Latest Blog Posts

Surprise! You Can’t Easily Disinherit Your Spouse in the U.S.

Posted on: September 30th, 2015
Believe it or not, in the U.S. it isn't easy to disinherit your spouse. But the same is not true for other family members - generally, you can use your estate plan to disinherit your brothers and sisters, your nieces and nephews, or even your very own children and grandchildren. However, in the majority of states and the District of Columbia, you can't intentionally disinherit your spouse unless your spouse actually agrees to receive nothing from your estate in a Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreement....

Decanting: How to Fix a Trust That Isn’t Getting Better With Age

Posted on: September 16th, 2015
While many wines get better with age, the same cannot be said for some irrevocable trusts. Maybe you're the beneficiary of a trust created by your great grandfather seventy years ago that no longer makes sense. Or maybe you created an irrevocable trust twenty years ago that doesn't work as it should. Is there any way to fix an irrevocable trust that has turned from a fine wine into vinegar? You may be surprised to learn that under certain circumstances the answer is yes, by "decanting" the old broken trust into a brand new one....

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

Posted on: September 9th, 2015
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....

What’s Hot in Estate Planning Right Now May Surprise You

Posted on: September 2nd, 2015
Estate planning has truly evolved over the past 20 years. Gone is the uncertainty about federal estate taxes and the absolute requirement for married couples to use complex trusts to minimize these taxes. But also gone is planning for the "traditional" family. In fact, today's estate planning is more complicated than ever before....

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

Posted on: August 27th, 2015
The Obama administration recently released its budget proposal for the 2016 fiscal year. As in past years, this budget proposes changes to the laws governing federal estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer (GST) taxes. Several of these changes would raise revenue by limiting the tax benefits achieved by using certain estate planning techniques, while others would decrease exemptions and increase rates. In addition, the fifth proposal discussed below is a brand new one that has raised some eyebrows:...

Skyrocketing Probate Fees – Another Reason to Avoid Probate Court

Posted on: August 21st, 2015
As of July 1, 2015, Connecticut probate courts earned the dubious distinction of charging the highest probate fees in the U.S. Amazingly, the Connecticut legislature voted to completely cut general fund support for the state's probate courts for the next two fiscal years, thereby creating a $32 million deficit. In order to cover the shortfall, the fees charged for settling a deceased person's estate in Connecticut were significantly increased and the $12,500 cap on probate fees was eliminated. To make matters worse, these changes apply retroactively to all deaths dating back to January 1, 2015. As a result, it is estimated that a handful of Connecticut estates will owe in excess of $1 million in probate fees and at least a dozen will owe in excess of $100,000....
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