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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.

Why do assets need to be titled in Trust?

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Increase in the Estate Tax Exclusion- No change in the Present Gift Exclusion

The amount that can now be passed estate tax free is $5.45 million. With proper provisions in a trust or Will, a married couple can pass twice that amount or $10.9 million estate tax free when the couple both have died. There has not been any change to the annual present gift exemption which allows $15,000 to be given per recipient each year
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Discount on Estate Planning Updates in 2015

Have you been putting off updating your estate planning documents? From now until the end of 2015, any existing clients who sets an appointment to update their estate planning documents this year will receive a 15% discount on the attorney's fees. Are you a new client? Then you will receive at least 10% off the attorney's fees on the whole plan
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Are you a newlywed?

Newlyweds, who lived together for some time before marrying, might already have estate planning documents which include each of the couple. Nevertheless, the prior documents should be updated to reflect the marriage. Community property laws can change the manner in which estate is applied. The status or description of children or relatives could
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Caution when amending Estate Planning Documents

Each estate planning document has statutory requirements as to whether one or two witnesses are needed or if a notarized signature is required. These requirements create authenticity and a comfort level so that they can be enforced and followed by courts, financial institutions and health care providers. If someone marks out provisions or writes
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What happens wh...

What happens when you don't have a Will? If you don't have a beneficiary on your assets, then they go to your heirs. Your heir is your spouse, unless you had kids from outside your marriage, the the kids get your community property interest and half your separate property. If you aren't married your heirs are your children; if no children, then
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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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New laws regarding marriage

Now that Arizona recognizes same-sex marriage it is a good idea to review your estate plan. Do you have a Domestic Partnership Agreement which should become a Pre-Marriage or Post-Marriage Agreement? Do you have joint property that now can be treated as community property? Does a family member have a partner who now legally can be recognized as an
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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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Get more than just paper when your estate plan is done.

Estate planning needs to be more than just a stack of paper. Legal services should be that-- service, including information, advice and a somewhere to call when you have questions how to use your documents. So I provide legal services, and most follow calls are answered without charge, unless new research or documents are needed.
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