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Category: Estate Planning and Probate

How You Can Avoid Probate

Posted October 12, 2021 in Mitchell F. Green, Robert M. Kramer, Articles, Asset Protection, Corporate and Taxation, Estate Planning and Probate, News
An estate planning attorney can help you weigh the pros and cons of probate and give you an idea of the probate costs and time frames in your jurisdiction. If you decide you want to avoid probate, here are the principal ways to do it: 1.  Create a revocable living trust (RLT) and transfer your assets into it.  If you name yourself as the trustee, you will keep control over the assets. You can amend or revoke the trust at any time. When you die, the assets pass to your beneficiaries outright or in trust as you have specified in the trust document without going through probate. This method gives you the most flexibility but is the most expensive.

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Situations in Which Probate Might Make Sense

Posted October 4, 2021 in Mitchell F. Green, Robert M. Kramer, Articles, Asset Protection, Corporate and Taxation, Estate Planning and Probate
Although avoiding probate is a good plan for many individuals, you may decide that you want your estate to be probated if any of the following are true: 1. The cost and effort of probate avoidance exceed the expected expense of probate.  A revocable living trust is the principal tool for avoiding probate.  A revocable living trust is typically more expensive to have prepared than a simple will.  Even once it is created, the trust must be maintained until death.  The costs associated with a revocable living trust sometimes exceed the expected cost of probate.

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Should You Avoid Probate?

Posted August 11, 2021 in Mitchell F. Green, Robert M. Kramer, Articles, Asset Protection, Corporate and Taxation, Estate Planning and Probate, News
One of the many decisions you will need to make about your estate plan is whether you want to avoid probate. Probate is the legal process for settling an estate after someone has died. It is also known as estate administration. The main purpose of probate is to provide inheritors of a deceased person’s property with clear title to the property. During probate, the decedent’s personal representative (also called the executor) locates the decedent’s assets, pays his or her debts, and distributes the remainder of the estate to the beneficiaries named in the will or heirs specified by state law. Here are three reasons why you might prefer for your estate to pass outside probate:

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Everyone Needs a Will

Posted August 3, 2021 in Mitchell F. Green, Robert M. Kramer, Asset Protection, Corporate and Taxation, Estate Planning and Probate, News
Every adult should have a will.  If you die without a will, state intestacy law will likely determine who inherits your property.  These rules are exactly the same for everybody, regardless of his or her circumstances. When you die without a will, you let your state legislators write a will for you.   Chances are their choices won’t match your desires.  Most intestacy laws leave your entire estate to your surviving spouse and/or your children.  If you have no spouse or children, your estate will probably go to your parents or siblings. Here are just a few situations that intestacy laws are not designed to handle:

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How Federal Estate and Gift Taxes Work

Posted May 17, 2021 in Mitchell F. Green, Robert M. Kramer, Articles, Asset Protection, Corporate and Taxation, Estate Planning and Probate, News

Many people are concerned that a significant portion of their estates will be consumed by federal estate tax. Federal estate and gift taxes are really a single tax on the value of property transferred from one person to another. The gift tax applies to transfers during life and the estate tax to transfers on death. Estate and gift tax rates are high. However, very few gifts and estates are actually taxed because of generous exemptions, exclusions, and deductions. The Estate Tax Lifetime Estate and Gift Tax Exemption Each individual is entitled to transfer a certain dollar value of property without any estate (or gift) tax liability. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 doubled the estate tax exemption to approximately $11 million. The exemption is indexed for inflation and is expected to rise each year. In 2025, the exemption will be cut in half to its 2017 level unless Congress enacts a new law. The amount of the exemption is reduced by any taxable gifts you have made during your life. Because of the exemption, less than .1 percent of estates will be subject to estate tax. That translates into fewer than two thousand estates per year.

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