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The Estate Planning Documents You Need

An estate plan may be your last communication with your loved ones. It contains your final wishes regarding your body and possessions and directions regarding your health care. There are four legal documents you must have (and another you should have) to instruct your loved ones. First, you need a Last Will and Testament.

 

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Legal Standards for Testamentary Capacity

By: Brandan J. Pratt, Esq., CFP

Florida is home to a large population of retirees, and people are living longer and longer. Many people live well into their late 80’s and 90’s. There is a correlation between age and dementia. Therefore, there is a good chance that someone who wants to sign estate planning documents in their late 80’s or 90’s has some degree of dementia. It can be confusing as to whether someone who has dementia, has the requisite mental capacity to sign estate planning documents.

 

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Featured in Attorney At Law Magazine

Attorney to Watch Brandan J. Pratt

A trained civil engineer, Brandan J. Pratt began working as a construction manager for a Chicago real estate developer following his graduation from the University of Illinois. “I was constantly confronted with legal issues,” Pratt said. “After speaking to our developer’s in house counsel, I realized that armed with a Juris Doctor, my civil engineering degree and my experience in construction management, I would have a powerful tool.”

 

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Important Tax Law Changes Could Impact Your Estate Plan

By: Brad H. Milhauser, Esq

The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA) raised the federal estate tax exemption to $5 million per individual which is indexed for inflation. Due to the inflation adjusted exemption, a married couple can transfer almost $11,000,000, estate tax free. ATRA also made permanent "portability" which allows the surviving spouse to “port” the unused estate tax exemption of the first spouse to die, and tack it onto his or her own exemption...

 

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Practical Issues in Forming a Domestic Asset
Protection Trust for a Non-Resident

By: Brad H. Milhauser, Esq

The notion of a legal trust may conjure up images of country clubbers cradling gin-and-tonics.

Over the last several years, our firm has made a concerted effort to bolster our asset protection planning practice. Not only have our existing clients become more concerned with asset protection planning, but we are receiving more referrals from professional advisors regarding their clients' concerns with protecting wealth...

 

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Asset Protection Considerations For Business Owners

By Ryland F. Mahathey, Esq., Cpa, Ll.M. And Brad Milhauser, Esq., LL.M.

Many business owners devote much time and energy "working in" their business to improve business operations and profitability; however, they often neglect to "work on" their business by not addressing certain asset protection issues. Business owners, particularly those owning their business in corporate form, should consider the following...

 

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Estate Planning: Is a trust beneficial?

By: CNN Money

The notion of a legal trust may conjure up images of country clubbers cradling gin-and-tonics.

The truth is a trust may be a useful estate-planning tool for your family if you have a net worth of at least $100,000 and meet one of the following conditions, says Mike Janko, executive director of the National Association of Financial and Estate Planning (NAFEP):

 

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Dust Off Your S corporation, Convert to an LLC Taxed as an S Corp for Better Asset Protection!

The number of new businesses forming as traditional "S" corporations has decreased dramatically in recent years. That is due in large part to the popularity of limited liability entities such as Limited Partnerships or Limited Liability Companies (LLCs). An entity such as an LLC offers all of the same protection that a corporation offers from business creditors, but it has the added benefit of protecting the business assets from the personal creditors of the business owner...

 

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Be Careful Naming a Revocable Trust
as Beneficiary of Life Insurance

A 2012 Florida case underscores the risk in naming a Revocable Trust as a beneficiary of a life insurance policy. The decedent named his Revocable Trust as beneficiary of two life insurance policies. The Revocable Trust provided that the Trustee shall pay all of the debts and expenses of the decedent's estate prior to making distributions. A clause of this nature is quite common in Revocable Trusts...

 
 

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Estate Tax Back on the Bargaining Table?

In early January, in order to avoid the so called "Fiscal Cliff," the estate tax exemption was "permanently" increased to $5.25 million, indexed for inflation. In addition, the gift and generation-skipping transfer (GST) taxes were increased to $5.25 million. This law removed almost the entire national population from concerning themselves with the estate tax and allowed people to focus on other aspects of estate planning.

Now, with Obama's new budget proposal, those permanent provisions are back on the bargaining table. The President's budget proposes reinstating the estate, gift, and GST taxes to 2009 levels beginning in tax year 2018...

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Estate Planning for Young Parents

I have represented many parents with young children in connection with their estate planning needs. Young parents are often just starting out in their careers and haven't accumulated the same wealth, assets and liabilities that older parents have, however their needs are just as critical (if not more) to plan for.

Typically a young couple will come to me without an estate plan in place. It is common for the couple to have already purchased life insurance, however I have rarely met with a young couple who has coordinated the life insurance and their other assets with their estate plan...

 

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