Tag: estate planning

Make a New Year’s Resolution to Update Your Estate Plan

As another year comes to a close and a new one begins, it’s a great time to take stock of the many changes life has brought your way and what’s to come. It’s also a good time to think about your estate plan. Many people review their estate plan at a regular frequency, often when they go over their whole financial plan. Anne Desormier-Cartwright of Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys, PA says ‘In addition to regular reviews, it’s a good idea to review and update your plan at life events, like the birth of a child, when a child or grandchild becomes an adult or when they go to college, if you have to care for an adult, if there are changes in your financial goals, illness or disability of your spouse. And of course, marriage or divorce.’

She continues to say that there are many others reasons and that reviewing your plan goes beyond major life events. She suggests you should check your plan at regular intervals, such as a new year. This will help ensure that your legacy, both financial and otherwise, is passed on in accordance with your wishes and that your beneficiaries receive their benefits as smoothly as possible.

Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys, PA is a law office small enough to provide personal service but large enough to handle all of your estate and planning needs. Do not wait to contact their office for support.

A basic estate plan typically starts with a Revocable Living Trust

To paraphrase, Ben Franklin said it best. In this world, nothing is certain except death and taxes. Since death is inevitable, it is something we must prepare for. A basic estate plan typically starts with a revocable living trust. A revocable living trust is one of the best methods for protecting assets for your loved ones both during and after your lifetime. Such trusts do not go through probate court, transferring assets seamlessly with minimal effect from estate and administrative taxes, fees, and regulations, both state and federal, says Anne Desormier-Cartwright of Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys PA.

The advantages of a revocable living trust are you eliminate the high cost associated with probate, assets are distributed more quickly, your affairs remain private, and there is no estate tax return to be filed at your death. Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys PA is a law office small enough to provide personal service, but large enough to handle all of your estate and planning needs.

Why estate planning is the most important gift you can give to your family.

The holidays are a great time to make a list of what you’re grateful for. More than likely, family is at the top of the list. It can be frightening to consider how your loved ones will fare after you’re gone, but a sound estate plan can provide a sense of security your family deserves.

“Estate planning reduces the costs associated with Guardianship and probate, preserving available tax exemptions. When appropriate, it provides an umbrella of wealth protection for your surviving spouse, children and grandchildren. It is an ongoing process that allows you to change, add, and cancel details at will.” says Anne Desormier Cartwright of Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys, PA..

When you’re exchanging gifts with family this holiday season, start thinking about how to plan your estate. It could be the most important gift your family will ever get from you.

Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys PA is a law office small enough to provide personal service but large enough to handle all of your estate and planning needs.

Why you should make estate planning a New Year’s resolution

At the end of the calendar year, many of us reflect, think of ways we can improve our lives, and make resolutions to be better in the new year. If we do this with our own lives, why can’t we do the same for our loved ones?

An estate plan ensures your family is taken care of after you’re gone. Regardless of whether you have one in place, a new year is a great time to make a plan or review your existing one.

“No matter what your age, Estate Planning is essential to distributing assets according to your wishes and not that of the government’s laws and statutes. Estate Planning is very complicated where myths abound and they can be harmful to you and your loved ones.” says Anne Desormier Cartwright of Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys PA.

There will come a time when you’re not able to think clearly and make your own decisions, so it’s best to put together a plan now.

Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys PA is a law office small enough to provide personal service but large enough to handle all of your estate and planning needs.

The importance of a business succession agreement… And how it can protect you.

An important part of any estate plan is the consideration of what will happen to your business. A business succession agreement can protect the interests of the business owners, as well as help facilitate the continuation of the business. Before deciding on a business succession plan, you must ask yourself a few questions first. Will succession management be willing and able to operate the business? Will your family receive a satisfactory return on investment? Does your family wish to continue to be involved? You’ve worked hard to build your legacy. The time to protect it after you are gone, is now. Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys, PA is a law office small enough to provide personal service, but large enough to handle all of your estate and planning needs.

Life Insurance Trusts

Estate taxes can be expensive, but if you plan ahead, you can reduce or even eliminate these taxes. A life insurance trust can be one way for you to greatly reduce or eliminate the estate taxes so more of your estate can go to your loved ones. “The insurance trust owns your insurance policies for you. “Since you don’t personally own the insurance “or have any incidents of ownership, “it will not be included in your estate, “so your estate taxes are reduced” says Anne Desormier-Cartwright of Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys PA. An irrevocable life insurance trust give you more control over your insurance policies and the money that is paid from them. It also can provide your survivors immediate cash to pay expenses following your death. Also, this can create an inexpensive way to pay estate taxes. Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys PA is a law office small enough to provide personal service, but large enough to handle all of your estate and planning needs.

Dynasty Trusts

A dynasty trust is a long term trust created to pass wealth from generation to generation without incurring transfer taxes such as estate and gift tax. The dynasty trust defining characteristic is it’s term. The trust can survive for 21 years after the death of the last beneficiary who was alive when the trust was set up and it can theoretically last for more that one hundred years. The trust’s operation is controlled by the trustee who is appointed by the grantor. The dynasty trust is irrevocable, which means that once it is funded, the grantor will not have any control over the assets or be permitted to amend the trust terms says Anne Desormier-Cartwright of Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys PA. The beneficiaries of a dynasty trust are usually the grantor’s children and after the death of the last child, the grantor’s grandchildren or great-grandchildren, generally become the beneficiaries. Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys PA is a law office small enough to provide personal service but large enough to handle all of your estate and planning needs.

The importance of trust administration in estate planning

Managing the expectations of beneficiaries is one of the most important aspects of trust administration. Many people having heard that living trusts avoid probate, assume that a trust administration is simple, and that the trust property somehow passes to them automatically, because of this many people are disappointed to learn the process can take months, which is why it is important to address unrealistic expectations early in the process. Trust distribution can occur in several stages. It’s important to obtain appraisals and project tax liabilities with accuracy to be sure all debts are paid. This needs to happen before the beneficiaries receive funds, says Anné Desormier-Cartwright of Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys PA. If a beneficiary challenges a trustees actions, or can test the validity of the trust, the trustee may have to withhold distributions until the dispute is resolved. Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys PA is a law office small enough to provide personal service, but large enough to handle all of your estate and planning needs.

The importance of adding your digital assets to your estate plan

Every 60 seconds there are millions of Facebook posts, tweets, and Google searches. Additionally, more than three million emails are sent out every second. Our lives are becoming more and more virtual. If you have an email address, a Facebook account, or bank online, then you have an online presence and valuable digital assets. Many aspects of our lives are digital and controlling these assets in the event of our incapacity or death raises new issues never experienced before. “If you become incapacitated, “grow seriously ill or pass away, “Chapter 740 of the Florida Statutes outlines “how your agents can access your digital records, “and grants custodians authorization to release such assets. “Without proper planning, your loved ones “may have trouble tracking down and accessing “your online accounts that may have sentimental, “practical, or monetary value,” says Anne Desormier-Cartwright of Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys PA.

You should consider updating your estate planning documents and seek to broaden the powers to your fiduciaries and appoint a separate, tech-friendly person to manage your digital assets in the event of your incapacity or death. You may also want to consider using tools offered by Google, Facebook, and others, to designate a representative for your digital assets on these sites. Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys PA is a law office small enough to provide personal service, but large enough to handle all of your estate and planning needs.

Going Through a “Gray Divorce” Requires Keeping an Eye on Retirement

We know that going through a divorce can be a traumatic experience for anyone at any age. Younger and middle-aged couples often face the unfortunate challenge of splitting up with children involved. Older couples face their own harrowing challenges, particularly if they have been married for a long time and are beyond their prime working years.

Many older adults no longer possess the desire to climb the corporate ladder or compete in the job market, if they are able to work at all. Further, with their shared nest eggs and investments that can be greatly reduced through a separation, it is recommended that older couples keep an eye on their retirement accounts when going through a “Gray” Divorce.

As always, meeting with an experienced attorney should be one of your first steps if you are considering a divorce. When it comes to separating later in life a consultation with an estate planning and elder law attorney is critical so you may discuss the impact on your long-term care options. Let us share a few tips to help you through this process.

1. Seek wise counsel. Obtaining a qualified attorney is a must, but a financial advisor or attorney with estate planning experience can be an added advantage. They can help organize long-term retirement goals, set up estate documents, and provide information and guidance for negotiating a favorable divorce settlement.

2. Obtain documents. Whether you or your spouse was in charge of your legal, financial, insurance and tax documents, it can be critically important to obtain copies for your divorce negotiations and retirement planning. Think of these items as the bedrock for your financial future.

3. Be financially prudent. It is true that there is more to life than money, as evidenced by the love and compassion that once led to your marriage. Money, however, is an inescapable part of life, and the older one gets the more important financial stability becomes.

4. Make sound financial decisions. This is important throughout the course of a “Gray” Divorce proceeding, as well as, with post-divorce decisions about the lifestyle one can realistically afford. A healthy goal would be the funding a comfortable, long-term retirement and building up from there. It may be easier said than done, but it is not impossible.

Knowing that you are financially supported in your latter, non-working years can bring peace of mind during a difficult time. It may also allow you to live out your golden years with a greater sense of enjoyment amid your new family circumstances. Do not wait to contact us with your questions