Disinheriting with a Dollar: Fact or Fiction

Disinheriting with a Dollar: Fact or Fiction

Occasionally, a client wants to disinherit a family member.  This could be for a variety of reasons: the family member does not need the money, the family member is a bad apple, or there is someone else who needs the inheritance more.  

There is a popular misconception that the client must leave these disinherited individuals an inheritance of $1.00.  Such a bequest is completely unnecessary and could actually cost your estate.

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Preventing Beneficiary Designations from Wreaking Havoc on Special Needs Beneficiaries

Preventing Beneficiary Designations from Wreaking Havoc on Special Needs Beneficiaries

The main way most American families save for the future is through private retirement savings plans such as 401(k)s and IRAs.  These plans offer the opportunity to designate a beneficiary upon the death of the account holder.  These designations allow the account assets to bypass probate and pass directly to the named beneficiaries. Often, individuals make these decisions when initially setting up the account and never reconsider them.

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Dealing with the Diagnosis:  Practical Legal Steps to Take when Planning for an Uncertain Future 

Dealing with the Diagnosis:  Practical Legal Steps to Take when Planning for an Uncertain Future 

  Whether it is Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, Huntington’s, ALS, MS or another illness, when a family member has been dealt a life-altering diagnosis, it changes the way you must plan for the future. A family with a person who has received such a diagnosis should seek legal advice as soon as possible. Even if the individual with the diagnosis is cognitively impaired, it does not mean that they cannot be a part of the planning process. Many times, the impaired individual can be actively involved.

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Inter-vivos Gifting: What Our Clients Need to Know

Inter-vivos Gifting: What Our Clients Need to Know

Inter vivos gifting should feature prominently in the estate plans for our middle class clients who may have accumulated considerable wealth. The old limits of gifting $10,000 (now $14,000) to each family member every year is not useful if the family’s goals are to transfer wealth without taxation and to protect assets from expenditure for nursing home expenses. Because of changes in the tax code, a person may gift $5.3 million in one transaction and still experience no federal gift tax liability. Kentucky has no gift tax. Middle-class folks won’t ever see the federal limit and should not think of gifting in terms of the annual gift limit. If a person is trying to preserve assets from nursing home expenditures, then large gifts that occur earlier than five years before a person’s need for nursing home assistance is the goal as such gifts will invoke no Medicaid penalty.  However, for clients who have done no planning, and now have a family member residing in a nursing home, inter vivos gifting can still be beneficial. 

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