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Estate Planning

The Law Office of Libby Banks > Estate Planning (Page 2)

Using an Estate Planning Attorney is a Good Plan

As an estate planning attorney, I often get calls from people who’ve used online trust or will planning software or gone to a cheap trust mill to put their plan together. Sometimes, they go to their brother-in-law, the corporate lawyer, who uses a form he found in a book to put the plan together. When I’m asked about whether these are good ideas, I like to tell a story about my dear husband. My husband Andy is a great handyman. It’s wonderful that I can ask him to fix things around the house and know he will do it right. When...

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Different Trusts Meet Different Needs in Your Estate Plan

There are a number of different types of trusts we use when doing an estate plan. Here is a bit of information about a few of the most common trusts. The Revocable Living Trust The primary trust we use in estate planning is the Revocable Living Trust (“RLT”). It is the foundation of most estate plans and has many benefits. It contains instructions for managing the assets in the trust during your life, upon your death, and if you become incapacitated. The RLT will also avoid the need for a probate court proceeding on your death. You can select the person(s) who...

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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, it’s an exciting time. A whole year of isolation is coming to an end and travel is on the horizon. But are you truly ready for that trip? You may need to be sure 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...

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The Biden Tax Plan and Your Estate

With the advent of a new administration usually comes change. President Biden’s tax plan may affect your estate planning adversely. Here are a few key points of the plan. Estate and Gift Taxes May Increase: Arizona has no estate taxes. On the federal level, each person has an estate and gift tax exemption – the amount you can give away during life and at death before being taxed – that is currently $11.7 Million. Biden’s plan would reduce the federal exemption to $3.5 Million for estate taxes at death, and $1 Million for gifts made during your lifetime. The plan also proposes to...

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Picking Your Executor or Trustee

At some point your estate will be managed by someone other than you. If you are incapacitated, that person will step in to manage it to care for you, and on your death someone will wrap up your estate and distribute your assets to others. If you put an estate plan in place, via a Will or Trust, you decide who that person will be. If you don’t, the State of Arizona, via the legislature, has decided who that will be. Will the State’s choice be one you are happy with? When you establish a Revocable Living Trust, the person in...

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Pets, Trusts, And Your Estate Planning

Those of us with pets consider them members of our family. And like the rest of the family, we want to make sure they are taken care of when we can no longer do the job! The wealthy sometimes go to the extreme to provide for their pets. Leona Helmsley is one of the most famous examples, having left her entire $12 Million fortune to Trouble, her dog. The family sued, and the judge whittled Trouble’s share down to $2 Million. The widow of the Star Trek creator left $4 Million for their dogs, and $1 Million for the employee to...

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Estate Planning for the Blended Family

In first marriages, a couple generally have identical goals for their estate planning: take care of the surviving spouse for as long as he or she lives, then distribute what’s left to their children. But second marriages can be different. The blended family – his children, her children and sometimes their children as well – makes for more complicated planning. Each spouse may have separate assets as well as their joint, community assets. Both usually want at least some of their assets to go to their own children after they die. At the same time, they want to make sure the...

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