Basic Strategies

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

Last-Minute Estate Planning Can Lead to Chaos

Who Should Care for X

I had the misfortune of hearing a dreadful story over the weekend.  It is a fine example of how emotions can run quite high in the weeks leading to death if no estate plan is established, and how the survivors are left to solve complex issues that will have an impact for generations.  Read more...

Read more »

“Do I Need a New Will if I Move to Another State?”

300px-Agreeableness_by_state

Generally, if a will is valid in one state, it will be valid in the next state.  However, if your state laws differ in the areas discussed below, a revision or a completely new will is likely warranted. Proving Your Will Your personal representative will have to prove the validity of your will to the…

Read more »

Quaids and Star Whackers Need a Refresher Course

RandyQuaid

Attorney-extraordinaire Jason Miller, a regular reader of this blog, alerted me to this ongoing saga about Randy Quaid and his wife Evi. To summarize, the Quaids believe that they are being pursued by a Hollywood cult called the “Star Whackers”. During their “escape”, the Quaids trashed their former home, skipped out on some large hotel…

Read more »

Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts: The Fundamentals

Manhattan_Life_Insurance_Company_Building_New_York_City

As discussed in this post on common uses for trusts, an irrevocable trust is a separate entity you can create for many different purposes. The “Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust”, or ILIT, is one type of irrevocable trust that is set up to own life insurance on your life. With the ILIT, your family can ultimately…

Read more »

Pet Trusts: Closing the Stable Door Before the Horse Bolts

1464619627_44e8b88d8d_m

I always find it amusing when a series of strange events inspires an estate planning post.  Here, I have a series of real and fictional horses to thank for today’s discussion.  Read more...

Read more »

Ownership, Beneficiaries and Disclaimers in Estate Planning

From wpclipart.com

Today, we will again discuss how drafting wills and trusts are sometimes only part of the recommended strategy towards avoiding estate taxes.  Close inspection of your asset ownership, the naming of beneficiaries, and proper drafting of your estate documents are essential towards a complete estate plan. We discussed the mechanics of the A-B Trust plan…

Read more »

A Common Estate Tax Reduction Strategy

300px-US_Capitol_dome_Jan_2006

Much of the motivation behind many estate planning strategies is to simply avoid as much in estate taxes as possible.  We only have a couple months left of freedom from federal estate taxes, as they are pretty much assured to return in some form by January 1, 2011.  Read more...

Read more »

6 Fundamental Questions Your Will Must Answer

2201907500_48b43541e8_m

Today’s post is going to be more exciting than a Roy Halladay playoff no-hitter, more intriguing than the latest UFO sightings over China, and more powerful than a locomotive.  For today, we will discuss how every clause in a will answers at least one of six essential questions about your final wishes.  As usual, basic…

Read more »

Pennsylvania Estate Planning Differences: You Can Go Home Again

292px-Seal_of_Pennsylvania.svg_

I am pleased to announce that I have renewed active status as a Pennsylvania attorney.  While I have done so mainly due to a familial circumstance, I spent most of my first 21 years there, and also worked there as an attorney for an additional 5 years.  It is still home to me in many…

Read more »

The Beatles: Cryptic Estate Planning Lyrics?

Whenever we hear a song that has somewhat puzzling lyrics, it seems to be a favorite pastime of ours to figure out what the artists were trying to say.  But did you ever notice that common interpretations inevitably lead to some kind of carnal act, worship of an unsavory figure or a political or religious…

Read more »