Bobby’s Blog

Big Changes Coming to D.C. Estate Tax Laws

Starting in 2016, D.C. residents will be exempt from having to pay estate taxes if their estate is $2 million or less. This is a big change from the current exemption cap of $1 million. However, keep in mind that the language of the new law is somewhat vague. For example, one section of the new law appears to condition the higher estate tax exemption on “available revenue” which means the higher estate tax exemption may not take effect immediately in 2016, but another section implies that the exemption will automatically go into effect in 2016. Check out the actual language...

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Simultaneous Death and Life Insurance Proceeds

Beneficiary designations are pretty clear in life insurance policies. Basically, if you have life insurance and you pass on, the proceeds from your policy go to your designated primary beneficiary. This could be your spouse, your child, or close friend, etc. But what happens if you, and your primary beneficiary, pass away at the same time? This may sound far-fetched, but it is definitely possible. For example, if you named your spouse as your beneficiary and you both wind up getting killed in a car accident. If both you and your beneficiary die at the same time, it can create problems....

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Your Rights When a Hospital Agent Insists that You Use their Advance Medical Directive

My estate planning team gets asked this question quite often – what can be done if a hospital agent or administrator says that you have to use their Advance Medical Directive. Here’s the answer: Politely tell them that you have a legal right under state and federal law to create your own Medical Directive. As long as the directive complies with state law, it should be honored. State laws can include formalities like having notary, two witnesses, being of sound mind when completed, etc. Some states even include laws which say if a healthcare facility refuses to follow your directive, they must...

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Dealing with Digital Assets – A Growing Need

If a loved one suddenly passes away, family members, or the estate planning attorney for the decedent, have to organize the decedent’s assets. The usual assets that come to mind include the decedent’s home, vehicle, IRA, checking account, family heirlooms, etc. However, a growing need is finding and organizing the decedent’s digital assets. Certain digital assets can be overlooked, or even lost, during the settlement of an estate. These online accounts are a new class of personal property that may have monetary worth in addition to sentimental value. According to a survey by McAfee, the average internet user has nearly...

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Important Estate Planning Tool: The Virginia State Bar’s Senior Citizens Handbook

If you or a loved one is approaching “senior citizen” status, you should take a moment and download the Senior Citizens Handbook, a publication of the Virginia State Bar. You may be thinking, “why does this guy want me to have free legal advice?” Well, it’s because I want visitors to this site to be as fully informed as possible.I know what it’s like to take care of an elderly loved one. That’s why I highly recommend this handbook – it can help answer important, common questions when it comes to preparing for retirement and entering “senior” status. The handbook...

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