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Estate Planning Blog

News & Tips From The Law Office Of Libby Banks.

Putting your child on your home title could cost them dearly in taxes

  By Libby Banks, The Law Office of Libby Banks, PLLC From time to time, I have clients and friends ask me about the wisdom of putting their adult child or children on their home title (or stock accounts). Their thought is that they can avoid probate that way when they pass. My short answer is “Don’t do it!” There are many pitfalls in doing this instead of putting a proper estate plan in place. Let’s look at a few of those pitfalls. Your Child Will Pay More in Taxes Part of any estate plan we prepare involves some thought as to taxes. It’s...

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Home Title Theft and Trust Planning

  By Libby Banks, the Law Office of Libby Banks, PLLC The news is often filled with stories about fraud. One of the areas of current concern I often hear about is title theft. What is title theft? It can take many different forms. Someone might fraudulently refinance your home to steal your equity, pocketing your hard-earned money. Similarly, they may access the equity with a home equity line of credit. They may even forge a deed and sell your property to an unsuspecting buyer, leaving both of you in a legal and financial mess. If you are in the process of...

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Probate is Spooky!

In addition to breast cancer awareness month and Halloween, October is also National Estate Planning Month! A big part of estate planning is avoiding probate. Have you ever heard of it? Let me tell you: Probate is SPOOKY! Picture this: cobwebs hanging from the courtroom ceiling, creaky old chairs, and a ghostly judge wagging a bony finger at you. Okay, maybe probate isn't exactly like that, but you get the idea. Probate is the legal process that takes place after someone passes away. It involves validating their will if they have one, identifying their assets, paying off debts, and distributing what's left to...

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Upcoming Event: Intentional Aging, Presented by Panel of Experts With Attorney Travis Meyers

As we age, we start to wonder about the future. We wonder if we are destined to get dementia. We wonder if we have properly prepared for retirement, or what will happen if we cannot handle our own affairs. We wonder what our healthcare will look like. Instead of wondering, join our panel of experts in learning how to age intentionally and take action to care for your future self now. Our very own Travis Meyers, estate planning attorney, will be on the panel for this event. He will discuss how you can strategically plan for managing your finances and healthcare...

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Charitable Giving With Your Estate Plan

If you wish to leave some of your estate to charitable institutions, then a gift from your retirement accounts can have tremendous advantages. There are many ways to benefit your favorite charity both now and at your death. If these charitable gifts are done properly, you can receive tax advantages now, and save your heirs taxes later. 1. Distributing Appreciated Assets with a Low Basis Did you buy stock or other assets at a low price? Do you own stock that has increased in value with no way to trace what was your original purchase price? Giving stock and other highly appreciated...

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New Years Resolutions? To Keep Them, Know Your “Why”!

If you’re like me, December is a time to think about New Year’s resolutions. This year I want to keep my resolutions, instead of abandoning them all before January is over. How to do that? I asked my fitness trainer, Janet McConnell, whose book Elements of Aging Well: Wisdom from My Journey So Far is now available on Amazon. She says the way to stay motivated is to dig deep and find the “Why” behind your goal. Your resolution: exercise regularly. Your plan: get up at six a.m. and get to the gym every weekday. But when the alarm goes off,...

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A Personal Look at the Estate Planning Journey

The past year was amazing for my family. Two notable highlights are starting a new job with the Law Office of Libby Banks and my wife and I welcoming our first child in July. As I reflect on the need to update my Trust to plan for our new baby, I look back at my original experience creating an estate plan with Libby and why I joined her firm as an associate attorney. When I first thought about estate planning for myself and my wife, I realized I did not know much more than what I learned in law school. I...

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Asset Protection for Your Heirs

I am often asked whether the revocable living trust we use as the cornerstone of our estate plans provides asset protection – protection from the creditors of the person creating the trust. The answer is no. While the revocable trust is a great estate planning and probate avoidance tool, it is not an asset protection trust. When you create this trust, you still have full control over the assets in the trust. Because of this, the law recognizes that they are your assets, and your creditors can get to them in the same way as if they were in your...

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Estate Planning – Who Needs It?

Who Needs Estate Planning? Many people, when they hear the words “estate planning,” don’t think it applies to them. “I don’t have an estate to plan!” they may say. I think this comes about from the use of the word “estate.” The word is often used to refer to the mansions and real estate holdings of the rich and famous. But the definition of an estate is “all of the things that a person owns.” In other words, your estate is the sum of your stuff: your home, your bank accounts, your stocks and bonds, your retirement account, your cars and boat, and...

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On the Road Again! Are you Ready for Vacation?

For many of us, we are finally getting an opportunity to travel again, and we are more than ready! However, are you truly ready for that trip? One item you may have forgotten is to check on whether your estate plan is in order before you hit the road. Here are some thoughts on getting things done before your trip.   1. Make sure you have guardians in place for minor children. If you have minor children, it’s crucial to have documents in place appointing guardians, especially if you are traveling without them. Don’t leave this to chance, or worse, to the court...

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