Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Ohio - Next of Kin Notification

Recent legislation allows Ohio residents to submit 2 names to the Ohio BMV to be used by law enforcement in the event of a serious automobile accident.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Proposed Estate Tax Legislation

A Democratic Congressman introduced legislation to return the estate tax exemption and credit to 2001 levels - $1 million exemption (indexed for inflation) and a top rate of 55% - effective 1/1/2012. The chances of it passing the Republican controlled House are zero.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Heiress Leaves Fortune to Non-Relatives

Interesting story about an extremely wealthy, reclusive, childless woman who left her fortune to her nurse and others. Her relatives, who she had not presumably seen in 20 years because she lived in an NY hospital under a fake name, are now suing the estate.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Are Domestic Asset Protection Trusts Effective?

I have long doubted their effectiveness in shielding the assets of non-residents of the states purporting to protect them. In light of a recent court decision, there is a chart which summarizes their effectiveness. In short, a trust created by a resident of the protecting state prior to any potential claim and not used for bankruptcy purposes, is effective.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Mistakes Made By Surviving Spouses

Common mistakes made by a widow or widower include:

1. Improperly executing the IRA roll over,
2. Retaining investments for sentimental reasons,
3. Collecting social security benefits too soon, and
4. Not filing a federal estate tax return to preserve the deceased spouse's unified credit (for deaths in 2011 and 2012).

Thursday, November 10, 2011

$5 million gift exemption to end November 23?

Rumors are circulating that the $5 million lifetime gift exemption will end on November 23 when the Congressional Super Committee makes it recommendations. If you are contemplating making a large gift, I advise doing it now rather than taking a chance by waiting later.

Friday, November 4, 2011

2 Estate Planning Points

In an interview with an estate planning author, the key points are to have flexible documents and that attorneys add value over the low cost of do it yourself will packages.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Return of Large Inherited Fortunes

Half of the top 10 richest individuals in the US inherited their wealth. The US could be returning to a period where large fortunes were the result of trust funds or energy production.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Perils of Estate Plan Not Staying Current

Five years after his death, the estate of James Brown remains embroiled in litigation. One of the lessons to be learned is to update estate planning documents after a re-marriage or birth of a child. His failure to do so has led to some of the litigation.

Side note: Is it really 5 years since he died? Seems like 2 or 3 years ago.