The Essence of Estate Planning: Let the Journey Begin

At its most fundamental level, estate planning is about controlling the otherwise-uncontrollable. Death is inevitable; disability is increasingly probable as we age. When death or incapacity occurs, what happens to us, to our property, and to our loved ones? Planning in advance and taking advantage of our many applicable federal and state laws allows us [...]

When Mom Isn’t Quite Right: Aging and Incapacity

By Diane Weinberg This time of year, we receive a lot of phone calls from distressed clients.  They have spent the holidays with their aging parents and made a number of unpleasant discoveries.  The house is uncharacteristically unkempt. Bills are unpaid, and donations to charities have been paid twice.  Mom has started repeating herself and [...]

Perpetual Dynasty Trusts – Maximizing The Benefits Of Trusts By Structuring Them To Last Longer

In past issues of The Passionate Estate Planner, we have emphasized the benefits which trusts can provide for those who want to transfer assets to their loved ones. To summarize, these benefits include providing protection from a beneficiary’s creditors or divorce problems, helping protect a beneficiary from predators who might wish to take advantage of [...]

Planning For Married Couples After the 2012 Tax Act: Should You Transfer Assets to Your Spouse Outright or in Trust?

In this installment of the Passionate Estate Planner, we consider one of the fundamental estate planning questions that married couples need to answer: Whether assets should pass to the surviving spouse outright, or in trust? While this has always been an important question, the enactment of the 2012 Tax Act in January 2013 may have [...]

Basic Estate Planning Topics: What Is a Self-Proving Affidavit, and Why Does My Will Need One?

In a previous newsletter, we went back to basics and discussed the question of “What is a Trust?” For this issue, we’d like to look at another very basic estate planning concept: the self-proving affidavit. To begin our discussion of this topic, we will first provide you with some background information about what must happen [...]

What is a Trust?

For this month’s newsletter, we will go back to the basics to ensure that our readers can answer the basic question: What is a Trust? As estate planners, we use Trusts for many different purposes; in fact it is something we often think of as the “Swiss Army Knife” of estate planning. Because it is [...]

Navigating the Estate Planning Pitfalls Created by the Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012

As the bar for “wealth” moves north many individuals we meet are lulled into thinking that complex estate planning strategies are reserved for those other people with greater wealth than they. With the new $5MM exclusion amount (indexed for inflation) plus portability of a deceased spouse’s exclusion to a surviving spouse, which may allow a [...]

The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012: Estate Planning Game Changer?

On January 2, 2013, President Obama signed The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (the "2012 Tax Act"). Among its many provisions, the 2012 Tax Act provided the first "permanent" estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer ("GST") tax laws since 2001. The Act was widely viewed as the first step towards preventing the U.S. from falling [...]

Common Pitfalls When Planning Estates for Families with Special Needs Children

I recently had the privilege to attend a bar mitzvah in which the young man also has a sibling with a profound disability. His sibling is non-verbal and cannot perform a number of activities of daily living, such as dressing and bathing, without assistance. When the young man spoke to the congregation, he noted that [...]