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Testamentary Trusts – Controlling Your Assets After Your Gone!

May 5, 2015

Preparing your Last Will and Testament (the Will) is critical for helping insure that your wishes are respected after you’re gone.  Married couples with children may have special concerns regarding how money bequeathed to the surviving partner is handled after the survivor passes away.  The following example demonstrates how this type of issue may be […]

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Step-Parents and Stepchildren – Keeping the Peace After You’re Gone

April 23, 2015

A family feud between Robin Williams’s widow and his children from prior marriages has received a lot of press.  A major issue in this feud involves Mr. Williams’s tangible personal  property, personal items he collected over the years.  Mrs. Williams and her stepchildren differ on which items were bequeathed to them. This story is a […]

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My Husband Just Died And Debt Collectors Are Calling!

January 13, 2015

Susan went through a very hard time when her husband, Steven, died.  Not only was she grieving the loss of her husband, but she had to deal with so many other things – making funeral arrangements, contacting Steven’s employer, the life insurance company, their lawyer, the bank.  And on and on it went.  And then, in […]

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Congress Passes Tax-Favored Savings Accounts for Special Needs Individuals!

January 6, 2015

Alex, a 30-year old man with Down syndrome, has cause to celebrate today.  As a Special Needs individual, Alex receives Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).  However, these federally funded benefits have been attached to some very restrictive rules.  Specifically, up until now, Alex has been prohibited from having more than $2,000 in savings.  If […]

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Inheriting an IRA – Rules for Averting Huge Taxes!

December 9, 2014

When his 75-year-old father died, forty-year-old John inherited his father’s $1 million traditional Individual Retirement Account (IRA).  John wasn’t sure what to do with all that money.  So, he contacted the financial institution managing his father’s IRA and asked them to send him a check for the full amount.  He figured that once he got the […]

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“Payable on Death” – Clearing Up Some Confusion.

January 9, 2014

The other day I overheard a couple talking about strategies for minimizing inheritance taxes.  “Oh,” the man said, “if you designate your bank account as Payable On Death (POD) to a beneficiary, that beneficiary will avoid the whole tax thing!”  The woman seemed very excited to hear this.  Unfortunately, this man didn’t have it quite right. […]

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Two Important Things for Beneficiaries To Keep In Mind.

December 13, 2013

So, your mother passed away, and your older brother was named Executor in her Will.  Being the Executor is not an easy job.  Among other things, it involves: 1. identifying and valuing all your mother’s assets; 2. using those assets to pay off all her outstanding debts and expenses; and 3. last, but certainly not least, distributing to […]

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Three Cornerstone Concepts of Estate Planning

October 29, 2013

Probate assets, non-probate assets, gross estate – these are all important terms that you need to understand when doing estate planning.  However, for most of us, it’s all very confusing.  This brief summary will hopefully help clear up some of that confusion! 1. Probate and Non-Probate Assets When doing estate planning, among other things, you […]

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Stepchildren, Stepparents, and Trusts.

October 17, 2013

Many people today get divorced or lose a spouse and then remarry.  And, in many cases, people who remarry have children from prior marriages.  This results in blended families – stepparents with stepchildren. Hopefully, all goes well and your new marriage works out.  It is quite likely, however, that one partner will outlive the other. […]

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Estate Planning for Young Families.

October 10, 2013

You’re married, or single, with young children, and your primary focus is on the family, on the here and now  –  providing for the essentials and giving your kids the best life possible.  It’s certainly not about estate planning, not about planning for unforeseen or far off events.  As far as you’re concerned, estate planning […]

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