As the digital age increasingly takes over more aspects of our lives, assets that hold tangible and sentimental value are not always something you can hold in your hands. Commonly referred to as digital assets, they can take many forms yet hold equal value to physical possessions.
Men and women in the younger demographics often assume they don't need to think about estate planning because they don't have much to protect. They might still be looking for a career and paying off student loans; they may not have a house, spouse or children yet.
Previously, 529 plans could be used only to cover costs for college and other post-secondary educational expenses. The new tax bill changes that, allowing use of 529 savings plans to support children's K-12 education, and authorizes 529 accounts withdrawals for public, private or religious schools. With this expanded flexibility, families not currently setting aside money for education may want to reconsider earmarking some savings toward a 529 plan.
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.
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.
D.C.'s New Estate Tax Exemption Amount
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.
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.
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.
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.