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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.

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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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
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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
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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
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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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Pay on Death Designation for Vehicles

The Arizona Revised Statutes now allow for a Beneficiary Designation for Vehicle Transfer upon Death. The designation can be signed and kept with the title of the car, mobile home or other applicable vehicles. Since the law is new, it is not clear how effective it will be if the the vehicle is being financed.
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Obama proposes $3.5 estate tax exclusion

President Obama's current proposal in his budget is a permanent the estate, and gift tax parameters as they applied during 2009. The top tax rate would be 45 percent and the exclusion amount would be $3.5 million for estate and $1 million for gift taxes. As reflected in the Administration’s adjusted baseline projection, the portability of unused
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