More and more transactions are done digitally, but estate planning has lagged behind technology. That may be changing, though. Even before the coronavirus pandemic made social distancing necessary, electronic wills were gaining legitimacy.
Every adult is assumed to be capable of making his or her own decisions unless a court determines otherwise. If an adult becomes incapable of making responsible decisions, the court will appoint a substitute decision-maker, usually called a "guardian," but called a "conservator" or another term in some states.
Directed trusts can be a useful estate planning tool, allowing you to place your family’s assets in a trust but benefit from the expertise of an advisor who knows more about the handling of certain trust functions than you may.
A new administration usually means that tax code changes are coming. While it remains unclear exactly what tax changes President Biden’s administration will usher in, two possibilities are that it will propose lowering the estate tax exemption and eliminating the stepped-up basis on death.
If you want to make a gift to family members but have exceeded the annual gifting limit, there is another way. Payments for a family member’s education or health care expenses are exempt from the gift tax.
Vermont senator Bernie Sanders (D) has introduced legislation that would require more estates to pay estate tax and that raises the amounts they would pay. Another proposed law would eliminate the step-up in basis that inherited assets currently enjoy.
With the federal estate tax exemption possibly about to be lowered, it may be time to think about steps you can take to keep your estate from being taxed. An irrevocable life insurance trust allows you to pass on money to your heirs while avoiding both the federal estate tax, as well as any applicable state estate tax.
A recent court case involving a power of attorney demonstrates the problem with using online estate planning forms instead of hiring an attorney who can make sure your documents are tailored to your needs.
A new survey has found that motivated in part by the coronavirus pandemic, younger adults are now more likely to have a will than middle-aged adults. Nevertheless, the overall percentage of Americans with a will has dropped over the past several years.
President Biden has introduced a plan to spend $400 billion over eight years on home and community-based care for the elderly and people with disabilities. The money would go to expand access to care and support higher-paying caregiving jobs.
The federal government has expanded access to protections for spouses of reverse mortgage holders who are not named in the loan document, allowing more such spouses the ability to stay in their home if the borrowing spouse dies or moves to a care facility.
To qualify for Medicaid coverage of long-term care, you must satisfy very complicated financial eligibility rules—rules that often can be traps for the unwary. One of the most significant traps is Medicaid's right to recover its expenses from your estate after you die – a practice known as “estate recovery.”
In a profanity-laced episode of his HBO show that is by turns hilarious and deeply disturbing, comedian John Oliver delivers one of his trademark rants, this one exposing the “abuse and neglect” that he says is all-too-prevalent in our system of long-term care.
Parents and other family members who want to pass on assets during their lifetimes may be tempted to gift the assets. Although setting up an irrevocable trust lacks the simplicity of giving a gift, it may be a better way to preserve assets for the future.