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Sharon Ravenscroft Estate Planning Blog

Welcome to my blog covering all things estate planning, family estate planning. business planning, wills, trusts & probate.

Twelve Top Ways to Use a Revocable Trust

As of the new year, the IRS raised the amount that can be passed estate tax free to $5.5 million. Each person can give this total amount as a gift dur...
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Estate Tax Exclusion Increased in 2015

New to 2015 is that one person can pass an aggregate of $5.43 million estate tax free (last year it was $5.34 million). If you are a couple and have a trust that must split upon the death of one of you, your trust likely should be updated for an optional split. If your estate exceeds what you can pass estate tax free, an irrevocable life insurance
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Having the right Successor Trustee

We can make things easier for our family when we are ill or upon our death, when we effectively use a Revocable Living Trusts are very useful for assuring access to assets due to illness or death. One way is to be sure that you have the right persons named as your Successor Trustee to take care of your assets when you cannot. If you have named a
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LLC interests can be held as joint tenants with right of survivorship

If you have an LLC but do not have a trust a new law, A.R.S. 29-732.01, allows LLC interests to be held as joint tenants with right of survivorship or community property with right of survivorship. The Operating Agreement must provide for the right of survivorship. This new law avoids probate if you own interest in an LLC but do not have a trust
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If you have an LLC you need a trust.

If you are a Member in an LLC, or own stock in a corporation, you need to be sure your ownership interest is titled in the name of your trust. There is no "pay on death" designation effective for Member's interest or ownership in your business so, even if the owner is your spouse, you will still need to have a probate on your death, unless
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Who should be the beneficiary of an IRA

Normally, when a client has a trust, I like to have the first beneficiary be the trust and the contingent beneficiaries be the humans. Then, if one of the humans beneficiaries predecease the participant, then the trust will distribute that deceased child’s share per terms of trust and if that includes a minor beneficiary, we can avoid court
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Checking Your Lists

While we wait to see what Congress is doing about the fiscal cliff and the estate tax exemption, this is a good time to make sure that you have properly listed your beneficiaries for your IRAs, 401ks, life insurance and annuities. Even with a trust, if you have not filled out your beneficiary forms, your estate could need to be probated. Also, be
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Trusts and Agreements help balance family and new relationships

We live so much longer now, many of us start a second adulthood in our 59s and 60s. Sometimes with a new career. Sometimes with a new love. Estate planning, such as with a trust or domestic partnership agreement,can balance the need to provide for a new love and the desired gifts to adult children. A domestic partnership agreement is similar to a
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Gun Trusts Can Limit Taxation Upon Death And Help with Multiple Users

Gun Trusts are revocable trusts different and separate from a revocable living trust normally used for estate planning. With a Gun Trust, multiple owners (spouses or parents and adult child) can own firearms together, and when one dies, the other remains the Trustee and additional transfer tax should not be needed. Also, Gun Trusts allow guns to
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Changes in Revocations of Beneficiary Deeds

Revocations of Beneficiary Deeds now need to reference the name of the Grantee that was listed on the beneficiary deed, as well as the recording instrument number of the beneficiary deed in order for the Maricopa County Recorder to accept the Revocation. This changes was not done by rule and adds a requirement to the statutory form. It is likely
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