Estate Planning Blog

Can I Give My Kids $15,000 a Year?

Chambliss: “If you have it to give, you certainly can, but there may be consequences should you apply for Medicaid long-term care coverage within five years after each gift. The $15,000 figure is the amount of the current gift tax exclusion (for 2018), meaning that any person who gives away $15,000 or less to any one individual in one particular year does not have to report the gift to the IRS, and you can give this amount to as many people as you like. If you give away more than $15,000 to any one person in a single year (other than your spouse), you will have to file a gift tax return. However, this does not necessarily mean you’ll pay a gift tax. You’ll have to pay a tax only if your reportable gifts total more than $11.18 million (2018 figure) during your lifetime.”

By |2018-11-06T14:21:14+00:00November 9th, 2018|

How to make sure your estate plan won’t cause a family fight

Market Watch:  “Creating an estate plan is a gift to the people you leave behind. By expressing your wishes, you’re trying to guide your loved ones at a difficult, emotional time. All too often, though, well-meaning people do things destined to create discord, rancor and resentment among their heirs. What looks good on paper may play out disastrously in real life, says estate and trust attorney Marve Ann Alaimo, partner at Porter Wright Morris & Arthur in Naples, Florida. “People want to think everybody will be nice and do right,” Alaimo says. “Human nature is not always that way.” You can reduce the chances of family discord by doing these four things:”

By |2018-11-06T10:51:10+00:00November 8th, 2018|

Prince’s estate wants to trademark purple, the colour synonymous with the late pop singer

NEWS:  “One of Prince’s many nicknames was The Purple One. It was reportedly his favourite colour, and after the success of Purple Rain its use defined his image and his legacy. Now, it is set to do so in perpetuity, as the late singer’s estate looks to claim ownership over the use of “the colour purple” in films and live and recorded music. Paisley Park Enterprises, his company, filed an application earlier this month with the US Patent and Trademark Office to do just that.

By |2018-11-06T10:39:19+00:00November 7th, 2018|

Disabled daughter of ‘Dandy Don’ Meredith at center of allegations of abuse, neglect since his death

FOX:  “The daughter of the late legendary football star and sportscaster “Dandy Don” Meredith dealt with abuse and neglect after her stepmother took guardianship of her trust following Meredith’s death, relatives said. Meredith, a former Dallas Cowboys quarterback, “Monday Night Football” commentator and TV pitchman who often referred to himself as “Jeff and Hazel’s baby boy,” set up a trust to ensure lifetime care for his youngest child, Heather, now 49, who was born with physical and intellectual disabilities.”

By |2018-11-06T10:02:36+00:00November 6th, 2018|

Strategies for estate planning during a divorce

JDSUPRA:  Divorce is a fact of life in America. It should come as no surprise that it can be a difficult process and can cause other aspects of a person’s life to be ignored while it is happening. It is important, though, that a divorcing individual involve his or her estate planning attorney in the divorce process to make sure that any settlement agreement and estate plan comport with post-divorce reality. In many cases, a divorce will automatically eliminate a former spouse from receiving any benefits under the other spouse’s will or revocable trust. This may not be the case in all states, though. Moreover, the divorce may not affect assets that have beneficiary designations, such as life insurance and retirement benefits (and, more commonly now, bank and brokerage accounts). Thus, a careful review of all of an individual’s assets is essential.”

By |2018-10-29T16:15:51+00:00November 2nd, 2018|

You’ve won the Mega Millions jackpot! Time to hide.

The Washington Post:  “First things first: Quadruple-check your ticket after Tuesday’s Mega Millions drawing. Then do it again. Do they match the winning numbers (5-28-62-65-70, with a Mega Ball number of 5)? No? Skip to here. Yes? Lock the deadbolt and read on. Congratulations! So, you’ve done it. Beaten the odds — one in 302,575,350 — and won the largest Mega Millions jackpot in history. And it’s yours alone, so you’re almost certainly about to enjoy an astronomical spike in wealth. Now what? Before you shout from the rooftops or broadcast your excitement on social media, take a deep breath and keep some practical advice in mind. To sign or not to sign the back of the lottery ticket? There are plenty of people who will advise you to sign the back of the lottery ticket right away — including lottery officials in South Carolina, where Tuesday’s winning ticket was sold. After all, what would happen if, heaven forbid, you lost the ticket? Or worse yet, if an unscrupulous person in your life took the unsigned ticket and claimed it as his or hers?”

By |2018-10-29T15:20:43+00:00November 1st, 2018|

Disney World, Disneyland custodians claim parks are popular spots to scatter ashes

FOX:  “Walt Disney World and Disneyland have allegedly been outed as one of the most popular places for families to scatter their loved one’s ashesAccording to The Wall Street Journal, custodians at the famous theme parks are claiming that not only do guests bring their family’s ashes to scatter – they do so often enough to prompt a special code word for it: HEPA cleanup, referring to an ultrafine vacuum cleaner.”

By |2018-10-29T14:35:59+00:00October 31st, 2018|

Bride-to-be wants dead mother’s hair featured on dream wedding dress: report

Fox: A bride-to-be in England is having a difficult time finding a dressmaker willing to create her dream wedding dress that she’d like to be festooned with locks of her dead mother’s hair, reports said. The woman made a sketch of the floor-length ball gown and requested that “the bodice around the midsection of the dress to have a lacy, floral design made with the hair.”

By |2018-10-29T14:11:21+00:00October 30th, 2018|

Oligarch a Step Closer to Losing $585 Million Divorce Battle

Bloomberg:  “A Russian billionaire fighting one of the largest divorce payouts in U.K. history lost a Moscow court case where he was trying to prove that his marriage had been dissolved 16 years earlier. Farkhad Akhmedov was ordered to pay his wife Tatiana Akhmedova more than 450 million pounds ($586 million) following a London trial that he refused to participate in on the grounds that he was already divorced in Russia. Now the Moscow City Court has rejected an appeal by the businessman seeking to prove the existence of that divorce.”

By |2018-10-29T12:39:19+00:00October 29th, 2018|

Chinese woman kills herself and children after husband ‘fakes death’

BBC: A man in China whose wife killed herself and their two children after he allegedly faked his own death for an insurance payout has given himself up to police. The 34-year-old was presumed dead after a car he borrowed was found in a river, though his body was never recovered. He did not tell his wife his alleged plan and she believed he had died. She drowned herself and their children three weeks later, after posting a suicide note online. The man, who police said was surnamed He, turned himself in to police in Xinhua county in Hunan province last Friday.”

By |2018-10-23T15:39:24+00:00October 26th, 2018|

Murdoch children may get up to $2bn each in 21st Century Fox sale

The Guardian:  “Rupert Murdoch’s six children could each receive as much as $2bn (£1.5bn) from the sale of his 21st Century Fox global entertainment empire to Disney. Murdoch is in the final stages of completing the $71.3bn sale of 21st Century Fox, which includes the Hollywood studio behind hits from Deadpool to X-Men and a 39% stake in Sky. The family trust, which the 87-year old Murdoch controls, owns a 17% stake in Fox worth a little over $12bn. The beneficiaries of the trust, in which Murdoch has no financial interest, are his children Prudence, James, Lachlan and Elisabeth. Grace and Chloe, his daughters with his former wife Wendi Deng Murdoch, whom he divorced five years ago, are also beneficiaries but have no voting interest in it.”

By |2018-10-23T15:33:28+00:00October 25th, 2018|

Paul Allen’s $26 Billion Estate Will Take Years To Unravel

Financial Advisor:  “Paul Allen’s family office will live long and prosper. The billionaire’s vast holdings at Vulcan Inc. — with real estate, art, sports teams and venture capital stakes — would take years to unravel, if that’s even what he wanted. Allen, who died Monday, had no spouse or children to divide his empire. But there are many others with interests at stake, including family, staff and charities, as well as potential investors eager to snap up pieces.”

By |2018-10-23T15:30:56+00:00October 24th, 2018|

A Teen Allegedly Baked Her Grandfather’s Ashes Into Cookies and Served Them to Her Classmates

Time Magazine:  “A high school student mixed her cremated grandfather’s ashes into homemade sugar cookies and shared them with several classmates, police in Northern California said Wednesday. The student and a friend baked the cookies and shared them with at least nine classmates at their public charter high school near Sacramento on Oct. 4, said Davis Police Lt. Paul Doroshov. He said the Da Vinci Charter Academy students told some of their classmates that the cookies contained human ashes.”

By |2018-10-23T15:26:13+00:00October 23rd, 2018|

Who needs an estate plan? Quick answer: Everyone

AP&S:  “Despite what you might think, estate planning isn’t limited to only the rich and famous. In fact, your family is likely to benefit from a comprehensive plan that divides your wealth, protects your well-being and provides a compass for your family’s future. Previously, avoiding or minimizing federal estate tax liability was a primary motivation for creating an estate plan. This isn’t as critical for most people now that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) has doubled the federal gift and estate tax exemption from $5 million to $10 million. (The inflation-adjusted amount for 2018 is $11.18 million.) Nevertheless, reducing exposure to federal estate tax is still significant for affluent individuals, while a wider segment of the population must consider the impact of state estate taxes.”

By |2018-10-15T15:41:43+00:00October 19th, 2018|

Six important tips for estate planning success

Moneyweb:  “The increased Value-Added Tax (VAT) rate – announced in the 2018 National Budget – dominated headlines for weeks thereafter, but this is not the only tax change affecting consumers and investors. Many tax changes also affect estate planning and the cost of estate administration. I asked Brenthurst’s Fiduciary Services Expert, Rozanne Heystek-Potgieter, for her top tips to navigate this. We compiled a list of six important issues to consider when navigating the complex field of deceased estate administration. More importantly, we have included tips on how to prepare for the inevitable and re-evaluate your existing will, the liquidity of your estate and estate planning goals in general.”

By |2018-10-15T14:46:06+00:00October 18th, 2018|

Do Princess Eugenie & Jack Brooksbank Have A Prenup? The Answer Is Pretty Surprising

Elite Daily:  “The upcoming royal wedding of Princess Eugenie and long-time boyfriend Jack Brooksbank has the whole world talking, and it’s for good reason. Princess Eugenie and Brooksbank are fairly low key and lead relatively normal lives compared to their fellow royal family members, which makes their love story surprisingly relatable. However, because they’re such a low-key couple, there are tons of unanswered questions about their Oct. 12 wedding. For instance, do Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank have a prenup? It’s not a totally off-base question, but it’s also sort of complicated. The soon-to-be married couple has been together seven years, but with the royal family, nothing is off the table. (Except bright nail polish, of course.) The thing is, the royal family is high-profile on a worldwide scale. They’re basically like the Kardashians, but British and with crowns, titles, and dress codes. Marrying into the fam is a pretty big deal, and just like celebrities sign prenuptial arrangements, you might expect the royal family to follow suit. But surprisingly, that’s not the case.”

By |2018-10-15T13:41:14+00:00October 16th, 2018|

Buffalo Bills fan takes jab from the grave, requests six players as pallbearers so they ‘can let him down one last time’

FOX:  “A devout Buffalo Bills fan took one final dig at his team, requesting six players as pallbearers in his obituary this week, so that “they can let him down one last time.” Lee Merkel, 83, died on Sunday at his home in Raleigh, North Carolina, but the native New Yorker and lifelong season ticketholder wanted to ensure he got the final laugh.”

By |2018-10-15T11:24:18+00:00October 15th, 2018|

Til Death do Us Part: Marriage and Estate Planning

Smith Admudsen:  “You and your significant other are ready to take the next big step in your relationship: getting married. While this is an exciting event, it’s also one that should prompt you and your fiancé to have some serious conversations about the legal implications of the marriage. Here are a few considerations that might help you and your partner start your marriage with clear understandings.”

By |2018-10-08T14:49:49+00:00October 12th, 2018|

What Can Fred Trump’s Estate Teach Us?

Wealth Management:  “The president’s propensity for fudging the numbers runs in the family. That’s the main takeaway from The New York Times’ exhaustive look Tuesday at the myriad of methods that the president’s father, Fred Trump, used to minimize taxes while transferring his wealth—$413 million—to his children. What’s interesting is just how permissive the gift and estate tax regime is to those willing to fudge the truth, sometimes brazenly.”

By |2018-10-08T14:13:12+00:00October 11th, 2018|

10 Things You Need To Know About Prenups

Forbes:  “While the celebrity buzz of the week is that Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin were secretly married earlier this week, the even bigger news is that they may not have signed a prenuptial agreement. With Justin’s net worth estimated at $265 million and Hailey’s at $2 million, that’s a tremendous imbalance of wealth. Depending on how the marriage turns out, this could result in a big payday for Hailey down the road. While Justin and Hailey may be young and in love – and throwing all caution to the wind – no one with any substantial assets should follow their lead. Here are 10 things every person should know about prenuptial agreements.”

By |2018-10-08T14:06:01+00:00October 10th, 2018|

American couple lose appeal to keep Pissarro painting looted by Nazis

The Telegraph:  “An American couple have lost their bid to win back a painting by Impressionist master Camille Pissarro, as a French court confirmed it must be handed to the family of the Jewish collector it was looted from during the Second World War. Wealthy art collectors Bruce and Robbi Toll had launched an appeal after a court ruled in November that the painting belonged by rights to the descendants of Simon Bauer, a Jewish businessman disappropriated by the Nazis in 1943. The Tolls insisted they had no idea the painting, “La Cueillette” (“Picking Peas”), had been looted when they bought it at Christie’s in New York in 1995 for $800,000 (£616,000). But the Paris appeals court ruled on Tuesday that the original court decision stood, in a move hailed by the Bauer family.”

By |2018-10-08T13:57:02+00:00October 9th, 2018|

Why Estate Planning Is Easy And Legacy Planning Is Hard

Forbes: Estate planning is easy. It’s finite, calculable. What happens when you die? Who gets your stuff? How much will you owe in estate taxes and how can we prevent or prepare for it? You hire a lawyer to draft a will and possibly one or more trusts that provide for what happens when you die. It’s done. Complete. You tuck your documents away in drawer or safety deposit box and sleep well at night, knowing you have taken care of your estate plan. Death is inevitable, so planning for it—while admittedly uncomfortable for some—is relatively easy. Life, on the other hand, is hard.”

By |2018-10-08T13:48:06+00:00October 8th, 2018|

What Every Spouse Needs To Know About Inheriting IRAs

Forbes:  “One difficult financial task facing a surviving spouse is how to handle the individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and other qualified retirement plans. Mistakes often are made with inherited IRAs in general, whether they are inherited by spouses, children or others. Retirement accounts are treated differently than most other assets in the estate. The rules for inherited IRAs aren’t intuitive or simple, so mistakes are made. Surviving spouses have the same options with inherited IRAs as other beneficiaries. But there’s a twist to one of them, and the surviving spouse has an additional option.”

By |2018-10-01T15:00:38+00:00October 5th, 2018|

Don’t forget about digital assets in your estate plan

The Globe and Mail:  “If only half of Canadians have a will and only about a third of them are up-to-date, according to a recent poll, it’s likely even fewer Canadians have accounted for the growing number of digital assets in their estate plans. Many Canadians have trouble keeping track of all of their online assets – which includes everything from cryptocurrencies to eBay and PayPal accounts to loyalty reward programs and social-media sites – let alone figuring out how to distribute them among their beneficiaries when they die. Wealth-management experts warn that overlooking digital assets in estate planning can create huge headaches down the road for executors, powers of attorney and beneficiaries, especially given Canadians’ expanding digital footprints.”

By |2018-10-01T14:15:51+00:00October 4th, 2018|

Standing and Error Correction in Probate

Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog:  “Estate and guardianship proceeding are in rem and decisions are binding on the world, often without personal service or direct notice. Error correction in probate is essential because incorrect decisions can adversely affect administrations for years in the future. The Texas state legislature recognizes the importance of inheritance and guardianship and progressively expanded probate jurisdiction, including granting statutory probate courts exclusive jurisdiction over probate matters, and concurrent jurisdiction with district courts over trust and other matters. Statutory probate courts even have the power to transfer cases in other courts in other courts around the state to their own court when the proceeding affects a pending administration – the power affectionately known by practitioners as the “reach-out-and-grab” power. The legislature and courts recognize the difference between a “normal” lawsuit and an ongoing, continuing estate or guardianship administration and the need to accommodate the ability to correct errors well beyond the typical thirty days after an order is signed. The first analysis in every probate proceeding is to determine the parties who have standing in an estate.”

By |2018-10-01T13:19:12+00:00October 3rd, 2018|

Navy veteran, 66, with terminal cancer holds yard sales to raise money for funeral

Fox:  “A 66-year-old U.S. Navy veteran dying from cancer has been selling his possessions at weekend yard sales to raise money for his own funeral, reports said Wednesday. Willie Davis, of Cambria County, Pa., was diagnosed with stage 4 squamous cell carcinoma. He plans to raise enough cash to be buried next to his parents in Culpepper, Va., according to his GoFundMe page. The page was created by two men, David Dunkleberger and his friend, Ed Sheets, after visiting Davis’ yard sale in Brownstown, Pa., in August. When they asked whose funeral Davis was financing, he replied: “Mine.”

By |2018-10-01T11:36:27+00:00October 2nd, 2018|

What ‘Succession’ And Sumner Redstone Can Teach Us About Planning Ahead For Senior Care

Forbes:  “Many of us have read the titillating and tragic story of Sumner Redstone, the former executive chairman of Viacom, and the litigious financial power struggle that has embroiled his family. Redstone’s story was a key influence on the HBO hit series Succession, which involves a lot of money, a pugnacious media mogul, a conniving lover, and children trying to wrest control of the family fortune from a sordid mess. Most of us won’t need to worry about a multi-billion-dollar empire, and our family struggles may appear mundane by comparison. But disagreements over money can and often do prevent families from making the right choices about care.”

By |2018-10-01T11:18:07+00:00October 1st, 2018|

Man charged with killing wife at sea sought to inherit her estate, prosecutor says

Fox:  “A British man murdered his wife and deliberately sank the couple’s catamaran near the Bahamas in a bid to inherit her estate, prosecutors said last week. Lewis Bennett, 41, was charged with second-degree murder on the high seas in the May 2017 disappearance of Isabella Hellmann, 41, of Delray Beach, Florida, in February. Bennett and his wife were on a delayed honeymoon to St. Maarten, Puerto Rico and Cuba.”

By |2018-09-24T14:58:52+00:00September 28th, 2018|

Tom Clancy’s Maryland Estate Hits Market for $6.2M

Barrons:  “The 537-acre Maryland estate of the late American novelist Tom Clancy has come on the market for US$6.2 million. The author of bestsellers like Clear and Present DangerPatriot Games, and The Hunt for Red October owned the sprawling property about 45 miles south of Washington, D.C., for decades until his death in 2013 at age 66. It includes acres of woods, private beach on Chesapeake Bay and a three-story custom home with a number of amenities suited to a spy fiction writer. The 17,000-square-foot main house has an underground, two-lane shooting range, which “offers an opportunity to practice your marksmanship in complete privacy,” according to listing agent Angel Stevens of Cummings & Co. Realtors.”

By |2018-09-24T14:50:07+00:00September 27th, 2018|

‘Carol Burnett’ star Tim Conway recovers from brain surgery as family battle over comic’s fate rages on

Fox:  “Tim Conway is recovering from brain surgery as his daughter and second wife fight in court over his care, Fox News learned Monday. The “Carol Burnett Show” star’s daughter, Kelly Conway, revealed that a Los Angeles court has decided a permanent conservatorship of the actor will be appointed in November. Kelly and her stepmother Charlene Conway each want sole conservatorship over the 84-year-old, who is suffering from dementia.“My brothers and I would like to thank the overwhelming support for my dad from fans all over the world that are contacting me via phone, email and social media,” Kelly told Fox News in a statement. “It lifts my brothers and me”

By |2018-09-24T14:43:08+00:00September 26th, 2018|