Your Estate Plan Should Reduce Your Legislative Risk, Not Increase It

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By Senior Associate Attorney, Dan Vu

Too often estate planners do not consider their client’s legislative risk. In other words, they plan without consideration to the very high probability that the current rules will change. In Washington and Columbus, every new bill passed by the legislature is touted as the new permanent law of the land, but in reality it is only “permanent” until the next time they decide to change it. So if your plan does not provide the flexibility for the changing rules, you can actually be in a worse position than you would without any plan. [Read more...]

Do I Need an Estate Plan if I’m Single with No Children?

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By Jill Besl

Most people don’t give it a second thought: “Who will take care of me in my old age?”, “Who will see to my needs?”, “Who will see to it my end-of-life wishes are fulfilled?” Your children of course! Obviously that’s not the reason we have children in the first place, but knowing you’ll have a support system in your sunset years is a comforting thought. But for the growing number of people who have made the decision to remain single and/or childless, those same questions may incur a certain level of anxiety.

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If I’m Divorced, can my ex-spouse get my things when I die?

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By Chris Meyer
One question we are often asked here at Cooper, Adel & Associates is “will my ex-spouse receive anything of mine after I die?” The answer to this question is not necessarily – but it can happen. Although ex-spouses do not receive anything titled in your name (unless the divorce court decrees that they should), you can make an unintended and unfortunate mistake if the beneficiaries are not updated on all of your assets.

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Should I deed my property to my kids?

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The Most Common Do-It-Yourself Estate Planning Mistake

By Attorney Ted Brown


Answer: No. Not unless you (and your children) understand the risks and drawbacks.

In an effort to protect their real estate from nursing home or from estate taxes, many people consider deeding their real estate to their children. This is a very risky strategy for a variety of reasons.

Taxes – By transferring real estate to a child while you are still alive can create a future tax time-bomb for that child.

A gift of property during the owner’s lifetime results in what is known as a carry-over in basis. Basis is the IRS term for the value of the property when you received it, being either the price you paid for it or the value it was worth when you inherited it. Basis is important when the property is sold. The sale price, minus your basis, equals your capital gain which is taxable at roughly 29% between Federal and State taxes.

For example, if you buy a piece of land for $100,000 and you sell it for $225,000, you have a capital gain of $125,000.

So if you have a piece of property that was worth $150,000 when you bought it and now it is worth $400,000, you have a lot of taxable appreciation. If you deed that property to a child, you pass on that taxable appreciation. Moreover, if the child holds onto the property for another 20 years and the value increases to $750,000 then they will owe tax on a $600,000 gain when they sell. This could result in $174,000 being lost to taxes.

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