In The Know

News & Blog

Estate Tax Changes

The tax bill passed recently by Congress and signed into law by President Obama on 17 December 2010 addresses important tax issues for 2010 through 2013. The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 has several important aspects that affect the estates of decedents who died in 2010. The new law also has important provisions that may affect current estate plans. Several key changes and the impact on estate planning are summarized here

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A Guide for Practitioners: Standards for Capacity in Arizona

By: Mark E. House and Allison E. Evans*
I.   Capacity in Arizona
“Capacity” in the legal sense means the legal ability to do something.  An individual may be legally incapable of doing something as a result of mental deficiency, marital status or age, to name a few.  

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Using Retirement Benefits in Your Estate Plan

By Allison E. Evans, Esq.

Most individuals today understand the critical importance of saving for retirement. We were lectured about it by our parents, we stress it to our children, and we discuss it with our employers and financial advisors. Fewer individuals, however, understand the extremely complicated rules and regulations which govern their retirement assets.

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Estate Planning for Your Pet

Pets have become family members to many of us and often we want to insure that if something were to happen to us, they would be cared for in the manner in which they have become accustomed to.

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PROPOSED TAX BILLS AFFECT YOUR DEDUCTIONS

For many of you, the year 2017 will be the last year you will get income tax savings from making charitable gifts. This newsletter describes a few tax-saving steps that you can take in the year 2017 before the changes take effect in 2018.

Why won’t I be able to get tax savings from my charitable gifts in the future?By way of background,

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Living Trust Mills

I recently received a series of postcards inviting me to an “Elder Law Update”, strongly suggesting that I need to have a Living Trust. In addition to the seminar, I was invited to stay for a free lunch.

Often times these solicitations come from “trust mills”. These companies are referred to as “trust mills” because they turn out a high volume of cookie-cutter Living Trusts. Sometimes they charge clients for the Living Trusts, other times they offer the Living Trusts for free. However, as an unwitting consumer will soon find out, low cost or “free” estate planning documents are not really “free”.

The most serious problem with trust mills is their ultimate objective. That is, to obtain an individual’s financial information so that its sales persons can sell unneeded annuities and related investments to unsuspecting individuals, most likely to the elderly and vulnerable adults.

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Financial Exploitation of the Elderly

As a population ages, protecting the elderly generation from financial predators becomes of paramount concern. The experience, at least in the author’s jurisdiction, is that financial exploitation is a significant problem. Exploitation can be outright criminal, such as threatening to withhold medical care if assets are not transferred or fraudulently conveying assets under a professional’s management.

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Preventing Financial Exploitation

In the current economic climate, there seem to be more and more predators on the elderly. Unfortunately, many of those predators are those we tend to trust the most – family members, caregivers and people who are there to help.

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Becker & House