One of the largest expenses for a family is higher education expenses for their children. Education expenses continue to grow faster than inflation. This reality has resulted in even families with significant means having to plan for the future.
Over the past 40 years I have prepared thousands of wills. Each time the wills are organized in articles and paragraphs, all of the pages are numbered, the Testator’s initials are placed on the corner of each page, the will is signed at its logical end, and a self-proving affidavit is appended. All of these actions are designed to ensure that the wishes of the Testator (the person who makes the will) are followed and to reduce the possibility of fraud by the substitution of pages in a will.
When you owe money to the IRS, penalties and interest can add up, and eventually, the IRS can collect the money you owe with forced collection actions such as liens, levies, wage garnishments and asset seizures. It’s best to pay the IRS as soon as possible or work out a payment arrangement with the IRS. Several collection alternatives are available if you qualify.
An irrevocable trust is one that by definition and design cannot be amended, modified, changed or revoked. Trusts can be made irrevocable at creation or may become irrevocable upon the death or incompetence of a grantor, or upon the happening of any event that removes the right of revocation. A grantor may wish to create an irrevocable trust for any number of reasons, including for creditor protection or tax planning purposes. However, if circumstances change, whether for the grantor, the beneficiaries, or in the law, the provisions of an irrevocable trust may no longer be useful or practical in achieving the grantor’s initial goals. How then, do we change the unchangeable?
For many different reasons, individuals and business entities can find it beneficial to conduct business under a name other than their legal name. Such names are known in Virginia as fictitious or assumed names, and they are often identified with the individual or business entity’s legal name followed by an abbreviation such as “t/a” (“trading as”) or “dba” (“doing business as”).
If you, a family member or a friend own a life insurance policy that is no longer wanted or needed then read this article as it could be worth thousands of dollars. Many of my clients or their family members or friends own life insurance policies that were purchased for various reasons, such as to fund a college education, provide support for minor children or pay off a mortgage in the event of an untimely death. The reason for having the policy may no longer exist and the cost to keep the policy may be prohibitive. Additionally, an older policy may have a large premium and/or death benefit and the owner may be able to replace the policy at a lower price or reduced benefit.
The number of people who itemize could fall by more than half in 2018 because of changes made by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) enacted on December 22, 2017. That's bad news for many charitable givers. But for those who are age 70½ or older, a tax benefit from their charitable contributions may be available even if they don't itemize. The key is to make the gift by way of a qualified charitable distribution (QCD).
Despite the current estate tax laws which have eliminated the estate tax for the vast majority of people, one of the most popular estate tax planning vehicles (the Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust “ILIT”) still remains a corner piece of many estate plans. Few people realize all the benefits of an ILIT, and assume that without an estate tax liability, the ILIT has become obsolete – untrue.
Over the years, many clients, neighbors, friends, and family members have asked me what would happen to their assets if they were to die without a Will. Some people believe that if they die without a Will, their assets would become the property of the state in which they live. In fact, this belief is a misconception in all but the most limited circumstances.
Many married couples own their homes as Tenants by the Entirety with right of survivorship as at Common Law. This form of ownership usually protects the house in the event one of the spouses has a creditor issue (i.e. judgement). What many spouses and even some professionals do not realize is that married couples can own almost any asset (real or personal) as Tenants by the Entirety with the right of survivorship in Virginia and thereby protect those assets from the creditor of just one of the spouses.