Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Yes, it's that time of year again, when we say goodbye to last year and say hello to and welcome in the new year. As an estate planning attorney, this is always an exciting time of year due to how many people are proceeding with their estate plans.

Each new year brings those familiar resolutions and one of the most popular resolutions is to finally make out a Will or complete that estate plan. That makes for a busy holiday season for Colorado estate planning attorneys like myself.

As I have previously reported to you, many believe that estate planning could be the best gift to give to your family. At this time of gift giving, that makes estate planning a very popular holiday gift!

Enjoy the celebrations as we end 2013 and welcome in 2014. Let me know your thoughts and questions on estate planning and related topics. I will continue to bring you new and hopefully interesting topics and tidbits about Wills and estate planning.


Bernie Greenberg

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

IRS Releases 2014 Estate Tax, Gift Tax, GST Tax Exemptions as Adjusted for Inflation

Our estate, gift and generation skipping tax exemptions are changing again! This time they are going up per the new tax law and are scheduled to increase each year.

For 2014 the exemptions will be $5,340,000. Here is an excellent article that discusses these increases and merits your reading.

IRS Releases 2014 Estate, Gift and GST Tax Exemptions Adjusted for Inflation

Let me know your thoughts and if you have any questions about how this will impact your estate planning. I look forward to your questions and comments.

Bernie Greenberg

Whose Money is it Anyway? Why You Should Care About the Shutdown

Whose money is it anyway and why does it matter? How the government shut down is all about your money.

In honor of election day, today, I want to ask you a question that we should always ask ourselves when thinking about who we vote for and how those elected officials are doing. That question is, WHOSE MONEY IS IT ANYWAY? How you think about this question is fundamental to your world view.

Several years ago I wrote an article that appeared in several newspapers and other publications. You might even remember it because it was discussed on various media. The article was about another dust-up in Washington when another issue about taxes and federal spending captured our attention for several moments.

In that article, and again here, we discuss the arrogance of politicians when it comes to how easily they forget whose money they are fighting over. This is a non-partisan article, just like the earlier one. Both sides are guilty of this and there doesn't seem to be any ideological side that is worse than the other. Both sides, and seemingly every politician forgets when they are elected two important things:

1. Who elected them and
2. Whose money are they dealing with while they are in office.

I'm going to leave the first issue for another day but you may want to give it some thought anyway.. But the second, well, that's what we are discussing here. So let me pose the question to you, whose money are politicians spending? Some might debate this, and they would be wrong. You see, the only money that politicians ever deal with IS YOUR MONEY!

This is so fundamental to  how the government works that it is surprising that so many people forget. What is even more serious, perhaps even insidious, is that politicians act as if they never were aware of this simple and elementary civics lesson. The money they deal with, the money that they spend, the money that even pays their salaries and perks is your money.

Let's take the latest fracas in Washington, the current showdown over the shutdown at the politicians' corral. While many have forgotten this as they pay attention to only the latest news cycle, here we are on election day and very few are even mentioning the shut down. The issues are numerous and perhaps even complex. But, the argument, the actual bottom line argument is who gets to control and dictate the use of your money. The politicians are playing chicken with your money and pretending that the whole thing is about ideology. It's not and never has been about ideology, it's about power.

So who do you want to be in control of your money? Politicians? Big Banks? Corporate executives? Yourself? Let me know your thoughts and who you think your money belongs to. My answer is that your money belongs to you. Whether you give control over it to someone else is up to you.

I look forward to your comments.

Bernie Greenberg

Friday, September 20, 2013

Disasters and Con Artists: 4 Ways to Protect Yourself

Disasters seem to bring out the best in us and also the worst in our society. Con artists love a good disaster and use our sensitivities and vulnerabilities against us. As this story from today's Denver Post shows, the recent Colorado floods are no exception.

Colorado floods: Beware of shady outfits when demand for restoration surges - The Denver Post:
'via Blog this'

Here are four time proven ways to protect yourself, your family and your property:

1. Deal only with proven and reliable sources. Disasters bring out the door to door and telephone scams. Avoid doing any repairs and renovation with someone who comes to your door or cold calls you.

2. Always check credentials and referrals. If someone won't provide those to you, send them packing.

3. Get written estimates, and use written contracts. Failure to do so is hazardous to you, your family and your money.

4. When in doubt get out. Don't be intimidated or bullied. Many con artists prey on vulnerability and will try and bully you into signing up with them. Don't be bullied and dial 911 if you are fearful and nervous in any situation. Report these people so the authorities can deal with them.

There you have them, four proven ways to protect yourself. Let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment here or sending me an email. Thank you.

Bernie Greenberg

Thursday, September 12, 2013

What's New In Estate Planning

What's New in Estate Planning? What was Old is New Again!

Many people mistakenly believe that estate planning is only for rich folk. Others mistakenly believe that it is all about saving death taxes. While these areas can be part of an estate plan, neither is what estate planning is about.

What estate planning is about is protecting yourself and loved ones. I coined this phrase years ago: estate planning is not about how much you have but about how much you care about those you care about and for.

This is what is new again in estate planning. With the federal estate tax exemption making most estates non-taxable, estate planners are returning to their roots and focusing on what really matters with the estate plan--your family. As you read through the other articles here, you will find this theme repeated over and over.

If you care about yourself and family, you will do a plan and make arrangements to protect yourself and family. Every person's plan is different and every plan contains certain components. And making what was the first focus of estate planning new again is very exciting to  me. As an estate planning attorney, it is refreshing to see this return to the core values of estate planning.

What do you think? Please join our conversation and leave a comment here or send me an email. Thank you for your interest.

Bernie Greenberg

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

What Happens When You Die Without a Will or Estate Plan: 6 Consequences You Need to Know

The Consequences of Dying Without a Will or Estate Plan: What do you need to know?

According to recent statistics, many people die without a Will or any estate plan. Less than 25% of adults may have a plan at all. While this is alarming by itself, it pales compared with the consequences your family will face if you were to die without a Will. We explore six of those consequences in this article so you can decide for yourself.

Here are 6 important consequences of dying without a Will or estate plan:

1. Your State Provides You With a Will.

Your State has a plan for you if you don't do one yourself. Since this is being forced on you and your family and involves choices made by someone other than yourself, this may not be to your liking and the State's choices may not be those you would have made.

2. A Court Decides Where Your Children will Live and be Raised.

By far, this is the primary reason that clients with young children will do Wills or an estate plan. Imagine the issues that this could create for your children and how you would feel knowing that this consequence was easily avoided. The choice the Court might make may not be your choice. When our goals include protecting our children, this is mission critical in estate planning.

This occurs if you die without a Will as part of a public proceeding creating even more stress and problems for your family. Many clients do not want their families subjected to this type of public scrutiny.

3. A Court Decides Who Your Executor (Personal Representative) will be.

If you don't do your own Will or estate plan, a Court will decide who your executor will be. The Court's choice may not be your choice. This is also a public process in Court. Imagine the problems from these two examples:

A. You are in the middle of a divorce and die without a Will. You might not want your estranged spouse as your executor but they have the first priority to appointment if you die without a Will or estate plan.

B. You are single and in a committed relationship and die without a Will. Your intention is for your partner to be your executor, but that may not occur if you die without a Will or estate plan.

4. Your State Determines Where Your Property Goes.

When you die without a Will, your State has a default plan called the law of intestacy about where your property goes and how it gets there. This could mean that your spouse is forced to share your estate with children. Most couples want the surviving spouse to inherit everything with the kids as secondary beneficiaries. If you want your own plan, then you can't die without a Will or estate plan. Are you sensing a theme here yet?

5. Children's Inheritances are in Short Term Court Managed Conservatorships.

These conservatorships last to your State's age of majority. It may be your plan to have a child's inheritance last for a longer period of time. Dying without a Will insures that this will not occur. For example, all money could be distributed to your child before they are ready for the responsibility. The inheritance passes to your child unprotected from the risks of unwise spending; creditors and predators. Most parents do not want this result.

6. Property Passes to the Surviving Spouse With No Protections.

Many clients seek to protect the surviving spouse by making sure inherited property is not subject to risk of creditors and predators. When you die without a Will, your spouse becomes a target for con-artists and the unscrupulous. This is a particular problem with seniors. We hear constantly about the importance of protecting ourselves in later life, but so few people do so.

All six of these problems and negative consequences are eliminated by doing a properly designed and drafted Will or estate plan.

Since a crucial part of estate planning is protection of family, protecting them against these six consequences or at least considering doing so is important. Are these important factors and goals for you? If so then make sure you have a current and valid Will or estate plan in place and be prepared for the unplanned and unexpected.

Let me know your thoughts on this topic and join our conversation by leaving a comment or sending me an email. Thank you.

Bernie Greenberg

Monday, August 12, 2013

Amanda Bynes Conservatorship Granted

Many people may not know what a Conservatorship is, but with this recent story about Amanda Bynes, Conservatorships are in the news.

Generally there are two types of legal proceedings for persons needing protection. One is called a Conservatorship and the other is called a Guardianship. These proceedings differ and knowing how they work and when you need to consider one is vital to protecting your loved ones.

These two legal proceedings are also known as "living probate" because these proceedings are governed by the Probate Court and involve someone who is alive. Most people are aware of probate for people who have passed away.

It is possible to avoid the need for these legal proceedings if you do your estate planning prior to suffering any mental disability. Always make sure your plan includes a Financial and Health Care Durable Power of Attorney.

Amanda Bynes Psychiatric Hold Extended, Conservatorship Granted:

'via Blog this'

What are your thoughts about this case and these types of proceedings? Please join our conversation and leave a comment or send me an email. As always, thanks for your interest.

Bernie Greenberg

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

What To Do If A Loved One Dies: 10 Steps

It is difficult enough when a loved one dies and even more difficult and challenging if you are the administrator of the estate or trust. Knowing the steps to follow and building your checklists and road map will help make this very difficult time less trying.

As an estate and trust lawyer, I am asked frequently, "what do I do if my spouse dies", or "what are my first steps". This article will help start to answer those questions.

Your Ten Initial Steps of Estate or Trust Admnistration:

Here we explore your initial administration tasks and checklist. Use this in your meetings with the estate or trust lawyer to help guide your meetings and in developing your master action list of all tasks you are responsible for. Your master action list is your list of ALL actions and tasks that you take or assign to others from the beginning to the end of the estate or trust administration.

This is not meant to be used as your master action list, but as a guide to follow to understand the initial steps in estate or trust administration and to help you build your master action list. Here is an excellent article from the Colorado Bar Association that you will also find useful.

Your First Ten Steps:

  1. File the decedent's Will with the Court or determine the requirements to register the decedent's trust. You will also determine the necessity of obtaining taxpayer identification numbers for the estate or trust.
  2. Take steps to reduce identity theft by contacting Social Security, the DMV, all banks and brokerage firms where the decedent held accounts. The Death Certificate will be necessary at some places.
  3. Close the decedent's accounts, but not trust accounts if there are any.
  4. Determine the property and assets. You will do this with the estate or trust attorney. You will be creating schedules of assets based on how assets are owned by the decedent. I have discussed in prior articles the ways that assets can be owned.
  5. Obtain asset values. All of the assets must be valued as of the date of death. These are easy to obtain, and the estate or trust attorney can help you.
  6. Determine if a probate proceeding is necessary. This will depend on your state law, the type of assets and ownership or title by the decedent.
  7. Determine whether estate, inheritance or death tax filings are required for either the IRS or individual states. Again, the estate and trust attorney will guide you.
  8. Start your accounting as of the date of death. You are required to track all receipts and all disbursements from the date of death forward.
  9. With the guidance of the attorney determine who will receive copies of the decedent's Will and/or trust.
  10. Commence the estate or trust administration.

These ten steps will get you started, provide direction and help you in developing your master action list. Administering an estate or trust is like playing croquet, you learn the map, then proceed through the right hoops in the right order until you get to the finish.

I'd like to hear your comments. Did you find this helpful? Do you have further questions? Please join our conversation and let me know. Thank you.

Bernie Greenberg

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Why People Delay Estate Planning--Your Thoughts

Recently, in discussions with several professional groups, we have addressed the increase in people putting off their planning. In our discussions several reasons for this negative development were raised. Things like:
  1. Why bother?
  2. My estate isn't big enough.
  3. The estate tax exemption now protects me.
There are other reasons, but these seem prevalent. As you can imagine, reasons such as these have no validity, but do prevent people from protecting their families. In my town of Castle Rock, CO, I am the only full-time estate planning attorney. Helping folks work through these issues is very important and I would like to hear what you think.

What are your thoughts about these issues? Do you think these reasons are valid? What did you focus on when you decided to proceed with your estate plan? How do you suggest to people the importance and need for estate planning?

Studies show that people will spend more time and money every year on a vacation then they will ever spend on their own estate planning. Given how important it is to protect family.

I look forward to your thoughts and comments. Thank you.

Bernie Greenberg

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Is Time Your Ally or Enemy? 3 Ways to Make Time Your Estate Planning Ally

Whether time if your friend or enemy in your estate plan is a critical factor in whether you and your family will be protected. In this article, I explore the 3 ways you can have time be your friend and ally.

Recently, David Scott wrote in in his article about business succession planning about time as an ally or enemy to the business owner contemplating succession planning. Mr. Scott's points are well taken and apply equally to estate planning.

Time is your ally when you use time to get things done before they are needed. Any part of your estate plan, your Will, Durable Powers of Attorney, potential trusts for children etc. are all examples of documents that you may not  need until later. However, they are all documents that you can't create after they are  needed. If you get them done now, time is your friend and ally. If you wait too long, time is your enemy because you are out of time and you and your family are in trouble--it's too late to do the planning.

By doing your estate plan before it is needed, you and your family are protected against unplanned and unexpected emergencies, accidents and illnesses. That's the reason to do IT NOW! Then the plan is done, it is in place and you have used time wisely--as an ally.

Whenever you wait and procrastinate time is always your enemy. A need can arise, the family is in crisis mode or worse, chaos and it was all preventable. Solving the need is more difficult, more complex and always more expensive.

3 Ways to Have Time be Your Friend and Ally:

1. Start your estate plan now. Do it and get it done before any need arises. Starting now is easy, and will save you and your family money, heartache and TIME later. There are numerous articles here that discuss the specific components and documents your estate plan requires. Also, my firm's website has a good section on estate planning you should read.

2. Complete your plan soon after starting. I have heard stories from clients about having started a plan with a different adviser and not receiving drafts or documents for months. This is not how estate planning is done when done properly. Even complex estate plans can be designed, drafted, signed and funded in days to a few short weeks. As part of this second step, make sure assets are titled correctly and your beneficiary designations are drafted correctly.

3. Review your plan. Even after you create your plan, you want to make sure, from time to time, it does what you want. Follow the review schedule suggested by your estate planner. Staying current with changes in your family, property and the law makes time your ally.

Time can be either your friend or your enemy. The choice is yours and hopefully with these three steps, you can choose wisely. Good luck.

Please join our conversation and leave a comment or send me an email with your thoughts and ideas. Thank you.

Bernie Greenberg

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Tax Law Permanence? No Chance!

Tax Law Permanence is Never Permanent

Recently, well just three months ago, Washington presented us with a brand new tax code called the Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 or TRA.. This new law changed our income, estate and gift tax systems entirely. One of the features of this new tax law was supposed to be it's permanence. Well, the tax law is permanent no longer.

The TRA of 2012 brought new tax rates and exemptions. It was designed to create permanence and certainty to allow you to plan your financial affairs and estate without having to redo everything from year to year. This is now going up in smoke (the whole tax law looks like smoke and mirrors anyway) with the President's new budget proposal.

The new budget would do many things to our tax code and all of them are bad. Here is a sample list of just a few of the negative and adverse changes proposed:

  1. Reduction in exemptions used in estate planning to 2009 levels.
  2. Increase in tax rates for estate and gift taxes to the highest levels, 55%.
  3. Extreme restrictions on the use of IRA's and similar savings tools.
  4. Elimination of the ability to stretch inherited IRA payments over the lifetime of a beneficiary other than the surviving spouse.
While the budget proposal would do many, many more things to our tax code, this short list should be enough to alarm everyone what may be coming. Please remember to not shoot the messenger and consider writing your Congressional representatives to express your feelings about the proposed changes.

Also remember, if the budget proposal passes, it will be time again to review your planning and make appropriate changes. Please let me know if you have questions about these changes and how they impact you.

Also, please join in our conversation and post a comment here or to me via email about this or any of our estate planning topics.

Bernie Greenberg

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Pace of Change: Embrace It!

If you want to know how fast things change these days just blink. Not only is change constant, the pace of change seems to keep accelerating. As a lawyer advising clients about estate planning and estate and trust matters, I can tell you that clients find this challenging.

The pace of change in our legal system is quickening. Just this year alone, from Colorado's new Civil Union  law to the federal Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 to the U.S. Supreme Court's consideration of DOMA, our entire legal landscape is not only changed, it is brand new.

This article is not to address these changes individually, but simply to draw your attention to your numerous blinks, each one resulting in significant change. Now that I have some of your attention, I want you to ask, "what do I do and how do I embrace all these changes?"

The answer to these questions has philosophical, emotional, quantum and physical elements. I'm going to take only one--the legal element. In the past three months the world of estate planning has been turned upside down. What was considered elemental last year is no longer. What was never considered possible is now the new normal.

In estate planning, there is one tried and true way to keep pace with the pace of change. Review, review, review. The only way to stay on top of changes is to periodically review your plan, with your estate planner in light of personal changes, legal changes and financial changes. Are you doing this? When was the last time you reviewed your planning.

Here is a good rule for 2013: if you last reviewed your plan prior to 2010, it is time for a review meeting NOW! The longer you wait, the more your plan will be out of synch. And there's one true thing about our legal system, it is not like fashion. You know fashion, just wait long enough and that "old" syle is back in fashion! Well, not so with our laws. As our society evolves and changes, our laws do as well. Unlike Alice, you can't click your heels and go back.

Yes, the pace of change is faster than ever and is not going to slow down. That is like getting in front of a train and trying to stop it. That would take a super hero with super powers. Instead, just keep pace with the pace of change and review, review, review.

Let me know your comments and join in our conversation. How do you feel about the pace of change?

Bernie Greenberg

Monday, March 4, 2013

Pressure Testing Your Estate Plan: How To Make Sure Your Plan Works

Pressure Testing Your Estate Plan: The Three Steps that Work

Your estate plan is something that you design now before it's needed, it will operate sometime in the future. So if the plan won't be used until the future, how can you make sure the plan will work? If you do what I call "pressure testing" your estate plan, you will go along way to making sure the plan will work and minimize disputes.

Here are the steps for pressure testing your estate plan:

1. Work with a specialist and estate planning expert.

It may seem like a simple thing, but nothing will torpedo your estate plan than having a DYI, fill-in-the-blank form or working with someone who does not focus exclusively on estate planning. As I have written before, if you have a problem with your kidneys, you don't go to the foot doctor.

2. Imagine future scenarios with your estate planning attorney.

In the design of all estate plans, we have our clients brain storm with us and imagine future scenarios. As we do this, we test each part of the estate plan and how it work under that imagined scenario. Does this work if that happens, how does client feel about it, how can they imagine how that provision will impact family or those involved? This is how to pressure test the design of each portion of the estate plan.

3. Review your plan periodically and re-test.

As time goes by, provisions that made sense years earlier in your plan may not make sense in the future. Things change, laws change, people change. These changes are always occurring and if ignored can also defeat your estate plan. The way to deal with changes is to review your plan periodically and re-test the provisions given all the changes. This is what we do with every client at every estate plan review meeting.

So there they are, the three steps to pressure your estate plan. Do you follow these steps? If not, it's time for an estate plan review if you have an estate plan. If you don't have a plan, these steps will guide you to creating a more effective estate plan.

Please let me know if you have questions about pressure testing your plan. Feel free to join in our conversation and leave a comment here or send me your thoughts via email, I look forward to hearing from you.

Bernie Greenberg

If you are seeking an estate planning attorney in Castle Rock, Douglas County, or for the South Denver Metro Area, contact Kokish & Goldmanis, P.C.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Specialization: Don’t Leave Home Without It! 4 Reasons Why You Should Care About Specialization

4 Reasons Why Specialization Matters

Recently I asked my readers how they feel about specialists, those experts who limit their work to a limited area of specialization. I thank Denver attorney, E.C. Lewis for sharing her thoughts about specialization.

The concept of “specialization” is not limited to professionals like lawyers and doctors. Many fields have specialists as I discovered concerning auto mechanics. Before I list the four reasons that dealing with a specialist is the smartest move you will ever make, let’s explore specialization further.

A specialist is someone who limits their work to a certain and defined area. Certain professional specialties even have certifications required before the specialization can be claimed. Here is a good working definition:

Someone who has limited their work to a defined area, either has a certification or recognized expertise in that area, and does that work full-time with at least seven consecutive years in the specific area.

What are your thoughts about this definition? If we accept this definition, then when isn't someone a specialist? Consider these examples of someone who is not a specialist:

1. Advertising on TV, radio, or social media.
2. Simply claiming to be one.
3. Accepting any work that comes their way without limiting their work to the one certain area.

There are four reasons to work with a specialist in whatever area you are considering. They are:

1. Specialists are experts.
My favorite example of this is in the medical field. If I break my leg, I am not going to the heart doctor. I know this seems silly, but it illustrates the point of expertise. Don’t you want to deal with someone who is an expert in your area of need?

2. Specialists are more competent.
Competence is a function of two factors: first is knowledge, the knowing of the expert's area; and second, experience. Nothing beats the value of having done something many times, this is how we learn, how to avoid mistakes and problems and how to improve. Consider this: the military; fire fighters or athletes are constantly training, constantly repeating, over and over what it is they do. I have heard this referred to as developing unconscious competence. From repetition comes experience and from experience comes competence. Specialists are simply more competent.

3. Specialists protect you.
Only a competent expert can anticipate what might go wrong in a project. Being able to anticipate problems allows the specialist to protect you from these risks. Here’s an example from my life: I tried to install a carpet strip at the edge of the kitchen. I am not a specialist in this type of work. Not knowing the material of the floor almost cost me big as the nail I was attempting to use exploded and hit my arm like a bullet. When I had a carpet specialist look at the project, they had an answer that was safe and effective. That is a perfect example of how a specialist protects their customers. They know the problems and now to solve them before someone gets hurt.

4. Specialists save you money.
Since a specialist knows what to do, how to avoid and solve problems, the specialist can get the project done timely, without loads of “do-overs” and since problems are avoided, usually at the lowest cost. Here’s another example: a client of mine needed to replace the timing chain on his older vehicle. He got two estimates, one from a specialist and one from his buddy. The buddy’s estimate was 40% lower than the specialist. Can you guess the result? That’s right, he went with the lower estimate and by the time the buddy's work was repaired properly he had spent over twice the estimate from the specialist. I also see this in my estate planning practice. Clients will try and create their own estate planning documents or work with non-specialists and end up spending huge fees to fix the problems created.

My point with this article is that there are actual and measurable benefits to dealing with specialists. This is true in any field, car repairs, medical services, legal services and in my specialty estate planning. Since there are so many people offering services in areas that they don’t specialize in, being aware of this can help you protect yourself and your family.

What are your thoughts about specialists? Please join our conversation and comment here or send me an email with your comments. Thank you.

Bernie Greenberg

Friday, January 11, 2013

Why Is Estate Planning Important?

Is Estate Planning Important? If So Why?

In a meeting yesterday, I was asked, "Why is estate planning important?" Instead of giving the typical knee-jerk reaction that most lawyers would give, the client who asked this question was willing to really explore the question.

While estate planning and doing your Will and Powers of Attorney is important in a general sense of being responsible and protecting yourself and family, that is not why estate planning is important. Those answers focus more on the benefits of doing your estate plan and there is no argument about the benefits.

On the other hand, is estate planning really important? Should it be at the top of everyone's list of New Year Resolutions? Is it worth talking about?

Here is what my client decided as we explored this question on deeper levels. Estate planning is important to each individual only if that individual cares about what happens. When you do "care" in the real sense of caring, then estate planning is not only important, it becomes one of the fundamental ways of expressing that caring.

By caring, you think about your circumstances, your goals and what it takes to get there. It is the caring, about your family, yourself and our world, that is the engine that drives anyone to do an estate plan.

As I thought about this client's view, I believe it is a very interesting way to look at my field of estate planning. So, if you ask yourself whether doing your estate plan or Will is actually important, why not start by asking what you care about. That will then get you to the answer about estate planning, as it did with my client yesterday.

What are your thoughts? Do you think estate planning is important? Let me know by commenting here or sending me an email.

Thank you.

Bernie Greenberg

If you are seeking an estate planning attorney in Castle Rock, Douglas County, or for the South Denver Metro Area, contact Kokish & Goldmanis, P.C.

Friday, January 4, 2013

The Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012

What is the Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012?

This massive new tax legislation is probably mis-named and should be called the Taxpayer Relief Act of 2013! The legislation is the political compromise to avoid what was being called the fiscal cliff.

While this new tax law does not avoid the fiscal cliff entirely, it is a highly controversial and politicized tax bill and is very complicated.

Here is a recent article to review that summarizes the legislation:

Click here.

Take a look at this article and let me know if you have any questions about how this affects your estate planning.

Bernie Greenberg

4 Estate Planning Resolutions for 2013

It's another new year! Here are 4 resolutions for 2013 to make the year successful for your estate plan.

1. Start Your Plan

With all the recent publicity about estate planning, it is still shocking how many people have no plan at all. So your first resolution is to start your estate plan or Will.

2. Do a FDPOA and HCDPOA.

These are two types of durable powers of attorney. The first is the financial power of attorney and the second is the health care power of attorney. Both of these protect you if you are incapacitated.

3. Do a Living Will.

Your Living Will is your opportunity to describe how you wanted to be treated at the end of life if you are in a terminal coma. It is a vital element to your estate plan.

4. Synchronize titles and beneficiary designations with your plan.

Having an estate plan is step one, the second is to make sure that your property and beneficiary designations are coordinated with the plan. Failing to do so means that your plan will not work.

There you have them, four easy resolutions to follow to protect yourself, your family and your property. Please let me know if you have any questions about these resolutions, how to implement them or concerning your estate plan. Have a great year in 2013!

Please connect with me on G+ +Bernard Greenberg, on twitter @BHGreenberg, or visit Kokish & Goldmanis, P.C.

Bernie Greenberg