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Addressing your Elderly Parents in your Estate Plan in 5 Steps

Typically, an estate plan includes accommodations for your spouse, children, grandchildren and even future generations. But some members of the family can be overlooked, such as your parents or in-laws. Yet the older generation may also need your financial assistance. How can you best handle the financial affairs of parents…

Take care of a loved one who has special needs with a special needs trust

When creating or revising your estate plan, it’s important to take into account all of your loved ones. Because each family has its own unique set of circumstances, there are a variety of trusts and other vehicles available to specifically address most families’ estate planning objectives. Special needs trusts (SNTs),…

Yes, Your College-Age Child Needs an Estate Plan

Even though college students typically don’t have many assets, it’s still critical for them to consider having a basic estate plan in the event the unexpected happens.  Consider meeting with an estate planning attorney to discuss putting in place at least these four documents if an unforeseen incident occurs while…

Year end is gift-giving time: Use the annual gift tax exclusion to the max

This holiday season you might be considering making gifts of stock or cash to family members and other loved ones. By using the annual gift tax exclusion, those gifts — within generous limits — can reduce your taxable estate. Indeed, in 2023, the annual gift exclusion amount is $17,000 per…

Two estate planning documents working in tandem: A living trust and a pour-over will

At the very least, your estate plan should include a legally valid will governing the disposition of assets upon your death. But comprehensive estate planning often goes much further. For instance, you may provide for transfers of assets to a living trust (also known as a revocable trust) to supplement…

Avoiding probate: How to do it (and why)

Few estate planning subjects are as misunderstood as probate. But circumventing the probate process is usually a good idea, and several tools are available to help you do just that. Why should you avoid it? Probate is a legal procedure in which a court establishes the validity of your will,…

Portability Minimizes Taxes Owed

Did your spouse’s estate make a portability election? If not, there may still be time. Portability helps minimize federal gift and estate tax by allowing a surviving spouse to use a deceased spouse’s unused gift and estate tax exemption amount. For 2023, the exemption is $12.92 million, but it’s scheduled…

Avoid Confusion After Your Death: Have Just One Original Signed Will

The need for a will as a key component of your estate plan may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised by the number of people — even affluent individuals — who don’t have one. In the case of the legendary “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin, she had more than one,…

Is your Estate Plan up to date Following a Divorce?

If you’ve recently divorced, your time likely has been consumed with attorney meetings and negotiations, even if everything was amicable. Probably the last thing you want to do is review your estate plan. But you owe it to yourself and your children to make the necessary updates to reflect your…

Don’t Overlook These Two Essential Estate Planning Strategies

When it comes to estate planning, there’s no shortage of techniques and strategies available to reduce your taxable estate and ensure your wishes are carried out after your death. Indeed, the two specific strategies discussed below should be used in many estate plans. 1) Take advantage of the annual gift…