The 20% Small Business Deduction – Does Your Business Qualify?

In December of 2017, President Trump signed a tax reform bill into law. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act generated a lot of excitement for provisions that reduced taxes and greatly increased the estate tax exemption. This new law also provided a significant benefit to small business owners – the 20% small business deduction. However, there are restrictions on which businesses qualify for this tax benefit. How the 20% Small Read More

7 Pets That Inherited Fortunes

Pets are often a big part of our families. In fact, some people refer to themselves as pet parents or speak of their pets as if they were their children. It’s important to care for our animal friends, and this is true even after we have passed on. Some people set up pet trust while others name their devoted pets as beneficiaries in their Wills. Seven lucky pets that inherited fortunes continued to live a good life Read More

Timeline for a Probate Case

We all own things. But when we die, where does our property go? How will our final debts be paid? This is where probate comes in. After someone dies, their Will usually is submitted to a probate court.  Even if there was no Will, the probate court will likely appoint a Personal Representative. What follows is the administration or management of the deceased person’s probate estate assets. How long this process takes Read More

Is it Time to Update Your Trusts?

Years ago, Blake added a special needs trust, a revocable living trust, and a qualified terminable interest property (QTIP) trust to his estate plan. He knew he should review his estate planning and his trusts every so often, but just never seemed to have the time. When Blake passed away recently, his family was left with a messy probate situation. Assets had been bought and sold, some heirs had predeceased Blake, Read More

Tax Reform and Limited Liability Companies

President Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act into law on December 22, 2017. Tax reform offered sweeping changes for individual taxpayers and business entities, like limited liability companies. Limited Liability Companies Are Popular, Now More Than Ever For years now, the limited liability company has been one of the most popular business entities to form. As pass-through entities, limited liability companies Read More

Comparing Tenants by the Entirety with Joint Tenants with Right of Survivorship

It may seem simple to determine who “owns” real estate. After all, the state maintains property records that are open to the public, and the owner’s name typically appears in those records. However, there are different types of property ownership. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages. For example, tenants by the entirety and joint tenants with right of survivorship are both types of joint property Read More

3 Reasons to Sign a Living Will

Most estate plans include a Will, maybe a trust, a durable power of attorney, and an advance directive. Your advance directive may or may not include a Living Will. It’s totally your choice. However, there are significant reasons to sign a Living Will. In this article, we will consider those reasons and what may happen if you decide not to add a Living Will to your estate plan. #1 – So your loved ones won’t have to Read More

The Connection Between Estate Planning and Retirement Planning

Retirement planning is about money. People need to plan ahead in order to have enough money for retirement. Estate planning is about more than money. However, a major part of estate planning does involve taking care of your money and other assets. When thinking of the connection between estate planning and retirement, trusts may be the first place to start. Estate Planning and Retirement Planning Provide Income for Read More

Durable Power of Attorney: Can Your Agent Make Medical Decisions for You?

Author Mark Twain famously said, “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter – ‘tis the difference between the lightning-bug and the lightning.” He was referring to words, but the concept works in other situations. Sometimes two things are similarly named but are actually very different. In estate planning, you have the durable power of attorney and the health care power Read More

Would a Family Incentive Trust Work for Your Family?

Parents tend to worry about their children’s behavior. As children become adults, those worries change from wondering if the kids did their homework to hoping they will make sound financial decisions. One way to encourage fiscally responsible behavior is through a family incentive trust. But, what can this trust do that a parent’s chore charts and withheld allowance did not? What is a family incentive trust? Like Read More