Showing 6 posts tagged estate planning.
As an estate planning attorney, I often receive calls from individuals who have just been designated as a personal representative and are wondering what they are legally required to do. Personal representatives may either be named an Executor (Executrix if the individual is female) or an Administrator (Administratrix if female). An Executor is the person whom a decedent named in his or her Will to be in charge of the administration of his or her estate. An Administrator is the person appointed by the court to be in charge of the estate when someone dies without a Last Will and Testament. More >
Traditional estate plans generally consist of a will and other documents that are meant to provide a map for fulfilling the wishes of the individual both before and after death. There are times, though, when an estate may be better served by other estate planning vehicles such as a revocable living trust, which can provide flexibility, privacy and ease of administration. These types of trusts are becoming popular and should be afforded due consideration when planning an estate. More >
As digital assets become more and more ubiquitous, they are increasingly becoming a headache for representatives of an estate and other fiduciaries acting on behalf of an incapacitated principal. This growing problem manifests itself in several ways, such as when a decedent elected to receive important documents such as tax documents, bills and bank statements electronically; created automatic and recurring payments online; or owned valuable online assets such as electronic currency, domain names or other digital property. Fiduciaries face a myriad of problems in accessing these items as transactions occur more and more in the digital realm. In 2014, the Uniform Law Commission – a group of lawyers, judges, legislators and academics charged with promoting uniformity across state laws where it is practical – tackled the problem head-on with the approval of the Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (“UFADAA” or “the Act”). The road to enactment of this uniform law, however, has been bumpy at best. More >
Special needs trusts, or supplemental needs trusts, are a unique form of planning for a disabled individual. These trusts recognize the unique challenges facing disabled persons and the delicate interplay with government assistance programs designed to help provide for them. These trusts are designed to supplement such programs, providing additional resources for the care and comfort of the permanently disabled, while simultaneously preserving the beneficiary’s eligibility for government assistance. More >
The term "portability" is used in many contexts, but in the estate planning context portability describes the way a surviving spouse can use the remainder of a deceased spouse's unused exclusion amount to further shield her or his estate from tax liability. Portability first came about in 2010 as a temporary concept in the Tax Relief, Unemployment Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010. It was set to expire on December 31, 2012, but Congress, in the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, made portability a permanent part of the estate and gift tax exclusion. The current unified exemption for estate and gift taxes is $5.43 million (for the year 2015), so portability allows for a potentially very large tax break for a surviving spouse's estate. More >
There's a saying about death and taxes, the certainty thereof, which has been oft repeated to the point of weariness. While it is true that the imposition of taxes is a certainty, the shape and form of such taxes, especially in an estate planning context, is anything but. Just when one believes the ground to be firm in any particular tax context, the sands begin shifting. The federal estate tax has been just such an example the past several years, and estate plans should account for future uncertainty. More >