Basic Strategies

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

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

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In the closing weeks of March, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell signed a bill into law that expands individuals’ protections against creditors.  The law adds wording to VA Code § 55-545.05 that clarifies:  1) the effects of annual gifting into an irrevocable trust and 2) the protections given by an “inter-vivos marital deduction trust”.  As a…

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Revocable Living Trusts: Should Couples Use Joint or Separate Trusts? (Part II)

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In Part I of this topic, we discussed that the decision to use joint or separate trusts is mainly based on the answers to these three questions:  Read more... Under federal and/or state law, are you married to your partner – Yes or No? Do you live in a Community Property or Separate Property State?…

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Living Trusts: Should Couples Use Joint or Separate Trusts? (Part I)

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We have previously discussed the choice between wills and living trusts as your primary estate planning document.  However, if you opt for the living trust route, there is another important choice to make if you are married or have a significant other you wish to plan with.  Read more...

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A Funny Thing Happened at the Deli…

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A young couple sits down at the local deli with their baby asleep in the stroller.  It is an unseasonably warm day outside with birds chirping, a light wind blowing and barely a cloud in the sky.  However, the beauty surrounding them escapes the couple because they cannot decide what to do about their finances.…

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An Easier Way to View Life Insurance (Part I)

20th President Garfield's Life Insurance Policy via wikipedia

If you are considering including estate planning in your financial plans, it is pretty much imperative that you look into life insurance.  As the main purpose of life insurance is the protection of your family after you pass away, it is an obvious tool recommended by attorneys, financial planners, life insurance agents, financial reporters and…

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10 Reasons Young Adults Should Consider Estate Planning

10 Reasons Young Adults Should Consider Estate Planning

According to the law of averages, approximately 1 in 500 people in the United States who are aged 25-44 will die this year.  In other words, 499 out of every 500 in this group will be around in 2012. So why on earth do estate planning attorneys, financial planners, insurance salesmen, etc. recommend that anyone…

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What’s In a Will? 10 Common Clauses and Their Functions

By George Wythe [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Today, let’s take a post to broadly work through the clauses that are in a typical will.  Why?  To remove some of the mystery and to show you how such a document is effective and even essential.  Read more...

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Expecting Soon? Estate Planning Issues You Should Consider

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Image via Wikipedia For some reason, I am friendly with lots of women.  Perhaps it is due to the influence of my tough mother and two strong older sisters, or that I followed Benjamin Franklin’s advice to marry someone smarter than me.  However, this does not mean that I fully understand how women function.  Read…

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Latest Simpsons Episode Raises Concerns About Burns’ Estate Plan

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The first three minutes of the latest episode of The Simpsons, “Flaming Moe“, introduced a slew of interesting estate planning themes.  Spoiler alert: I reveal here these three minutes of the plot, which is then relegated to barely an afterthought for the remainder of the episode.  Read more...

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Probate In Real Life III: Rights Against Beneficiaries

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Today, we continue our discussion of probate and the executor’s duties.  In Part I, we discussed what happens if a named executor does not want to serve.  In Part II, we discussed inventories, the executor’s duty to control the estate’s assets, and the potential for the estate representative to suffer personal liability.  In this post,…

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