Being a trustee is a big responsibility and if you don’t perform your duties properly, you could be personally liable. That’s why it’s important to hire the right people to guide you in this important role. A trust is a legal arrangement through which one person (or an institution, such as a bank or law…

As more and more people marry more than once, prenuptial agreements have become an important estate planning tool. Without a prenuptial agreement, your new spouse may be able to invalidate your existing estate plan. Such agreements are especially helpful if you have children from a previous marriage or important heirlooms that you want to keep…

The federal coronavirus relief bill has sent direct emergency payments to some 150 million Americans in the wake of the pandemic. Among the recipients are possibly millions of deceased individuals, raising questions about what their survivors should do with the money. After weeks of silence, the IRS has finally confirmed that the money should be returned and…

Retirement account owners, many of whose retirement balances have been pummeled by a stock market drop due to the coronavirus pandemic, do not have to take mandatory withdrawals this year. Federal law requires individuals who were age 70 1/2 before the end of 2019 to begin taking required minimum distributions (RMDs) from their retirement plan in…

A power of attorney (POA) and a health care proxy are two of the most important estate planning documents you can have, but in some instances they may be useless if they don’t comply with the federal privacy law. A POA allows someone you designate (your “agent” or “attorney-in-fact”) to make decisions for you if you become…

While it is important to have an updated estate plan, there is a lot of information that your heirs should know that doesn’t necessarily fit into a will, trust or other components of an estate plan. The solution is a letter of instruction, which can provide your heirs with guidance if you die or become…

Creating and executing estate planning documents is just the first step. Once you have completed the documents, you need to know what to do with them. All estate plans should include, at minimum, two important planning instruments: a durable power of attorney and a will. A trust can also be useful to avoid probate and to manage your estate both…

You may need to reevaluate some elements of your estate plan in light of the coronavirus pandemic. There are unique aspects of this crisis that your current estate planning documents may not be suited to handle. The language in some estate planning documents that is fine under normal conditions may cause additional problems for you…

Shopping online has become a literal lifeline during the COVID-19 pandemic for many at-risk individuals.  But for millions of people on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) who are currently unable to enter grocery stores, online shopping is not an option for purchasing food. Responding to demands from disability rights advocates, the federal government is now starting to modernize…

Not everyone will get the relief payment the federal government is sending to help Americans through the economic disruption triggered by the coronavirus pandemic. Among those left out are adults with special needs and the elderly who are claimed as dependents. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act included one-time payments of up to…

 

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