Three Key Benefits to Avoiding Probate

When you are creating your estate plan, an objective you should strive for is structuring your plan in a way to avoid probate. Probate is a statutorily-based  way of settling an estate requiring the oversight of a court. When probate is required, a surviving spouse or other love one, is typically appointed by the court if your deceased loved one had no Will, or if they did leave a Will and named you as the Executor or Executrix. Once appointed, the executor possess the authority to distribute the assets of the decedent along with paying any outstanding bills and taxes. Why You Should Try to Avoid Probate A big reason to avoid probate is cost. There are a myriad of mandatory fees that the estate must [...]

2018-02-13T17:14:53+00:00 February 13th, 2018|Estate Planning Info|0 Comments

Estate Tax Exemption Doubles Under New Law

If you have a high-value estate, you can breathe easy about the federal government levying an onerous tax after you pass on. Congress passed, and the President signed into law, new tax legislation that will double the amount exempt from taxation by the federal government for estates and gifts. Prior to signing the new legislation, the amount exempt from taxation was roughly $5 million for an individual and $11 million for a married couple. Today, an individual enjoys a $10 million exemption (beginning in tax year 2018 and running through 2025) while a married couple’s estate is exempt up to $22.4 million. The estate tax exemption is also indexed for inflation which means individual will actually be able to enjoy an $11.2 million exemption from [...]

2018-02-02T14:23:50+00:00 January 29th, 2018|Estate Planning Info|0 Comments

Making Sure Your Furry Friend is Taken Care Of – Benefits of a Pet Trust

For many people, a pet is like a child. In fact, family pets are often referred to as “fur babies.” Just like a child, there needs to be a plan in place to make sure they are taken care of, in case you suddenly pass on or become incapacitated. Selecting a Caregiver for Your Fur Baby If you have minor children, you will need to carefully select someone who is open to serving as a guardian if you were to suddenly pass on. Similarly, you should carefully select a guardian for your pet; basically, someone able and willing to take your pet in and care for them. Factors to consider when selecting a pet guardian include: ·         Whether the potential caregiver has other pets ·         [...]

2018-02-02T14:26:05+00:00 January 25th, 2018|Estate Planning Info|0 Comments

Special Needs Trust – Important Info You Need to Know

If you are a caretaker for a loved one with special needs, you may be concerned about what will happen to them if you were to suddenly become incapacitated or pass on. This concern is perfectly understandable. You want to make sure that your loved one is taken care of and receives the benefits they rightly deserve. Enter the Special Needs Trust (also known as a Supplemental Needs Trust). This is an estate planning mechanism that can prove invaluable when caring for a loved one with special needs. Each state, including Missouri, has its own set of laws regarding the establishment and use of a special needs trust. Creating a special needs trust may seem a bit complicated, but the benefits financially and legally with this type [...]

2018-02-02T14:27:52+00:00 January 16th, 2018|Estate Planning Info|Comments Off on Special Needs Trust – Important Info You Need to Know

Tips on What to Look For When Selecting a Trustee

If you have a trust as part of your estate plan, you will need to select someone, whether it be a friend, family member, or colleague, to serve as the trustee. This is a critical step because the trustee is obligated to ensure that your trust is administered in accordance to your wishes. What Exactly Does a Trustee Do? The trustee is the manager of your trust assets.  The rules and guidelines a trustee must follow are contained within the trust document you created.  The trust effectively tells the trustee who will benefit from the trust, when those beneficiaries will receive distributions, and generally contains other rules to instruct the trustee of their duties. Trust Creator and/or Beneficiary as Trustee When a trust is formed, [...]

2018-02-02T14:28:44+00:00 January 8th, 2018|Estate Planning Info|Comments Off on Tips on What to Look For When Selecting a Trustee

Unmarried and No Children? You Still Need an Estate Plan

If you are unmarried and have no children, you are probably not financially responsible for anyone else. Does this mean you are exempt from having an estate plan? The answer is a resounding no. You still need to have a plan in place to ensure your wishes are followed both before and after you pass on. Even simply having a Last Will and Testament drafted puts you ahead of the game. Studies have shown that the majority of Americans fail to put in place even the most fundamental and basic estate plan document - a will. For example, a 2016 study conducted by Harris Poll revealed that 64 percent of Americans lacked a written will, according to Important Considerations for a Single Individual An estate [...]

2018-02-02T14:29:25+00:00 December 29th, 2017|Estate Planning Info|Comments Off on Unmarried and No Children? You Still Need an Estate Plan

“Do Not Resuscitate” Tattoo Creates Medical and Ethical Quagmire for Doctors

Doctors at the University of Miami hospital were presented with a unique ethical quagmire when paramedics brought in an unconscious man with a “Do Not Resuscitate” tattooed on his chest. The patient had a track record of serious health issues and a high blood alcohol level. He had no identification and no immediate family to contact. When doctors discovered the tattoo, they were leaning towards simply ignoring it and treating him as they would any other ER patient. The doctors thought that a DNR order is a very serious directive and they did not want to take the risk of letting him pass on without assurances the tattoo was actually a genuine medical directive. An ethics consultant at the hospital recommended complying with the tattoo. [...]

2017-12-20T18:46:49+00:00 December 20th, 2017|Estate Planning Info|Comments Off on “Do Not Resuscitate” Tattoo Creates Medical and Ethical Quagmire for Doctors