are unable to manage your own affairs. However, there are potential downsides, including possible disagreements between family members and pressure to change your plan. The decision to share your estate plan is yours and yours alone and this decision should be made carefully, taking into account your specific objectives and family dynamics. Read this article to learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of sharing your estate plan.

Can Artificial Intelligence Programs Write Basic Estate Planning Documents?

Posted by Mona O'Connor | Dec 13, 2023 | 0 Comments

You may be able to generate basic estate planning documents by utilizing AI, but are you sure those documents are valid and enforceable? Providing accurate information and executing the documents in compliance with your state's laws is absolutely critical and generally something that clients never consider during the estate planning process. Before you decide to prepare your own estate plan utilize AI, read this blog.

Estate Plan Lessons from DeMuth v. Commissioner

Posted by Mona O'Connor | Dec 08, 2023 | 0 Comments

An individual may consider giving gifts to friends and family members in order to lower their taxable estate at the time of their death. The timing and form of gifts have important estate planning implications. To learn more about how failing to cash a gift check prior to the gift givers death can result in higher estate taxes, read this blog about a recent case in the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Blindsided: The Michael Oher Conservatorship Controversy Explained

Posted by Mona O'Connor | Dec 05, 2023 | 0 Comments

Michael Oher has recently alleged that Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, the Tennessee couple that took Oher into their home when he was in high school and were appointed as conservators of his estate, never actually adopted him. Oher alleges that the Tuohy’s instead tricked him into agreeing to the conservatorship and unjustly profited from his trust in them. To learn more about conservatorships, and learn more about Michael Oher's circumstances, read this blog.

The Life and Legacy of Jimmy Buffett

Posted by Mona O'Connor | Nov 13, 2023 | 0 Comments

Known for his beach-life songs, Jimmy Buffett was far more than that. He was a sharp businessman and big philanthropist. Not much is known about his estate as he utilized advanced planning techniques, but this blog gives you an insight into what his estate plan might include.

How Far in Advance Can I Begin My Estate Planning?

Posted by Mona O'Connor | Nov 08, 2023 | 0 Comments

You can create your estate plan at any time, but many people choose to begin the process sooner rather than later since you never know when life-changing medical or financial emergencies will strike. While there is no specific timeframe for creating your estate plan, starting early and periodically reviewing your plan is recommended. To learn more about when to start thinking about your estate plan, read this blog.

Four Things Your Spouse Should Know Before You Die

Posted by Mona O'Connor | Oct 18, 2023 | 0 Comments

For a surviving spouse, death can leave unanswered questions like burial arrangements, location of important documents and contact information. In addition, remarriage should also be discussed as part of a comprehensive estate plan. To learn more about concerns that arise at the death of the first spouse, read this blog.

Swedish Death Cleaning

Posted by Mona O'Connor | Oct 12, 2023 | 0 Comments

Research shows that 84% of Americans worry that their homes are not organized or clean enough and 55% of them say the disorder is a major cause of stress. If you do not declutter your house, somebody else will have to do it when you die. This is part of the thinking behind Swedish death cleaning, a morbid-sounding practice that is actually quite liberating, both for ourselves and our loved ones. To learn more about Swedish death cleaning, read this blog.

Sometimes Stuff Is the Most Important Part of Your Estate Plan

Posted by Mona O'Connor | Oct 10, 2023 | 0 Comments

Your personal property (i.e., your stuff) can be a source of value that needs to be addressed during the estate planning process. This blog contains questions about your personal property that you need to consider when preparing or updating your estate plan. Once you know what you have, how much it is worth, and who you want to leave it to, make sure your wishes are reflected in an estate plan that is complete and legally enforceable.

Why Deathbed Planning Might Give You Additional Grief

Posted by Mona O'Connor | Aug 18, 2023 | 0 Comments

If you have not updated your estate plan to include loved ones who are not provided for in your existing plan, you may be tempted to make deathbed gifts. However, in addition to the obvious problem that none of us knows the exact time we will die and may not be able to make the deathbed gifts we intend, there are some other drawbacks to deathbed planning that you may not have thought about. And the downsides of deathbed planning can outweigh any benefits you may think it will achieve. To learn more about the pitfalls of gifting on your deathbed, read this blog.

Disability Panels to Take Back Control

Posted by Mona O'Connor | Aug 16, 2023 | 0 Comments

A living trust, also known as a revocable trust, is a popular estate planning tool that allows people to avoid probate; eliminate, defer, or lower estate taxes; and distribute money and property to their beneficiaries at death. Another major benefit of living trusts is that they help the trustmaker (i.e., the grantor, trustor, or settlor) arrange for the management of the trust's money and property should they become disabled, ill, or the victim of age-related decline. In addition to defining incapacity, the trustmaker can choose a group of people to determine if the definition of incapacity has been met. The trust documents can leave this decision to a doctor or the court, or the trustmaker can instead name a private disability panel. Read this blog to learn more about utilizing a disability panel in your living trust in the event you become incapacitated.

Have You Chosen the Right Trustee?

Posted by Mona O'Connor | Aug 14, 2023 | 0 Comments

You should understand the important role that a trustee plays not only in handling trust matters but also in providing for and protecting your loved ones. Read this blog to learn more about the responsibilities of a trustee, what characteristics to look for in a trustee and who you should name to serve as a trustee.

Have You Thought Through Your Retirement Plans?

Posted by Mona O'Connor | Aug 04, 2023 | 0 Comments

You have put in many years of hard work at your job, and you are now able to focus your energy on the next phase of your life - retirement. Before you begin this next chapter, you need to make sure that you have fully thought through this exciting change in your life. Read this blog to learn more about the steps you need to take.

Three Things You Need to Do When Your Spouse Dies and Their Will or Trust Has a Disclaimer Provision

Posted by Mona O'Connor | Aug 02, 2023 | 0 Comments

Although it is important to take time to grieve after the loss of your spouse, there are also some crucial steps you need to take as soon as possible to address your spouse's accounts and property and secure your own future. If your spouse's will or trust, or your joint trust, has a disclaimer provision, one of the time-sensitive decisions you will need to make is whether to disclaim (refuse to accept) money or property that you will otherwise receive as a trust beneficiary.

Estate Planning Issues for the Modern Family

Posted by Mona O'Connor | Jul 28, 2023 | 0 Comments

ABC's TV show Modern Family depicts the relationships and experiences between a fictional extended family and is an excellent example of why estate planning is crucial to ensure that everyone is protected when one of them dies or becomes disabled or incapacitated. Read this blog to develop an understanding of some of the issues that need to be considered in a variety of different family circumstances.

Ways Your Will Can Be Revoked

Posted by Mona O'Connor | Apr 10, 2023 | 0 Comments

Simply creating a will does not mean that your estate plan is complete or final. Your will may need to be updated from time to time due to changes in family circumstances, change in state of residence, change in tax laws, etc. A will may even need to be revoked and redrafted entirely. To learn more about the legal requirements of executing - and changing - a will, read this blog.

Why You May Still Have to Open a Legal Probate Proceeding

Posted by Mona O'Connor | Apr 03, 2023 | 0 Comments

If someone dies without a will, probate is the process by which a court declares who that person's heirs are and appoints an administrator who will distribute the person's money and property as required by state law. Because the probate process can sometimes be expensive and lengthy, and the details of the deceased person's estate may become part of public court records, many people create an estate plan designed to avoid probate by using a revocable living trust. However, there are some circumstances in which a probate proceeding may still be necessary! Read this blog to understand more about when you may want to open a probate proceeding after a loved one's death.

Want to Leave Your Retirement Account to Your Minor Child? Consider These Things First

Posted by Mona O'Connor | Mar 31, 2023 | 0 Comments

Under the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act, most beneficiaries must receive an entire retirement account within ten years of the account owner's death. However, minor children of an account owner fall into a special category of beneficiaries that provides for the mandatory ten-year payout period not to begin until minor child turns twenty-one. This blog will help you learn more about naming a minor child - or a trust - as the beneficiary of a retirement account.

Don’t Let Your Cryptocurrency Give You and Your Loved Ones Nightmares

Posted by Mona O'Connor | Mar 25, 2023 | 0 Comments

If you own cryptocurrency, you need a plan - a plan for the distribution of this asset type after your death. Part of that plan is organizing your investment and necessary information that your loved ones will need in order to access your cryptocurrency. The following stories are each a little different, but they all underline the simple warning: you need a plan! Read this blog to learn more.

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