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

5 Important Estate Planning Lessons for Parents in Manchester by the Sea

When released in late 2016, Manchester by the Sea, directed by Kenneth Lonergan and starring Casey Affleck, received nearly unanimous critical acclaim for exploring themes related to family, personal tragedy, and grief. For...more

A Deceased Can't Always Will What They Want

There is a common misconception that the testator is free to leave their estate to anyone they choose. While this is largely true, certain family members who were left out or feel they were inadequately provided for under a...more

Potential Repeal of the ‘Death’ Tax

Assuming you have not been living under a rock for the last two years you have heard of Donald J. Trump, now President Trump, speak about the need to repeal the so-called “Death tax”. In addition, you are likely aware that...more

Estate Tax Reform Predicted for 2017

A key goal for those of us who practice with Ward and Smith is to inform our clients and future clients of potential developments that may impact them.  With respect to Trust and Estate Law, the potential for repeal of the...more

Should You Invest In Long-Term Care Insurance?

It is very difficult to predict whether you or a loved one will one day need long-term care insurance. A diagnosis like Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia can drastically change your life and your financial plans. With...more

Estate Plan Taxes | Estate Planning Attorney

What Does a Trump Presidential Victory Mean to My Estate Plan and Estate Taxes? Regardless whether you lean towards the political left or right, the results of the 2016 Presidential and Congressional elections will...more

Client Alert: Captive Insurance on 2017 IRS “Dirty Dozen” Listing

For the third consecutive year, “abusive micro-captives” make an appearance on the IRS’ annual “Dirty Dozen” list of tax scams in 2017. Last year’s information release on abusive tax shelters, found in IR-2016-025, included...more

New laws may give fiduciaries power to access digital assets

Historically, estate planning has been concerned with tangible assets, such as real estate and personal property, and intangible assets, such as securities and other investment assets. In the digital age, estate planning...more

Late Portability Election Denied for Estate That Was Over the Estate Tax Return Filing Threshold

One of the key changes of the 2010 Tax Relief Act is the addition of “portability” of the first deceased spouse’s unused basic exclusion amount, commonly referred to as the deceased spousal unused exclusion amount. Under...more

Joint Trusts: A Useful Tool for Some Married Couples

Though not a silver bullet for every situation, in appropriate circumstances, a Joint Revocable Living Trust ("Joint Trust") can provide a married couple with significant benefits and simplify the administration of assets...more

A Guide To: How to Challenge a Trust in Michigan

The death of a loved one is a difficult and emotional event. In addition to dealing with the loss, family members, friends and/or trusted advisors are tasked with settling the decedent's final affairs, which, in many...more

What is Undue Influence in Will Caveat Cases?

In order to set aside a Will after a person has died, a Caveator (the person attacking the Will) has three courses of action under the law. First, he can assert that the Testator (the person making the Will) was incompetent...more

A 2017 Repeal of the "Death Tax?"

The estate tax, also referred to as the "death tax," is a tax on the property you own at the time of your death. Currently, there is a federal estate tax exemption of $5,490,000 per person, up from $5,450,000, in 2016. This...more

Estate Planning Pitfall: You’ve videotaped your will

Technology enables a deceased person to express wishes to his or her assembled family from beyond the grave, but states generally require wills to be physical documents that are written, signed and properly witnessed during a...more

Trump Administration's Perception in the UK

It’s fair to say that Donald Trump’s surprise victory in the US Election in November was not universally welcomed. In the UK, it was widely reported that as the result unfolded, the Canadian immigration website crashed...more

Good Advice for Everyone: Ten Steps to Avoid Big Trouble

On both a business and individual level, there are ten easy steps you can take now to avoid big trouble later. If you address just five of these items this month, you will be half way there. Originally published in the...more

Is a donor-advised fund right for you?

Those who make sizable gifts to charitable causes can realize personal rewards from their generosity and claim a deduction on their tax returns. One drawback is that, once the money or assets are contributed, they generally...more

T&E Litigation Newsletter - February 2017

Several recent decisions serve as a good reminder that it is not only the Probate and Family Court that addresses important T&E issues in Massachusetts. In the consolidated matters of Hanna et al. v. Williams et al.,...more

Follow up on possible Estate Tax Repeal: Important Basis Planning Technique in Estate Planning

In last week’s Tax Tip our Henry Grix succinctly described the current lay of the land regarding estate tax repeal. This Tax Tip focuses on one narrow but very important aspect in anticipating such action, or possible...more

Maintaining family harmony: Balance beneficiaries’ needs with a total return unitrust

A traditional trust can sometimes create a conflict among the lifetime and remainder beneficiaries. This makes it more difficult for an estate plan to achieve its objectives and places the trustee in a difficult position. The...more

Fiduciary Imprudence: When the Sale of an Asset Results in a Surcharge

Although one of the many duties and responsibilities of an executor is to marshal and appraise estate assets, and, depending upon the dispositive terms of the governing instrument, liquidate them for purposes of distribution,...more

Insight on Estate Planning - February/March 2017

In This Issue: - Stretch out estate tax on business interests - Maintaining family harmony: Balance beneficiaries’ needs with a total return unitrust - Is a donor-advised fund right for you? - Estate planning...more

Client Alert: Estate and Gift Tax Limits Announced for 2017

The IRS has issued the estate and gift tax limits for 2017 (Rev. Proc. 2016-55). For an estate of a person dying in 2017, the basic exclusion amount is $5,490,000 for determining the credit against federal estate tax. This...more

Executor’s Duties Before Receiving Letters

A nominated executor is obliged to secure estate assets even before the issuance of letters testamentary, or preliminary letters testamentary (see Matter of Schultz, 104 AD3d 1146 [4th Dept. 2013]). Courts have recognized...more

Wealth Management Update - February 2017

February Interest Rates for GRATs, Sales to Defective Grantor Trusts, Intra-Family Loans and Split Interest Charitable Trusts - The February § 7520 rate for use with estate planning techniques such as CRTs, CLTs, QPRTs...more

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