Probate & Estate Planning

Earlier this year the IRS released proposed regulations on the SECURE ACT.   The SECURE ACT made drastic changes to the rules governing inherited retirement accounts, effective January 1, 2020, but there has been little guidance from the IRS on the Act’s provisions until now.

The SECURE ACT seemed to replace the rule that a designated beneficiary must take out a yearly required minimum distribution (“RMD”) based upon his or her life expectancy (the “Life Expectancy Rule”) with a simple
Continue Reading Proposed Regulations on the SECURE ACT

These days there are several websites offering online do-it-yourself legal forms that promise easy, inexpensive legal forms. One such website says “there’s no easier way.” However, the biggest problem with these sites is they cannot provide any advice. When it comes to estate planning or business formation, there is a lot more involved than just filling out forms.

Details Matter.  In estate planning, and any other legal documents for that matter, the details matter. Seemingly minor things like whether
Continue Reading What’s Wrong with Online Will Forms?

By:  Attorney Gina C. Ziegelbauer
When someone dies, one of the first things loved ones are faced with is what to do with all of physical things your loved one owned. Sorting through a loved one’s tangible personal property can be an overwhelming task depending on how much stuff there is, the value of the property (monetary or sentimental), the number of heirs supposed to receive the items, and how well the heirs get along. Sometimes the question of
Continue Reading What Happens To My Belongings When I Die?

By:  Attorney Samuel J. Spurney
“Leave the Gun. Take the cannoli” is arguably one of the most famous lines in movie history.  In the movie, The Godfather, Peter Clemenza – fictional hitman for the Corleone crime family – utters this line after avenging the betrayal of the Corleone family by one of its members.
​Asset Purchase Acquisition Structure
The same can be said for business acquisitions structured as an asset purchase – one of the key advantages of acquiring
Continue Reading “Leave the Gun. Take the Cannoli.” Structuring Your Business Purchase to Avoid Taking On Unwanted Seller Liabilities

By: Steimle Birschbach, LLC 2021

On September 24, 2021, we posted a blog entitled “Federal Estate Tax Law Changes Are Near” that summarized the provisions of draft legislation approved by the House Ways and Means Committee on September 15, 2021, that would have made drastic changes to the federal estate tax law. Many practitioners and political analysts expected some form of the legislation to be passed before year end. Since our blog post, the estate tax related provisions have
Continue Reading Federal Estate Tax Law Changes – Stalled or Dead?

For years, by including language in account agreements, banks have been able to apply funds deposited at their institution – funds that would otherwise be controlled by the account holder’s payable on death (POD) designation – directly to a decedent’s outstanding debt owed to that institution, without any need to file a claim (in court or in otherwise).

The following is an example of such a set-off provision, which may be found in an account agreement:
Upon the
Continue Reading Why Your Clients’ PODs at Banks May Be Ineffective

Simply transferring a farm to the next generation is quite easy.  Successfully transitioning a farm business for the mutual benefit of all parties involved, however, is much more complicated.  It takes time, planning and the weighing of a multitude of considerations.

Step One is to identify the successor.  Will the farm be transitioning to family or to a third party?  If to family, does s/he understand the commitment it takes to own and operate the farm business?  Doe s/he
Continue Reading Farm Succession Planning

By:  Attorney Alison C. Petri

Parents have many questions when their child with disabilities is about to turn age eighteen (18).  Once your child is an adult you will no longer have the same ability to legally access or assist with your child’s financial or health care decision making.  What legal documentation your child needs to get assistance with such issues depends on your child’s disability and their capacity to execute legal documents.

The goal is to implement a
Continue Reading Planning for Children with Disabilities Transitioning to Adulthood

“Probate” is a legal term for the Court process of transferring assets out of a deceased person’s name and to that person’s heirs and/or beneficiaries.  The difference between the term “heir” and the term “beneficiary” is that an heir is someone that would legally take if a person died without a Will.  A person’s spouse, for example, or children (if they have either a split family or pass away without a spouse).  A beneficiary is the term used for
Continue Reading Step-By-Step Overview of Probate

By:  Attorney Gina C. Ziegelbauer
This is the question our clients have when they’ve just experienced the loss of their spouse, parent, or other family member. It is a difficult time and everything can feel overwhelming. The answer depends on each individual’s situation, what assets they had, and the planning they had in place for those assets.
Not everything needs to be done immediately. I tell my clients to take their time to grieve and avoid making big decisions
Continue Reading My Loved One Passed Away…. What Do I Do Now?

Probate avoidance is one of many considerations in a good estate plan.  A revocable living trust is a common way of avoiding probate and is the best option for many (but not all) clients. However, a revocable trust will only avoid probate for the assets held by the trust, or payable to the trust because of a Settlor’s death.  Consequently, it is imperative that a revocable trust is properly funded.  Creating the trust is step one.  The second and
Continue Reading Fund That Trust

This month’s question is one I hear quite a bit: “I don’t have very much stuff, so do I really need to worry about doing any planning?” The answer is still yes, and for a few reasons. A couple of the most important planning tools individuals should have in place are powers of attorney.

A “power of attorney” allows an agent (a decision-maker) to act for another person in specific or general legal or financial matters. It also refers
Continue Reading Do I Really Need Powers of Attorney?