Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Increase in the Estate Tax Exclusion- No change in the Present Gift Exclusion

The amount that can now be passed estate tax free is $5.45 million. With proper provisions in a trust or Will, a married couple can pass twice that amount or $10.9 million estate tax free when the couple both have died. There has not been any change to the annual present gift exemption which allows $15,000 to be given per recipient each year without having to file a gift tax return.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Discount on Estate Planning Updates in 2015

Have you been putting off updating your estate planning documents? From now until the end of 2015, any existing clients who sets an appointment to update their estate planning documents this year will receive a 15% discount on the attorney's fees. Are you a new client? Then you will receive at least 10% off the attorney's fees on the whole plan when the appointment is made in 2015.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Are you a newlywed?

Newlyweds, who lived together for some time before marrying, might already have estate planning documents which include each of the couple. Nevertheless, the prior documents should be updated to reflect the marriage. Community property laws can change the manner in which estate is applied. The status or description of children or relatives could need updating. If your spouse is described as a girlfriend or boyfriend, as opposed to a wife or husband, then those relying on your documents might get confused as to whether the documents are applicable. The result could be a delay in getting the financial or health care access that is needed.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Caution when amending Estate Planning Documents

Each estate planning document has statutory requirements as to whether one or two witnesses are needed or if a notarized signature is required. These requirements create authenticity and a comfort level so that they can be enforced and followed by courts, financial institutions and health care providers. If someone marks out provisions or writes on a document without following the statutory requirements, confusion results. If there is confusion, the likelihood is your desires will not be followed. Therefore, if you have a change to your documents, consult an attorney. Then, in addition to following the statutory requirements, you have an independent witness to your intent.

Monday, April 20, 2015

What happens when you don't have a Will? If you don't have a beneficiary on your assets, then they go to your heirs. Your heir is your spouse, unless you had kids from outside your marriage, the the kids get your community property interest and half your separate property. If you aren't married your heirs are your children; if no children, then your parents; no living parents then siblings; no living siblings then grandparents, then aunts and uncles, then cousins. Don't want those family members to have your assets? Then, have a Will.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Estate Tax Exclusion Increased in 2015

New to 2015 is that one person can pass an aggregate of $5.43 million estate tax free (last year it was $5.34 million). If you are a couple and have a trust that must split upon the death of one of you, your trust likely should be updated for an optional split. If your estate exceeds what you can pass estate tax free, an irrevocable life insurance trust or ILIT would be helpful.

Monday, October 20, 2014

New laws regarding marriage

Now that Arizona recognizes same-sex marriage it is a good idea to review your estate plan. Do you have a Domestic Partnership Agreement which should become a Pre-Marriage or Post-Marriage Agreement? Do you have joint property that now can be treated as community property? Does a family member have a partner who now legally can be recognized as an in-law? There can be different answers for different situations, so it is a good time to have your estate planning documents reviewed.