Top Lessons for Baby Boomers in Estate Planning

Estate Planning for Boomers

The baby boomer generation has concerns that are different from Generation X and definitely different concerns than millenials.  Given the sheer size of this generation, it is not surprising that they have additional concerns that would affect their entire generation in a way that other generations just cannot see.  See the estate planning tips below.

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The Most Important Estate Planning Issue Boomers Need To Address

If you’re like me, with parents who are retired but still very self-sufficient, concerns about elder financial abuse or my Boomer parents’ inability to handle their own affairs is seemingly something that THEIR generation needs to worry about, not me. But as I reflect this Mother’s Day on how fortunate I am to still have both parents living (and quite robustly) into their mid-60’s, I realize that this issue is no longer something for Other People. I need to have these conversations with my mom and dad right now while they are still operating at their best. While I dread the day that things change, acting like it won’t happen won’t make it any easier when one or both of them do need additional help.

Living Well and Living Longer

By the year 2050, it is estimated that 1 out of every 5 Americans will be over the age of 65, with people aged 85+ the fastest growing demographic in the nation. The good news is that people are living longer, even with chronic diseases that used to lead to early death. (92% of seniors are living with at least one chronic disease; 77% with two or more.)

The challenge is that this requires different planning than the traditional practice of simply having a power of attorney in place to help in case of incapacity and making sure the will is up-to-date to include the intended heirs. As this demographic continues to grow, so will instances of fraud and financial abuse of seniors. As approximately 3.5 million Baby Boomers enter retirement each year, the time to make sure your estate planning documents protect you or your parents from fraud and abuse is now. In fact, experts recommend making the bulk of these major financial decisions by age 50.

Beyond the Basics

The big issue here is that when most estate plans are created, particularly with married couples, both spouses are of very sound mind and the natural inclination is simply to name each other as agents in case of incapacity. This is fine, but it’s important to make sure that there are contingent situations addressed as well. For example, what happens if they divorce? Between 1990 and 2010, the divorce rate doubled for people over the age of 50 and more than doubled for those over 65. Or alternatively, consider a case where neither spouse is incapacitated in terms of being unable to function in daily life, but both need assistance with things like paying bills due to declining writing abilities from Parkinson’s or arthritis.

Having a trusted person named in legal documents to help with those things ahead of time is the best way to make sure that finances are protected without having to give up complete control. So how do you make sure that you, your parents or other aging loved ones have the right plans in place BEFORE they’re needed? Here are some tips and things to consider.

Estate Planning Lawyers in Leawood

Estate Planning is all about peace of mind. What estate planning is all about is discovering the right tools to execute your standard needs. We do this utilizing the most up to date tools so that we can prepare a customized strategy at the most affordable possible cost.
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The Eastman Law Firm is an estate planning law firm. We concentrate on estate planning so that you can be guaranteed that you are getting the most as much as date techniques. We train extensively so that we can provide the specific right match for your wants and desires. We do not require everybody into a single mold. Instead, we attempt and make sure that everybody is treated with the most personalized solution that best fulfills their needs.

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The Eastman Law Firm
Estate planning attorneys, focusing on Wills, Trusts and Probate law.
4901 W. 136th Street, Ste. 240
Leawood
KANSAS (KS)
66224
United States

Phone: (913) 908-9113

Hours:
Mon-Sat 8am – 5:30pm

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Blue Springs location at:

1200 NW S Outer Rd.
Blue Springs, MO 64015.
Call Jerry at (816)224-3133

See our directory page here and here.

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Probate Lessons from Prince

Probate Lessons that Prince taught us

The death of Prince has saddened all of us that grew up in the 80’s listening to his music.  Unfortunately, I am further saddened now that he has passed without a will.  Thus, a lot of his estate will now go to projects other than what he probably wanted.  The biggest losers are the charities that he supported so generously during his life.  It’s a shame, really.

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Like most Americans, I was shocked and saddened by the death of Prince. I liked Prince in middle school and high school, but in college his music became the soundtrack to my life. Unfortunately for all of us, collectively mourning musicians has become all too commonplace in the last year. And at first, I was simply one of those fans who couldn’t imagine a world without Prince in it.

Initial reports made note of Prince’s conflict with and criticism of the music industry and his role as a champion of artistic freedom. Notably, when fans went to Spotify to celebrate Prince’s life by listening to his music, they were unable to find it. That is because in recent years, Prince gained control of his music rights, which allowed him to remove his work from digital streaming services. This was a man who understood the value of control!

As the stories developed in the wake of Prince’s death, I was so happy to hear that, in addition to being a musical genius, Prince was a philanthropist. According to reports, he supported civil rights causes, education and even made anonymous gifts to strangers who were in need. The fact that he did not boast about his good deeds, made me like him even more.

But then the story took the worst possible turn for this estate planning attorney. The news came out last week ” Prince had no will! In response to a petition filed by Prince’s sister, a Carver County judge appointed Bremer Trust as a special administrator for Prince’s estate. This was an emergency response so that there is someone legally responsible to manage Prince’s assets and business.

How could a man who fought so hard to re-gain control over his musical legacy not have created a plan for it after he died? How could a man with a philanthropic heart not have cemented his charitable legacy with testamentary gifts? Et tu, Prince?

Still in disbelief that Prince was without an estate plan, I started dreaming up other hypotheticals that would make sense for the man who was so mysterious to all. How amazing would it be if he had established a foundation that was not directly connected to himself to continue his legacy as he did when he was alive, anonymously? Or what if his funds were funneled through a corporation, which left nothing in his individual name? A testament that the artist was true to his creative genius and cared less about the fortune it provided him.

Believe me, I understand that estate planning requires us to acknowledge our mortality and that can be difficult, if not impossible, for some. I understand that we are all busy and estate planning often falls to the bottom of the to-do list. But I can’t help thinking that when Prince failed to write his wishes down, he irrevocably lost the ability to make a game-changing difference in organizations that he held so dear during his lifetime. And this would have made him immortal.

Estate Planning Lawyers in Leawood

Estate Planning is all about peace of mind. What estate planning is all about is finding the right devices to execute your standard requirements. We do this making use of the most up to date devices so that we can prepare a customized plan at the least expensive possible cost.
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The Eastman Law Firm is an estate planning law firm. We focus on estate planning so that you can be assured that you are getting the most up to date techniques. We train extensively so that we can offer the precise right match for your desires and desires. We do not require everyone into a single mold. Instead, we attempt and make sure that everybody is treated with the most personalized solution that best fulfills their requirements.

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The Eastman Law Firm
Estate planning attorneys, focusing on Wills, Trusts and Probate law.
4901 W. 136th Street, Ste. 240
Leawood
KANSAS (KS)
66224
United States

Phone: (913) 908-9113

Hours:
Mon-Sat 8am – 5:30pm

Blue Springs location at:

1200 NW S Outer Rd.

Blue Springs, MO 64015.

Call Jerry at (816)224-3133

See our directory page here and here.

Five Benefits of Establishing a Revocable Trust

Revocable Living Trust

Below is a great article on some benefits to establishing a revocable trust.  This article has a slightly different take on it than our typical point of view as it is written by an immigration attorney.  Our current society really has some different things that we must take into consideration, and your estate plan needs to reflect that.  It used to be simple – just pass your real estate and some personal effects and you are done.  Take a look and then feel free to call us with your thoughts, comments, etc.

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Five benefits of establishing a revocable living trust

THERE is never the perfect time to think about who you would like to inherit from your estate in case you pass away or at least who among your closest friends (BFFs) and family members are even deserving of inheriting from your estate. In doing so, you should also think about which vehicle you plan to use in implementing your estate plan. One of the best vehicle in implementing your estate plan is a revocable living trust. Five major benefits of establishing a revocable living trust are:

Your estate can avoid the time, cost, and hassle of going through the probate court process.

If you pass away without a will (intestate) in California, one of your close family would have to file a petition in probate court to probate your estate. Your estate will be divided and distributed according to the California probate code rules of intestate succession. Even if you have a will when you pass away, your family would still need to file a petition in probate court if your estate is worth over $150,000 and go through the probate process. This can become a circus if certain beneficiaries contest the validity of the Will or the distribution of the estate. Your estate will pay for attorney’s fees, probate referee fees, appraisers and other experts, CPA fees, etc. If people contest the case, your estate would end up paying legal fees to defend the estate in litigation. The entire process can take anywhere from 9 months to years depending on the contentiousness of the probate case.

With a revocable living trust, your trustee or successor trustee if you were the initial trustee, would administer the trust and distribute the estate according to the trust document without having to open a probate court case. If the trust is funded with all your assets, it is possible to administer and distribute the trust assets without any Court involvement at all. This process is a lot faster than going through probate.

Your estate is not public record

When you file a probate case, the public has access to your probate case file. The public will know the assets of the estate including the values of those assets. If the Will is admitted into probate, the terms of the Will is open to public scrutiny.

Establishing a revocable living trust makes your estate affairs private. Strangers do not have access to the terms of your living trust. Only certain beneficiaries and possible heirs can request a copy of the revocable living trust after you pass away.

You can dictate who will inherit from your estate

If you pass away without a Will, your estate will be divided and distributed in Probate Court following the rules of intestate succession in the California probate code. Certain relatives will be entitled to a share of your estate even if you feel they are not deserving. By establishing a revocable living trust, you can designate who you want to inherit from your estate. You can designate what and how much each one will received from your estate after you pass away. The assets distributed to each beneficiaries does not have to be equal. The people you designate as beneficiaries of your living trust does not even have to be close family members. You can designate anyone as a beneficiary, with certain exceptions, of your estate.

You can structure your estate to minimize estate taxes

If your estate is valued above the estate tax exemption, establishing a trust can allow you to divide up your estate into smaller sub trusts to minimize the overall estate tax effect on your estate. It allows you to set up a vehicle for certain charitable giving which carries tax advantage and asset protection. You can choose who will administer your estate after your death When you establish a revocable trust, you can appoint someone else as trustee or you can appoint a successor trustee if you are the initial trustee. The trustee will be administering (managing) the trust after you pass away without a need to open a probate court case. This allows for continuity in operating the trust and the efficient and cost effective distribution of estate assets. If you are concerned about whether you can trust any family members as your trustee, you can appoint an institution as a professional trustee to carry out the terms of the declaration of trust. These type of trustee services are often offered by banks, financial institutions, wealth management firms, and business management firms for a reasonable fee. This minimizes conflicts within the family and prevents negligence and wrong doing by inexperienced family members.
* * * Attorney Kenneth Ursua Reyes is a Certified Family Law Specialist. He was President of the Philippine American Bar Association. He is a member of both the Family law section and Immigration law section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association. He has extensive CPA experience prior to law practice. LAW OFFICES OF KENNETH REYES, P.C. is located at 3699 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 747, Los Angeles, CA, 90010. Tel. (213) 388-1611 or e-mail kureyeslaw@gmail.com or visit our website at Kenreyeslaw.com

Estate Planning Lawyers in Leawood

Estate Planning is really about peace of mind. What estate planning is everything about is discovering the right devices to execute your basic requirements. What that means is that we make use of the most sophisticated legal files to effectively execute your desires. We customize each and every strategy so that you get precisely what you want. We do this using the most current devices so that we can prepare a customized strategy at the lowest possible cost. Kindly call us today with any concerns.
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The Eastman Law Firm is an estate planning law firm. We focus on estate planning so that you can be assured that you are getting the most up to date techniques.

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The Eastman Law Firm
Estate planning attorneys, focusing on Wills, Trusts and Probate law.
4901 W. 136th Street, Ste. 240
Leawood
KANSAS (KS)
66224
United States

Phone: (913) 908-9113

Hours:
Mon-Sat 8am – 5:30pm

Blue Springs location at:

1200 NW S Outer Rd.

Blue Springs, MO 64015.

Call Jerry at (816)224-3133

See our directory page here and here.

Estate Planning in the Digital Age Part 2

Planning for Digital Assets

Below is a great article on estate planning in this digital age.  This follows our article from last week on the same subject.  Our current society really has some different things that we must take into consideration, and your estate plan needs to reflect that.  It used to be simple – just pass your real estate and some personal effects and you are done.  But what do you do with reward points?  What about your social profiles?  What happens if you have an online-based business.  Take a look and then feel free to call us with your thoughts, comments, etc.

The Eastman Law Firm.

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Digital estate planning guide

Reports are that musician Prince died without leaving a will. You may not have millions in assets, but have you acted to take care of your estate and your heirs after you pass away? If so, have you considered the digital aspects of your legacy?

Technology has required a change in end-of-life planning. Many important bits of information are stored online or in the cloud that spouses or heirs can find themselves locked out of due to a lack of password. It is also not practical to change a will every time you change a password.

New companies have sprung up to take advantage of this need. Digital estate planners help you take care of all of your end-of-life planning, while compiling the necessary passwords and digital footprints that you wish to pass on to others. With names like Everplans.com, Final Roadmap, Planned Departure, and The Digital Beyond, these sites offer comprehensive services to ensure that important information is passed down to the proper parties and that your wishes are clearly noted and accessible.

Digital estate planners offer a useful combination of convenience and security. They allow you to upload all of the typical documents such as wills, health care directives, and trusts. You can also lay out and store plans for anything else you want to be addressed after death like the details of your funeral (to the extent you want to dictate them), the disposition of all your online accounts (financial and social), appraisals and dispositions of family heirlooms, important photos, and details of family genealogy.

Even day-to-day details could be included — for example, to help heirs handle a home that is passed down. How many bills are there, and where are they routed? Where are the water and gas shutoffs? Is there important maintenance information such as roof replacement or foundation piers that will be important in assessing the home’s value? A bit of pre-emptive planning now could save your heirs a lot of time, and potentially keep your home intact.

Digital planning sites allow you to choose who has access to your information and when they can access it (currently, at some future date, or upon your death). Be sure to keep this information current, and let your chosen designees know about the site and that you have chosen them as one of the guardians of your information.

There is one potential downfall of digital estate planning — the long-term viability of the company that you choose. It is wise to keep a backup copy of the most important online documents such as your will, but remember to update both the online and backup copies at the same time. Otherwise, you may have two versions of your paperwork and confusion (and probably legal fees) will ensue. Remember to let at least one person know that the documents exist and where they are being kept.

Before you dive into the world of digital estate planning, we suggest that you take time to reflect on your wishes and discuss them with your family. These sites will ask in-depth questions that you really do not want to decide on in the spur of the moment. Do not forget to consult with a lawyer on all areas that require legal assistance, such as wills, business succession plans, or intellectual property holdings. Take special care with your health care directives and other end-of-life requests.

Consider if a digital planning site can meet your end-of-life needs. You can save your family from having to make incredibly difficult decisions under stress.

Estate Planning Lawyers in Leawood

Estate Planning is all about peace of mind. What estate planning is all about is finding the right devices to execute your fundamental requirements. We do this making use of the most up to date devices so that we can prepare a personalized plan at the lowest possible cost.
http://ift.tt/1Tqr1oZ
The Eastman Law Firm is an estate planning law practice. We focus on estate planning so that you can be assured that you are getting the most up to date methods.

http://ift.tt/1JU4Bfo


The Eastman Law Firm
Estate planning attorneys, focusing on Wills, Trusts and Probate law.
4901 W. 136th Street, Ste. 240
Leawood
KANSAS (KS)
66224
United States

Phone: (913) 908-9113

Hours:
Mon-Sat 8am – 5:30pm

Blue Springs location at:

1200 NW S Outer Rd.

Blue Springs, MO 64015.

Call Jerry at (816)224-3133

See our directory page here and here.

Estate Planning in the Digital Age

How to Plan for Digital Assets

Below is a great article on estate planning in this digital age.  Our current society really has some different things that we must take into consideration, and your estate plan needs to reflect that.  It used to be simple – just pass your real estate and some personal effects and you are done.  But what do you do with reward points?  What about your social profiles?  What happens if you have an online-based business.  These are the things that we focus on, whether in KC or our Blue Springs office.  Take a look and then feel free to call us with your thoughts, comments, etc.

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Leawood estate planning attorneys

Vonnegut: The New Estate Planning That’s Critical for Clients
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People need a plan for how their online presence will be handled at death and financial advisers should step up to help them

Last month a social-media website alerted me that a friend was celebrating over 30 years on the job at the company she founded. It was a nice thought. But she passed away several years ago after succumbing to cancer.

Digital echoes occur all the time on the Internet. After pausing a moment with a warm memory of my friend, I wondered what to do, whether it was my place to notify someone. Apparently, she had neglected to leave instructions with her executor.

In this case it was no harm, no foul. But “cyber intestacy””or the failure to provide for one’s online presence at death”can cost families real money, just as when someone dies without a will, or “intestate.” That’s especially so as wealth management goes paperless and there are fewer, visible clues about the financial decisions of others.

Financial advisers should get out in front of this problem. That is what clients expect from advisers in the first place”the planning, the preparation for the unforeseen. Because at its core, wealth management is a business of tomorrows.

And the tomorrows can get complicated when clients haven’t planned for their online estates or left clear records about their digital footprints. Automatic payments continue to repeat after their deaths. Or credit cards go unpaid. Or good-until-cancelled orders execute. Or heirs struggle to access treasured photographs, domain names and medical records.

By including digital estate plans as a topic in your practice, you help clients determine who makes decisions after they die. Which is a good thing. Because if they fail to plan, the vagaries of digital intestacy take over. And given the changing regulatory landscape, it isn’t clear who will be calling the shots: fiduciaries, Joe Dotcoms or, perhaps, somebody entirely unexpected.

Regulatory background

Believe it or not, the principles governing digital estates trace back to the 4th amendment, which guarantees U.S. citizens the right “to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects…”

Computer users have the same expectation of privacy, says Suzanne Brown Walsh, an estate-planning attorney with Murtha Cullina LLP. But computer networks aren’t necessarily protected by the 4th amendment, she says.

To fill this gap, Congress and state legislatures have enacted laws that protect user privacy and penalize unauthorized access. But they are almost all silent on allowing fiduciaries to act on your behalf after your death.

Uh-oh.

In their terms-of-service agreements, the stuff we never read and to which we robo-click “yes,” digital businesses define who has access to user accounts and under what circumstances.

Many companies forbid access by someone other than the account holder without the company’s prior consent. And their contracts enable them to resist when, say, executors request access to the emails of a decedent.

Break the law to help clients?

To protect against the unexpected, family members sometimes share passwords with each other or their fiduciaries. It’s easy. It’s effective most of the time. Almost everybody does it at one time or another.

So what’s the big deal?

Sharing passwords is likely to be illegal, says Ms. Walsh, who explains that some terms-of-service agreements flatly prohibit it.

Legislators recognize, however, that executors require access. Last year, the Uniform Law Commission, an organization that tries to standardize laws across the 50 states, completed the model Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act, which would grant fiduciaries the right to manage digital estates.

Ms. Walsh, who chaired the committee that drafted the act, says, “It represents a reasonable compromise between privacy advocates, tech companies, and the trusts and estates bar.”

But so far only 10 states have approved the bill. Only 18 more have introduced it into their legislatures. Which means digital estate plans are still a movable feast, and control over online rights is a function of state law or terms-of-service agreements or friends and family members, who simply share passwords with each other.

What advisers should do

Here’s what I recommend:

1. Check whether your home state has introduced or approved the act. The Uniform Law Commission website shows the state-by-state status.

2. Ask clients whether their wills contain digital-asset clauses. While these provisions grant access to executors in theory, service providers may still resist them depending on the laws of the state.

3. Ask attorneys whether they recommend forms that give digital authority to fiduciaries. In her practice, Ms. Walsh uses a form entitled, “Authorization for Release of Electronically Stored Information.”

4. Recommend that your clients take an inventory of their digital assets with real value, such as frequent flier miles. It’s worth calling companies to understand their policies.

5. If you don’t have a “chief technology officer” on your team, go find a millennial and recruit him or her to your practice.

Back to my friend, whose digital echo started this column. The social-media site uses a thoughtful form, which enables members to notify administrators about the deaths of other members. After considerable deliberation and as a matter of respect, I submitted a link to her obituary, taking care to indicate that I wasn’t a close friend nor a representative of the family. I hope it was the right thing to do.

Estate Planning Lawyers in Leawood

Estate Planning is all about assurance. What estate planning is all about is discovering the right tools to execute your basic needs. What that implies is that we use the most advanced legal documents to properly implement your desires. We customize each and every strategy so that you get exactly what you want. We do this using the most recent tools so that we can prepare a personalized strategy at the most affordable possible expense. Kindly call us today with any concerns.
http://ift.tt/1NVkFMj
The Eastman Law Firm is an estate planning law practice. We concentrate on estate planning so that you can be ensured that you are getting the most up to date methods.

http://ift.tt/1JU4Bfo


The Eastman Law Firm
Estate planning attorneys, focusing on Wills, Trusts and Probate law.
4901 W. 136th Street, Ste. 240
Leawood
KANSAS (KS)
66224
United States

Phone: (913) 908-9113

Hours:
Mon-Sat 8am – 5:30pm

Blue Springs location at:

1200 NW S Outer Rd.

Blue Springs, MO 64015.

Call Jerry at (816)224-3133

See our directory page here and here.

Fighting over the Small Things

Estate Planning in Blue Springs

Below is a great article on some key issues in estate planning.  As it points out. we have seen a lot of these disputes over the years.  Although we certainly see our fair share of disputes when it comes to large assets, there are many times disputes over the small things – like wedding rings and pictures.  These disputes can really wreck the estate planning procedures, whether it be in Johnson county or in our Blue Springs office.  Take a look and then feel free to call us with your thoughts, comments, etc.

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People often spend a lot of time crafting estate plans that lay out how their big assets ” from cash to homes and securities ” will be divided among their children, grandchildren and everyone else down the line. But they sometimes give far less thought to the other stuff ” those personal effects that may have little monetary value but so much sentimental value. Yet it is the decisions about those items that often cause problems in a family.

Teams of highly paid lawyers and advisers can divide the most complex estate among heirs of varying ages from different marriages in a way that is equitable. But if they are asked to decide who gets the tarnished tea service in the dining room, they are apt to bow out and wish you good luck.

“There aren’t any magical solutions,” said Marlene Stum, a professor in the family social science department at the University of Minnesota and author of “Who Gets Grandma’s Yellow Pie Plate?”

Her book offers six major principles to help people divide assets without tearing apart their family. The process starts with “really recognizing how it’s not simple or trivial but laden with emotions,” she said.

Some of the principles should be obvious, like recognizing that items have different meanings to different people, that divisions like this come at emotional times and that no one in the family really knows the best way to do this.

But at the core of Ms. Stum’s work is the concept of what fairness means and an acknowledgment that conflict will happen but can be managed.

Since fairness means different things to different people, Ms. Stum suggests creating a process, whether it be drawing lots, letting people pick in birth order or devising something else. What’s important is that the process is followed.

“Even if you’re really irritated that one sibling got what you really wanted, if you bought into the process, you’re probably going to buy into that outcome as opposed to the sibling who comes in and cleans out the house,” she said.

Parents who think that they can wait or that their children will sort out everything without guidance from them are generally not being realistic, said John A. Warnick, an estate lawyer and the founder of the Purposeful Planning Institute.

“I ask parents to think just for a second what it would be like on Christmas morning if your children ran downstairs and there were all of these presents, bright and shining, big and small, but with no name tags on them,” he said. “Can you imagine the free-for-all that would ensue?”

Doing nothing and believing that your children will divide things without quarreling, he said, will not work. “It’s the denial that my children will never fight, they’ll never quarrel, they’ll just accept it,” he said. “That denial is a temptation for many people to not put the time and energy into carefully designating and selecting personal property.”

Tracy Bennett, a psychologist in California, said she had to divide the estates of two parents and a stepmother in two years without guidance from any of them.

With her father’s estate, she gave up everything, even items of sentimental value, to avoid conflict with her sister, with whom she had a fraught relationship. When her stepmother died about a year after her father, mistakes made on the titles of assets in his estate led, she said, to her stepmother’s family getting a house and other items that should have gone to her and her sister.

By the time she got to her mother, who had to be moved into a nursing home for dementia patients, she said, she was exhausted by her do-it-yourself approach. She hired a professional conservator and used an early version of a software tool called FairSplit that allowed her and her sister to pick what they wanted in rounds, without having any personal contact.

She said the conservator approached her sister, who lives in Idaho, and said that this was the best way to divide things equitably. This time, Ms. Bennett said, she got the things she wanted ” a few sentimental items plus kitchenware for a daughter moving into her own apartment. Her sister got more things, but that did not bother Ms. Bennett.

“It was a good deal for her,” she said. “It was a great deal for me because I didn’t have to talk to someone who causes me so much emotional trauma. It was a blind, fair split. If she had known what I wanted, she would have prioritized it to spite me.”

David MacMahan, an entrepreneur and the creator of FairSplit, said he designed tools for three contentious times in a family: death, divorce and downsizing. In any of these situations, the kind of gamesmanship that Ms. Bennett alluded to can be minimized, if not avoided, by limiting the personal contact and putting the selection process online, he said.

“Parents never know what’s important to the kids,” he said. “Is it dad’s World War II medal? We combined emotional value and monetary value here.”

In creating the tool, he said, he drew on his own experience in two painful divisions of items ” after his father’s death and his own divorce.

“There’s almost always a section in a will saying divide everything else equally among the kids,” he said. “That section tears families apart. Kids fight so much.”

The tool uses selection rounds so that each child or grandchild can pick the things they want, assigning more points to things they covet. This system can be set up to allow certain family members to go before others ” say children before stepchildren ” or to allow heirs to pick up to a certain number of items in each round using a system of 500 points to bid for them.

The system also tracks the items’ monetary value, determined by an appraiser, so the selections can be calculated into the overall split of financial and real estate assets. “So if I put all 500 points on Dad’s old Bentley, it goes to monetary value, too,” he said.

Julie Hall, an estate expert specializing in personal property, said that whether the division is done online, in a room or through costly lawyers, what is needed is graciousness.

“The decisions those of us who are left behind make really should honor the loved one who died,” she said. “It requires give and take.”

To that end, she suggested that people always bring in an appraiser. In one instance, with a family clock that several children wanted, Ms. Hall said she suggested that their mother get the clock valued ” it was worth $7,500 ” and give it to her oldest child, per family tradition, but then give $7,500 checks to her other children to equalize things.

“There were some rumblings, but the money went over well, as I knew it would,” Ms. Hall said.

Sometimes the best strategy is the simplest one: Ask people what they want ahead of time.

“If one child loved the cuff links or one child loved a painting, wouldn’t it be helpful to know that in advance?” said Stacy Allred, a wealth strategist and the leader of the Center for Family Wealth Dynamics and Governance at Merrill Lynch. “We’ve done this several times. It turned out different people had the highest affinity to different items. Then, the value was equalized at death with other assets from the estate.”

Of course, such talks force people to confront the inevitability of death. The alternative is to keep quiet and risk having their stuff becoming the stand-in for emotions that roiled a family while the parents were alive. “You need to recognize the powerful messages in who gets what,” Ms. Stum said.

Estate Planning Lawyers in Leawood

Estate Planning is really about assurance. What estate planning is all about is discovering the right devices to implement your basic requirements. What that implies is that we use the most innovative legal files to appropriately implement your desires. We customize each and every strategy so that you get exactly what you want. We do this using the most recent tools so that we can prepare a customized strategy at the most affordable possible expense. Please call us today with any concerns.
http://ift.tt/1MzDxp5
The Eastman Law Firm is an estate planning law firm. We concentrate on estate planning so that you can be guaranteed that you are getting the most as much as date strategies. We train extensively so that we can supply the exact right match for your wants and desires. We don’t require everyone into a single mold. Instead, we attempt and ensure that everyone is treated with the most customized option that best satisfies their needs.

http://ift.tt/1JU4Bfo


The Eastman Law Firm
Estate planning attorneys, focusing on Wills, Trusts and Probate law.
4901 W. 136th Street, Ste. 240
Leawood
KANSAS (KS)
66224
United States

Phone: (913) 908-9113

Hours:
Mon-Sat 8am – 5:30pm

Blue Springs location at: 1200 NW S Outer Rd., Blue Springs, MO 64015.

Call Jerry at (816)224-3133

See our directory page here and here.

Trending Estate Planning Issues in 2016

Estate Planning in Blue Springs

Below is a great article on some key issues in estate planning in 2016.  We have seen several of these estate planning issues in our Blue Springs office.  Take a look and then feel free to call us with your thoughts, comments, etc.

See more below.

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See our Facebook page here.

Leawood estate planning attorneys

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Estate Issues in 2016

Estate taxes are an important item to consider for people with sizable estates. Darra Rayndon, a member of Clark Hill PLC, Scottsdale, Arizona, is an estate planning and taxation expert. In this report, she explains the estate tax system, including generation skipping transfer taxes, in this interview.

Rayndon points out that the estate tax is tied to the rate of inflation, and the exempt amount is recalculated by the IRS every year. For 2016, the exempt amount is $5,450,000 per person. That is a $20,000 increase over last year.

Before the tax is calculated, however, there are payments that can reduce the amount of the taxable estate. Charitable contributions are deducted, as are amounts left to a surviving spouse under the marital deduction. Estate expenses”things like funeral costs, expenses of the final illness, and similar items, are deducted before calculating the taxable estate.

There are also ways to reduce an estate prior to death. One of these is making gifts. Rayndon explains that there is an annual gift tax exclusion. In 2016, that amount is $14,000 per donor per donee. In other words, someone could give $14,000 each to an unlimited number of people and pay no taxes on the gifts. In addition, “the donor can direct pay educational expenses and medical expenses . . . without there being any taxation on that transfer.”

Rayndon says that there is a generation skipping transfer tax (GST tax) that everyone should be aware of. The GST tax comes into play when a grandparent makes a gift directly to a grandchild and not to the child’s parents. A generation has been skipped, and the tax will apply unless the amount given is less than the GST tax exemption for that year. There could also possibly be a gift tax, depending on the amount of the gift. The GST tax also applies also to gifts that are part of an estate. As it happens, the amount of the GST tax exemption in 2016 is $5,450,000. Like the estate tax, it is tied to the rate of inflation. The GST tax exemption is a lifetime amount, so it is possible to use it up over the course of one’s life and trigger GST tax after death because of gifts made to grandchildren. The GST tax, like the estate tax, is 40%.

Estate Planning Lawyers in Leawood

Estate Planning is all about peace of mind. What estate planning is all about is discovering the right devices to execute your fundamental needs. We do this making use of the most up to date tools so that we can prepare a personalized plan at the most affordable possible expense.
http://ift.tt/1Mu0xpq
The Eastman Law Firm is an estate planning law practice. We concentrate on estate planning so that you can be guaranteed that you are getting the most up to date techniques.

http://ift.tt/1JU4Bfo


The Eastman Law Firm
Estate planning attorneys, focusing on Wills, Trusts and Probate law.
4901 W. 136th Street, Ste. 240
Leawood
KANSAS (KS)
66224
United States

Phone: (913) 908-9113

Hours:
Mon-Sat 8am – 5:30pm

See our directory page here and here.

Easing the Estate Planning Burden: How to begin

Estate Planning in Overland Park

Below is a great article on some ways to start the estate planning process in Overland park.  Take a look and then feel free to call us with your thoughts, comments, etc.

See more below.

See our Twitter here.

See our Facebook page here.

Leawood estate planning attorneys

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Easing the Burden: How to begin estate planning

Whatever the size of your financial estate, it is important to plan.

The legal and financial issues raised by your death or incapacity, will be more difficult and expensive for your loved ones without a proper estate plan. Unfortunately, most of us procrastinate, because thinking about and then planning for death or disability is an unpleasant prospect. It is far easier to focus on the more day-to-day concerns in our lives.

However, while estate planning may seem like a daunting task, it need not be. As with almost everything else, getting started is the hardest part.

A good estate plan will involve a number of legal documents, the most common of which are wills or revocable trusts, beneficiary designations, financial and health care powers of attorney and living wills. However, before any legal documents can be drafted, there are initial steps you will need to take and issues to which you must give at least some preliminary thought.

First: Consider yourself. If you become incapacitated, but do not die, who should manage your finances? Who should make decisions regarding your health care? What values are important to you regarding your health care?

Second: Consider your spouse. If you pass away, should everything go to your spouse? Do you have a blended family? Should part of your estate pass to your children even if you have a spouse? Have you signed a prenuptial agreement that addresses this?

Third: Consider your children. Who should raise them if they are minors? Who will be their guardian? Choosing a guardian will force you to decide what values are most important to you: religious beliefs, cultural identity, parenting styles, education, family size, geographical location, financial skills, just to name a few. Also, consider whether your children are mature enough to manage their inheritance. If not, the funds should be placed in a trust for their benefit. Who should be the trustee? The trustee will not only manage the trust funds, but also decide when and why to make distributions to your children.

Fourth: Consider your other beneficiaries. If you do not have a surviving spouse or children, who should receive your assets? Would you like to leave your money to other family members, your church, your favorite charities, or all of the above?

This initial phase of the estate planning process is the hardest because the non-financial decisions are always more difficult to make than the financial ones. Once these decisions have been made, however, the rest of the process should flow smoothly.

Estate Planning Lawyers in Leawood

Estate Planning is all about peace of mind. What estate planning is all about is finding the right tools to implement your basic requirements. We do this utilizing the most up to date tools so that we can prepare a personalized plan at the most affordable possible expense.
http://ift.tt/1RJ4Ejs
The Eastman Law Firm is an estate planning law practice. We concentrate on estate planning so that you can be ensured that you are getting the most approximately date techniques. We train thoroughly so that we can offer the exact right match for your desires and desires. We do not force everyone into a single mold. Instead, we try and see to it that everyone is treated with the most customized solution that best fulfills their needs.

http://ift.tt/1JU4Bfo


The Eastman Law Firm
Estate planning attorneys, focusing on Wills, Trusts and Probate law.
4901 W. 136th Street, Ste. 240
Leawood
KANSAS (KS)
66224
United States

Phone: (913) 908-9113

Hours:
Mon-Sat 8am – 5:30pm

See our directory page here and here.

2015 Year-End Estate Planning Newsletter

Newsletter to Start 2016 Off Right in your Estate Planning

Below is a great article on some of the tax law changes that are effecting estate planning.  This includes plenty of information on permanent tax law changes, etc.

See more below.

See our Blogspot page here.

See our Bitly page here.

Leawood estate planning attorneys

Annual Estate Planning Newsletter: Part One

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  1. Transfer Taxes. The major changes made in 2010 in the law regarding gift, estate, and generation-skipping transfer (“GST”) taxes (collectively, “transfer taxes”) are now permanent.
    1. Gift Tax. The tax-free “annual exclusion” amount remains $14,000 in 2015. The cumulative lifetime exemption increased from $5,430,000 in 2015 to $5,450,000 in 2016 (inflation adjustment). The tax rate on gifts in excess of $5,450,000 remains at 40%.
    2. Estate Tax. The estate tax exemption (reduced by certain lifetime gifts) also increased from $5,430,000 in 2015 to $5,450,000 in 2016, and the tax rate on the excess value of an estate also remains at 40%. All of a decedent’s assets (other than “income in respect of a decedent,” such as IRAs and retirement plan benefits), as well as a surviving spouse’s half of any community property assets, will have an income tax basis equal to the fair market value of those assets at the date of death [“stepped-up (or down) basis”]. In this regard, securities brokers still are required to retain basis records and report the income tax basis of securities to the IRS. Accordingly, be sure to advise your broker of your basis in securities received by gift or inheritance. In addition, executors now must report the basis of inherited assets as shown on the federal estate tax return to the IRS and to the beneficiary of the asset.
    3. GST Tax. For 2016, the GST tax rate also remains at 40% and the lifetime exemption also has increased (inflation adjustment) from $5,430,000 in 2015 to $5,450,000 in 2016. Paragraph 5 on page 6 includes more information about the GST tax.
    4. Portability of Estate Tax Exemption. The “portability” rules provide for the transfer of a deceased spouse’s unused estate tax exemption (“deceased spousal unused exclusion amount” or “DSUEA”) to a surviving spouse (without inflation adjustments). Thus, if a 2016 decedent’s taxable estate is not more than $5,450,000, the DSUEA can be used by the surviving spouse with respect to both gift taxes and estate taxes (but not GST taxes). Portability is not available if either spouse is a nonresident alien. Portability may allow some couples to forgo a more complex estate plan while still taking advantage of both spouses’ transfer tax exemptions. Portability must be irrevocably elected on a timely filed (including extensions) estate tax return, even if a return is not otherwise required to be filed.A typical estate plan for a married couple generally has provided for the establishment of two (or three) trusts at the death of the first spouse: A “Survivor’s Trust”; a “Residual (or “Exemption” or “Bypass” or “Credit Shelter”) Trust”; and possibly a “Marital Trust.” One of the reasons for the Residual Trust is to use the deceased spouse’s estate tax exemption to the fullest extent possible. Under the new portability law, however, if one spouse dies and leaves assets to persons (other than the surviving spouse and charity) in an aggregate amount less than the basic exclusion amount ($5,450,000 in 2016), the surviving spouse may be able to use the DSUEA as well as the surviving spouse’s own exemption.

      This portability provision may eliminate the need to create a “Residual Trust” at the first spouse’s death. For example, if this year the first spouse to die leaves all of his or her assets to the surviving spouse, no part of the deceased spouse’s exemption is used because of the marital deduction available for assets passing to a surviving spouse at the first spouse’s death. Unless the surviving spouse remarries and survives his or her new spouse, he or she will have an aggregate exemption of (i) $5,450,000 (“DSUEA”) and (ii) his or her own inflation-adjusted $5,450,000 exemption ($10,900,000 total in 2016). Similarly, if in 2016 the first spouse to die leaves $1,000,000 to his or her children, the surviving spouse will have an aggregate exemption of $9,900,000 (use of the remaining $4,450,000 “DSUEA” in addition to his or her own inflation-adjusted $5,450,000 exemption).

      In many cases, however, we will advise our clients to continue to use a Residual Trust as part of their estate plans for both tax and non-tax reasons.

      Tax reasons include the following: (i) The DSUEA is not indexed for inflation; (ii) eliminating estate tax on any appreciation of Residual Trust assets at the surviving spouse’s death, regardless of the value of the surviving spouse’s assets; (iii) allowing for an allocation of the deceased spouse’s GST exemption to the Residual Trust, because the GST exemption is not portable. An allocation of a decedent’s GST tax exemption to the Residual Trust at death can reduce GST taxes if assets are left to grandchildren, either directly or in a trust benefitting both children and grandchildren; (iv) the surviving spouse could remarry and be limited to using the unused exemption of his or her second predeceased spouse if any (a DSUEA thus may inhibit remarriage); and (v) an estate tax return must be filed timely to qualify for portability.

      Non-tax reasons include the following: (i) Limiting (or eliminating) the ability of the surviving spouse to direct the disposition of the deceased spouse’s assets on the surviving spouse’s death; (ii) restricting the surviving spouse’s right to use principal (perhaps only for health, support, and maintenance); (iii) providing creditor protection (creditors generally cannot reach the assets in an irrevocable trust established by another person); and (iv) providing professional management if desired.

      Residual Trust disadvantages include the following: (i) Annual costs for the preparation of Residual Trust income tax returns and maintaining separate records for the Residual Trust; (ii) the possible loss of a further stepped-up basis on the surviving spouse’s death; (iii) lack of surviving spouse ability to change the estate plan to adapt to changed circumstances, unless as is often the case the surviving spouse has a limited power to change the Residual Trust distribution provisions; (iv) lack of ability to offset capital gains and losses realized by the surviving spouse and the Residual Trust; (v) Residual Trust assets generally cannot be used to implement further estate planning techniques; (vi) the surviving spouse cannot use the $250,000 exclusion from capital gain upon the sale of a residence held in the Residual Trust; and (vii) possible need to accelerate taxable distributions from retirement accounts.

      Two Planning Tips. If the reasons for establishing a Residual Trust are not significant, but you nevertheless want to provide for the possible establishment of a Residual Trust in case your spouse decides that it is advisable to do so, your estate plan can provide for distribution of your estate to your spouse, but include a provision that would allow your surviving spouse to “disclaim” all or a portion of his or her inheritance and arrange for the disclaimed assets to be allocated to a Residual Trust (“Disclaimer Trust”). The surviving spouse could make his or her decision to disclaim during the nine-month period following the first spouse’s death. The only difference between a Disclaimer Trust and a Residual Trust established by the first spouse is that the surviving spouse could not have a power to provide for distribution of the assets of a Disclaimer Trust in a manner different from the first spouse’s distribution plan.

      A qualified Marital Trust enables a deceased spouse to maintain control over the distribution of the trust assets upon the death of the surviving spouse, can preserve the deceased spouse’s unused GST exemption through a “reverse QTIP election,” and provides a greater degree of creditor protection than would be afforded by an outright bequest to a surviving spouse. Using a Marital Trust to accomplish these objectives (rather than a Residual Trust) may allow the trust assets to receive a step-up in basis upon the death of the surviving spouse and, in some cases, may postpone payment of state level estate taxes until the death of the surviving spouse. In addition, the surviving spouse may wish to elect portability and subsequently use the deceased spouse’s remaining estate and gift tax exemption (DSUEA) to make lifetime gifts tax-free. Uncertainty currently exists regarding the validity of a qualified Marital Trust (“QTIP”) election made solely to allow for the use of portability, which may prevent the surviving spouse from implementing this further planning strategy, but the IRS has promised guidance on this issue.

  2. Income Tax Changes. The following is a brief summary of the income tax changes made in 2013, taking into account 2016 inflation adjustments:
    • The highest tax rate is increased from 35% to 39.6% for incomes in excess of $466,950 (was $464,850) (joint return), $441,000 (was $439,000) (head of household), and $415,050 (was $413,200) (single). These brackets will continue to be adjusted for inflation annually;
    • The social security tax remains increased from 4.2% to 6.2%;
    • The alternative minimum tax (“AMT”) exemption amounts are increased to $83,800 (was $83,400) (joint return) and $53,900 (was $53,600) (single);
    • The maximum tax rates for most long-term capital gains and dividends remain increased from 15% to 20%; and
    • The itemized deduction and personal exemption “phase-outs” were reinstated with adjusted gross income thresholds of $311,300 (was $309,900) (joint return), $285,350 (was $284,050) (head of household), and $259,400 (was $258,250) (single), which thresholds will continue to be adjusted for inflation annually. These “stealth tax” provisions effectively increase marginal tax rates for those affected.In addition, a 3.8% “Medicare” tax is still imposed on investment income (including capital gains) of “high-earning” taxpayers, and a 0.9% Medicare tax is still imposed on employment income earned by those taxpayers.

Estate Planning Lawyers in Leawood

Estate Planning is all about peace of mind. What estate planning is all about is discovering the right tools to execute your basic needs. We do this utilizing the most up to date tools so that we can prepare a personalized strategy at the lowest possible cost.
http://ift.tt/1UaiWqn
The Eastman Law Firm is an estate planning law practice. We concentrate on estate planning so that you can be guaranteed that you are getting the most up to date methods. We train thoroughly so that we can provide the precise right match for your wants and desires. We do not require everybody into a single mold. Instead, we try and see to it that everybody is treated with the most personalized option that best meets their requirements.

http://ift.tt/1JU4Bfo


The Eastman Law Firm
Estate planning attorneys, focusing on Wills, Trusts and Probate law.
4901 W. 136th Street, Ste. 240
Leawood
KANSAS (KS)
66224
United States

Phone: (913) 908-9113

Hours:
Mon-Sat 8am – 5:30pm

See our directory page here and here.

Tricky Estate Planning Items to pass to your Heirs

Estate Planning – Tricky items to pass to your heirs

Below is a great article on items that can be a bit tricky to pass to your heirs.  These things are difficult given that the rules can be arcane, or the actual possession can be difficult (like a dog; can a dog be happy in the city if it has spent its whole life in the country?).

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Leawood estate planning attorneys

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The Trickiest Items to Pass On to Your Heirs

So you’ve finally made an estate plan. Your kids get a nice inheritance, your nephew gets the baseball cards, and your cousin gets Grandma’s ring. But with some assets, it’s not that easy to impose your will. Here are a few that can cause surprise headaches”and how to handle them.

Vacation Homes

Sharing is hard. Conflicts can arise when one sibling lives farther away, earns less, or wants to sell his share, says Tracy Craig, an estate-planning attorney in Worcester, Mass. “One of the worst things to do is to leave property outright in equal shares,” she says. “Anytime you have more than one person who owns real estate, you have a potential problem.”

The fix: Talk to your kids first to learn their preferences, then put the real estate in a trust and make your heirs the beneficiaries, Craig says. The trust structure lets you spell out under what conditions the house can be sold, how a sharing schedule will be decided, and who pays for upkeep. If possible, reduce conflict by leaving extra money to cover costs.

Pets

Until recently, provisions that left money to pets were often unenforceable, says Gerry Beyer, a law professor at Texas Tech University. If you gave your friend Jack $10,000 to take care of your dog, what was to stop Jack from taking your money and abandoning Lassie?

The fix: Every state except Minnesota has now passed a “pet trust” law, which means if you add a simple line to your will explaining who takes the pet and how much money is provided for its care, probate court will appoint someone to enforce the provision, Beyer says. Want absolute control? Draft a detailed pet trust. (Your estate attorney may not even charge extra.) Name the caretaker and the trustee, set aside money for food and vet bills, and leave care instructions. Technically, the trust will own your pet, so if the caretaker doesn’t meet your standards, the trustee can assign care elsewhere.

Airline Miles

Frequent-flier miles can be worth a tidy sum, but you might not be able to pass on the wealth. Some carriers explicitly say you cannot bequeath miles. And policies change; Delta disallowed mileage bequests in 2013.

The fix: First, ask your airline. You might be better off spending down miles now, Beyer says, buying trips for other people if you’re traveling less. (Avoid transferring miles, as you can quickly rack up fees.) But even carriers that officially bar fliers from bequeathing miles”like American Airlines”often allow it on a case-by-case basis, so do name a conditional beneficiary in your will. Heirs may need to request and complete an affidavit and provide the death certificate.

Estate Planning Lawyers in Leawood

Estate Planning is really about assurance. What estate planning is everything about is discovering the right tools to implement your basic requirements. What that indicates is that we make use of the most advanced legal files to properly execute your desires. We customize each and every strategy so that you get precisely what you desire. We do this making use of the most up to date tools so that we can prepare a personalized strategy at the lowest possible cost. Please call us today with any concerns.
http://ift.tt/1Fk6M6f
The Eastman Law Firm is an estate planning law firm. We focus on estate planning so that you can be assured that you are getting the most up to date strategies.

http://ift.tt/1JU4Bfo


The Eastman Law Firm
Estate planning attorneys, focusing on Wills, Trusts and Probate law.
4901 W. 136th Street, Ste. 240
Leawood
KANSAS (KS)
66224
United States

Phone: (913) 908-9113

Hours:
Mon-Sat 8am – 5:30pm

See our directory page here and here.