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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.

Your Powers of Attorney Need to be Effective Immediately

Powers of attorney for finances or health need to be effective immediately, and not just effective once you have been declared incapacitated. If you are ill in the hospital or laid up at home, you really likely will need assistance right then, to deal with billing departments, banking and health care providers. There is no need to wait until a doct...

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What's in a Name?

Making sure your name is correct on your powers of attorney is very important. If you have used different names over the years, maybe because of marriage or nicknames, then your financial records and health care records might have different names. In order for the person named as your agent to help you, your name on your powers of attorney have to ...

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Satisfying The Title Company With Your Deed

When refinancing, adding a joint tenant on the title or preparing a beneficiary deed, there are legal requirements and there are title company requirements. There will be problems with selling the property later unless the deed lists the marital status of the grantee, lists the grantors exactly as they were listed in the prior deed as grantees, and...

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Trusts Can Keep the Court out of Your Business

If you personally own interest in an LLC or corporation, and you become incapacitated or die, then the court will have to be involved to keep the business running or to distribute the business upon your death. When you as trustee of your revocable living trust is the member or the shareholder, the court does NOT have to become involved. Trust owner...

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On this Tax Day, Remember your 401K

Your estate plan needs to include a will, powers of attorney, maybe even a trust, and it also needs to be done in conjunction with making sure your 401Ks and IRAs have properly designated beneficiaries. If you die without listing a designated beneficiary, then the funds are paid out in a lump to your estate and can be taxed at 35%. So if you are go...

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Beneficiary Deeds v. Will

Beneficiary deeds apply only to the real estate and the buildings on it. The household effects and tangible personal property cannot be designated by a beneficiary deed but only through a Will (or a Will with a Trust). You can avoid probate with a Beneficiary Deed on the property and a Will for your tangible personal property if such property has a...

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What if You Don't Know a Superior Court Judge?

If you do not have powers of attorney for finances and health care, then you are relying on a Superior Court Judge to make decisions for you. Recently, the court process has been in the news about the abuses that occur by meddling family and professionals who do not know the person who needs help. Make sure the right people take care of you by havi...

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Get the Most from your Health Care Power of Attorney

A health care power of attorney authorizes the person of your choice to help you with your medical care. You can also make sure that person can help you with your mental health care. If you are older, you might be concerned with temporary dementia or capacity issues. No matter your age, your health care power of attorney needs to cover having the r...

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Estate taxes for someone who lost a spouse in 2010?

For those whose spouse died in 2010, if the deceased's estate did not use all of the $5 million exemption, then the remainder can carry over to the surviving spouse. So if the deceased spouse's share of the estate was worth $2 million, then the unused estate tax exemption of $3 million can be used by the surviving spouse and added to the surviving ...

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New Estate Tax Law

There is estate tax is now unified with the gift tax-- $5 million per person. However, it applies only for 2011 and 2012. Couples need to keep their option to have an an irrevocable trust when the first spouse dies, just in case Congress does not extend the unified credit and the $1 million exclusion from 2002 comes back. For the estate of anyone w...

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