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Tag Archives: estate planning

Does Your Estate Plan Cover Your Bank Accounts?

You just got the final draft of your estate plan. You’ve been thinking about this for a long time—how you want your estate distributed, who you want to take care of, who you want to benefit. As you scan the document, it includes your exact wishes for disposition of all the major assets; stocks and bonds, property, business ownership. But does the plan say anything about bank accounts? Since bank accounts are not always major assets, they can be overlooked and not included in an estate plan....

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Estate Planning Review

We’ve been focused on Covid for so long that a lot of things have taken a back seat. We’re still regrouping, trying to find the new normal. Estate planning is one of the things that’s easy to forget in this new normal. Why not? You did the estate planning, you listed your wishes, and you put the document in a safe place to be pulled out when the inevitable happens. But if there’s one thing Covid taught us—the unexpected can happen and things change. That’s why now is a great time to pull your...

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Paying More Taxes Because Your Spouse Dies

It’s one of the most obscure taxes in the IRS code, but it can be one of the most devastating at a time when you can least afford it. It’s called the Widow’s Penalty Tax—a stealth tax you never see coming—that can cause a widow or widower to struggle financially. When one spouse dies, the surviving spouse is now responsible for all the bills and has to maintain the household with less money. The household begins receiving only one Social Security check instead of two. If the deceased spouse...

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Spousal Lifetime Access Trusts—a Treasure Chest for Married Couples

There’s an old axiom that says, “All good things must come to an end.” And unless Congress makes some changes, that’s what will happen to the current level of the federal estate tax exemption. As it stands now, every individual can give away $11.7 million of their estate free of inheritance and gift taxes. Married couples have a combined exemption of $23.4 million. The gifting can happen during their lifetime or at their death. The current exemption amount is at an all-time high, but it’s set...

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Common vs Solemn Probate

Probate is a term most people have heard. It’s the court process required to settle an estate when a Will was used as the estate planning tool. What most people don’t know is that there are two types of probate—Common and Solemn. The executor chooses the one that is most appropriate. Common probate is used most often. It’s the easiest. The executor can settle the estate with no one else involved. There’s no requirement to notifying any heirs, beneficiaries, or creditors of the estate. The...

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Getting The Estate in Order

Covid-19 has changed life forever in more ways than we can count. It has also changed end-of-life estate planning and estate modification. It can be very difficult having that conversation with a spouse who’s dying. Estate planning conversations are often put off because they are a reminder of the inevitable for every mortal on the planet. But when one spouse is dying, the other spouse often realizes that estate issues need to be addressed before death occurs. What should you do?  ...

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