Blog Author: Stephen C. Hartnett, J.D., LL.M. (Tax), Director of Education, American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc. In some countries, like a dictatorship or a true monarchy (not a constitutional monarchy such as the United Kingdom), people do not really participate in making the law. The law is handed down by fiat. In the United States, our laws are enacted by our elected representatives. Sometimes, those laws may be viewed as violating the fundamental rights guaranteed to all … [Read more...] about Law in the U.S. can be Participatory
When you are making any type of important financial decision, you are going to do your research. This should extend to your estate planning efforts. You should understand all of your options with regard to asset transfer vehicles, and you should understand the advantages and disadvantages that go along with each of them. If you die with a Will or with no estate plan at all, the property that is in your personal possession may become probate property unless certain circumstances exist. Our firm … [Read more...] about Is Probate Always Required?
You may wonder if it is possible to provide for your pet in your estate plan. The answer is yes, there are steps that you can take to make sure that your pet is provided for, come what may. One way to include your pet in your estate plan would be to identify a caretaker and leave this person a direct bequest in your Will. While this is a possible solution, there are drawbacks that can come about; it is not a foolproof solution. First of all, you may find it difficult to identify a … [Read more...] about How Can You Provide for Your Pet in Your Estate Plan?
If you have yet to take the time to create your estate plan, you need to make the time to do so. Despite understanding the importance of estate planning, over half of all Americans do not have an estate plan in place. A comprehensive estate plan does more than simply decide who will receive your estate assets when you die. When properly drafted, an estate plan should guard and grow your assets during your working years, help protect you and your loved ones during your Golden Years, and ensure … [Read more...] about How to Find the Right Estate Planning Attorney
Estate planning typically involves a number of tools and strategies, each aimed at achieving a different goal within the larger plan. One of the most commonly used estate planning tools is a Power of Attorney. When used properly, a Power of Attorney can accomplished, or help to accomplish several different immediate and long-term estate planning objectives; however, when used improperly, or when used by someone who doesn’t fully understand the power granted in the document, a Power of Attorney … [Read more...] about 5 Power of Attorney Mistakes to Avoid
In general these are good days for those of us who worry about the federal estate tax. The federal estate tax exclusion was raised to $5 million under the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. The exclusion is the amount below which, you pay no death tax at the federal level. This is a whole lot better than just a few years ago when the exclusion was millions of dollars less. The law also included an annual inflationary adjustment. Now that the end of 2015 is nearing, the Internal Revenue … [Read more...] about IRS Announces 2016 Estate Tax Adjustment
Is North Carolina Probate Always Required from Mark Costley After your death, the joint tenant would assume ownership of the entirety of the property outside of probate. Learn more about North Carolina Probate Always Required in this presentation. … [Read more...] about Is North Carolina Probate Always Required
Creating a North Carolina Basic Estate Plan from Mark Costley The majority of adults in the United States do not have a comprehensive estate plan in place. Learn more about North Carolina basic estate plan in this presentation. … [Read more...] about Creating a North Carolina Basic Estate Plan
What Is A Living Trust? from Mark Costley You have options when you are deciding how you want your assets to be transferred after you die. A last will is one of your options, but there are others that you should certainly explore. One of them is a living trust. Learn more about living trust in this presentation. … [Read more...] about What Is A Living Trust?
Historic Overview Congress and the Wilson administration established the original federal estate tax in 1916. However, the lack of an annual gift tax limitation provided a large unintended loophole for individuals to distribute inheritances prior to their death and avoid the estate tax. The federal annual gift tax exclusion was first enacted in 1924, repealed in 1926, reenacted in 1932 and has remained in force since that time. Congress and the Reagan administration unified the lifetime and … [Read more...] about The 2015 Lifetime Estate Tax Exclusion & Annual Gift Tax