In the midst of the trauma of divorce, few couples are thinking first (or at all) about their estate planning. But it is very important that your planning be reviewed by your team of advisors, possibly including your attorney, your financial advisor, your insurance professional, and your CPA. All aspects of your financial situation will…

When it comes to estate planning, you will often hear the phrase “title = result.” The phrase means that the ultimate results of an estate plan will depend on how each asset in the estate is titled. If something is titled incorrectly, it will remain outside the control of the estate plan, and will likely…

As American culture changes, an increasing number of unwed couples have questions about how to do estate planning. Planning for an unwed or same sex couple is not the same as planning for two singles. And under most laws in the United States, a “civil union” is not the same as marriage. Married couples enjoy…

You may be surprised by the title’s assertion that nothing has changed in the last 30 years in estate planning. After all, during that period we have seen the rise in popularity of living trust-based planning, and the development of many sophisticated and elaborate planning tools for affluent families. But one thing that hasn’t changed…

One of the main reasons our clients get involved in estate planning is to provide loved ones with protection from claims of future creditors, and “predators” such as divorcing spouses or lawsuits. If you leave your property to your child as an outright distribution, the property will not be protected from these things, but by…

A married couple has special planning challenges if one spouse is not a citizen of the United States. Federal estate tax law requires that a spouse be a U.S. citizen in order to qualify for the unlimited marital deduction. The primary reason for this law is that the IRS does not want a surviving non-citizen…

Last week, the IRS announced it will recognize same sex marriages for all federal tax purposes, regardless of where the couple lives (or dies). In other words, if a gay or lesbian couple is legally married and move to or returns to a state that does not recognize same sex marriage, they will still be…

Trustees are those individuals (family members, attorney, or CPA for example) or entities (such as a bank trust department) named in a trust agreement to administer the trust. Trustees are required to manage and invest trust property and to distribute the trust property to certain individuals (the beneficiaries) based upon the instructions contained in the…

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