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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.

How much trouble can probate really be?

Your accounts, whether in a bank or investment institution, and your real property all have legal title requirements. Financial institutions and title companies will not release assets unless the legal requirements are satisfied. If you die with assets in your name, and if those assets total more than $50,000, then a probate court filing will be ne...

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Ever been ill? ...

Ever been ill? Who has legal rights to mske sure your doctors or health care providers take good care of you? Hsve a healthcare power of attorney and thete will be certainty that the right person has the tights to help you.

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Who should be y...

Who should be you Personal Representstive? I suggest the question be changed to: who do you trust to handle your finances if you sick? That person is the same person you can trus

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Just a Simple Will?

I can appreciate the desire to have simple documents and a "simple will." Yet, we live in a complicated world, where we have bank accounts, investment accounts, IRAs, doctors, hospitals and then-- if we do not have the right estate planning documentation, we have courts. Therefore, a simple Will does not always meet our objectives. We still need po...

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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 involve...

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American Taxpayer Relief Act- Where Things Stand

Whether living in the metro Phoenix area or the Sun City Peoria area, most of my clients are interested in the following highlights: All the individual "Bush era" tax rates are retained with the addition of a new top rate of 39.6% imposed on income over $450,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly or $400,000 for single taxpayers. The capital gain...

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Estate Tax Exclusion Extended

It appears that the fiscal cliff has been avoided and that has included the Estate Tax Exclusion to be left at the $5 Million, indexed at inflation, so it should be something more than the the $5.12 Million set in 2012. The top estate and gift tax rate was increased to 40% though. Information about the new law is coming in as it is being analyzed. ...

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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 s...

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Do No Contest C...

Do No Contest Clauses work? Not too well. Previously, if an omitted heir could establish that he had probable clause to challenge the no contest clause (such as because the writer of the Will was under mistake or undue influence) the court would allow a challenge to the Will and not enforce the no contest clause. In a recent case, In Re Estate of S...

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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 p...

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