Should spouses have separate trusts or a joint trust?

A “trust” is an arrangement in which a third party called a “trustee” holds assets on behalf of someone else, known as a “beneficiary.” Depending on the terms, the trustee generally manages the assets and distributes income generated by the trust. Trusts can be a useful estate-planning tool because they enable your heirs to benefit from certain assets without the tax implications they might encounter by inheriting the property outright through a will. Many married couples place their assets in trust for this reason, and because it saves time and court fees associated with the probate process. But what is…..

Continue Reading

Don’t keep your will in your safety deposit box

It’s very common for people to keep their will in a safety deposit box at the bank. After all, that’s where they keep other valuable things, like jewelry, the title to their automobile, treasury bonds and deeds to their home. However, a safety deposit box may not be the best place to keep your will. That’s because shortly after your death, the probate process begins. This is how your assets are identified and secured, your will is authenticated, your debts are paid and your assets are distributed. The person you appointed as your executor is charged with overseeing this process……

Continue Reading

Oft-overlooked provisions essential for estate plans

Like many other seniors, you might feel confident in the estate plan you have in place. But you still should run it by an attorney to make sure it’s not missing anything important. That’s because there are a number of provisions that should go in a will or estate plan that frequently get left out, often to the detriment of heirs and beneficiaries. For example, many people overlook family heirlooms and personal possessions, which can set the stage for ugly family fights later on. By being explicit about who should get what items, you can help avoid conflict. In some…..

Continue Reading

Beware Social Security’s remarriage rule

If you’re middle aged and thinking of getting remarried, be very careful about how you time your nuptials. That’s because whether you get married before the day you turn 60 or after the day you turn 60 could impact your eligibility for survivor benefits from a prior marriage. Under Social Security rules, if you get remarried before turning 60, you lose the right to receive survivor benefits from your previous marriage. However if you get married the day you turn 60 or any time thereafter, you are still eligible. This is true regardless of whether your earlier marriage ended in…..

Continue Reading

Unscrupulous marketing of Medicare Advantage create traps for the unwary

Medicare Advantage plans (also known as “MA plans” or “Medicare Part C”) are health plans for seniors offered by Medicare-approved companies that provide an alternative to traditional Medicare. These are “bundled” plans that include Part A (hospital insurance), Part B (medical insurance), and typically prescription drug coverage (Part D). The benefit of Medicare Advantage plans is that they may have lower out-of-pocket costs than regular Medicare and they may offer additional benefits that regular Medicare doesn’t cover, like vision, hearing and dental services. On the other hand, unlike original Medicare, many Medicare Advantage plans require you to see in-network providers…..

Continue Reading

Help advisors protect you from fraud

Worried about your ability to manage financial matters as you age? Concerned about your parents or another loved one? One way to help protect yourself against scams or fraud is to authorize your advisors to contact someone if they have concerns. An attorney is obligated to take protective action if they believe a client lacks sufficient capacity to make adequately considered decisions. Such actions could include consulting with family members, pausing action to allow an improvement in the client’s condition, deferring to durable powers of attorney, or engaging protective agencies. In taking protective measures, an attorney’s actions are guided by…..

Continue Reading

Managing crypto assets in your estate plan

Do you hold cryptocurrency? Do you have a family member who’s dabbling in these accounts? Without the access key, these assets can be lost forever. So, it’s important to think about how these accounts will be handled as part of your estate. Millennials and Gen Z make up 94% of those buying cryptocurrency, according to a study from personal loan company Stilt. At that age, many people haven’t made estate planning a top priority. But investors at any age need to be able to answer one key question: What happens to my cryptocurrency when I die? Here are some key…..

Continue Reading

Inflation, market swings offer estate planning opportunities

Rising interest rates can have a significant impact on estate planning. Some tools are more effective when interest rates are rising. Likewise, declines in the stock market or in home values can create opportunities to optimize your giving and reduce future estate taxes. Talk to an attorney about estate planning in the current economic environment. Depending on your situation, you may wish to consider strategies like these: Charitable Remainder Uni-Trust (CRUT). Under a CRUT arrangement, an individual and a charity share a pool of assets donated by the individual. The giver takes distributions of both principal and income for a…..

Continue Reading

Lessons from Anne Heche’s estate battles

The Anne Heche estate remains embroiled in disputes as interested parties argue over who should be appointed administrator and what constitutes a valid will. The conflict highlights the importance of making a will, naming an executor, and keeping those documents current. Reportedly, Heche’s 20-year-old son Homer Laffoon has filed to assume control over his late mother’s estate. Meanwhile, James Tupper, Heche’s ex-boyfriend and father of her 13-year-old son Atlas, has also asked to either be named administrator or to have a neutral third party appointed. Both parties have been throwing accusations at each other. Tupper claims Laffoon was estranged from…..

Continue Reading

Estate planning when you have a child with special needs

For parents of a child with a disability or chronic illness, estate planning means thinking about their future care as well as your own. For many families, caring for a special needs child includes getting them qualified for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid. Generally, the individual must have less than $2,000 in countable asset to qualify for those services. If a family member dies and names a disabled adult child as beneficiary, that gift can jeopardize the recipient’s ability to access public benefits. Getting bumped out of those programs isn’t just costly. It can be wildly disruptive for the…..

Continue Reading

Office Hours

Mon. - Fri.: 8:30 am - 5:30 pm

The Spectrum Building
613 N.W. Loop 410, Suite 840
San Antonio, Texas 78216-5507

Phone: (210) 742-1410
Fax: (210) 742-1414

9.3Gilbert Vara Jr.
powered by Birdeye