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Probate & Estate Planning

Everyone Fears It, But Few Know What It Is Typically, people begin estate planning with the intention of avoiding probate. Probate has been given a bad reputation, but there is nothing inherently “bad” about it at all. Probate protects a person’s rights and wishes in the event that they pass intestate, or without a will or trust. With probates, a judge determines the distribution of the deceased’s assets in accordance with state law. Probate can be extremely helpful in cases such as determining a suitable guardian for a minor after the unexpected passing of a parent. What Happens During the Probate Process? The legal procedures...

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Understanding Trustees: What Do They Do?

If you or a loved one have been designated as the Trustee of a Trust, it is crucial that you understand its roles and responsibilities. This month, we looked at the duties that come with being a Trustee, and what the Siegel Law Group, P.A. can do for you. What is a Living Trust? A Trust is a legal arrangement through which an individual, referred to as a Trustee, holds legal title to effectively manage their own assets or another person’s assets. Generally, the Grantor will name themselves as the initial Trustee and assign another person or entity to serve as the...

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Revising Your Estate Plan After Divorce

Divorce can be hard, especially when it involves retirement and Estate Plans. Wills, Trusts, and other Estate Planning documents are rarely on the top of one's mind during the emotional process of divorce.  However, it is critical to take the time to secure and update your Estate Plan to reflect your wishes soon after the divorce proceedings.  Here’s what you should know: 1. Life Insurance Policies After a divorce, it is important to review all beneficiary designations. While some states will automatically terminate a former spouse as a beneficiary, you will want to take the steps necessary to ensure that your beneficiary forms...

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9 Unexpected Estate Planning Problems

When it comes to Estate Planning, it is crucial that you consider the issues that may arise after you have moved on. On top of all of our responsibilities, it may be difficult to set aside enough time to ensure your Estate Plan is in order.  There may be all sorts of unintended consequences and complications when we forget to plan ahead.  In order to avoid these problems, consider these nine unexpected Estate Planning problems to avoid. 1. Probate Court-supervised administration of your estate is never an easy journey.  Despite helpful court personnel, there are still filing fees, privacy issues, and long waiting...

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Probate & Estate Planning

Everyone Fears It, But Few Know What It Is Typically, people begin Estate Planning with the intention of avoiding Probate. Probate has been given a bad reputation, but there is nothing inherently “bad” about it at all. Probate protects a person’s rights and wishes in the event that they pass intestate, or without a Will or Trust. With Probates, a judge determines the distribution of the deceased’s assets in accordance with state law. What Happens During the Probate Process? The legal procedures for a Probate can differ drastically depending on the state, judge, and the size of the estate. In any case, an executor (in...

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Avoiding a Family Feud by Using a Personal Property Memo

When it comes to writing a Will or a Trust, most of us think we know what to include. Real estate? Check. Investments? Check. Expensive jewelry? Check. All those are important to get down on paper, but what about the countless knickknacks, heirlooms, and personal possessions you’ve accumulated over your lifetime? While seemingly innocuous, these can be a source of unnecessary tension and conflict after your passing. Familial Conflict The truth is that while real estate and any of the other big ticket items can seem more important, to your family the monetary value of what you leave behind isn’t always as important as the...

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Understanding Special Needs Trusts

Do you know what a Special Needs Trust can do for you? This month, we’ll look at the many advantages a Special Needs Trust can offer you and your family. What is a Special Needs Trust? A Special Needs Trust, also known as a Supplemental Needs Trust, allows you to take care of your loved ones financially while ensuring he or she continues to receive government benefits. This type of trust contains set instructions that allow the Trustee to meet the needs of the beneficiary, but prohibits the Trustee from providing for those needs if they are already covered by Medicaid or other programs. A...

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Asset Protection Planning

Why Asset Protection Planning? Maybe you took a small amount of money and turned it into a fully-functioning business. Maybe you inherited the business from somebody else, then worked tirelessly to make it even more successful. Either way, you’ve worked hard for your assets. In today’s litigious society, aren’t you a little afraid? A lawsuit can pose a serious threat to your assets. If your company breaks environmental regulations, your personal assets are at risk. Sexual harassment claims put your personal assets are at risk. There are so many ways that a foolish verdict can destroy your future. Asset Protection Planning Can Help  Asset Protection Planning uses certain legal...

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Buy-Sell Agreements for Business Planning

Many people don’t realize their biggest asset is often their business. This month, we’ll cover what it means to protect your business with a buy-sell agreement. What is a Buy-Sell Agreement? A buy-sell agreement is a written agreement among business owners in which each person agrees that upon circumstance, their shares will be sold to the surviving owners at a specific price. Through this agreement, each owner commits to buying the shares of their absent co-owner upon the occurrence of a specified event, such as death, disability, financial trouble, or termination of employment. It is crucial for business owners to have a buy-sell...

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Medicaid Planning & Veteran Benefit Planning

By the time you’ve hit age 65, you’re probably ready to start thinking about retirement. After decades in the workforce, you might be ready to kick back and enjoy the fruits of your labor. However, retirement can come with many concerns. Do you have enough money saved up to live the rest of your life? What if you live for two more decades? Three? Will you run out of money before you run out of life? This is one of the concerns that Estate Planning tries to address. However, there’s an additional problem that can make planning more difficult: health care issues. The...

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