Anyone who has worked with Clarity Legal Group has heard us say that estate planning is just as much about how your organize what you own as what your legal documents say. Beneficiary designations can seem simple when they are not. But their simplicity is sort of like an iceberg. Danger lurks beneath those tranquil waters, both for the client and the attorney. We find ourselves more frequently crafting customized beneficiary designations for retirement accounts, in order to get the plan … [Read more...] about Beneficiary Designations and the SECURE Act Basics
Occasionally I work with an estate planning client who wants to disinherit an heir. They've heard there is a trick to doing this correctly -- and there is, but often not for the reason people expect. The truth is, in North Carolina, no one has a right to inherit anything from you -- with the exception of your spouse (and then presuming that you do not have a prenuptial agreement waiving the right to inherit). However, even natural heirs such as children who have no right to inherit, do … [Read more...] about Getting it right when Disinheriting an Heir
I wrote in my last post about using an asset protection trust to protect a specific beneficiary who might have need protection, for example from a substance abuse problem. Sometimes we implement multigenerational trusts not to protect against the problems of a specific trust but to provide a management or tax planning structures for family wealth. This is what is commonly called a “Dynasty Trust”. Such a trust is one that continues for the maximum term possible. There can be estate tax … [Read more...] about Asserting Control and Exercising Care over Multigenerational Wealth
I fairly often meet with someone who has done or attempted to do a do it yourself Will and wants me to tell them if it looks like they got it right. I think these people are really on to something. That is the question: did i get it right? Here are a couple of tips for thinking about this. If I do nothing other than read the DIY will you have drafted, I will have no idea whether you got it right. The limit of my insight will be whether I understand what it … [Read more...] about The Whole Point of doing a Will is to Get it Right and Know you Got it Right
I find that some of my clients feel it is important to share the details of their estate plan with loved ones; however, others prefer to keep those details private. Even those clients who decide to share the details with loved ones may not want those details to be available to people outside of their immediate family. The good news is that with careful estate planning, you can keep the details of your North Carolina estate plan private. When it comes to privacy, there are two major … [Read more...] about How Can I Keep My Estate Plan Private?
Estate Planning begins with defining your goals, understanding the steps necessary to establish a plan fulfilling those goals, and then putting that planning in place. These are the elements of "getting it right". But what about keeping it right? Once my clients have an estate plan in place, they frequently ask me how often they should review their existing plan. Updating your estate plan is almost as important as creating the plan in the first place. There really isn't a fixed … [Read more...] about Keeping Things Right in Your Estate Plan: How Life Changes may Prompt Plan Changes
I often consult with unmarried couples who are deeply committed to each other yet have made the decision not to marry now – or perhaps never to marry. If you are part of an unmarried couple, estate planning takes on heightened importance for you because the reality is that the law continues to grant benefits and rights on the legally married it does not to unmarried couples. Fortunately, careful estate planning can accomplish what the law does not. It's not hard to get this right, but the gap … [Read more...] about Getting it Right for your Unmarried Partner: Key Estate Planning Strategies.
When I discuss estate planning with clients I try and explain the importance of planning for the cost of long-term care within their estate plan. The cost of long-term care could put your estate assets at risk if you failed to plan for the possibility ahead of time. One option for covering the cost of this kind of care is to purchase Long-Term Care insurance; however, long-term care insurance is not right for everyone. Planning for Long-Term Care Should Be Part of Your Estate … [Read more...] about Getting Things Right with Long-Term Care Insurance.
For my clients, the loss of a spouse is one of the most emotional experiences they will ever go through. The last thing they usually want to think about while grieving the loss of a spouse is something as seemingly disconnected from their grief as updating their own estate plan. As I often point out, however, failing to update their estate plan could lead to unintended and unwanted consequences down the road. I encourage anyone dealing with the loss of a loved one, and particularly a … [Read more...] about Important Estate Plan Updates for a Surviving Spouse
When the Estate Planning Attorneys at Clarity Legal Group work with clients to create an estate plan, we always begin with listening to the client's particular goals and concerns so we can tailor the plan to the unique needs of the client. We do a lot of planning built around Living Trusts. I am sometimes asked "do I need a Living Trust?" I think better questions are "how can I accomplish my goals through a Living Trust" and "how does planning around a Trust accomplish those goals better or … [Read more...] about Trust Administration Explained