Share

Latest Blog Posts

States Brace for Baby Boomer Retirement Age Challenges

Posted on: November 13th, 2018
There are demographic and cultural shifts occurring in the United States. The baby boomer generation continues to “gray” the country and is changing the way individual states set budgets and health care policies. More attention will be paid to the needs of the post age 50 generation(s) . Changing attitudes towards working past the age of 65 has taken root in this country and “retirement age” does not necessarily mean a senior is leaving the workforce. ...

Caution: Creditors Now Have Easy Access to Inherited IRAs

Posted on: October 30th, 2018
Do you have IRAs or other retirement accounts that you plan to leave to your loved ones? If so, proceed with caution. As opposed to when you own the retirement accounts, inherited retirement accounts do not have asset protection, meaning they can be seized by creditors. ...

Help for Seniors Who Fall Victim to Abuse

Posted on: October 16th, 2018
In October 2017, President Trump signed into law the Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act. This bill was designed to combat the growing epidemic of the elderly being taken advantage of financially and abused physically. A study conducted by the National Council on Aging indicates that approximately 1 in 10 Americans aged 60 or older have experienced some form of elder abuse. Although, this number is likely higher according to another study which estimates only 1 in 14 elder abuse cases are reported. Financial abuse is more likely to be reported than emotional or physical abuse. The costs of elder abuse are steep. Elders who are victims of abuse have a 300% higher risk of death when compared to those who have not been abused. Elder financial abuse costs senior citizens an estimated $36.5 billion per year. ...

Kids and Investors Are Not The Only Options

Posted on: October 4th, 2018
Retiring from your business can be a tough decision. To ensure that what you have built continues on, there needs to be a plan for succession. For some people, they have spent years grooming a child or other family member to take over, wanting the business to stay in the family. Others look to sell to a third party for a quick way out that will also give them a nest egg for their next phase of life. However, there is a third option--transferring the business to your employees. If you like the idea of transferring your business to long-time faithful employees who have contributed greatly to the company’s success over the years, below are a couple of options for you to consider. ...

Passing Along a Benefit, Not a Burden

Posted on: September 18th, 2018
Most business owners have their estate planning prepared because they are worried about what will happen to their business after they are dead. However, proper estate planning has the added benefit of allowing you to make plans for what will happen if you are incapacitated or needing to be away from your business for an extended period of time....

Retirement Planning for Business Owners

Posted on: August 22nd, 2018
For many employees, saving for retirement is usually a matter of simply participating in their employer’s 401(k) plan and perhaps opening an IRA for some extra savings. But, when you’re the owner of a business, planning for retirement requires proactivity and strategy. It’s not just the dizzying array of choices for retirement accounts, there’s also planning for the business itself. Who will run the business after your retirement? Additionally, your estate plan must integrate into your retirement and business transition strategy....

Digital Afterlife: An Estate Plan For Your Facebook Account

Posted on: August 7th, 2018
Did you ever wonder what happens to your digital footprint when you pass away? Well you should, particularly if you are part of the 77 percent of Americans who go online every day. As the internet has become more of an integral part of our lives, our information -- pictures, videos, financial, emails, social media accounts, and other personal information -- is constantly being stored online. All of this information is known as your “digital assets.” While the internet has made our lives easier by allowing us to access our information with the simple push of a button, it may be difficult for our loved ones to do the same once we are gone....

Legal Considerations When Getting Your New College Student Ready to Go

Posted on: July 25th, 2018
If you are preparing to send your son or daughter off to college to pursue higher education, you may be wondering how their first semester of school will go. During this exciting new chapter in your family’s life, the last thing you may be thinking about is estate planning for your college-aged child. While your child may not have any assets (yet), once he or she turns 18, your child is considered an adult in the eyes of the law. Before your kids go away, have a frank conversation with them about how much information - including grades, finances, health records - you will be able to access....

The Challenges of Placing a Parent in Long Term Care

Posted on: June 26th, 2018
Long term care (LTC) is a term that has many facets to its definition. It is comprised of a variety of services that meet medical and non-medical requirements for people who cannot care for themselves for long periods of time. It is a highly individualized care system which can be formally or informally provided. Formal facilities that provide long term care go by various names such as residential continuing care facility, nursing home, and personal care facility. Informal long term care is often provided, in its earlier stages, by a family member who is willing to provide their parent personal care, meals, laundry services, housekeeping, and transportation services to and from appointments....

Does My Estate Plan Need to Include My Vacation Property?

Posted on: May 21st, 2018
If you own a vacation home, timeshare, investment property, or any other asset outside of the state where you are domiciled you must make sure it’s included in your estate plan. If you fail to include these in your estate plan, or fail to have an estate plan at all, your heirs will encounter issues, and usually the expense and hassle of court costs, when inheriting these assets....

Can You Bequeath Your Frequent Flyer Miles?

Posted on: May 1st, 2018
If you’re a frequent airline traveler, one of your estate planning concerns may be what will happen to your accumulated miles once you’re gone. They could be worth thousands of dollars, so you probably don’t want them to just disappear, but some airline policies say that’s exactly what will happen. The law doesn’t consider airline miles assets that can be bequeathed directly to heirs, but there are still some steps you can take to help ensure your miles live on. It all starts with examining the airline policies in question. ...

Identity Fraud Targeting the Elderly

Posted on: April 17th, 2018
Con artists and scammers employ many different schemes to defraud seniors of their identity information and money. A large number of them are conducted over the telephone, for instance posing as an Internal Revenue Service agent claiming back taxes are owed, or frightening a grandparent to think that their grandchild has been arrested and needs bail money wired to them. Other schemes include the promise of a prize or lottery cash if they just send a large fee in order to collect their “winnings.” Seniors become easy victims when targeted by these social engineering schemes and it is likely to get worse because of the proliferation of smartphones and other devices that get seniors to explore the online world....

Why a Spendthrift Trust Can Be a Great Solution for Your Heirs

Posted on: March 27th, 2018
A trust is a fiduciary arrangement, established by a grantor or trustmaker, which gives a third party (known as a trustee) the authority to manage assets on behalf of one or more persons (known as a beneficiaries). Since every situation is different, there are different types of trusts to ensure the best outcome for each beneficiary. One type of trust, known as a spendthrift trust, is commonly used to protect a beneficiary’s interest from creditors, a soon-to-be ex-spouse, or his or her own poor management of money. ...

Alzheimer's 101: Understanding the Basics

Posted on: March 5th, 2018
As everyone knows, as you age your risk of illness and/or disorder increase. One of these diseases that becomes more likely as you age is Alzheimer’s disease. While it’s likely you have heard of Alzheimer’s disease before, do you really understand it? Did you know one in ten people (10%) over the age of 65 in the U.S. has Alzheimer’s disease? Due to the aging of America and because it affects so many people’s lives (more than 5 million people in 2017), we thought it would be good to provide a brief introduction to the subject. Click on the link below to learn more about the causes, symptoms and diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. ...

Fitzgerald Law Office, LLC Expands Its Areas of Service

Posted on: February 6th, 2018
We are excited to announce that Fitzgerald Law Office, LLC is expanding its areas of service....

Four Reasons Why Estate Planning Isn't Just for the Top 1%

Posted on: January 18th, 2018
There is a common misconception that estate plans are only for the ultra-rich - the top 1 percent, 10%, 20%, or some other arbitrary determination of “enough” money. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. People at all income and wealth levels can benefit from a comprehensive estate plan. Sadly, many have not sat down to put their legal house in order....

There Is Never A Better Time Than Now To Get Your Affairs in Order

Posted on: December 20th, 2017
The idea of getting your financial and legal house in order is likely the last thing on your mind during the busy holiday season. But, getting started is much easier than you think. In fact, the end of the year is a good time to reflect upon the year that has passed and focus on your aspirations for the future. Don’t hold this task off for later. Some careful thought and a little bit of work now can go a long way to help you feel 100% confident about moving forward in the new year....

Safeguarding Your Estate Plan Against Three Worst-Case Scenarios

Posted on: October 2nd, 2017
Even with an estate plan, things can always happen that may cause confusion for the estate–or threaten the plan altogether. Below are three examples of worst-case scenarios and ways to demonstrate how a carefully crafted plan can address issues, from the predictable to the total surprise....

Does a Dynasty Trust Make Sense for Your Family?

Posted on: September 18th, 2017
Earlier this year, NBA team owner Gail Miller made headlines when she announced that she was effectively no longer the owner of the Utah Jazz or the Vivint Smart Home Arena. These assets, she said, were being placed into a family trust, therefore raising interest in an estate planning tool previously known only to the very wealthy­–the dynasty trust....

Which life events that require an immediate estate plan update?

Posted on: September 6th, 2017
Since your family’s needs and circumstances are constantly changing, so too must your estate plan. Your plan must be updated when certain life changes occur. These include, but are not limited to: marriage, the birth or adoption of a new family member, divorce, the death of a loved one, a significant change in assets, and a move to a new state or country....

The Difference between Lifetime and Deathtime Planning and Why a Comprehensive Plan Must Include Both

Posted on: August 16th, 2017
According to a March 2017 survey by Caring.com, six out of ten Americans have no will or any other kind of estate planning. Many said they’d get around to it, eventually. When they’re old. However, comprehensive estate planning isn’t just deathtime planning. It’s lifetime planning, too. It’s about ensuring that your medical and financial decisions can be made by someone that you trust. Lifetime planning can help you address potential tax liabilities, find you benefit programs you may eligible for, and protect your family from costly guardianship or conservatorship court. It can make sure that a trusted party looks after and protects your affairs, if and when you’re not able to....

Tools You Can Use to Leave Words of Wisdom to the Next Generation

Posted on: July 31st, 2017
You come into the world a blank slate, and as you grow, you gain wisdom. You've planned your estate to leave physical assets to beneficiaries, so now think about leaving them something that’s just as important but less tangible: the hard-won wisdom you’ve accumulated over your life. Let your family and friends learn from your mistakes, and profit from your successes....

Military Family Estate Planning

Posted on: June 15th, 2017
Although Memorial Day just passed, it is important to honor those that have served our country. This time is also a good opportunity for members of the military and their loved ones to consider setting up an - or revising an existing - estate plan. Military families need to consider special estate-planning issues that others do not. This is particularly true when one or more family members are deployed overseas. Beyond this, members of the military have access to special benefits and resources. This can become complicated and, for this reason, it is important that you seek special help if you are a military family. Whether you are just starting in the military or you are a seasoned veteran, below are some common factors to consider for your estate planning needs. ...

Got Stuff? George Carlin Says You Need An Estate Plan!

Posted on: May 29th, 2017
George Carlin would have been a great pitchman for estate planning. You may remember his stand-up routine on "stuff." We all have stuff, and we're pretty particular about our stuff. We move it around with us, it's hard for some of us to get rid of it, and some of us don't like our stuff mixed up with other people's stuff. During your lifetime, you collect a lot of stuff, some of it valuable and some of it not. But because it's your stuff, it means something to you. You already know you can't take it with you when you die, so there has to be some way of distributing your stuff to other people. ...

5 Reasons to Embrace the Emotional Side of Estate Planning

Posted on: May 15th, 2017
When you hear the phrase “estate plan,” you might first think about paperwork. Or your mind might land on some of the uncomfortable topics that estate planning confronts head-on: end-of-life decisions, incapacity, and your family’s legacy from generation to generation. Those subjects hit home for everyone. But while that could feel like a reason to avoid estate planning, the emotional nature of these decisions is actually a reason to embrace the process with enthusiasm. Here are a few ways in which emotion in estate planning is a good thing:...

How You Can Build an Estate Plan that Includes Asset Protection

Posted on: May 4th, 2017
Much of estate planning has to do with the way a person’s assets will be distributed upon their death. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. From smart incapacity planning to diligent probate avoidance, there is a lot that goes into crafting a comprehensive estate plan. One important factor to consider is asset protection. ...

Life Insurance and Estate Planning: Protecting Your Beneficiaries’ Interests

Posted on: April 19th, 2017
One misconception people have about life insurance is that naming beneficiaries is all you have to do to ensure the benefits of life insurance will be available for a surviving spouse, children, or other intended beneficiary. Life insurance is an important estate planning tool, but without certain protections in place, there's no guarantee that your spouse or children will receive the benefit of your purchase of life insurance. Consider the following examples:...

New Legislation Could Mean the End of Estate and GSTT Taxes

Posted on: March 29th, 2017
On January 24, 2017, the Death Tax Repeal Act of 2017, or H.R. 631, was introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives by South Dakota congresswoman Kristi Noem. If passed, H.R. 631 would completely repeal the federal estate tax. A separate companion bill put before the Senate by South Dakota senator John Thune, S. 205, would also repeal the generation-skipping transfer tax (GSTT). These bills carry a few subtleties beyond the abolishment of two substantial taxes. Interestingly, both bills retain the federal Gift Tax with a $5.49 million exemption and a maximum rate of 35 percent. ...

What To Do After a Loved One Dies

Posted on: February 15th, 2017
If you've been appointed an executor of a loved one's estate, or a successor trustee, and that person dies, your grief – not to mention your to-do list, including tasks ranging from planning the funeral, coordinating relatives coming in from out of town and (eventually) meeting with a trust administration or probate lawyer – can be quite overwhelming. First and foremost, take care of yourself during this emotional time. To help you with the “business” end of things, here’s a quick checklist of crucial details that will make the trip to our office to handle the legal affairs easier. I know it can be difficult, but some of these things have a deadline, so make sure that you reach out sooner rather than later:...

5 Things Every New Mother Needs to Know About Wills

Posted on: February 1st, 2017
As a new mother, you naturally want to ensure your new baby’s future in every way. For many new mothers, infancy is a time for celebrating new life, and making a will is the last thing on their minds. For others, the process of bringing new life into the world sparks intense feelings of wanting control and needing organization. Regardless of where you fall on that spectrum, you might be struggling to figure out what steps you need to take to protect your children’s future should the unthinkable happen. Here are five key things every new mother should know about wills. ...

3 Tips for Overwhelmed Executors

Posted on: January 18th, 2017
While it is an honor to be named as an executor of a will or estate, it can also be a sobering and daunting responsibility. Being an executor (sometimes called a personal representative) requires a high level of organization, foresight, and attention to detail to meet responsibilities and ensure that all beneficiaries receive the assets to which they are entitled. If you’ve found yourself in the position of “overwhelmed executor,” here are some tips to lighten the load. ...

Did you include your grandkids in your will? 5 Tips to Avoid Common Problems

Posted on: January 5th, 2017
As we build wealth, we naturally desire to pass that financial stability to our offspring. With the grandkids, especially, we often share a special bond that makes us want to provide well for their future. However, that bond can actually turn into a weakness if proper precautions aren’t set in place. If you’re planning to include the grandchildren in your will, here are five potential dangers to watch for, and ways you can avoid them....

What To Do When a Disability Throws Your Estate Plan Into Chaos

Posted on: December 19th, 2016
As poet Robert Burns mused centuries ago, “The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” Despite thoughtful effort and a concerted strategy, you cannot prepare for every emergency. A car accident, sudden illness, workplace injury or chronic medical condition can force you to re-evaluate the core assumptions you used to plan your future and set up your legacy. A 2015 report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offered this sobering assessment: “In 2013, approximately one in five U.S. adults reported any disability, with state-level prevalence of any disability ranging from 16.4% in Minnesota to 31.5% in Alabama.” The CDC also reported that “annual disability-associated health care expenditures were estimated at nearly $400 billion in 2006, with over half attributable to costs related to non-independent living (e.g., institutional care, personal care services).” Frustratingly, you can’t turn back the clock. However, you can take meaningful actions to protect your legacy and estate in the wake of your newfound limitations. Here are some insights to that end: ...

Want to Give the Kids an Early Inheritance? 4 Things to Consider

Posted on: December 6th, 2016
If you’re thinking about giving your children their inheritance early, you’re not alone. A recent Merrill Lynch study suggests that these days, nearly two-thirds of people over the age of 50 would rather pass their assets to the children early than make them wait until the will is read. It can be especially satisfying to fund our children’s dreams while we’re alive to enjoy them, and there’s no real financial penalty for doing so, provided that you structure the arrangement correctly. Here are four important factors to take into account when planning to give an early inheritance....

Updating Your Revocable Trust: How Many "Tweaks" Are Too Many

Posted on: November 22nd, 2016
If your life or the law has changed since you signed your trust, it needs to be updated. Updates can be made by way of an amendment - or - a complete restatement. An amendment updates a specific part of the trust; whereas, a restatement, updates the entire trust. You might think that an amendment would cost less than a restatement, but that’s not necessarily true. Let’s chat about which is best for you....

Aging.gov: A New Resource for Older Americans and Their Families

Posted on: October 3rd, 2016
More than 10,000 people turn 65 in the U.S. every day according to Aging.gov (http://www.hhs.gov/aging/), a new website recently launched by the Obama administration. The goal of this website is to act as gateway for older Americans and their families, friends and caregivers to locate information about leading a healthy lifestyle, options for health care, preventing elder abuse, and retirement planning. ...

The Lifetime QTIP Trust: Or (How to Maintain Control of Your Estate and Keep Spouse No. 2 Happy)

Posted on: September 20th, 2016
Estate planning for couples in a second or later marriage who have disproportionate estates can be tricky. One solution for allowing the well-to-do spouse to maintain control of their assets but keep their other half happy is the Lifetime QTIP Trust. ...

Your Cyber Legacy: 3 Tips for Your Digital Assets

Posted on: August 2nd, 2016
There’s an entire category of commonly-overlooked legacy to consider – digital assets. Don’t worry if you didn’t consider these assets when made your will or trust – it’s surprisingly common and, luckily, easy to correct....

How to Make Your Inheritance Last

Posted on: June 23rd, 2016
A 2012 study by Ohio State researcher Jay Zagorsky found that about one-third of Americans who receive an inheritance have negative savings within two years of getting their money, and of those who receive $100,000 or more, nearly one in five spend, donate or simply lose it all. If you are about to receive an inheritance, there are several steps you can take to insure your funds will last longer than a few years....

Wills Vs. Trusts: Take Control of Your Wealth Distribution

Posted on: May 26th, 2016
You work hard for your money and want to ensure that your wealth distribution goes according to your wishes upon death. Sadly, many people simply don't understand the difference between wills and trusts and how they can affect inheritance. Don’t be one of them! Take control of your wealth distribution by understanding what wills don’t control and the benefits of a trust....

How To Avoid Sending Your Loved Ones (And Assets) Through Probate

Posted on: April 25th, 2016
Today many people are using a revocable living trust instead of a will or joint ownership as the foundation of their estate plan. When properly prepared, a living trust will avoid the public, costly and time-consuming court processes of conservatorship or guardianship (due to incapacity) or probate (after death). Still, many people make a big mistake that sends their assets and loved ones right into the court system: they fail to fund their trust. ...

3 Simple Ways to Avoid Probate Costs

Posted on: March 9th, 2016
The bad news: probated estates are subject to a variety of costs from attorneys, executors, appraisers, accountants, courts, and state law. Depending on the probate's complexity, fees can run into tens of thousands of dollars. The good news: probate costs can be reduced by avoiding probate. It’s really that simple.Here are three simple ways to avoid probate costs by avoiding probate: ...

Nosey Neighbor Nellie Can Find Out About Your Probate. Really.

Posted on: February 8th, 2016
Most people think of probate as a private process. However, since wills are filed at the courthouse, probated estates become a matter of public record. That means your nosey neighbor Nellie can simply go down to the courthouse or hop online and find out about your probate. Really. ...

HELP! This Probate is Taking Forever!!!

Posted on: January 13th, 2016
After a loved one dies, her estate must be settled. While most people want the settlement process to be done ASAP, probate can take between 18 and 24 months. Yes, you heard that right. The time delays create unnecessary stress....

Financial Firms Roll Out Form Aimed at Stopping Financial Elder Abuse

Posted on: August 11th, 2015
...

It Is Not Just About Death And Taxes: The Essential Legal Documents You Need For Incapacity Planning

Posted on: May 26th, 2015
...

How to Easily Integrate Asset Protection Trusts into Your Estate Plan

Posted on: May 12th, 2015
...

When is an Estate Subject to State Death Taxes?

Posted on: April 27th, 2015
...

Is a Payable on Death Account Right for You and Your Family?

Posted on: April 13th, 2015
...

Five Changes Proposed in President Obama’s 2016 Budget That Could Affect Your Estate Plan

Posted on: March 23rd, 2015
...

2015 Changes to State Death Taxes

Posted on: February 23rd, 2015
...

What the 2015 Inflation Adjustments for the Estate Tax Exemption and Trust Income Tax

Posted on: February 9th, 2015
...

Why Does Probate Take So Long?

Posted on: January 26th, 2015
...

4 Tips for Avoiding a Will or Trust Contest

Posted on: January 12th, 2015
...

Make an Achievable 2015 New Year’s Resolution – Get an Estate Plan Checkup!

Posted on: December 31st, 2014
...

Passion Investing as a Spark to Your Life

Posted on: September 22nd, 2014
...

Parental Warning: If You Own Your Property this Way, You May Accidentally Disinherit Your Own Children

Posted on: September 8th, 2014
...

Incorporating Faith and Values in Estate Planning

Posted on: August 25th, 2014
...

U.S. Supreme Court Rules Inherited IRAs are Not Protected from Creditors

Posted on: August 18th, 2014
...

AB Trusts – Do You Need to Get Rid of Yours?

Posted on: August 4th, 2014
...

How To Leave Assets To Minor Children

Posted on: July 28th, 2014
...

Providing for Your Parents in Your Estate Plan

Posted on: June 30th, 2014
...

Should You Disinherit a Child?

Posted on: June 9th, 2014
...

How to Make a Family Meeting a Successful Part of the Estate Planning Process

Posted on: May 28th, 2014
...

8 Estate Planning Things to Do Before You Travel

Posted on: May 15th, 2014
...

How to Choose a Trustee

Posted on: May 2nd, 2014
...

Three Social Security Traps

Posted on: April 15th, 2014
...

Organize Information For Your Family

Posted on: March 19th, 2014
Think for a few moments about what would happen if you suddenly became incapacitated or died. Would your spouse or family know what to do? Would they know where to find important records, assets and insurance documents? Would they be able to access (or even know about) online accounts or files on your computer? Would they know whom to ask if they need help? Putting the effort in now to establish a formal document inventory can alleviate unnecessary anxiety and turmoil in the future....

Estate Planning Deficiencies Check-Up

Just click below to access your own complementary checklist.  

Email Marketing by AWeber

 Do you know for certain if your Estate Plan accomplishes your wishes for you and your family  under the current Estate and Income Tax Laws and in your currrent circumstances?

Legal Vault Client Login Legal Vault Hospital Login
Follow Us




Subscribe To Our Newsletter