Covert Law: Blog Covert Law: Blog

Welcome to Our Blog!

Your Digital Footprint is Growing – Have You Planned Accordingly?

Your Digital Footprint is Growing – Have You Planned Accordingly?

There are very few individuals without a digital footprint anymore. From social networks like Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram, Twitch.tv and Twitter, blogs and licensed domain names, email, music, photos, seller accounts on eBay, Amazon, or Itsy, gaming accounts, even your financial, utility, and medical accounts are all part of your digital footprint. When most of us created these accounts, we blithely accepted the End User License Agreement (EULA) without much thought to when we would no longer be around to manage their content and activity. However, a EULA designates in detail the rights and restrictions that apply when using the software known as terms of service (TOS). Most EULA’s are a standard form of contract, a contract of adhesion, which is known to exploit unequal power relationships. A user has no option to negotiate the terms of a EULA if they want to use the software.

When you create your will and its associated documents like a durable power of attorney (in the event you become incapacitated) it is prudent to include digital assets and a designation for someone to access your online accounts and manage their activity. Without specific instructions, most of your online accounts will not pass through the typical estate planning devices like trusts and wills because they are not your property. Still, they are very representative of your being. Since most TOS are non-transferable, you will likely be unable to transfer the “ownership” of your online accounts legally. However, you can still plan for how they should be handled when you die.

In terms of Facebook and other social network platforms, each company has its policy regarding the account of the deceased. Facebook, for example, will permit your account to be placed in a “memorial” status so that it can be viewed, and loved ones can leave memorial messages. Other social networking sites will delete or deactivate your account. If the social network is not appraised of your death, the company won’t know for a while, allowing someone to make changes to your account after your death, perhaps even posting a final status or update of your choosing. Though this is in opposition to most social networking platform policies, it is difficult for online companies to know about and monitor user activity in the event of death.

Your executor should inform readers of a blog or other licensed domain names you maintained while alive. A licensed domain name should be transferred or ended as continued licensing payment makes no sense. The content of these sites should be removed or archived. If you belong to online communities such as a book group or community list serve, you may also choose to leave a final message or have your executor notify the group of your passing.

If you store movies, music, photos, eBooks, or other digital online files, your executor should have access to the files and carry out your wishes as to what to do with them. If you do not leave access to your online accounts, they will eventually become disabled due to inactivity, and no one will have access to the files. In the event you own the data, i.e., personal photos, you can use your will or living trust to leave them to a loved one or a friend. You will have to leave detailed descriptions (My trip to Paris) for photos. As far as purchased online music or eBooks it is not the same as owning a physical CD or book. Software or digital content does not permit acquisition of ownership rights. This means the money you paid for the online content was more of a subscription service solely for your use and not transferable upon your death. Your virtual music and film library will die with you.

If you are an online seller on eBay, Amazon, Itsy, or the like, leave specific instructions about what to do with your online store. You may leave all profits that continue to come in and the stock items you sell through your will or living trust. When the company knows of your death, your executor will have no power over the account itself, but you can make provisions for the profit and stock items to be bequeathed. If you want someone to take over your online store after you die, you will need to reference the TOS of the company. Most do not allow accounts to transfer; however, the new “owner” can open a new account and reimagine your storefront.

Financial, utility, and medical accounts should all be addressed very clearly in your digital will. Leave instructions as to what website, username, and password are for each account. Also, leave written instructions about what to do with each of them. Regarding your financial accounts, their contents will be addressed in your will or trust, but your executor will have to access these accounts to wrap up your estate. These accounts include checking and savings accounts, mortgage, life insurance, and retirement accounts, as well as phone, cable, gas, and electric bills, tax preparation services, medical accounts, and more.

Your online presence requires digital legacy planning. Take a good look at all of your online accounts and be sure to leave reliable access to them and instructions for your executor. We can help you with this process, and with drafting appropriate planning documents to deal with these assets.  We also have a Client Portal for all of our clients, and this Client Portal permits our clients to encrypt and store logins, passwords, etc. for ease of access for their children and their other estate planning “helpers” they may have.  If you are interested in learning more about your digital footprint or our Client Portal, please contact us at 1.800.660.7564 or email us at info@covertlaw.com. 

Staying Mentally Sound During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Staying Mentally Sound During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Many of us are facing unprecedented challenges during this coronavirus crisis in America, and it has increased anxiety and fear levels in all of us. The reactive part of your brain called the amygdala, a human physiological response when faced with fear, takes control of your actions, and you enter what is known as the fight-flight-freeze response. This stress response induces your body to produce a steroid called cortisol to handle the feelings of fear. Unfortunately, cortisol has another effect on your physiology; it weakens your immune system. This effect makes you more vulnerable at a time when you need strength. 

No matter what your challenges are during this pandemic, there is one thing you can bring to the crisis from which all other problems can be better solved, overcome your fear with mental toughness. Being afraid can quite literally make you more susceptible to becoming sick. As such, the proper precautions like getting adequate rest, staying hydrated, and social distancing should have an additional component, help your brain to feel safe to maximize your physical health.

Some of the techniques you can employ include shifting your focus to those things you are grateful for, like a roof over your head, food in your refrigerator, your health. Consider all of the things you have that others may not; the things we all may typically take for granted. If you can’t find gratitude about your circumstances, think of those people working on the front lines in this continuing pandemic and be grateful it is not you. Finding something to be grateful for will immediately get you out of the fight-flight response.

Begin to practice empathy. Look at the time you spend with your loved ones at home as a gift and not a jail sentence. Embrace being with them, laugh, tell them you appreciate them because when you spread joy to others, it will boost their immune system as well. It turns out that being positive is healthy and contagious.  We all have a rare opportunity to forge better, more loving relationships with our immediate family, or if you live alone, take the time to recharge and re-center yourself. Take full advantage of this moment and choose positive behaviors. Extend your empathy to those who are feeling ill if possible, through video chat, phone calls, texts, or prayer. This moment is so much bigger than just ourselves.

Turn off the news and turn on personal growth and connection. News reports are full of data, some of which are not accurate. Being addicted to the 24/7 news cycle breeds uncertainty and fear as it touts mostly negative statistics and woeful stories of the moment. The basics about this pandemic are well documented at this point. Practice proper hygiene, particularly with your hands, avoid touching your face, avoid large gatherings, and implement social distance but do not do this out of fear, do it as an act of service. Flip how your brain associates your daily choices by knowing that your actions are preventing the potential deaths of others.

Find something in media or on television that brings a smile to your face or makes you laugh. Break out the board games, cards, art projects, or walk outside (distant from others!) and get some sun. Sun provides vitamin D for your system, which also boosts your immune system. Whatever you choose, staying active and busy in a positive way will lessen any concern or fears that you are experiencing about the pandemic.

These points of view may all may read as cliché, but in 2009 Dr. Alvaro Pascual-Leone conducted a study consisting of two groups of people learning to play a simple piano melody. For five days, one group practiced the melody for two hours a day while the other group, over the same time, sat in front of the keyboard, imagining they were playing the melody. Dr. Pascual-Leone mapped the brain activity of the study participants before, during, and after the experiment, and the results were surprising. Both groups experienced the same brain changes. What this means is the brain does not differentiate between imagination and reality. What this also means is you have a choice, a choice to be riddled with anxiety, worry, and uncertainty or the opportunity to be courageous, bold, and confident by simply imagining those feelings. How you feel is a choice. 

In simple terms, when you have a thought, your brain sends a pulse of electrical activity at the same moment. This electrical activity stimulates a release of neuropeptides that communicate with your body to produce a feeling. So truly, your thoughts create feelings. Activate your brain’s natural superpowers and boost your immune system by redirecting your brain’s thought patterns. Remind yourself daily to think positive thoughts, be grateful, and practice empathy which will give you the mental toughness to endure what still lies ahead.

We are open for business and would be happy to discuss any concerns you have. The pandemic we are living through has opened everyone’s eyes to the importance of having healthcare documents, as well as other planning documents like a will or trust. If you’d like to discuss your particular needs, please contact us – we’d be happy to help.  Just call us at 1.800.660.7564 or email us at info@covertlaw.com.  Stay safe.  Stay healthy.  

Americans of All Ages are Creating Their Wills During COVID 19 Pandemic

Americans of All Ages are Creating Their Wills During COVID 19 Pandemic

There has been an explosion in the numbers of Americans rushing to make their will online. Understandably, the coronavirus pandemic has created the scramble to set up wills and end-of-life-directives. However, online do it yourself (DIY) wills are often deemed invalid as they do not comply with all of the legal requirements of your state. According to Caring.com, the prevalence of will and estate planning has been on the decline since 2017 but this trend is quickly reversing itself with the advent of the coronavirus pandemic.  


So, who needs a will? Ask yourself if you care who gets your property or money if you die? If you have minor children, do you care who will act as their legal guardian? The answer is anyone married, anyone with children or anyone with assets needs a properly executed will. Wills are governed by state law. Your will should reflect your wishes in the language and format required by the state in which you live for it to be valid. 

Many law offices are turning to teleconference with their clients to address social distancing protocols while still providing legal services such as writing a will. Businesses like Zoom are experiencing a quadrupling of daily users. Part of this significant increase includes hosting secure attorney/client meetings for will preparations. The importance of an attorney guiding you through the process of creating a will cannot be understated as they understand the nuances of how things need to be written. Once your will is complete, it must be correctly notarized as mistakes made in the will-signing process can potentially invalidate your will. Your attorney will guide you through the signing process, and could involve signing during a video conference. 

Beyond the creation of a will, many Americans are increasingly concerned about their powers of attorneys, health care surrogates, living wills, and end of life directives. These “life documents,” as they are active while you are alive, are equally as important as your will. Named executors, successors, beneficiaries, power of attorneys should have several back-up representatives as the mortality rate due to the coronavirus remains unknown.

According to research in a recent New York Times report, health care workers are more likely to contract COVID 19 than the average person. During this pandemic, many doctors and other medical professionals are rushing to have their wills drawn up. In addition to doctors, anyone on the front lines in the fight against COVID 19, from hospital custodians to nurses to EMS responders, should either make a will or review and possibly update their existing one. However, the truth is no matter what your profession or likelihood of contracting this virus, you should have a properly executed will during this time of considerable uncertainty.

There are few things you can act on during the COVID 19 pandemic that can bring you assurance and a sense of relief. The legal creation of your will or living trust and life-directives (Designation of Health Care Surrogate, Living Will, HIPAA Authorization, Medical Emergency Card for your wallet) are actions you can take that protects you and your family. We can help. Call us at 1.800.660.7564 or email us at info@covertlaw.com to schedule a phone or video conference and we’ll get this importance process started for you.

Understanding the Impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on Seniors

Understanding the Impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on Seniors

We are living in confusing and scary times.  The senior population has been identified as the most at-risk demographic for COVID-19.  Information coming out about COVID-19 is very fluid, which can also contribute to overall stress.  Thankfully there are ways to try and manage stress and stay as healthy as possible during this time thanks to advice from several federal agencies monitoring the situation and the impact of COVID-19 on the senior population.  This article highlights some of the advice provided from those agencies monitoring this situation closely.

For those living in a nursing home or long-term care living facility, new protocols have been established by  the federal government to curb the spread of Coronavirus.  A new preparedness checklist is available from the CDC here.  It includes staff education and training for the rapid identification and management of ill residents, as well as an increase in supplies and resources. There are also restrictions on all visitation, excepting some circumstances like an end of life situation.  Other restrictions have been placed on volunteers and non-essential health care personnel, and the cancellation of all group activities and communal dining.

Before the identification and dissemination of information about Coronavirus, the CDC had identified the 2019-2020 flu season as being particularly challenging. Now many seniors wonder whether they have a different type of flu, allergies, or are experiencing the Coronavirus. Not knowing is particularly frightening since seniors have been identified as the demographic with the highest mortality rate. The CDC has a straightforward checklist of symptoms of respiratory infection, including COVID-19: 

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Because other types of flu have similar symptoms and there is no Coronavirus vaccine, and its test is in very short supply, many older adults will only be able to treat their symptoms without full knowledge as to the contagion.

One their website under “How to Prepare” the CDC provides information on protecting yourself, your family, your home, and managing anxiety and stress. According to the CDC, there are some things that seniors can do whether or not they are in a facility or living at home that can help reduce their risk of catching the Coronavirus or any other virus for that matter in this bad flu season. The first line of defense sounds counterintuitive to a global pandemic, but it is crucial, stay calm and try to relax. 

Getting quality sleep during this outbreak will allow your body the time it needs to restore immunity responses to contagions. Stay well hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Staying calm, getting restful sleep, and remaining hydrated will allow your body’s natural defense mechanisms to protect itself.

Have someone near you help you stock up on supplies. Stay in your home as much as possible. If the weather permits, open a window for fresh air. If you have a home with a porch or patio, take in some sun for vitamin D. You want your immune system to be as robust as possible. Take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others. If it is not necessary, don’t go out in public, avoid crowds, stay away from anyone who is sick, and wash your hands often. Cancel any cruise or non-essential air travel and do not use public transportation.

The CDC (List of Disinfectants) has posted a list of disinfectants for use against the Coronavirus. Proper disinfecting of often-used surfaces is critical as this particular Coronavirus can live for long periods, up to 72 hours on some surfaces. As of now, the EPA reports no detection of COVID-19 in drinking water supplies and believes the risk to the water supply is low based on current evidence. 

The CDC is reporting that seniors with chronic medical conditions like heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19 and should take extra precautions about self-isolating. Those seniors with these conditions in a nursing home or long term care facility will be triaged according to CDC guidelines for best practices with the elderly who are the highest risk.

If you feel worried and panic is taking over your rational responses, seek a loved one or trusted friend to guide you through the steps you can take. There is a great deal that is unknown about the Coronavirus, but there is a great deal known about what you can do as an individual senior to combat the threat and remain healthy. 

We would be happy to discuss any questions or concerns you have as we continue to understand the impact of COVID-19 on our country.  Give us a call at 1.800.660.7564 or email us at info@covertlaw.com. 

How to Talk to Kids About Their Inheritance

How to Talk to Your Kids About Their Inheritance

 

Many parents are uncomfortable talking to their kids about their wealth.  Talking about how much money or property you have is usually viewed as taboo.  Asking someone else about what they have is often considered impolite. But failing to talk to kids about how much they may inherit could leave them unprepared to handle even a modest amount, and often results in the money being squandered quickly.

Many who have substantial wealth are concerned that if their children know the extent of their wealth, this will take away any motivation for the children to be productive and involved citizens. Parents with substantial wealth often want their children to learn how to live in the world as “normal” people, and to be productive and successful in their own right. Some may go so far as to hide their wealth to encourage their children to work and build their own wealth.

But the degree of wealth is relative. Even those who are not as wealthy may not want their children to know how much they have. With the rising costs of health care, they are concerned that all of their savings will be needed for retirement, medical expenses, and long term care. If this becomes a reality their kids would not receive an inheritance they may have been counting on.

Failing to prepare children for what they may inherit can hinder their ability to handle money wisely. Many find they suddenly feel separated from their friends, isolated, even confused about how to handle relationships. Others will be wasteful and spend their new found money irresponsibly. Those who inherit even a modest amount are likely to be just as irresponsible; stories of inheritances being squandered on an expensive sports car, lavish vacations, and fast living are all too common.

Experts agree it is important to talk to children about money and wealth during their adult years to help them learn how to be better stewards of wealth. This doesn’t mean parents have to take a show their children all of their bank accounts, business interests and other evidence of wealth. Instead, experts suggest talking to children about their values, the opportunities money can provide and what you as parents want to accomplish with the money you have. Most parents want their children to think about helping others, and many want to encourage entrepreneurship. It can be helpful to give children a small amount of money at a young age to teach them how to save and invest, spend wisely, and to show them the importance of supporting charities. 

One of the most effective ways to teach children about values and spending and investing money is to be an example. Parents need to let their children see them using their money in ways that reinforce their values. Some parents show how they value family relationships by spending their money on family vacations or buying a second home where the entire family can gather for summers and holidays. Others involve their children in choosing charities to support and provide children their own money to donate. If your children see you living your values, chances are they will adopt similar values as well.

We help families determine how to leave money to children in a beneficial way, how to plan for unexpected health care issues, and how to make sure appropriate people are named to step in and help if needed. We welcome the opportunity to talk to you about your planning needs.

Passing on Family Values as Part of an Inheritance

Passing on Family Values as Part of an Inheritance

Successfully addressing and legally formalizing inheritance of family values and assets can be challenging, especially if parents wait too long to begin instilling family values. Undoubtedly the best time to teach and empower your children as eventual inheritors of your family legacy is during childhood, then continuing throughout adulthood. Waiting until your later stages in life to discuss family values as a guide to handling inherited worth is often ill-received as grown adult children prefer not to feel parented anymore, particularly when they are raising children of their own.  

There is value in the spiritual, intellectual, and human capital of rising generations, and it is incumbent upon older generations to embrace this notion and work with their heirs rather than dictating to them their ideas about how to facilitate better outcomes. While the directions taken by newer generations will likely differ and can sometimes be downright frightening than that of their elders, there can still be a deep sense of service and responsibility to family values and stewardship of inherited wealth. Allow your children to exert their influence over the family enterprise early on in life and make adjustments that create synergy, connection, and like-mindedness.

If this description of a somewhat ideal family system does not resemble yours, take heart. Most families do not conform to perfect standards of interaction. The more affluent a family is, the higher the failure rate to disperse assets without severe fallout. The Williams Group conducted a 20-year study and determined there is a 70 percent failure rate that includes rapid asset depletion and disintegration of family relationships during and after inheritance. Establishing inheritable trusts can provide real benefits. Benefits include avoiding probate, reducing time to handle estate matters, privacy protection, the elimination or reduction of the estate tax, and can be effective pre-nuptial planning. A parent who wants to control outcomes should focus on these benefits of the trust instead of trying to legislate their future adult children’s behavior.

It is imperative not to allow your values and legacy to become weaponized within the family system. A sure-fire way to inspire conflict is via “dead hand control,” meaning trying to control lives from the grave. Most often, if you put excessive trust restraints on adult children, they will act accordingly to your perception that they are not adult enough to handle wealth. Instead, consider enrolling them in a few classes about managing wealth. Spark an interest in them to learn how you have created wealth, the mechanisms you used, and what their future endeavors may look like long after you are gone. Formally educate your children about finances, the earlier the better, and instead of talking about who gets what the conversation can shift to the mechanics of managing wealth. This tactic resets the context of the issue and aligns purpose and intended long term outcomes.

Estate planners try to encourage trust choices that lead to flexibility. If a beneficiary is genuinely incapable of making the right decisions, a trustee can be appointed to make distributions in the beneficiary’s best interest. This trustee discretionary power of money management can help a well-funded trust survive for generations. 

You can also write a letter of wishes or provide a statement of intent to your children. Though these are not legally binding, it gives you a platform to remind them of family values and your desire for these values to be maintained for future family generations. This type of letter is an opportunity for you to convey your vision for how your wealth can bring growth and chance for fulfillment to beneficiaries.

Prosperity should positively shape lives. Family trust beneficiaries hopefully already have a self-driven life that includes purpose, responsible behavior, and a basic understanding of personal finance. If you worry your children may squander inheritable assets, create the opportunity for them to succeed through classes that teach them about managing legacy family values and wealth. Address your concerns legally and directly through a detailed trust that can help but not overly constrain them to achieve what you envision they can become. Start an honest conversation early on, but remember it is never too late to make good choices and create positive family value influences for the coming generations. 

If you are interested in establishing a trust to pass wealth on to your children, we can help. We can also guide families on how to pass on family values in a meaningful way. We look forward to the opportunity to work with you.  Just give us a call at 1.800.660.7564 or email us at info@covertlaw.com.

Ways to Hold Title to Property

Ways to Hold Title to Property
For many people, real property, including their home, is a big part of their overall net worth. How the home and other pieces of real property is titled deserves careful consideration. Real estate constitutes the land and any structure, including vegetation, livestock, crops, and other natural resources that sit on the land under the state’s law. Real estate can be commercial or residentially owned. Ultimately how you hold a property title has far-reaching consequences for liability, and when it comes time for sale or the bequeathing of it as an inheritable asset.

The title is a reference to the document that lists the legal owner(s) of a piece of property and can depict ownership of both personal and real property. Real estate titles are regarded as real property as it is a tangible asset. The title for real property, by law, must be transferred if the asset is sold or inherited and must be clear for the title transfer to take place. A clear title is free of liens or any other encumbrance posing a threat to proper ownership. The most common types of real estate titles are joint tenancy, tenancy in common, tenants by the entirety, sole ownership, and community property. Less common property ownership titles are corporate, partnership, and trust ownership.

Individual name or sole ownership allows for a single person to hold title, even if you are married. If the person becomes mentally or physically incapacitated due to injury or illness, a spouse or family member typically will need to conduct business with regards to your property. Your family member will not be able to do business transactions like refinancing or changing lines of credit, and they will be unable to act until a court appoints someone to act on your behalf. Many people assume if they have a will it will address the problem, yet a will does not go into effect until after you die and is not in effect if you become incapacitated. 

Joint tenants (some may have rights of survivorship) occur when two or more people hold the title to real estate jointly. This type of title is widespread among but not exclusive to married couples. Unmarried couples may also hold joint tenant title as can parents and their adult children. It is a fair, uncomplicated, and free way to hold the title. In the case of a couple, the death of one automatically transfers full ownership to the surviving owner without probate. However, probate is more than likely just to be postponed. In the event the surviving owner dies without adding another owner, or if both owners die at the same time, probate is almost certain to occur before the property can go to the heirs. 

Being a co-owner means that to sell, refinance, or take any action to the property, both owners must agree to the business action. If there is disagreement or in the event your co-owner becomes incapacitated, the court will become involved to resolve the disagreement or to protect the interest of the one who has become incapacitated. Court involvement will occur even in the event the incapacitated owner is your spouse. Joint tenants also expose the property to both of the co-owners obligations and debts. If a creditor successfully sues your co-owner, you could lose your home. In the case a co-owner is not a spouse, there can be income tax or gift tax problems. A will does not control any jointly owned assets, and you may mistakenly disinherit your family when your co-owner inherits your share, particularly in the case of second marriages with children from a previous union.

Tenants in common (TIC) allows for two or more people to hold title to real estate with equal rights during their lifetime to enjoy the property. A tenant in common title creates shares of ownership, and those shares will be distributed as directed in a will upon an owner’s death. In the absence of a will, the property goes to the heirs of the owner. As a tenant in common individually holds title for a respective part of the property, they are at liberty to dispose of said owned property or encumber it at will. Owners of their respective shares are permitted to use their portion of the property as collateral or in financial transactions. They may also be sued or have creditors place liens on only their portion of the property.

Tenants by entirety (TBE) are only permissible if the owners are legally married. This title, for purposes of ownership, treats the couple as one person for legal action and interpretation. Upon the death of one person, the TBE title is transferred in its entirety to the other spouse. This is advantageous as no legal action is necessary upon the death of one’s spouse. It does not require a will and probate is unnecessary.   

Community property is only in effect in nine states (AZ, CA, ID, LA, NV, NM, TX, WA, and WI) and is a form of joint ownership between spouses commonly referred to as community property. When you die, your share of the community property is automatically transferred to your surviving spouse unless your will provides otherwise. Both tenants, by the entirety and community property titles, can find the remaining owner with several new co-owners, who, upon their death, can have their heirs inherit the property. Also, issues of incapacity and lawsuits are magnified if several property owners are trying to reach a consensus about the sale of the property or other business actions. 

Corporate ownership allows a legal entity, a company owned by shareholders, to hold title to property. Partnership Owners can own real estate as a partnership. This title constitutes two or more people who transact business for profit as co-owners. There are also limited partnerships where an investor has limited liability because they do not make management decisions regarding business transactions of the property. In the case of limited liability, a singular general partner will typically be responsible for making business decisions on behalf of the identified limited partners.

Trust ownership, most often in the format of a revocable living trust, is a legal entity that owns the real property, which is managed by a founding or designated trustee on behalf of all trust beneficiaries. In the event you become incapacitated, your named successor trustee can seamlessly take control of your trust without court interference. A successor trustee is legally obligated to follow the instructions put forth in your trust. If you recover from incapacitation, you resume control of your trust. If you were to die, the property would be distributed according to your trust instructions and without probate. Holding real estate in trust ownership has challenges regarding benefits that surround financial and legal liability, managerial influence, and tax considerations. A real estate trust document can provide significant advantages to property owners but only if created by competent legal staff who take into account the complexities surrounding the trust and its interaction with the liabilities listed.

Methods of holding and owning title to real estate property are determined by state law and, as such, must be considered when researching and determining the best method to acquire and hold title to real property where you live. Depending on the complexity of your situation, assessing the best way to title your real estate may require professional real estate, legal and tax guidance. We help clients determine the best way to hold title to property, and whether a trust would be beneficial. Give us a call at 1.800.660.7564 or email us at info@covertlaw.com – we would be happy to help.

Why a Living Will is Important

Why a Living Will is Important

A living will lays out your preferences for life-sustaining medical treatment.  It is often accompanied by a health-care proxy or power of attorney, which allows someone to make treatment decisions for you if you are incapacitated and the living will does not have specific instructions for the situation at hand.  “Living will” and “advance directive” are often used synonymously, but a living will legally only applies after a terminal diagnosis, whereas an advance directive is much more comprehensive and includes the health care proxy.

As of 2017, only around one in three American adults had an advance directive for end-of-life care prepared. Those who are older than 65 are more likely to have an advance directive prepared than those who are younger, as are those have chronic illness more likely than those who are not. People may be unwilling to prepare these documents because they fear that they won’t necessarily reflect their wishes at the time they become relevant; sometimes patients become more willing to undergo treatments they rejected when they were younger as they age and develop medical problems. However, the documents can be changed as long as they are witnessed and potentially notarized (depending on current law). And if you continue to communicate your values with your proxy, they can make decisions based on your most recent preferences. 

So why is a living will important? It reduces ambiguity which can prevent family disputes during what is already a difficult time. It may seem like something that can be put off, but life is unpredictable; one never knows when these documents could become relevant. Furthermore, it needn’t be a hassle. A living will is a straightforward document, however it’s important to work with legal counsel to make sure your beliefs are properly stated. Other health care documents should also be prepared at that time, like a health care power of attorney that designates a person to make health care decisions for you if you are unable. Once you have signed any documents make sure you keep them updated, especially if you change states, and be diligent in communicating with whomever you named to act on your behalf.

If you need a living will or health care power of attorney or already have one that you would like reviewed, give us a call at 1.800.660.7564 or email us at info@covertlaw.com. 

 

Read more at:

Understanding Gift Taxes

Understanding Gift Taxes

Now that we have passed into a new year, many people will begin to think about making gifts to children and grandchildren in addition to holiday gifts just given.  These are typically larger gifts of cash or marketable securities.  When we make a gift of something to someone else, that is what is called a “gift taxable transaction” – meaning someone has to pay a tax on the making of that gift.  So who pays the tax, and how much is the tax is the subject of this blog post.

The one who is making the gift is often referred to as the “donor.”  The “donee” is the person receiving the gift.  Any gift taxes that may have to be paid upon making the gift are always paid by the donor, not the donee.

The gift tax is simply a tax on the transfer of assets, cash or property, to another without receiving something of equal value. The asset has to be of a certain value for the tax to apply; otherwise, it falls under the gift tax exclusion, either annual or lifetime. If the gift is above a certain value, you will have to fix out a tax form, but you may still be able to avoid the tax.

The value is based on the IRS definition of “fair market value.” If the asset is cash, then the calculation is straightforward: it is what it is. If the asset is a house, then its value is what someone would pay for it if neither buyer nor seller was under duress to commit. And some things which seem not to be gifts on their face may nonetheless be considered such by the IRS, for example, casual loans to friends and families, or naming someone other than a spouse on a bank account. 

The annual gift tax exclusion in 2019 and 2020 applies to assets up to $15,000 in value. It is counted per recipient, meaning you can give up to $15,000 to however many people you like without having to file a gift tax return. It is also per person, so you and your spouse could give up to $30,000 per year without having to file a gift tax return. Note that gifts between spouses are unlimited and don’t generally trigger a gift tax return and that giving money to a nonprofit is a charitable donation and not a gift. Finally, the person receiving the gift usually doesn’t have to report it. 

The lifetime gift tax exclusion is how you avoid the tax, even if you give more than $15,000 per year and have to fill out the form. The gift tax return keeps track of the amount you have given.  In 2019, the lifetime exclusion was $11.4 million; in 2020, it rises to $11.58 million. As with the annual gift tax exclusion, the lifetime exclusion is per person, so married couples can exclude twice the gifted amount. 

The tax only applies once you use up not only the $15,000 exclusion but also the $11 million-plus exclusion. So if you gift someone $50,000 one year, that counts as $35,000 against the lifetime exclusion. If you do manage to use up your exclusions, the rates range from 18% to 40%, paid by the donor. 

However, there are exceptions and special rules for how to calculate the tax, which can be found on IRS Form 709. These apply to things like college tuition and medical bills by allowing you to spread one-time gifts across multiple years’ worth of gift tax returns, or to pay the institution directly to avoid the gift tax return requirement.

If you have questions or would like to discuss your personal estate plan, please don’t hesitate to reach out by calling us as 1.800.660.7564 or by emailing us at info@covertlaw.com.

 

Read more at:

The SECURE Act of 2020

The SECURE ACT of 2020

Congress has passed a bipartisan appropriations bill. In the contents of this spending bill is a piece of legislation known as the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act (SECURE), the first significant change in retirement legislation since the Pension Protection Act in 2006. The President signed the Act into law on December 20, and its effective date is January 1, 2020.

The impact of the SECURE Act to some retirees, near-retirees, and their future beneficiaries is profound, and it is imperative to schedule a review of your retirement, estate, and trust plans. Failure to act on the changes brought forward by the SECURE Act can create substantial tax burdens for some beneficiaries and even the possibility that they become locked out of their inheritance for a decade. 

One of the most important provisions of the SECURE Act to understand is the removal of the stretch IRA required minimum distribution (stretch RMD). In essence, the removal will act as a tax revenue generator. This change means many Americans will face a tax increase as non-spouse beneficiaries must spread withdrawals over a maximum of ten years and not the lifetime of the account holder. The removal of the RMD for stretch IRAs is going to create significant problems for certain types of trusts, like the “see-through trust,” that were written before the SECURE Act. Previously, a see-through trust allowed an individual, upon their death, to pass retirement assets of their IRAs via a trust to a chosen beneficiary. If the trust is not updated to match the current SECURE Act language, there could be restrictions in accessing funds to the heirs, which may cause massive tax liabilities down the line.  

Annuities are also affected by the SECURE Act as the legislation will ease restrictions to include them in consumers’ 401(k)s. While this is a positive for lifetime income, the bill also lessens and even removes some of the fiduciary requirements to vet insurance companies and their financial products before allowing them into your 401(k) plan. This change, coupled with a reduction in overall standards the SEC imposed earlier this year, creates an increased likelihood that consumers could experience negative consequences from poorly designed financial products and the possibility of insurance company failure.

According to Forbes, there are eight significant ways the SECURE Act will impact your retirement plans. They include an increase in ability for small employer access to retirement plans, an increase in annuity options inside of retirement plans, an increase in required minimum distribution (RMD) ages, and the removal of age limits on IRA contributions. There is also a tax credit to encourage automatic enrollment into retirement plans through small employers, penalty-free distributions for childbirth or adoption, lifetime income disclosure for defined contribution plans for transparency, and the removal of stretch inherited IRA provisions.

It is imperative as an individual to be responsive to the changes this proposed new law will enact. Currently, estate attorneys, CPAs, and financial advisors are receiving additional training to understand the long-term tax implications of SECURE Act provisions. For those affluent retirees, Kiplinger advises there are five things you can do immediately to respond to the SECURE Act. The first is to delay your IRA distributions if possible, and continue to save but perhaps not in an IRA. Also, consider paying taxes BEFORE your children inherit your IRA. Talk to your financial planner, tax advisor, and revisit your existing estate planning documents to make sure the plans don’t compromise any existing IRAs that will be passed on to your beneficiaries. 

The overall implications of the SECURE Act to your retirement and your estate plan are numerous. Give us a call at 1.800.660.7564 to discuss how we can help make sure your retirement assets pass with as few tax consequences as possible – or email us at info@covertlaw.com.

Gen Xers Retirement Planning and Longevity

Gen Xers Retirement Planning & Longevity

As Gen Xers enter into their 40s and 50s, it is time for them to become active in the creation and execution of their retirement planning. There are many things to consider, including finances, investments, insurance policies, legal documents, living arrangements, and healthcare. It is advisable to make a detailed checklist within these categories and take action on each item. Meeting with an attorney can help you establish overall goals for your retirement and legacy planning while ensuring the steps you take will lead you to retirement success.

With regards to longevity, things may not be what they seem in the United States. While the world is experiencing an increase in life expectancy, Americans have seen a life expectancy decline for three years in a row. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers this a worrying trend. Assessing life expectancy based on these CDC numbers using their traditional approach is just one part of the equation for Gen X retirement planning because the statistic is derived from birth years while retirement years are calculated from age 65 and beyond. Yes, some Americans are living until the age of 100, and fewer are having heart attacks in their 50s because of prescription medications; however, according to the Smithsonian Magazine, there is “no large extension of adult lifespan in old age.” Making a reasonable estimation of your life expectancy is crucial as it affects planning for how long retirement will likely be and the amount of money needed to cover associated expenses.

MDVIP Health and Longevity Survey reveal that more than half of Gen Xers want to live past 90 years of age, with some wanting to make it to 100, and yet, nearly half have not had a comprehensive medical exam in the past five years. One-third of Generation X avoids going to the doctor at all out of fear of finding something medically wrong. Two-thirds admit they could be doing better when it comes to regular exercise, eating healthy, maintaining a healthy weight, and managing stress levels. There is good news, however. Generation Xers have a reasonable amount of lifespan left to identify changes that need to be made and implement them. Barring an unforeseen accident or illness, time is still on the Gen Xer’s side to make their retirement a success story. 

The face of retirement has changed. The vision for most retirees is a full life bustling with activity and interpersonal relationships. Semi-retired is how many prefer to see their goal. There are many excellent reasons to keep working beyond age 65. Continuing to earn an income from work is great for health reasons and economic reasons. Generation X will further test the solvency of social security benefits after most of the baby boomer generation will have stressed the federal program to its limits. Staying productive and useful are key elements to financial well being, happiness, and long-term health. Entrepreneurial pursuits and consulting are more accessible than ever with the advent of the World Wide Web online community. Try pursuing or inventing a new career, perhaps something you have always dreamed about doing.

Joint life expectancy, whether married or not, is an important consideration when planning for and working toward retirement goals. According to the Vanguard Groupa heterosexual Gen X couple where both partners are age 50, the female partner has a 50 percent chance of reaching 85 years of age while her male counterpart only a 38 percent chance of reaching that same age. Since the couple is most likely to pass away at different times, factoring in the longevity of the surviving partner is crucial to planning. When extending longevity retirement scenarios understand that what is discretionary spending for fun in your 70s and 80s may shift to cover increasingly extensive medical aid and expenses in your 90th decade and possibly beyond. A financial planner can help you to create scenarios that will accommodate repurposing of monies.

We welcome the opportunity to work with you on your retirement goals to help create a legal plan that supports those goals.  Email us at info@covertlaw.com or call us at 1.800.660.7564. 

Many Wealthy Retirees Are Too Scared to Spend

Many Wealthy Retirees are Too Scared to Spend

While the US economy is in a cycle of more than ten years of economic growth, its citizens, even the “wealthy” ones, are worried about running out of cash and are scared to spend. Bloomberg.com is reporting many retirees, and near-retirees are sitting on their wealth in much the same way large corporations are hoarding stockpiles of cash. Even famed investor Warren Buffet and his multinational conglomerate holding company Berkshire Hathaway Inc are side-lining cash in excess of $122 billion.

 

Americans are experiencing a strong economy. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is steadily growing. There are low-interest rates, low unemployment, a stable currency, and more than $1 trillion of available investor cash. For those retirees who are financially well off then, why is there anxiety about money and reluctance to enjoy it in retirement years? Yes, many of the wealthy are planning on leaving a legacy to their heirs, but something else is happening.

 

Wealth in the US is becoming more concentrated among fewer households. Consolidating wealth is like consolidating power. Ultimately there is little difference between the two. The Americans who have most benefited from this ten-year boom cycle in the American economy are averse to spending their money. They want to survive an economic downturn and still maintain their elite financial status. This conservative approach will likely guarantee them a very comfortable lifestyle even in the event of bleak financial times. Former Brookings Institution fellow Matt Fellowes states, “It’s trillions and trillions of wealth that is not benefiting anyone except asset managers.” The rich, sitting on their wealth, create stagnant money, which negatively impacts the vitality of the American economy.

 

The Federal Reserve provides a quarterly balance sheet of all individual and charitable monies and America’s combined net worth now stands at $109 trillion. It is a lot of money; however, it has disproportionately flowed to the wealthy. Celebrity and wealth-obsessed culture saturates Americans with images of the rich with expensive real estate, private jets and yachts, and attending posh philanthropic parties. The reality of the average millionaire in America is far more frugal than their Instagram and paparazzi driven counterparts. Retirement experts often disagree as to why these conservative millionaires are unwilling to enjoy the fruits of their lifelong labors. 

 

Being cautious with money is inherently prudent, particularly at the height of an economic boom cycle. Even without market uncertainty, a key characteristic of modern capitalist economies is a boom-bust cycle. A process of economic expansion (boom) will be followed by economic contraction (bust), and the cycle occurs repeatedly. 

 

 

www.federalreserve.gov

 

All Americans, even the wealthy ones, are experiencing uncertainty about their economic future. Will their rate of return on investments be able to address increasing medical costs? Will they have enough streams of income to support themselves when taking into account their longevity risk? Collectively, Americans are not saving enough to accomplish a successful retirement. However, individually, wealthy Americans are fearful of losing their financial position in a severe market downturn. These wealthy Americans have already lived through harsh economic times, particularly the Great Recession. This economic bust was triggered by the subprime mortgage crisis and the collapse of the US housing market bubble. Market bubbles present themselves from time to time, and if the free market successfully deleverages them, there is little economic incident. But when the bottom drops out, bleak economic times follow.

Once you achieve wealth, it becomes an inherent part of your identity, and consequently spending your wealth is like spending your own identity’s capital. Additionally, as you age, the tendency is to become more risk-averse, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). With the bulk of the wealth of America in older households than in previous decades, it is no surprise that risk-averse strategies are in play. A lifetime spent acquiring wealth and watching accounts and investments mature then morphs into retirement years of asset spending and the dilution of wealth. The majority of wealthy Americans are not keen to adapt to the life cycle of asset accumulation followed by retirement spending. Their preference is to live frugally, retaining as many assets as possible to be able to ride out an economic downturn.

Planning for retirement can be stressful. Having a proper estate plan in place can eliminate much of the stress, especially when it comes to transferring assets to children who may not be ready to handle large sums of money. We can help. Give us a call to discuss your wishes, and how to design a plan that will help carry those wishes out by calling us at 1.800.660.7564 or by emailing us at info@covertlaw.com.

Do I Need a Trust?

Do I Need a Trust?

This is a common question we hear. Read on for information to help figure out whether you need a trust and, if so, what kind fits your specific situation.

For example, maybe you have a disabled child and you want a trust to permit that child to inherit without losing government benefits. Maybe your own or your spouse’s health is heading into difficulties, and you can foresee eventually needing long-term care benefits. Trusts can avoid an expensive, public, and lengthy probate process before your beneficiaries can inherit after you pass. Or, you might be in the classic “trust fund” situation, where you’re concerned that your children won’t be able to manage money wisely.

All these are excellent reasons to consider a trust. But what kind of trust? A quick count shows there are at least thirteen different varieties. Which one is best suited to your needs? Call us. 

Here’s the basic idea behind trusts, to help you understand why you might or might not need one.

 

What is a Trust?

Think of a trust like a treasure chest. You originally bought property or earned money in your own name. You then transfer those assets into the trust’s name – into your treasure chest, in other words. The trust treasure chest becomes a legal entity separate from you, which now holds your property in its, and no longer in your, name.

Then you identify people who will occupy the three roles involved in managing trust property. First, you are the grantor, or settlor, or trustmaker – all those words mean the same thing, the “you” in this case. Second, you appoint a trustee. That person or entity is responsible for managing trust assets and following directions contained in the trust document. Third, you decide whom you want to receive trust assets – your beneficiary or beneficiaries, in other words. 

In legal terms, a trust is a fiduciary agreement among you the original property-owner, your trustee, and your beneficiary. The trust document contains instructions for what you want done with trust property, both for how you want it invested and, also, for how you want trust assets to be distributed when you pass. Trusts are, thus, a highly efficient hybrid between a power of attorney, an asset-management vehicle, and a last will and testament, all rolled into one legal entity and document.

There are two basic kinds of trusts to understand, before they split off into their thirteen-or-more different flavors: revocable or irrevocable trusts.

 

The Revocable Trust

A revocable trust can be thought of like the treasure chest with the open lid. As grantor/settlor/trustmaker of a revocable trust, you can get at trust assets freely.

You yourself can also occupy all three roles in a revocable trust – grantor, trustee, and beneficiary. If need be, you can also tinker with trust terms, by freely amending them to change the directions, beneficiaries, or trustees. Or, you can revoke the whole thing. Before that point, though, the trust document will be there to take care of everything you want it to.

If you should meet with an accident and lose capacity, the terms of your trust will designate a person to step in on your behalf and, thus, avoid the need to go to court to get a guardian for you. The trust will also direct who inherits, thus keeping your affairs private and out of probate court. This feature is especially important if you (formerly) and then the trust (after you created it) owns real property in various states. The savings in court costs in that situation could be significant.

 

The Irrevocable Trust

This is the trust for you if you’re seeing the need for Medicaid long-term care benefits in your future, or you work in a field where suits are common, such as owning a small business or in the construction industry.

The disadvantage to an irrevocable trust, however, is that you will be sacrificing all or almost all control over trust assets, unlike in the revocable-trust situation. Once an irrevocable trust is established, you as grantor/settlor/trustmaker cannot directly alter the terms and, generally speaking, your access to trust money is restricted or entirely precluded – as is required in order to enjoy the potent benefits of this kind of trust.

Think of an irrevocable trust as being like the treasure chest with the locked lid. Your trustee – who generally cannot be you – is the one with the key. You yourself can no longer reach your assets. This relinquishment of control is necessary to shelter your assets from creditors, or to protect your assets when entitlement to government benefits would otherwise require you to spend almost all you own first.

There are ways to draft an irrevocable trust carefully, so you can still exert your will over how assets are to be used. Just as in the revocable situation, you can impose conditions that must be met before a beneficiary can receive funds. You can designate how trust income is to be used for specific purposes like college tuition, business start-up, or travel. You can also authorize a person or entity as “trust protector,” who can alter trust language, correct drafting errors, or create a new similar trust if the law changes.

And there you have the basics. Now you’re ready to decide whether you need a credit shelter trust, or a charitable trust, or a qualified terminable interest trust, or a blind trust, or – just come see us to figure out all the rest!

 

Trust Caveats

Some sophisticated trusts do convey tax benefits, but, for the most part, IRS considers revocable trusts to be invisible. You as grantor/settlor/trustmaker will still pay tax on the revocable-trust income, albeit at your individual rate and not at the prohibitive trust rate.

As for estate taxes, trusts have no effect – but, at least regarding federal estate taxes, those are currently moot for most people. They are not incurred until the value of the estate exceeds $11.4 million as of 2019. Some states do impose estate and/or inheritance taxes; for those states, please consult this website:

https://taxfoundation.org/does-your-state-have-estate-or-inheritance-tax/

Also, keep in mind that revocable trusts provide no protection against creditors. If you lose a legal action, a judge can force you to change the beneficiary of your trust to the winner. Irrevocable trusts are free from that kind of interference.

Still, irrevocable trusts must be established long before you run into that kind of trouble. If you create such a trust while credit problems are looming or have already arrived, you risk that your trust will be undone as a fraudulent conveyance.

 

Trust Your Attorney

Consult lawyers like us, who have experience and expertise in the trusts and estates area. Custom-constructing a treasure chest to fit your specific needs is a job for our specific skills.  Let us know if we can help by calling us at 1.800.660.7564 or by emailing us at info@covertlaw.com.

What to Include in a Letter of Instruction

What to Include in a Letter of Instruction

A letter of instruction can be a beneficial piece in estate planning. It is an informal document that will give your loved ones important information about personal and financial matters after your death. Letters of instruction are not legally binding and do not replace your need for a will or a living trust, however it can be a nice complement to those documents. The informal nature allows you to create the letter on your own and change it whenever necessary. It is important to keep the letter up to date, as life circumstances change over time. Let’s look at some of the information that may be included in a letter of instruction.

1. Funeral and Burial Arrangements

The first thing you may want to include in your letter of intent is information about your funeral and burial arrangements. Be sure to include any plans you’ve already made, or what your wishes are as this can be very beneficial to grieving family members. Information about the type of funeral service you’d like, including who should officiate the service and special things to be included like music selections, can be a part of your letter of instruction. If you prefer to be cremated rather than buried, be sure to include that in your letter.

Another helpful inclusion would be a list of people you want to be contacted when you pass, and contact information if available. You may also include your wishes for donations to specific charities in your memory.

2. Financial Information

Information about your bank accounts, assets you hold title to, and other accounts can greatly help family members when trying to carry out the provisions of your estate plan. Be sure to include names and phone numbers of professionals who can help locate your accounts or who helped you plan. The location of other important documents should also be included with the letter of intent. These could include but are not limited to birth certificates, social security account information or statements, marriage license, divorce documents, and military paperwork. In addition, be sure to leave behind information related to mortgages and other debts.

3. Digital Information

These days, many of our accounts have transitioned to the digital world. Therefore, leaving behind information about your digital assets in your letter of intent becomes more important. This should include usernames and passwords for digital accounts, social media accounts, and the devices themselves. It is important not to leave family members guessing on this information.

4. Personal Items

Personal items can be a source of contention among family members when a loved one dies. A letter of intent can provide details about who will receive personal effects, including collections, important personal items, and other things that may not have monetary value, but do have sentimental value. In this section you can also include information about the care of the pets you may leave behind. This section of your letter may include personal statements about your wishes and hopes for the future and can address specific family members.

A letter of intent can be a very real source of peace and comfort to your family members in their time of grief. It can be difficult to think about getting started on a letter of this nature, as none of us like to think about our own death. However, if you consider the items to include and create a plan, a letter of intent can often write itself. Taking this step can alleviate much stress and many family squabbles about what you leave behind.

A letter of intent is an important piece of your overall estate plan and should be written with the help of an attorney to make sure the letter compliments and does not contradict your estate plan. We also offer to all of our clients their own private, secure Client Portal where they can give their loved ones access to some or all of their important documents.  If you would like help creating your estate plan or a letter of intent, please feel free to contact us by calling us at 1.800.660.7564 or by emailing us at info@covertlaw.com.

Protecting your child’s inheritance

Protecting Your Child’s Inheritance

Estate planning for the future inheritance of your children and grandchildren should include protective measures to keep assets from disappearing or being claimed by a creditor. A simple way to achieve inheritance protection is through a trust. A trust can pass your wealth bypassing probate. This allows specific trust provisions to ensure the money left to a beneficiary is neither squandered or through ill-advised spending or divorce action of the beneficiary.

Divorce is one of the primary obstacles to contend with when trying to minimize issues of wealth transfer and preservation. High divorce rates, especially among aging Americans, can make an inherited trust vulnerable if the property becomes commingled with the marital estate. Single and married children, as well as grandchildren of inherited wealth, should always maintain inherited assets and property as a separate entity whether as a trust or direct individual inheritance. Before any marriage, a pre-nuptial agreement should be signed to protect previously inherited wealth and the potential of future inheritance.

 

weforum.org

Whether your child or grandchild inherits an existing trust or establishes their trust after a direct bequeath, the terms of the trust can limit the potential problem of future loss of inherited monies or assets due to the possibility of lawsuits and creditor claims. A properly drafted trust can protect assets from legal action in the event your child is sued. A trust also protects the trust maker and the beneficiaries from the public process of probate. Anyone can research probate court records and determine how much your estate was worth, what you owned and how you chose to divide it.

If you believe your adult child has limited aptitude to manage money properly and might squander your grandchildren’s inheritance, then draft a will or trust that earmarks a dollar amount or percentage of the estate for those grandchildren explicitly. As an example, the will or trust can also specify that these inherited assets be allocated solely for a grandchild’s college education or wedding. 

Another financial vehicle with some overspending controls is a “stretch IRA.” This inherited individual retirement account (IRA) has a required minimum distribution (RMD) that stretches over a more extended period based on the inheritor’s life expectancy. A monitored minimum distribution will allow the principal to continue growing. In the case a child or grandchild is too young to manage the RMDs it may be in their best interest to name an institutional trustee to direct distributions. 

Whatever your intent is for your grandchildren, be sure to include a discussion with your child, expressing your resolve for your grandchildren to inherit and clearly stating them in your will. Also, speak honestly about your fears that your child may blow through their inheritance and discuss the value of limiting annual distributions to only investment income or a percentage of the trust’s value to preserve the aggregate of assets. In the event your child, who may have an addiction problem like gambling, drugs, or overspending, may require trustee oversight to temporarily end distribution of trust or IRA monies until they demonstrate wellness. At that time, the trustee may opt to restart money distributions.  

Ultimately it is best to find a trusted estate planning attorney that is well versed in the laws of your state to help you craft a comprehensive approach to the dispersion of your estate that will protect your intentions from the mal-intent of others. Whether you need a lifetime “dynasty” trust, individual trust or direct inheritance, institutional trustee, inheritable stretch IRA, or a combination of inheritance vehicles, is all dependent on your unique financial position and personal desires for your legacy’s distribution. There is great latitude when drafting the structure for the distribution of your estate, so look to creative inspiration to open up possibilities. Contact our office today and schedule an appointment to discuss how we can help you with your planning by calling us at 1.800.660.7564 or by emailing us at info@covertlaw.com.

Contact Us:

Auto Reply
Thank you for your recent inquiry. Someone will get back to you within 24 hours.

Signature (Supports HTML)
Kind Regards
Covert | Law
Stacks Image p2_n19

Covert | Law

Your Plan. Your Family. Their Future.

- - We Take Care of Families: Today - Tomorrow - Forever - -

NEIL R. COVERT, Attorney at Law

Clearwater - Sarasota - Fort Myers - Naples

1.800.660.7564

email: info@covertlaw.com

© 2019 Neil R. Covert, P.A. - - All Rights Reserved.

____________________________________________