The Eleff Law Group

Suburban Maryland Legal Law Blog

Prenuptials and estate plans for marriage after 50

Finding love in life is a great feeling, no matter your age. However, just like there are considerations for a 25-year-old to make prior to marriage, there are also important decisions someone 50 or older also needs to consider before walking down the aisle. In this blog post, we hope to provide some basic information on the importance of having a prenuptial agreement and finalizing estate plans before getting married.

Strategies To Save Your Loved Ones Money After You Pass

You have worked hard for everything you have and you no doubt want to leave your children with your assets when you pass. While this sounds simple enough, the truth is that estate tax laws are downright confusing, and one small mistake or oversight can have serious financial implications for your heirs.

When it comes to estate planning, there is a number of different estate tax planning strategies you will want to explore with your attorney.

Spread The Word : Big Jumps In Estate Tax Exemption Amounts Effective In 2017

D.C.'s New Estate Tax Exemption Amount

The District of Columbia's Office of Tax and Revenue recently announced that the D.C. estate tax exemption amount - - that is the portion of an estate NOT subject to tax - - will DOUBLE, from $1 million to $2 million, applicable to residents who pass away after December 31, 2016. This is big, welcome news! Those with their eyes on the ball had been disappointed the past couple of years, as this move had been announced in mid-2014, but was made dependent on the District's budget meeting certain revenue goals, which had not been achieved until recently.

Reasons You NEED A Power Of Attorney

In a perfect world, people are able to handle their own affairs and stay in control of their own lives. However, no matter how healthy you are, the future is uncertain. There is always a possibility you could fall ill, or be incapacitated for one reason or another. Sometimes the best way to truly maintain control over one's life is to be ready to relinquish it - at least to some extent. This is done by designating a person or persons to fill the role of Power of Attorney.

What Is A Power Of Attorney?

A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that grants one person permission to make certain decisions in place of another person. The person who created the POA is the principal. The person named in the POA is the agent or attorney-in-fact, and is normally a close relative, friend or business associate.

Estate Planning For Your Pets As Well As Your Family

Entrusting Your Pet's Care

Is your pet a part of your family? Pets are a great source of comfort, stress relief, and joy. Just as you want to provide for your friends and family if you are disabled or after you pass away, it is natural that you wish to do the same for your beloved pet. So, how do you go about doing it?

Unlike your human family members, your pet is considered a part of your personal property. Just like any other object you own, you can leave your pet to a friend or family member to take care of after you die, and you can gift or entrust the pet to someone during your lifetime. You can also leave a monetary bequest to your successor pet-owner, and state your intent that the funds be used to cover pet needs. However, if you are a Maryland resident who wishes to ensure that the person caring for your pet has the resources to pay for regular vet checkups, medical bills, and other related expenses, the Maryland legislature has provided a formal way to do just that. There are similar statutes in most other states, and you can check on the law in your own state.

Estate Planning Lingo - What Is A Power Of Appointment?

Getting Comfortable With Powers Of Appointment.

Does your will contain power of appointment? Does it waive powers of appointment? Do you know? Can you check? A power of appointment can provide flexibility for transferring property to legatees and heirs, usually children and grandchildren. A will or trust may allow beneficiaries powers of appointment, enabling them to direct where their share of the estate or trust goes at their death

The Powers Of Powers Of Appointment.

A power of appointment grants the recipient with authority to designate the distribution of property held in an estate or trust. There are two types of powers of appointment: a general power of appointment and a limited power of appointment. .A general power of appointment is a broad power that enables the beneficiary to allocate all or part of his or her share of the estate or trust without limitation. A limited power of appointment permits the beneficiary to allocate his or her share of the estate or trust among only certain potential recipients or classes of potential recipients, such as the descendants or charitable organizations, but not to the beneficiary, the beneficiary's estate, or creditors of the beneficiary or the estate.

IRS Issues Proposed Regulations Restricting The Use Of Valuation Discounts

For many family owned businesses the creation of a Family Limited Partnership ("FLP") is a great way to achieve succession planning. When it works well, a founding member of the business can enjoy peace of mind knowing that his hard-earned business can stay within the family, with a long term plan in place to better insure its success.

However, FLPs have also been favored for their potential to provide significant estate tax savings. When used to insure that the business stayed within the family, restrictions can be placed on an individual's ownership share within the company. Two popular methods of accomplishing this was to restrict an individual's ability to transfer their shares (by only being able to sell their shares to other family members and/or the FLP itself) or to restrict an individual's ability to control the business (often by restricting an individual's ability to liquidate the company). Control and of transferability restrictions can result in an asset receiving a significant valuation discount.

Going Through MD Probate Just For A Car? Don't Let That Happen.

I am often asked: What is the probate process and how can I avoid it? Simply put, probate is the government supervised process of transferring assets titled in an individual's name according to the terms of that individual's last will and testament, or if the individual didn't have a will, pursuant to Maryland's laws of intestacy. While Maryland's probate process is not unduly complicated, it often takes at least nine months or more to complete. The process can sometimes bring avoidable stress and hardship to surviving family members.

One of the simplest ways to avoid the probate process is to own property jointly with another individual. Examples of this would be owning a bank account or real property with someone else, usually a family member. Jointly held property bypasses the probate process. Ownership automatically passes to the surviving owner. Another method of probate avoidance is to name a beneficiary for assets such as retirement accounts or life insurance policies.

Providing Access To Your Digital Assets: A Decision Yours To Make

Access To Digital Assets

Many of us are using online accounts to some degree: to manage finances, correspondence, or social interactions, all with the storage of their personal information. Sometimes the information is stored on our own personal devices, such as a laptop or smart phone. Other times, the information may be stored in the cloud or on the social network's own servers. While the concept of digital assets is constantly growing as technology advances, the most common forms of digital assets are our digital photographs, emails, and social media accounts. The inability to access such records could be a huge sentimental loss for a family. For those of us who own a business, the inability to access digital access could have a severe financial impact if a trusted family member or agent cannot open or use work email or other important records in the event of the disability or death of the person holding the passwords.

Yours, Mine And Ours: When Is A Prenuptial Agreement Necessary?

The news and media are loaded with stories about messy celebrity divorces involving prenuptial agreements. While it may seem that only extremely wealthy individuals - or superstars - enter into prenuptial agreements before tying the knot, that simply is not true.

While not everyone needs a prenuptial agreement, there are certain times when it may make sense to put an agreement in place before saying "I do."