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Estate Planning Blog

News & Tips From The Law Office Of Libby Banks.

Estate Planning For Incapacity

By Libby Banks, The Law Office of Libby Banks Estate planning isn’t just about who will get your assets on your death. It’s also about who will manage your assets and take care of you and your financial affairs if you become incapacitated. With proper planning, you will decide that. Without proper planning, a court may be the one to make that choice. You are considered incapacitated when you can’t make decisions for yourself or handle your affairs. A Will won’t help if you are incapacitated -- it’s only effective upon your death. You may have a power of attorney in place and believe this planning tool...

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Why Every Homeowner Needs an Estate Plan

By Libby Banks, the Law Office of Libby Banks, PLLC Some people think they don’t need an estate plan, claiming that they don’t have an estate. Your estate is simply all that you own. When you buy a home, it is part of your estate. You need to have a plan to take care of this important asset! First, we must plan for your incapacity. What will happen to your home if you are unable to handle your finances? Who will pay your mortgage, keep the electricity on and keep things running? Who will sign to sell the home if you need...

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Avoiding the Pain of Probate

Avoid Probate by using a Revocable Living Trust as your primary estate planning tool By Libby Banks, The Law Office of Libby Banks Probate is a court proceeding used to settle the estate of someone who has no Will. However, a person that has a Will may also end up in probate court. That’s because a Will doesn’t transfer a person’s assets to his or her heirs automatically – it only states who should receive those assets. Probate is time-consuming and expensive for a personal representative or executor. It can be an agonizing and long, drawn-out procedure. But it is avoidable – with...

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Why Didn’t Aretha Franklin Have a Will?

By Libby Banks, The Law Office of Libby Banks Sadly, Aretha Franklin passed away recently. The Queen of Soul gave us so much joy with her music. What a surprise to learn that she passed away with no will. With an $80 Million estate, she needed far more than a will. She needed planning to avoid or minimize taxes, planning for the assets she left and to preserve her legacy the way she would want. By failing to plan, she lost the opportunities that were available to protect her estate. Why didn’t she have a plan in place? We may never know....

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A Gift to your Children may Raise their Tax Bill

By Libby Banks, The Law Office of Libby Banks Lifetime gifts may cost your children dearly in capital gains taxes. It all revolves around something called income tax basis. While income tax basis may not be the most exciting topic, it is very important. Simply put, what you don’t know about income tax basis could end up costing you or your family dearly in capital gains taxes. When we do estate planning we consider tax basis. It’s one way we keep your hard-earned money in your and your heirs’ wallets. What is Basis and Why Should I Care? Basis, from an income tax...

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Your Vacation To Do List Should Include Estate Planning

By Libby Banks, The Law Office of Libby Banks Most of us create a “to-do list” to get ready for our summer vacation. On the list should be creating or reviewing your estate plan. While international travel is still probably safer than driving in Phoenix, having this checked “Done!” before you leave will give you peace of mind. Here is a checklist of estate planning “to-do’s.” Create an estate plan. If you’ve procrastinated about estate planning, a vacation can give you a deadline to move forward. Allow adequate time to complete your estate plan before your trip. If you don’t...

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What the Changes in the Federal Estate Tax Laws mean for your Estate Plan?

By Libby Banks, The Law Office of Libby Banks Early this year, Congress passed, and the President signed, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Among the changes made to federal tax laws was an increase of the exemption for federal estate taxes to $11.2 Million per person through 2025, at which time it decreases to around $6 Million per person. Estate taxes won’t be levied on any of your assets under the exemption amount.  What does this mean for you? It may mean that you need to change your estate plan. What you have now could be too complicated or cumbersome...

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Grandchildren and Estate Planning

By Libby Banks, The Law Office of Libby Banks I had to figure out how to connect grandchildren and estate planning just so I could announce: I had my first grandchild in December! My beautiful granddaughter and her gorgeous mother are healthy and doing well. Any of you who are grandparents know just how exciting and awe-inspiring this event is, and how you will do anything to create the opportunity to brag about your grandchild and show pictures. Seriously, though, I do get questions about estate planning from clients who have just had a grandchild about whether their plan will need an...

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Use a Professional for Your Wills and Trusts

Use a Professional for Your Wills and Trusts  The other day, a very savvy businesswoman I’ve gotten to know came in to take advantage of my no-charge review of existing estate plans. To my surprise, she brought in a do-it-yourself Last Will and Testament. It named an executor and said who would get her estate, just as a will should. But her Will was completely invalid because it wasn’t properly executed. Besides that, she did not have the other documents needed to assure that if she was incapacitated, someone could step in to care for her and for her finances.   Have you ever heard the phrase “you don’t know what you don’t know”?...

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Asset Protection for Trust Beneficiaries

Protect Your Children’s Inheritance      The revocable living trust is a great estate planning tool. Putting your own assets in a revocable living trust doesn’t protect those assets from your creditors. The assets in your trust are still considered your assets because you continue to have complete control over them.   However, you can use your trust to provide asset protection for your beneficiaries after your death.   How can you do that? When you pass on your assets to your beneficiaries, you pass them on in a trust for each beneficiary. Instead of giving them of all the assets outright, where they put it in their own bank account or in their own name, at death we create an irrevocable trust for each...

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