Basic Strategies

These are descriptions and discussions of foundational tools and ancillary documents that should be part of most estate plans.

Don’t Have $5 Million? 50 Reasons to Get an Estate Plan Anyway

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“Estate Planning” is somewhat of a misnomer.  For example, let’s check out The Free Dictionary’s definition of “estate”. You’ll find that the majority of the 8 provided definitions associate the term either with land or with some kind wealth, social position, or political power.  Read more...

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Estate Planning Post of the Week (May 27 to June 2, 2011)

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Introduction (or Why Do We Need an “Estate Planning Post of the Week”?) I have always found it interesting that when it comes to death planning, significantly more people view life insurance as a higher priority than estate planning.  Read more...

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Business Succession Planning: Gifting and Discounting Basics

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If you currently own a business, estate planning is probably not one of your highest priorities.  You are certainly more concerned about where your income is coming from, how to beat the competition, and how you can better develop your product and service.  Read more...

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5 Unconventional Estate Planning Tips (and Why They are Right)

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I hesitated to write this post for fear that many would be distracted over this weekend.  However, now that it is after 6 P.M. on May 21, 2011, and we seem to have avoided and survived the rapture, I can help return your focus to arguably more mundane concerns.  Read more...

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State Law Differences Regarding Spousal Disinheritance

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We have talked a bit lately about how estate planning cannot meet a one-size-fits-all approach.  While this is primarily due to the differing situations and desires of each individual, it also has to do with the significant variations in state law.  Read more...

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Would You Like That “Per Stirpes” or “Per Capita”?

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There are many scenarios in estate planning where a deceased person receives a gift of property.  Someone’s will may not have been amended in time.  A trust drafted many years ago leaves an asset to several siblings, one of whom has passed away since the document was created.  State intestacy laws designate assets to classes…

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Will Contests: 10 Ways to Protect Against Estate Plan Challenges

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Getting your will drafted is a daunting enough process without worrying about whether or not to disinherit family.  If you anticipate that anyone will try to challenge your will, then your estate planning documents should provide as much protection as possible against a “will contest”.  Read more...

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The Repercussions of Drafting Estate Planning Documents Imprecisely

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You’ve probably heard the notion that one incorrectly drafted phrase or sentence can have great detrimental effects on your will or trust.  Later in this post, we will provide two examples of this consequence. But first, we provide essential background to help further underscore the main point that preparing a will takes precision, careful attention…

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1600 Words about a 100-Word Addition to Virginia Trust Law (Part III)

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In the first two parts of this topic, we covered the attempt to unify trust law throughout the United States and Virginia’s brief new amendment to its version of the Uniform Trust Code.  Now, to close the loop, we conclude by giving further detail to two important types of marital deduction trusts briefly mentioned in…

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1600 Words About a 100-Word Addition to Virginia Trust Law (Part II)

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In Part I of our discussion, we introduced the Uniform Trust Code and why Virginia would deviate from it.  Today, we explain Virginia’s rationale for changing its law on creditors’ rights to annual gifts into a trust and to inter-vivos marital deduction trusts. What was Virginia’s concern regarding annual gifting into a trust?  Read more...

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