Baby on Board – Birth of New Child Spurs Estate Planning Attorney to Get His Estate in Order

My wife and I celebrated the birth of our first child in March 2016 and I thought it would be a good idea to discuss how I, an estate planning attorney, would start getting my estate in order.  I can tell you that having your first child is definitely a strong motivating factor to get your affairs in order. Many people in this situation are spurred by a fundamental question - who will take care of my child and my financial assets if something happens to me and/or my wife? However, that is not where I am starting. Rather, I want...

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Neglected Estate Planning By Prince Will Cost Loved Ones

World famous music star Prince reportedly died without leaving a will, trust, or any other estate planning documents for his friends and family. The consequence? His loved ones and business contacts will likely be fighting in court for years to settle an estate estimated to be worth between $150 million to $300 million, according to the Chicago Tribune. To complicate matters even further, Prince was not married and had no children. This means there is not a clear beneficiary who will inherit the bulk of his estate. Instead, Prince left behind six siblings. Here is an ABC News report on the estate...

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Essential Small Business Advice – Follow Formalities

Many small business owners think that if they set up an LLC or corporation, they are fully protected from individual liability. Not true. While setting up the company structure is a critical first step, it is imperative that you  perform certain formalities throughout the year to maintain your liability protections. Annual Meetings Corporations are required to hold an annual meeting every year and maintain a record book of the meeting minutes. While LLC’s are often not required to hold an Annual Meeting, we recommend that the members and managers of the LLC still hold a formal meeting on a yearly basis....

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National Healthcare Decisions Day Provides Reminder of Key Planning Documents You Need

We have all heard horror stories about family members disagreeing over end-of-life care decisions. This can result in families ending up in protracted court battles while patients are kept alive on life support. All the while, no one really knew what the patient actually wanted. Do not let this happen to you. Provide your loved ones with some relief by planning ahead for your healthcare decisions. On April 16, 2016, organizations throughout the country tried to inspire, educate and empower the public about the importance of advance care planning. National Healthcare Decisions Day encourages people to express their wishes regarding healthcare....

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Every Bit Counts – Estate Planning and Your Bitcoin Assets

Our firm has written extensively about the shifting dynamics of estate planning and ensuring that digital assets are properly accounted and managed. Bitcoin certainly falls under that category. Why? Because the IRS announced in 2014 that Bitcoin will be treated as property for U.S. tax purposes. That means if you buy or sell bitcoin currency, you will need to report either gains or losses on the transactions, and if you received bitcoin as payment for goods and services, you will have to report those receipts as gross income. Also, if you have a substantial amount of bitcoin currency, who receives...

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Alert – April 29, 2016 is the Filing Deadline for Social Security Benefits that will be Lost Under New Laws

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 eliminated some great potential Social Security claiming strategies. However, people who have already filed are grandfathered in, and others may still be able to participate in these strategies IF they file by the April 29 deadline. Under current law, if you reached the age of 66, and waited to claim social security, you can “file and suspend” your retirement benefits, or file a “restricted claim for spousal benefits only” (see details below).However, these strategies will soon be lost under the new law. Social Security Basics You may start collecting Social Security benefits as early as age 62,...

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10 Key Tips for a Smooth Settlement

When a loved one passes away, family members can often feel overwhelmed by the seemingly endless list of things to take care of.  An up-to-date estate plan and an educated family can help ease this feeling.  Unfortunately, if the family was not prepared, there can be significant confusion over who is in charge and what needs to be done. If you find yourself in this position, here are some tips to help you get started: Take care of the final arrangements.  Even more important initially than the estate planning documents is to locate any funeral or burial instructions.  Your loved one may...

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New Medicare Benefit – Helping You Make Your Wishes Known

Note: This article is courtesy of DocuBank® Starting this year, Medicare is making it easier for people to have conversations about their medical wishes.  This is good news.  These conversations are important.  They help you think about what’s important to you and help you get the care that you want when it matters most. With the benefit available, now is the time to talk with your lawyer, loved ones and doctor about your wishes, and make sure both have copies of your advance directives (if you do not already have these important documents drafted, schedule a time to meet with your estate planning...

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Wine Collector? Protect Your Investment

If you purchase fine wine as an investment, here is a red alert - your homeowners' policy probably does not cover your wine collection. In fact, the vast majority of homeowners' policies exclude coverage for perishable goods like wine. Ensuring you have adequate insurance coverage on your wine collection is absolutely critical. Some individuals have spent thousands of dollars to accrue an impressive wine collection or wine cellar. Getting the Right Insurance Policy for Your Collection When shopping for an insurance policy to protect your investment, consider an agreed upon insurance value and to keep records of the collection purchases, sales, and consumption...

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Don’t Wreck Your Loved One’s Estate – Decedent Vehicle Titling and Insurance

When a loved one passes away, many family members do not think twice about driving the decedent’s vehicle.  With relatives and friends coming in from out of town, the vehicle is convenient to use and cheaper than a rental car.  However, if an accident occurs, the entire estate of the decedent could be exposed to creditors. Both the titling of the vehicle and the car insurance policy need to be reviewed before any person drives the car anywhere.  Change the Title to the Vehicle First, the title of the car should be located to determine the ownership of the car.  If the...

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