Tuesday, November 7, 2017

How Proposed Tax Reform Impacts Your Estate Plan

As you may have heard, President Trump and the Congress have proposed a major revision to our tax system. This tax reform contains major changes to the estate tax arena which also involves estate, gift and generation skipping taxes.

In the article link below, these changes are discussed in detail and that's good because I don't believe you want to read a 770 page article from me. Here is the article:

Wealth Management Article on Estate Tax Changes

As you can see the changes to the estate tax system are significant! Here is a short list:

1. Immediate increase in the exemptions to $22 million.

2. Repeal of the death tax in the year 2024.

3. Other changes too numerous to list here. Please read and print the article to have for reference.

If you read that entire article I will buy you a cup of coffee! Congratulations. Suffice it to say that this proposal has not passed yet and my never do so. Watch for more news about this. I view this as a continuation of the trend started in 2010 to remove the tax overlay from your estate planning. Whether this will pass is a question not addressed here.

Thank you for your attention and interest in estate planning.

Bernie Greenberg

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

6 Estate Planning Steps to Take Right Now

More than 70% of folks who should have some plan in place do not. No will, power of attorney, HIPAA documents or living will. Numerous sources report this has stayed consistently high for almost 30 years.

Not having any plan is hazardous to you and your family in these ways:

1. No plan = undesired results.

2. No plan = no choice of decision makers.

3. No plan = no protections in place for you, your loved ones and your property.

Everyone seems to agree on the merits of having some plan in place yet an alarming number of folks still have no plan. Here are six simple steps you can take today to protect yourself and family:

1. Think about what is important to you and decide if you want to protect your spouse and children.

2. With the large federal estate and gift tax exemptions planning today is about protecting family members and income tax savings. Gather together your asset information: titles and beneficiary designations.

3. Schedule an estate planning meeting with a qualified estate planning attorney; one who actually specializes in estate planning.

4. Discuss your goals, assets and beneficiary designations with your estate planning attorney.

5. Implement the plan by signing all of the estate planning documents you work out; will, trust, powers of attorney, living will and health care documents.

6. Make sure each asset is titled properly and the beneficiary designations are ALL coordinated with your estate plan.

Estate planning is all about family!

Six simple steps to estate planning success and to get on the road to protecting yourself, your family and your property.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

3 Steps To Finding a Qualified Estate Planning Attorney

When you decide to get your will and estate planning started one of your first  steps is selecting the right estate planner. Difficulty with this alone stops many from completing their will and plan. Here are three sure-fire steps to follow to make sure you have the best and right assistance.

1.  Avoid the DYI Route

It's so tempting, do it yourself, save money and cut out the lawyers. With all those home fix up shows on TV and all the youtube videos how hard could it be right? Wrong! DYI estate planning is risky for you and a certain way to force your family into probate court. Read the many articles below on the specific risks of DYI estate planning.

2. Avoid the Internet Route

Also tempting is to find an online form and fill that out. Even websites like Legal Zoom should be avoided. There are several articles below discussing why the internet approach is also doomed to fail. Besides, who wants OJ's lawyer preparing their will and health care documents?

3. Make sure the lawyer you work with has these qualifications

  • Minimum of 7 consecutive years as a full time estate planning specialist or is an associate in a firm that has at least one attorney who meets this criteria.
  • Peer review rating from Martindale-Hubbell of AV or is an associate in a law firm where the director of the estate planning department has this rating.

Now you have three simple steps to finding the right estate planning attorney for you and your family. Remember to use all three steps and to insist on the two requirements from the lawyer you choose. Not all attorneys are qualified to practice estate planning law and you are the only person who can protect yourself.

Thank you for your interest in wills and estate planning. Feel free to join the conversation by commenting below or sending me an email.

Bernie Greenberg