Pre-litigation claims can be effective in estate tax disputes

Pre-litigation is activity that occurs before a legal suit is filed. If you are involved in an estate transfer and your rights are unclear, pre-litigation may be an effective way to establish your position and head off a more costly legal conflict. Pre-litigation claims are typically made in an effort to get the other party to back down or engage in negotiations. This process may be the first step in claiming a will or trust is invalid, challenging a premarital agreement, or charging that an executor is engaged in misconduct. In a much-publicized conflict over the estate of former “Growing…..

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How to leave your home to the kids

Deciding when and how to relinquish the family home can be one of the most challenging issues seniors face. For many, a home is their most valuable asset and a cornerstone of the wealth they’d like to transfer to their family. If you’re one of AARP’s estimated 87 percentage of older adults who wants to stay at home and “age in place,” you may be planning to stay put as long as possible with the goal of transferring your house to your heirs after you die. Here is a review of the ways you can go about leaving your home…..

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Proposed regulations curtailing valuation discounts withdrawn

The Treasury Department and the IRS have announced that proposed regulations that would have drastically limited valuation discounts for transfers of family businesses are being withdrawn. The regulations would have curbed valuation discounts commonly used when family business owners transfer minority shares to other family members. The withdrawal means that family business owners will still be able to transfer a portion of their business to their children while applying valuation discounts. Primarily, those discounts include adjustments for lack of control and lack of marketability. Proponents argued that such valuation discounts are fair and legitimate because a minority transfer does not…..

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Home sellers relinquish control after a sale

If you sell your home, the new owners can paint the house pink, tear out the stone wall your grandfather built, and cut down the maple tree you carved your initials in. Once you sell your home, there’s pretty much nothing you can do to prevent the new owners from making changes. Even if you try to stipulate certain provisions prior to a sale, such conditions aren’t usually enforceable in a court of law. That said, neighborhood associations can pass certain covenants and restrictions that limit changes such as house color, additions and landscaping. These conditions typically do hold up…..

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Password sharing presents risks for family and fiduciaries

Keeping careful records of the usernames and passwords for your online accounts and sharing them with a trusted family member or agent may seem like the start of a responsible estate plan. But you need to be aware of the risks for those you empower with the information. Even with your permission, fiduciaries (executors, trustees, conservators), agents and family members who manage assets as part of your estate plan could be committing a federal crime by accessing your online account with your password. That’s because most terms of service agreements governing websites or online accounts specify that passwords not be…..

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Are LLCs your best option for asset protection? Know the risks

Limited liability companies can offer better asset protection than ordinary stock corporations, but there are potential adverse economic and tax results if investors are not alert. Investors increasingly use LLCs to operate a trade or business, to hold real estate or to hold other investment assets, as opposed to state law corporations. But when investors transfer LLC interests to a spouse, children, trust or others, as opposed to ordinary corporate stock, they can risk losing control of the business or decreasing the basis for heirs — with a corresponding increase in the beneficiary’s income tax. An LLC owner or “member”…..

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What millennials need to know about estate planning

A recent survey by senior-living focused website Caring.com, quoted in USA Today, revealed that 78 percent of Americans under the age of 36 don’t have a will or trust in place. But even with youth on their side, the millennial generation needs to be planning for the unforeseen. If most would consider the following three issues, they’d be off to a good start: Incapacitation provisions: No one expects to be incapacitated, but there are at least two documents needed in the event that occurs. The first is a durable power of attorney that identifies who will make financial decisions on…..

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Protect your power of attorney from legislative changes

Medical and financial powers of attorney are a critical aspect of effective estate planning, but did you know they must be kept up to date? It is recommended to have them reviewed every 2-3 years. Several legislative changes over the years have given financial institutions and healthcare providers reasons to reject powers of attorney. As new laws are enacted, necessary provisions must be incorporated into your power of attorney, as failing to including certain language could mean your documents will not be accepted. Notable issues include: Your medical power of attorney was executed prior to your state adopting the Uniform…..

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Learn from celebrities’ estate planning blunders

There are many lessons to be learned about estate planning from the bad experiences of some of the world’s most famous people. The AARP recently gathered their stories, and here are the highlights: Florence Griffith Joyner: Before her death in 1998, Olympic gold medalist Florence Griffith Joyner never told anyone the location of her will. Without the original document, it took four years to close her probate estate due to a long battle among her relatives. Lesson learned: Don’t keep the location of your will a secret. Prince: When Prince died in 2016 he left no will. Now a Minnesota…..

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How to sell your rented investment property

Are you ready to sell that investment property, but unsure what to do because it’s currently being rented? You have options, but first you need to understand the legal restrictions on selling a property while a tenant is renting it. Most states do not see selling the property as a valid enough reason to terminate a lease agreement early. So if there is still a set term on the lease, you may need to wait the tenant out before selling. Otherwise you can offer to pay him or her to vacate early. For tenants on a month-to-month lease, be sure…..

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