If you are married, a good estate planning attorney will ask you during the information gathering process whether you have ever lived in a community property state. This is because community property retains its character as such when a couple moves to a state with different marital property laws. Your estate planning attorney needs to know this because it can have an impact on what is included in your estate when you die and to what extent the property received a step up in basis when you die.
The answer is, as in so many things in life, it depends. There is no one-size-fits all trust, and sometimes more than one is needed. Factors that need to be considered include:
There often comes a time in a older adult's life when he or she cannot handle his or her finances any longer. The usual solution is to already have a general durable power of attorney in place that authorizes a trusted person (such as a healthy spouse or an adult child) to handle the elder's financial affairs in the event of incompetency or other disability. This is a sound strategy but, unfortunately, does not apply to management of Social Security benefits. This is because the Social Security Administration (SSA) simply does not honor powers of attorney and, because SSA is a federal agency, they do not concern themselves with state laws that require financial and other institutions to honor valid power of attorney.
In 2018, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) enacted a new rule designed to help protect senior investors. Under this rule, financial advisors are required to make reasonable efforts to obtain the name of and contact information for a "trusted contact person" upon opening a new account or when updating account information for existing clients.
To help protect seniors and other vulnerable investors from financial exploitation, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has developed a Senior Helpline to provide assistance and advice.
An Arizona beneficiary deed is a nonprobate device to transfer residential real property to a named beneficiary upon the owner's death. Like a will, no consideration is required and the beneficiary’s acceptance is not required. Capacity to contract is required. Beneficiary deeds are revocable by recording a revocation, recording an absolute conveyance, or recording a subsequent beneficiary deed.
Estate planning can be a very difficult process. While it’s not brain surgery, making the decision to move forward with the planning requires us to face the fact that we will not live forever. This thought can stop many people right in their tracks. Others talk themselves out of seeing a qualified attorney to put together an estate plan based on some of the following common myths:
I actually never get asked this question, sadly. This is because people that age are immortal, invincible and made of rubber, or so they believe.
This is so sad when it happens. It is a question that comes up a lot in online ask-a-lawyer forums. The question goes something like this: "My boyfriend owns the condo in which we have been living together for the past ten years. What happens if he dies? Will I have to move?"
If you get Social Security disability or retirement benefits and you get married again, there are four ways in which remarriage may affect your benefits:
Some people have been known to take a perfectly good attorney-prepared estate plan and tinker with it on their own. A classic example is crossing out names and writing in different names by hand. Another example is crossing out a bequest, either because the testator has changed his mind about giving it to a particular person or he no longer owns the item.
In order of priority, this mistake really ranks #2 behind DIY Mistake #1: Not Having An Estate Plan, but I had already posted mistakes 2 through 6, so this is going to have to be #7. Human beings tend to procrastinate when a task they KNOW they need to do seems overwhelming or too expensive or ...
A nonprobate device to transfer residential real property to a named beneficiary upon the owner’s death. Like a will, no consideration is required and the beneficiary’s acceptance is not required. Capacity to contract is required. TODs are revocable by recording a revocation, recording an absolute conveyance, or recording a subsequent TOD deed.
A reverse mortgage, also known as a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM), is a type of loan that allows older homeowners (62 or older) to convert part of the equity in their homes into tax-free income. Reverse mortgages are wonderful financial tools for certain individuals; however, it is a very important financial decision. If you are considering a reverse mortgage the first step is to talk with a reverse mortgage counselor.
A case involving basketball star Caldwell Jones demonstrates the danger in having only one spouse's name on a reverse mortgage. A federal appeals court ruled that an insurance company may foreclose on a reverse mortgage after the death of the borrower, Mr. Jones, even though Mr. Jones’ widow is still living in the house. While there are protections in place for non-borrowing spouses, many spouses are still facing foreclosure and eviction.
A typical DIY estate plan relies heavily on non-probate transfers such as joint tenancy and beneficiary designations. Anything not transferred pursuant to non-probate transfers goes through probate under the laws of intestate succession or pursuant to a simple will. All such transfers result in...
I alluded to this mistake in an earlier post, but it really deserves it own article. Many DIY-ers unwittingly get into trouble due to their ignorance regarding the interplay between various estate planning techniques. This is another topic that is best explained using examples. Example 1: Wif...
This particular one shares one unique characteristic in that it is a mistake that can and often is also made by people who have paid good money for a well-constructed estate plan! Ugh!
Plenty of my clients use these techniques in addition to their will and their trust(s). They have their place in estate planning as long is the choice is made in an intentional, conscious, educated, and informed manner. The problem is too many people don't think it all the way through, if they think about it at all, usually because they are not aware that they SHOULD think it through better. They don't know what the alternatives are or what questions they should be asking.
Here is DIY estate planning mistake #1: Putting the names of your intended heirs "on the deed"* to real estate, often the primary residence but sometimes other real property as well. This is poor planning for many, many reasons. Here are some of the reasons, in no particular order.
A surprising percentage of the population does not have an estate plan, not even a simple will. This is a mistake for anyone over the age of 17. There are almost too many reasons to list, but I will make an attempt here.
In a recent Florida case, Bank of America rebuffed an agent's request that funds be withdrawn from the principal's account. The agent fought back in court and just won a $64,000 judgment against the bank.
FDIC deposit insurance covers the depositors of a failed FDIC-insured depository institution dollar-for-dollar, principal plus any interest accrued or due to the depositor, through the date of default, up to at least $250,000. For example, if a person had a CD account in her name alone with a principal balance of $195,000 and $3,000 in accrued interest, the full $198,000 would be insured, since principal plus interest did not exceed the $250,000 insurance limit for single ownership accounts. The amount of FDIC insurance provided for accounts held by a trust depends on whether the trust is revocable or irrevocable as well as other factors.
A question arose today in an online ask-a-lawyer forum that I monitor, so I decided to write a blog post about the subject because this does come up every so often. The two most common questions people ask with respect to adoption and inheritance are: Can an adopted child inherit from adoptiv...
Older parents are becoming more common, driven in part by changing cultural mores and advances in infertility treatment.