How Does My Divorce Affect My Estate Plans?

Your divorce affects virtually every aspect of your life, including your estate planning. Unfortunately, time and time again, we’ve seen people forget to update their estate plan after a divorce, which can leave assets to ex-spouses or other individuals that may no longer be appropriate. Other less obvious changes to your plan may be necessary as well. Your Divorce and Your Estate Plan Some of your estate ... Read More

6 Reasons Why You Need a Trust

Some people make the mistake of assuming that only the wealthy need a Trust. However, many individuals and families can benefit from having a Trust as part of their estate plan, even if they’re not considered “wealthy.” Particular family circumstances may also trigger the need for a Trust as well. Below are just a few reasons why a Trust might be an excellent addition to your estate plan.     You are planning ... Read More

Avoid Sibling Disputes Over Caregiving By Putting It in Writing

Caring for an elderly parent can be stressful for families. Siblings may disagree over how to provide care or where a parent will live, and if these squabbles escalate into a guardianship battle, it can cost the family thousands of dollars. To avoid this, lawyers have begun drafting sibling agreements (also called family care agreements). If a parent becomes incapacitated and can no longer take care of him- or ... Read More

What Are No-Contest Clauses in Wills?

A “No Contest” clause is a provision that is often included in wills that states that if a beneficiary challenges some provision of the will, then that person gets nothing from the will if their challenge is not successful. It is mainly designed to keep people from challenging wills if they want to benefit in any way from the will. It is an intimidation method used to make the probate process run more smoothly. A ... Read More

Aging is a Success Story

Aging is the sign of a successful life. After all, when you think about the alternative to aging your perspective about getting older shifts. You should start seeking self-sufficiency for your retirement years well before the age of sixty-five. But, even if you have not done so, don’t shun the planning stages. You need to address planning no matter what your age. Some preparation is better than none at all. It can ... Read More

Understanding Medicaid Spend Downs

Medicaid is an advantageous health benefit for those who cannot afford health insurance through other means. However, many people simply have too much income to qualify for this federal benefit. Nonetheless, you can legally become eligible if you strategically spend your excess income on medical bills. This process is referred to as a “spend down.” Who Can Get a Spend Down? Only certain people will be able to ... Read More

When Can You Withdraw Money from Your IRA Without Penalties?

Did you know that withdrawing money from your traditional IRA before turning age 59 ½ is a big blunder?  Not only do you have to pay tax on the withdrawal, but you also must pay a 10% penalty on the amount withdrawn.  Ouch! However, there are some ways to withdraw from your IRA early without triggering the 10% penalty: Medical Expenses – if you have high unreimbursed medical expenses, you can withdraw a ... Read More

How Will the New Tax Law Affect You?

While most of the new tax law – the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act – has to do with reducing the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, some provisions relate to individual taxpayers. Before we get into the details, be aware that almost everything listed below sunsets after 2025, with the tax structure reverting to its current form in 2026 unless Congress acts between now and then. The corporate tax rate cut, ... Read More

How to Talk to Your Family About Your Estate Plan

Virtually no one likes to talk about life for others after they are gone. However, if you want to plan effectively for your loved ones and retain your legacy, you need to have this difficult conversation with friends and family who will be affected by your estate plan. Reframing the discussion and approaching it delicately can go a long way toward having a less uncomfortable and more productive conversation. Think ... Read More

What Children Can Do When They Inherit Your Retirement Account

Although spouses are generally the most common recipient of a retirement account, children can inherit them as well. In fact, most accounts allow you to leave the funds to a non-spouse beneficiary. Non-spouses, however, will have different payment options compared to spouses. If a child inherits a retirement account, he or she has a variety of distribution options available. The best choice for them will depend on ... Read More