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Preparing Your Beneficiaries to Receive Their Inheritance

Posted by ANGELA RICH HARTMANN | May 15, 2024 | 0 Comments

When you hire an estate planning attorney, you are often looking for help with preparing your accounts and property to ultimately pass smoothly and safely to your loved ones. This is a key component of estate planning. An experienced estate planning attorney will put much thought and effort into ensuring that an appropriate estate plan is created using a variety of legal documents including wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and health care directives. These important tools can ensure that what you own ends up in the right hands, at the right time, and with as little cost and delay as possible.

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Did You Choose More Than One Successor Trustee?

Posted by ANGELA RICH HARTMANN | May 08, 2024 | 0 Comments

When selecting a successor trustee for a trust, it is common for the individual who creates the trust (the trustmaker) to choose one person to serve as a successor trustee at a time. Some attorneys routinely recommend that only a single successor trustee be appointed to avoid the potential for conflicts between co-trustees during trust administration. This can be a prudent approach and works well in many situations. This is particularly true when the appointed trustee diligently keeps the beneficiaries of the trust informed about the trust administration and carefully fulfils the trustee’s responsibilities under both the law and the provisions of the trust document.

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3 Things You Must Do to Protect Your Family if You Are Recently Unemployed

Posted by ANGELA RICH HARTMANN | Apr 24, 2024 | 0 Comments

If you have recently lost your job, you are not alone! Inflation has skyrocketed in the United States over the past couple of years. Some smaller businesses have not been able to survive the increased expenses, putting employees out of work, while many larger companies have laid off employees to reduce their costs. If you are dealing with a job loss, you can transform what you may view as a crisis into an opportunity to take steps to protect yourself and your family.

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Steps to Take When a Loved One Dies

Posted by ANGELA RICH HARTMANN | Apr 10, 2024 | 0 Comments

As your estate planning attorneys, we are here to help you when your family member or loved one dies. If you are simply too overwhelmed to call us during the first couple of weeks after your loved one passes away, it is important to keep in mind that there are several practical and legal considerations that the person named as the executor of the estate or trustee of the trust should address in the initial weeks following the death, prior to the administration of the estate or trust. During this stressful and emotional period, it is easy to forget about certain tasks which may lead to problems if left undone, as well as important legal considerations you must heed.

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Creating a Treasure Map: The Benefits of Preparing an Inventory before Death

Posted by ANGELA RICH HARTMANN | Apr 03, 2024 | 0 Comments

If you have already done your estate planning, you have taken a significant step toward ensuring that your loved ones will know how to manage your affairs if you become incapacitated or die. However, simply having a will or a trust and related estate planning documents is often not enough. A detailed inventory of all of your accounts and property is crucial for helping your loved ones manage your legal and financial affairs effectively.

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What Not to Include in Your Estate Planning Documents

Posted by ANGELA RICH HARTMANN | Mar 27, 2024 | 0 Comments

One important purpose of estate planning is to facilitate the transfer of ownership of your money and property to your family and loved ones when you pass away. For this transfer to be as stress-free and efficient as possible, it is crucial that estate planning documents be thorough and provide the necessary information. Nevertheless, there is some information that should never be included in your estate planning documents.

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What Happens to Your Venmo, PayPal, and Apple Pay Accounts at Your Death?

Posted by ANGELA RICH HARTMANN | Mar 20, 2024 | 0 Comments

It has been said that nothing ever dies on the Internet. While this dictum is typically used as a warning that what we put online may come back to haunt us, it is also true that our online accounts can outlive us, and even live in perpetuity. Having a digital estate plan that makes arrangements for what happens to these accounts when we die is essential.

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4 Important Considerations If You Win the Lottery

Posted by ANGELA RICH HARTMANN | Mar 06, 2024 | 0 Comments

As your estate planning attorneys, we can coordinate with your other advisors to help you make decisions and create or update your estate plan to incorporate strategies that will ensure that your winnings are protected during your lifetime, income and transfer taxes are minimized, and that your wealth is distributed to the people you choose in the way you desire when you pass away. Let us help you avoid hasty decisions that you may later regret. Call us today to set up an appointment so we can help you create a plan that will maximize the benefits from your lottery prize during your lifetime and create a lasting legacy for your loved ones.

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Why Can’t We Have a Joint Trust If We Are Not Married?

Posted by ANGELA RICH HARTMANN | Feb 21, 2024 | 0 Comments

Joint trusts are beneficial for many married couples, especially if they have a stable relationship, do not have many creditors, and do not live in a state where their estate may be subject to a state death tax. Compared to separate trusts, they are easier to fund, allow the surviving spouse to have complete control over the money and property held in the trust, and may help avoid much higher trust income tax rates that are applicable to their spouse’s separate trust after their spouse dies.

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Spousal Lifetime Access Trusts: What You Should Know

Posted by ANGELA RICH HARTMANN | Feb 14, 2024 | 0 Comments

No one wants to pay more taxes than they have to. To carry out this objective, many people search for the perfect estate planning tool that will allow them to control as much of their money and property as possible while reducing the amount they or their loved ones will have to pay the government. If you have looked for the tax-saving estate planning tools, chances are you might have come across the spousal lifetime access trust (SLAT). Here are some important things you should know before you settle on this tool as your estate planning solution.

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What is Asset Protection and Do I Need It?

Posted by ANGELA RICH HARTMANN | Jan 31, 2024 | 0 Comments

If you are like most people, when you hear “asset protection planning,” you think of people like Jeff Bezos or the Walton family. A common misconception is that only wealthy families and people in high-risk professions need asset protection planning. In reality, everyone is at risk of being sued and possibly losing everything they have worked hard to obtain. A car accident, foreclosure, medical crisis, or business failure could result in a huge monetary judgment, decimating your finances. 

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What if I Cannot Find a Beneficiary?

Posted by ANGELA RICH HARTMANN | Jan 17, 2024 | 0 Comments

When someone has named you as the executor (also known as a personal representative) of their will or the trustee of their trust passes away, you are obligated to distribute that person’s money and property according to the document’s terms to the designated beneficiaries.

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Pros and Cons of a Family Limited Partnership

Posted by ANGELA RICH HARTMANN | Jan 10, 2024 | 0 Comments

Owning your own business or investment portfolio can be incredibly rewarding. However, to preserve the fruits of your labor and dedication, you must do everything you can to protect it. Whether you seek to protect yourself, your investments, and your family from taxes, creditors, or probate, a family limited partnership (FLP) is a strategy worth considering.

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Have You Thought Through Your Retirement Plans?

Posted by ANGELA RICH HARTMANN | Jan 03, 2024 | 0 Comments

Beginning your retirement is a great milestone that is worth celebrating. You have put in many years of hard work, and you are now able to focus your energy on the next phase of your life. However, before you begin this next chapter, you need to make sure that you have fully thought through this exciting change in your life.

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Estate Planning Issues for the Modern Family

Posted by ANGELA RICH HARTMANN | Dec 27, 2023 | 0 Comments

As the name suggests, ABC’s TV show Modern Family depicts the relationships and experiences between a fictional extended family. Throughout the course of the series, the show addresses many issues that families deal with each day. For a close-knit family such as this fictional one, estate planning is crucial to ensure that everyone is protected when one of them dies or becomes disabled or incapacitated. We hope that examining some of the issues this family would need to address as they prepare for such circumstances will encourage you to consider how these issues impact your own family.

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Things You Can Do to Help Prove You Are Mentally Competent When Executing Your Estate Plan

Posted by ANGELA RICH HARTMANN | Dec 20, 2023 | 0 Comments

Although we would all like to believe that our family and loved ones will honor our wishes as expressed in our estate plan, contests are more common than you might think. Sometimes, a family member does not receive what they thought they would after a loved one passes away. To try to get what they think they are entitled to, they may file a lawsuit alleging that the person who made the will (the testator) or trust (the grantor) was not mentally competent to create it. There is a heightened risk that your estate planning documents will be challenged if you disinherit someone who ordinarily would have received money and property at your death or if you have been diagnosed with a medical condition that will slowly decrease your mental capacity. If a court finds that you did not have the mental capacity to sign your estate planning documents, the documents will be invalidated. Your money and property will be transferred to the people identified by state law, who may not be the individuals you would have chosen.

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