Revocable Trust

In the wake of COVID-19, many are considering their estate plans

Posted on Jun 25, 2020

This article by Lin Law LLC’s Attorney Emily E. Ames was featured in the June 22, 2020 issue of The Business News. In the midst of a global pandemic, people are spending more time at home and have more time on their hands. As a result, many are considering their estate plans, or lack thereof. When people think of an estate plan, they often think of a last will and testament, which is the foundation of any estate plan. For those concerned with avoiding probate of their assets upon death, they may also consider a revocable trust (sometimes referred to as a “living trust”). Probate,...

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The SECURE Act of 2019: The End of “Stretch” IRA Distributions

Posted on Jan 6, 2020

On January 1, 2020, the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act, making widespread changes to the rules and regulations regarding retirement assets, became effective. From an estate planning perspective, the most significant change is the requirement that most non-spouse beneficiaries of an inherited IRA or other inherited retirement asset, such as a 401(k), must withdraw the entire balance of the inherited asset within 10 years of the decedent’s death. Prior to the SECURE Act, beneficiaries of inherited retirement assets were able to “stretch” the required...

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How Not to Amend your Revocable Trust

Posted on Dec 17, 2019

A California state court recently held, in Pena v. Dey, that interlineations made by a grantor to the text of his trust agreement were not sufficient to amend the terms of the trust. The grantor, James Robert Anderson, sent the marked-up copy to his estate planning attorney, with a post-it note instructing the attorney to prepare a written amendment. The trust agreement itself provided that any amendment must be made by way of a written instrument, signed by the grantor and delivered to the trustee.  Unfortunately, Anderson subsequently passed away before the amendment was finalized, and his...

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IRS Announces 2020 Estate and Gift Tax Exemption Amounts

Posted on Nov 7, 2019

On November 6, 2019, the IRS announced the final estate and gift tax exemption amounts for 2020, as adjusted for inflation.  The estate and gift tax exemption for 2020 will be $11.58 million per person, whereas the annual gift tax exclusion amount is unchanged at $15,000.  The adjusted estate tax exemption amount means that an individual will be able to shelter up to $11.58 million in assets from estate tax upon his or her death in 2020, and a married couple will be able to shelter up to $23.16 million in assets (assuming that portability is utilized). Keep in mind, however, that the Tax...

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National Estate Planning Awareness Week

Posted on Oct 23, 2019

In 2008, the 110th United States Congress passed House Resolution 1499, designating the third week of October (October 21-27, 2019) as National Estate Planning Awareness Week.  In doing so, Congress undoubtedly hoped that it would increase awareness with regard to the importance and benefits of estate planning.  However, a 2019 Caring.com survey found that only 43% of respondents had prepared an estate plan, compared to the 76% of respondents who believed estate planning to be important.  Some indicated that this was the result of procrastination, whereas others mistakenly stated that...

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You aren’t cookie-cutter, so why is your estate plan?

Posted on Oct 10, 2019

You may have seen a recent news article about the Will of Dennis Valstad, a man from Ripon, Wisconsin, who specifically bequeathed the sum of $500,000, in equal shares, to those individuals who attended his funeral.  To that end, the envelope containing Dennis’ Last Will and Testament instructed: “Do not open until after the funeral”.  Dennis, who had living siblings but no spouse or children, left additional instructions that, if an attendee felt they did not need the money (roughly $1,800.00 per person), they should donate it to charity. Dennis’ nontraditional bequest might not be...

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