Big Estate Planning Mistakes Many People Make (But Can Easily Be Avoided)

Properly organizing your financial and personal assets, planning for disability, and leaving your legacy should be is the central goals of estate planning. It is important the focus stays on your personal goals and making the transition smoother for your loved ones. Unfortunately, many people who opt to “go it alone” and not consult with an estate planning attorney, make some bad (and totally preventable) mistakes that adversely affect their estate plans. Below are three common estate planning mistakes that occur, unfortunately, far too often: 1. Never taking the time to even come up with an estate plan. This one really...

Continue reading

Digital Assets Bill Passes Through Virginia Legislature

It’s a thought no parent wants to contemplate – losing a child. Nevertheless, if this unfortunate and tragic incident occurs, you need to pick up the pieces and try to get your child’s estate in order. Fortunately, the Virginia Legislature took a step to make the process a little easier with the passage of HB 1752. This law affords parents of deceased minors access to their social media accounts. The law enables a personal representative of a deceased minor to assume the deceased minor's terms of service agreement for a digital account with an Internet service provider, communications service provider, or...

Continue reading

Alert: New Estate Tax Laws and How Portability May Impact Your Beneficiaries

If you have estate planning documents that are more than a year old, you probably need to have them reviewed by an estate planning attorney. Why? Because 2 big changes (among others) were made to the estate tax laws. Here’s the scoop… Congress set the estate tax exemption amount “permanently” at 5 million indexed for inflation. The 2014 exemption amount is $5,340,000. This means with good foundational estate planning a married couple can shelter $10,680,000 from federal estate taxes. Most people are well below this 10 million dollar figure but that doesn’t mean there is no...

Continue reading

Pros and Cons of Revocable Transfer-on-Death Deeds in Virginia

If you are contemplating what will happen to your home, or other real property (i.e. land) in Virginia, after you pass on, there is a unique type of deed that you may want to consider for estate planning purposes. It’s called a transfer-on-death deed (a.k.a. beneficiary deed). A transfer-on-death deed allows you to execute a deed that names a beneficiary – could be a relative, spouse or close friend - who will obtain title to the property when you pass away without having to go through probate. Virginia recognizes these types of deeds. In fact, transfer-on-death deeds are codified under under...

Continue reading

Bobby’s Estate Planning Mythbuster: Access to Assets Held in a Revocable Trust

Myth: If you set up a revocable trust, you lose control and access to your assets. Truth: You have just as much control - if not more – when you create a revocable trust and transfer assets to the trust. A trust is basically a contract between a trustmaker (i.e. you - the person who creates the trust), a trustee (i.e. one who controls the trust; can be you or someone else) and beneficiaries (i.e. the people entitled to benefit from the trust). As the grantor, you determine how the trust will be operated by the trustee and who benefits. There are numerous...

Continue reading

The Tax and Retirement Advantages of Employee Stock Ownership Plans for Small Business Owners

If you’re a small business owner, you may want to consider implementing an employee stock ownership plan (a.k.a. ESOP). An ESOP can provide an incentive for employees while reducing your corporate tax burden, according to thinkadvisor.com. Another distinct advantage is the potential bridge ESOPs create for you to retire comfortably. How? Well, you can gradually sell your business to your employees while, in the process, defer recognition of any gain you make on the sale many years down the road. This is what’s known as a Section 1042 transaction and can allow you to defer taxable gain on the sale...

Continue reading

Generation X Missing the Financial Boat by Not Working with an Advisor

A new study published by the Insured Retirement Institute revealed from surprising, and disturbing, statistics. Over 75 percent of individuals categorized as “Generation X” (i.e. people with birth dates from the early 1960s to the early 1980s) do not consult with financial advisors to help them plan for retirement. Even more shocking is the fact that this is a sharp increase of 63 percent back in 2012. The study delved into different income levels and found that 65 percent of people in Generation X who make $75,000 or more in income, do not have a financial advisor. This is a big problem...

Continue reading

The Government Grim Reaper Wants Your Money – States With Terrifying Death Tax Laws

Some people think the estate tax is simply a creature of the federal government. Wrong. There are numerous states – 16, along with Maryland and D.C., to be exact – that impose an estate tax. Even more surprising is that some states actually impose an estate tax on estates that are valued at less than one million dollars. At less than one million dollars, these state-enforced estate taxes will be a problem for many middle class families. If you’re frugal and have good savings practices, a middle class family has the ability to save and wind up with an estate...

Continue reading

Long-Term Wealth Protection Available Through Dynasty Trusts and Domestic Asset Protection Trusts

A dynasty trust can be set up and utilized to pass asserts on to multiple generations of descendants while paying very little in taxes. Here’s a big advantage: dynasty trusts have no expiration date and there are no required minimum distributions. This means the assets in the trust may grow for an unlimited number of future generations. Dynasty trusts can be set up in numerous states. However, some states offer stronger protections for these types of trusts. For example, Delaware offers more protections from creditors trying to access the trust assets and potential exclusion of assets if a trustee gets...

Continue reading