Estate Planning

Estate Planning is a process where individuals prepare or plan for the settlement of their personal affairs in the event of incapacitation or death. Estate plans typically include provisions relating to the... more +
Estate Planning is a process where individuals prepare or plan for the settlement of their personal affairs in the event of incapacitation or death. Estate plans typically include provisions relating to the disposition of assets, guardianship of minor children, and appointment of representatives to make medical and financial decisions. Effective estate planning can decrease tax liability and facilitate the probate process.  less -
News & Analysis as of

Five Estate Planning Documents Every Young Professional Should Have

After graduating from college, and even law school, the thought of drafting your estate plan probably did not make the top twenty on your "to-do" list, and why should it? The only thing most young professionals have when they...more

RMD Rules for Longevity Annuities Finalized

Longevity annuities are contracts that provide life annuity payments typically commencing at age 80 or 85; in many (but not all) cases, that is the only benefit the contract provides. As such, these contracts may offer...more

Your dead ex-spouse's debt can become your problem

This CNN Money Article features quotes by Kirton McConkie attorney Geoff Germane. If you're divorced and your ex-spouse dies, you might find yourself dealing with a range of emotions. You might be surprised to learn...more

Illinois Supreme Court Holds Wrongful Death Attorney Owes Duty to Decedent's Beneficiaries

A unanimous Illinois Supreme Court added a new complication for plaintiffs’ counsel handling wrongful death cases late last week, unanimously holding in In re Estate of Perry C. Powell that an attorney representing the...more

Last-Minute Wills….What Counts?

Monitoring his emails and gazing at the sights on Elafonisi beach in Crete, attorney Al B. Wise receives a desperate 4:30 a.m. (Texas time) email from his best client Betty Makit Williams – “Going under Slim Cutter’s knife in...more

No Refund Of Extension Overpayment Followed By A Code §6166 Election

If an estate files to extend the due date of its Form 706 estate tax return, it can elect to defer the portion of the estimated estate tax that will be deferred pursuant to its Code §6166 election. It does not make the...more

Supreme Court Holds Inherited IRAs Not Exempt from Bankruptcy Estate

The Bankruptcy Code permits an individual in bankruptcy to exempt from the bankrupt estate “retirement funds” in an individual retirement account (“IRA”) or certain other tax-advantaged vehicles. In a recent case, the U.S....more

The Top 3 List: Do I Need an Estate Plan?

The other day a friend asked me, “How much money do I need before I should get an estate plan?” That question indicates a common misconception that estate planning is only for the rich, or is only to avoid estate taxes. In...more

U.S. Supreme Court Rules That Inherited IRAs are Available to Pay Creditors

On June 12, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion in Clark v. Rameker[1], opening up another source of recovery for creditors and Chapter 7 trustees in bankruptcy proceedings. In Clark, a Chapter 7 debtor inherited...more

The U.S. Supreme Court Holds That Inherited IRAs Are Not Exempt In Bankruptcy

On June 12, 2014, the United States Supreme Court unanimously held in Clark v. Rameker Trustee that funds in an individual retirement account (“IRA”) inherited from someone other than the bankrupt debtor’s spouse are not...more

Lift of Prohibition on Same-Sex Marriages in Pennsylvania Provides New Estate Planning Opportunities

On May 20, 2014, in the case of Whitewood v. Wolf, Judge John E. Jones III of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania struck down Pennsylvania’s ban on same-sex marriages. Like many of the rulings...more

When is a Retirement Account not a Retirement Account?

Q: When is a retirement account not a retirement account? A: When it's an inherited IRA and the owner is bankrupt. That's what the Supreme Court said last week in a case involving the Bankruptcy Code's exemption...more

The Battle Over Casey Kasem’s Medical Care: Lessons in Incapacity Planning

Last month I mentioned that every person should have a basic estate plan, including a medical directive. This directive is not only necessary for the elderly, but also for anyone who could find themselves incapacitated...more

More On Inherited IRAs And Creditor Protection

Our post from yesterday discussed how the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Clark v. Rameker that inherited IRAs are not exempt from creditor claims in bankruptcy. Here are some more observations on that case...more

Weak Succession Planning Remains a Problem

Back in January, I wrote that “few things are more important to a company’s success than identifying, hiring and retaining an effective CEO,” and yet many boards of directors pay scant attention to succession planning. (See...more

Cottage Transfers of Ownership without Uncapping Property Tax Broadened Under Michigan House Bill

On December 27, 2012, HR-4753 was signed into law by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder. As discussed in our previous blog post, "HR-4753: An Early Christmas Gift for Michigan Cottage Owners!", this law prevents the uncapping of...more

Estate Planning for Digital Assets

Traditionally, estate planning provides for the transfer of your assets through a will or a trust. These documents name an executor or trustee, respectively, to handle your affairs after your death, including the transfer of...more

Supreme Court Decides Retirement-Fund Bankruptcy Exemption Case: Clark v. Rameker

On June 12, 2014, the United States Supreme Court decided Clark v. Rameker, No. 13-299, holding that funds in an individual retirement account (IRA) that a bankruptcy debtor obtained through inheritance are not "retirement...more

Last Wishes, First Impression: Potential legal issues arise after Munich recluse passes away, bequeathing Nazi-looted art to a...

Cornelius Gurlitt’s notarized will, which did not surface until after his unexpected death this past May, lists the Kunstmuseum Bern in Switzerland as the heir to his vast art collection, which included works by Matisse, Dix,...more

Estate Planning Pitfall: You don’t have a buy-sell agreement for your business

Without a well-designed, properly funded buy-sell agreement, an owner’s death can have a negative effect on the surviving owners. A buy-sell agreement requires (or permits) the company or the remaining owners to buy the...more

Is Your Special Needs Plan Due for a Tune-Up?

Doctors recommend visiting once every year for a physical, and dentists stress the importance of six-month checkups, but did you know that you should also take the time to review your special needs plan with your attorney at...more

Estate-Planning Lessons From Wealthy Families

For those in the know, a “family office” is something that many wealthy families rely on to provide financial support and advice. A family office can do a little bit of everything: providing investment management services,...more

International estate planning 101

Many traditional estate planning strategies are based on the assumption that everyone involved is a U.S. citizen. But for those couples with a noncitizen spouse, special rules apply that require additional planning. This...more

Adapting to the times: Estate planning focus shifts to income taxes

As the gift and estate tax exemption has significantly increased, and the estate tax rate decreased, individual income tax and capital gains tax rates have increased. This means that those who expect to have little or no...more

The confusion being engendered by the Uniform Trust Code’s default trust-revocation methodologies (§ 602(c)).

In the pre-Uniform Trust Code UTC), unless the terms of a revocable inter vivos trust provided otherwise, the trust could not have been revoked by the settlor’s will. A will speaks at the time of the testator’s death, an...more

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