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Estate Planning Articles

Finding someone’s date of death

Imagine your grandfather left a portion of his estate to his sister, but Great Aunt Irma has been gone for years. In order to probate his will or other legal documents, you may need to find Irma’s date of death. If Aunt Irma passed away in the last 50 years, finding this information should be fairly routine. Look for a website that offers access to the Social Security Death Index (SSDI). This list contains more than

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Plan to protect kids with special needs

Raising a child with special needs can be a rich experience. It’s also a costly one that comes with unique challenges for your financial future and estate plans. There is no one-size-fits-all recommendation, but here are some things to consider: Your future security: Protect your children by securing your own financial future. Start saving for retirement as early as possible to take advantage of compound interest. Life insurance: Consider investing in enough life insurance to care

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Land trusts provide anonymity, tool to avoid probate

A land trust is a private legal agreement that transfers a property title from the owner to a trustee. The trustee agrees to hold that title for the benefit of another party. The creator of the trust, known as the trustor, is typically the primary beneficiary for their lifetime. This party retains complete use of the land and owns the beneficial interest thereof. Land trusts are generally revocable, meaning the trustor may modify or terminate the

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Estate planning for taxpayers without kids

If you’re single with no kids or married without kids, you have some unique estate planning needs. You’ll require special strategies for health care, emergencies, and division of your estate. Plan for extra care costs. Growing older without a built-in support team may mean you’ll have extra expenses for care. You may need to hire people to check in with you, to run errands or to drive you to appointments. If you plan to rely on

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Increase in nursing home closures across U.S.

Choosing nursing home care can be a big, emotional decision. Long-term care is a sizable investment, and many people struggle with entrusting their loved one’s care to someone else. Now some families are dealing with an additional hurdle, as nursing home closures are forcing some seniors to relocate, widening the distance families must travel to visit. In what is described as an “epidemic,” rural nursing homes across the U.S. are closing. With staff shortages and low

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Use caution when creating an IRA inheritance trust

When you hold an IRA, those funds can be distributed to the person you name as the beneficiary or to an inheritance trust. Some IRA owners choose a trust because it gives them a degree of control over how the assets are distributed after they die. Before you name a trust as the beneficiary of your IRA, however, consider the pros and cons. Designating a trust as beneficiary can be useful if the intended beneficiary has

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Estate planning critical for non-traditional couples

Generally speaking, estate planning laws were designed for the traditional nuclear family, a married couple with kids. But according to the 2010 U.S. Census, such families are less than 50 percent of the total. Non-traditional families, including single parents, blended families and unwed partners, need to pay particular attention to their estate plans to avoid unwanted consequences. If you die without a will, your assets will be distributed according to your state’s default laws. If you’re

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Preventing a will contest

When you write a will, you have control over how your assets will be distributed after your death. However, if someone in your family disputes your will, an anonymous probate court judge could end up with the final say over who gets your property. Emotions run high when someone dies. If family members aren’t content with what they’ve received or don’t believe your wishes are being interpreted properly, they may contest your will. Will contests can

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Protect assets, retain access with a Spousal Lifetime Access Trust

A Spousal Lifetime Access Trust (SLAT) is an estate planning tool that can be used to lock in the current estate tax exemption while still allowing a certain degree of access to trust assets. SLAT basics A SLAT is an irrevocable trust created by one spouse for the benefit of the other. The gift removes assets from your estate but allows your spouse to access the trust. It provides you with indirect access to the funds

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Opportunity Zones offer tax breaks

For a limited time, investors can help reinvigorate distressed communities while deferring capital gains on profits earned elsewhere. The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act created the Qualified Opportunity Zone program in order to offer tax incentives for investment in economically blighted communities. When you invest in an Opportunity Zone, you can defer and possibly reduce taxes on recognized capital gains. If you will be subject to a large tax bill as a result of capital

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