From the dawn of time, humans have been concerned with privacy. In the biblical story of Adam and Eve, the couple sought the privacy provided by fig leaves as they left the Garden of Eden. When species Homo sapiens emerged, privacy was essential to protect against predators. In today’s world, privacy is more important than ever to protect ourselves from the seemingly ever-increasing number and types of predators. Privacy may be enhanced with something as simple as the primary estate planning … [Read more...] about Basics of Estate Planning: Privacy and Estate Planning
If you and your spouse have reached the conclusion that you marriage is no longer working, it may be time to consider divorce. Although going through a divorce is never easy, for anyone involved, it can be accomplished in an amicable manner if both parties agree to an uncontested divorce that resolves all relevant issues without the need for protracted litigation. On the other hand, when one, or both, of the parties becomes adversarial, the divorce will quickly turn into a contested divorce. In … [Read more...] about What Is a Contested Divorce?
Once upon a time, mentioning a pre-marital agreement was a sure way to create marital discord before the wedding even took place. Today, however, pre-marital agreements are relatively common, due in large part to the number of second (and subsequent) marriages in the U.S. that involve children from a previous marriage. If you entered into a pre-marital agreement with your spouse and circumstances have changed since entering into the agreement you may be wondering “ Can we change the terms of a … [Read more...] about Can We Change the Terms of a Pre-Marital Agreement?
The civil court system in the United States is intended to be a way for parties with a dispute to settle the dispute. Ideally, the issues are settled without the need for a trial through negotiations between the parties; however, when a trial is necessary either a judge or jury will decide the outcome of the case. There is yet another way to settle civil disputes though – alternative dispute resolution, or ADR. There are several different ADR methods used, with mediation being one of the most … [Read more...] about Can a Mediator Take Sides?
If you are planning to get married in the near future you, or your future spouse, may have considered executing a pre-marital agreement prior to the big day. If you have not already considered doing so you may wish to give it some thought. Unfortunately, even the mention of a pre-marital agreement often causes conflict in an otherwise harmonious relationship. A better understanding of the purpose behind executing a pre-marital agreement, however, may prevent conflict and encourage a reluctant … [Read more...] about What Is A Pre-Marital Agreement?
The year is rapidly coming to a close and when it does the unified gift/estate tax exclusion is going to be reduced to just $1 million. This is a very significant reduction because the exclusion has been $5.12 million throughout 2012. Because of the above giving gifts in 2012 can provide you with tax efficiency if your resources exceed $1 million in value. Once the new year arrives anything that you were to give away while you are alive or after your passing that is in excess of $1 million … [Read more...] about As 2012 Wanes Gifting Opportunity Fading Away
For many people, one of the primary estate planning objectives is going to be to do what is necessary to gain tax efficiency. There are a number of different vehicles that can be utilized, and the right combination will vary depending on the form of your assets and the specific nature of your wishes. To this end we endeavor to highlight some of the estate planning instruments that are typically utilized, and the one that we will take a look at today is the charitable remainder unitrust or … [Read more...] about What Is A Charitable Remainder Unitrust?
One simple and straightforward way that you can reduce the overall value of your estate for estate tax purposes is by giving gifts to your loved ones while you are still alive. Unfortunately, the powers that be are well aware of this simple logic so there is a gift tax in place and it carries the same 35% rate as the estate tax. There is a lifetime gift tax exemption of $5 million, but it is unified with the estate tax. So as an example, if you were to give $3 million in gifts throughout your … [Read more...] about Estate Planning & Tax Free Gifts
There are some estate planning strategies that are rather complex, and they have their place in certain situations. But there are others that are relatively simple and straightforward, and one of them is the practice of tax-free gift giving. It would seem as though you have the right to earn money, pay income tax, and then take the remainder and give a portion of it to anyone you choose without incurring any additional tax responsibility. So the first thought that many people have with regard … [Read more...] about Tax-Free Educational Gift Giving
The words “teenager” and “estate planning” are not typically used in the same sentence unless the typical spendthrift ways of teenagers are being discussed. That’s not what we’re talking about here. What we’re talking about is the fact that every person, age 18 or older, needs his or her own estate plan. Legally, an adult As you know, if your teenager as attained the age of 18, he or she is legally an adult. So scary, but so true. This means that to speak to medical doctors about your … [Read more...] about Schedule an Estate Planning Appointment for Your Teenager?!