Video: Estate Planning Discussed on My Financial Journal

If you have a compulsion to be involved in truly contentious litigation and are tired of matrimonial cases, try a will contest. For this reason, we include the identification of “best practices” in the area of Estate Planning as falling within the overall mission of our blog. Acquisition, preservation and, ultimately, disposition of assets are activities t, in our way of thinking, that are appropriately categorized as business activities that can be managed so as to avoid unnecessary and costly litigation.   

Because we consider Estate Planning such an integral part of our mission and practice, our firm’s two partners were excited to be invited and to actually appear last year to talk about Estate Planning on the public access television program My Financial Journal hosted by Andrew Rose. In all modesty, our audience was probably small. More important, we believe our audience, whatever its size, was treated to a fast paced, interesting and informative program.

With special thanks to Andrew Rose the program can be seen by clicking here.

If you don’t have time for the half hour program or the technical resources to download it, I offer a few bullet point highlights.

  • The discussion of death is definitely uncomfortable for many people but others find a source of satisfaction and accomplishment in knowing they have taken care of their families and addressed some difficult issues.
  • In particular, the care of minor children and financially dependent adult family members is a concern.
  • The complexity of an estate plan can depend on the variety and nature of your assets but two other factors include the extent to which income tax qualified assets are included in your estate and whether, because of size, the estate is exposed to federal and state taxation.
  • The status of estate tax laws is in flux because federal law, while temporarily increasing the size of exempt estates, is scheduled to be repealed absent another act of Congress and states have enacted their own estate tax laws “decoupling” or becoming independent from federal estate tax law.
  • Revocable Trusts can be effective planning tools if real estate is owned in multiple states or to provide an added layer of disincentive to contest the plan.
  • But, often revocable trusts are set up without actually transferring assets to them, nullifying some of the advantages.
  • Planning for non-traditional families and families with children from prior marriages requires an added level of sensitivity and a concern for fairness.
  • Similarly, gay and lesbian couples need to explicitly address their particular needs through effective planning because some useful provisions of law are inapplicable to them.
  • Women, traditionally tending to be caregivers, may have difficulty putting their own needs first, but upon establishing a relationship can proceed expeditiously in facilitating the family’s estate plan.
  • Single women and single men, in our experience do not tend to differ in the fundamental nature of their estate planning needs; one aspect is that often their concern is for more remote family members or even friends.

We hope you have the time to view the entire program. Whether you do or not, we hope you make the time for your own estate planning. You may not be around to experience it yourself, but for your beneficiaries the disputes, among themselves or with tax authorities, can be costly and debilitating.