2018 Year-End Tips for Financial Planning

If you haven’t looked at year-end financial breaks, I have news for you–the time is NOW!
Here’s a quick list of important tax-cutting or planning actions to take before Dec. 31, 2018! 
–Update your will to find tax breaks or fix tax consequences before year-end
–If you’re a veteran, talk to a lawyer before giving away money or property–especially if you need assisted living care
–Donate gifts of cash or stocks to your favorite charities now
–Assess business changes to cut taxes now or push taxable decisions to 2019

Read more below for explanations on actions needed before Dec. 31, 2018.

Why update your will before Dec. 31?
Reveal tax breaks or deal with tax problems before year-end deadline

New baby or grandbabies? You now have another potential tax deduction. But, remember– anyone under the age of 18 cannot inherit property in Texas. We recommend you place any inheritance for minors in a testamentary trust in your will. This helps you avoid guardianship issues and allows you to specify the age of inheritance (age 25, age 30, or older).

Happily married again? Congratulations! Divorce? It happens. Your tax status can change with with either of these life events. As far as your will–make sure the new spouse is the beneficiary on all your documents. Or, name someone else as beneficiary if you’re now free of a spouse. Too often we see estate plans where an ex-spouse is still a primary beneficiary. Staying friends is one thing . . .but inheritance?

Move to Texas recently or move away? Different states mean different tax and probate rules. State income tax factors into your tax return. You may need to file separate returns for different states. Your will should reflect your new place of residence to avoid costly probate. For example, California probate is difficult and expensive. Texas probate is straightforward and cost-effective by comparison. While Texas allows valid wills from other states to be presented in a probate case, we always recommend new Texas wills for clarity and to cover any issues which may have arisen in the last few years.

Inherit property or purchase a home in another state? This change almost always affects your tax situation and likely has probate consequences for your will. No one ever said, “I want to probate a will in two states.” If you have valid Texas estate planning, these documents cover any and all property you own in Texas. If you own property outside of Texas, especially real estate, we recommend placing this property in a simple revocable trust. This avoids multi-state probates and allows you to transfer the property seamlessly without further court involvement.

Buy or sell a big item? Maybe you finally bought that boat you’ve always wanted. Don’t forget to invite us on your next trip! Just kidding–kinda. If this is for personal use, it probably won’t qualify as a tax deduction. But, maybe the boat can be used in part to entertain clients? Let’s talk. This asset definitely should be added to your will along with designating what happens to it if you’re not around.

Is your will’s executor still a good choice? This decision may affect your taxes and far more–your entire family’s inheritance or anyone else designated to benefit from your will.

Let me give a good example. Let’s say you are an elderly gentleman and you have a nice new friend named Anna Nicole Pith. This friend is quite a bit younger than you and is kind enough to offer to serve as your executor. Now let’s say this friend starts borrowing money from you and maybe even steals a car or boat from you. We recommend finding a new executor. If you don’t trust the people named in your documents, find new people. Don’t have ideas? Ask us to brainstorm for you.

Why should I care about the VA’s rule changes for long-term care?

You should care because your decision to give away money or property before Dec. 31 could mean you or your spouse won’t qualify for long-term nursing home care or assisted living benefits. This year VA long-term care benefits changed to require a three-year look-back period for aid and attendance to veterans or their spouses who are in nursing homes or assisted living facilities. The rule change also affects those who need help at home with everyday tasks like dressing or bathing. This means that moving assets during the three years prior to applying for these benefits could affect your eligibility. 

In addition, a new net worth maximum of $123,600 has been established.

The new rules are similar to Medicaid in their requirements and similar types of financial planning using trusts and other property transfer tools are still available.

You may benefit from meeting with an attorney to discuss the ways to transfer your property or money and still qualify for VA long-term care or assisted living benefits.

Here are the basics:

  • Applicants are required to disclose all financial transactions within the three years prior to submission of the application.
  • Applicants who transfer assets to put themselves below the net worth limit within three years of applying for benefits will now be subject to a penalty period. During this penalty period, the applicant will not be eligible for VA benefits. This can last as long as five years.
  • There are limited exceptions to the penalty period for fraudulent transfers and for transfers to a trust for a disabled child.
  • Gifts count towards this penalty period. 
  • Taking your name off of bank accounts also counts as a gift or unqualified transfer of assets for VA and Medicaid purposes. 

Basically, if you think you have a new trick for getting rid of assets, the VA and Medicaid case workers have seen it before. To learn more, check out our detailed article on this subject or call 817-638-9016 to schedule an appointment

Do I have to give a charitable gift before Dec. 31?
Yes, you do–if you want a tax deduction. Here’s the IRS break down:

How charitable giving tax deductions work
You can deduct contributions in the year you make them. If you charge your gift to a credit card before the end of the year it will count for 2018. This is true even if you don’t pay the credit card bill until 2019. Also, a check will count for 2018 as long as you mail it in 2018.

Wait! There’s more! Gifts of money include those made in cash or by check, electronic funds transfer, credit card and payroll deduction. You must have a bank record or a written statement from the charity to deduct any gift of money on your tax return. This is true regardless of the amount of the gift.

Gifts of stock require more detailed planning. Let us know if you want to give away stock as you need to understand the most beneficial way to handle this transaction—for your own tax consequences and to best benefit the charity. If you need help in planning stock or property sales for maximum tax benefits, call us at 817-638-9016 for an appointment with an estate planning attorney. 

Why Do Business Changes Matter?
Assess Before Dec. 31 & Avoid Unexpected Tax Outcomes

Ask yourself the questions below to do a quick assessment of your business changes over the past 12 months. If “YES!” is the answer to any of them, you may need to talk with us or your CPA about tax consequences. And, you may need to update your will:
• Buy or sell a business?
• Get a new partner or dissolve a partnership?
• Buy or sell business assets including property, buildings, equipment, cars, etc.?
• Declare bankruptcy?
• Make tons of money with your new business idea?
• Added new staff—possibly some relatives?

Make sure your estate plan matches the current state of your business. We want your wills, trusts, power of attorneys, and more to match your business plan in a seamless transition plan.

Need help? Call our office at 817-638-9016 to schedule an appointment.  

Wishing you peaceful and relaxing holidays,

Travis Weaver, Attorney
tweaver@WeaverLegal.net

Veteran’s Affairs (VA) Major Rule Change Affects Long-term Care

Photo of battered combat boots

VA’s Major Rule Change Affects Qualifying for Long-term Care Benefits

This year, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) finalized its long-threatened new rules making it more difficult to qualify for long-term care benefits.  The VA offers aid and attendance to veterans or their spouses who are in nursing homes or assisted living facilities or who need help at home with everyday tasks like dressing or bathing.

The rules establish an asset limit, a look-back period, and asset transfer penalties for claimants applying for VA pension benefits, including the Aid and Attendance benefit, that require a showing of financial need. This new rules are similar to Medicaid in their requirements and similar types of planning are still available.

Currently, to be eligible for the Aid and Attendance benefit, a veteran (or the veteran’s surviving spouse) must meet certain income and asset limits that are dependent on his or her healthcare costs and life expectancy.

 

The new regulations set a net worth limit of $123,600, which is the current maximum amount of assets (in 2018) that a Medicaid applicant’s spouse is allowed to retain, and will be indexed to inflation in the same way that Social Security increases.

But, in the case of the VA, this net worth number will include both the applicant’s assets and income. The income for a veteran or a veteran’s spouse includes social security, pension, and certain other types of income. An applicant’s house (up to a two-acre lot) will not count as an asset even if the applicant is currently living in a nursing home or assisted living facility. Additionally, applicants will also be able to deduct medical expenses — including payments to nursing homes and assisted living facilities — from their income. This is a crucial point. You need to keep track of your medical expenses and money you’ve spent on care recently.

The regulations also establish a three-year look-back provision. This is a significant penalty period, but is still two years less than the Medicaid look-back period. Applicants will have to disclose all financial transactions within the three years prior to submission of the application. Applicants who transfer assets to put themselves below the net worth limit within three years of applying for benefits will now be subject to a penalty period, during which they are not eligible for VA benefits, that can last as long as five years. There are limited exceptions to the penalty period for fraudulent transfers and for transfers to a trust for a disabled child. Gifts count towards this penalty period. Taking your name off of bank accounts also counts as a gift or unqualified transfer of assets for VA and Medicaid purposes. Basically, if you think you have a new trick for getting rid of assets, the VA and Medicaid case workers have seen it before. To learn more, check out our detailed article on this subject or call 817-638-9016 to schedule an appointment

Under the new rules, the VA’s penalty period will be determined by dividing the amount transferred that would have put the applicant over the net worth limit by the maximum annual pension rate (MAPR) for a veteran with one dependent in need of aid and attendance.

For example, assume the net worth limit is $123,600 and an applicant has a net worth of $115,000. The applicant transferred $30,000 to a friend during the look-back period. If the applicant had not transferred the $30,000, his net worth would have been $145,000, which exceeds the net worth limit by $21,400. The penalty period will be calculated based on $21,400, the amount the applicant transferred that put his assets over the net worth limit (145,000-123,600).

The new rules went into effect on October 18, 2018. The VA will disregard asset transfers made before that date.

Veterans or their spouses who think they may be affected by the new rules should contact the attorneys at the Weaver Firm at 817.638.9016.

 

When Your Loved One Does Not Leave a Will

The process becomes more complicated and elaborate, when no will is left by the deceased. An application to determine heirship may be required along with an application for Letters of Administration.

The court determines who is entitled to inherit the property in question through an heirship proceeding which includes the consideration of spouses, children, grandchildren, siblings, parents, etc.

In the heirship proceeding, the Court generally appoints an attorney ad litem which conducts independent investigation into the decedents of the deceased to assist the court in determining the heir.

Once the ad litem proffers a report, an heirship hearing occurs presided by a judge. Two disinterested witnesses, meaning those unrelated to the deceased, are required to testify regarding the heirs.

Satisfied that all heirs have been discovered, the presiding judge will sign a judgment, documenting these heirs along with the percentage each heir is entitled to receive of the estate.

The judge will then issue Letters of Administration to the person chosen as the administrator. Letters of Administration serve essentially the same purpose as Letters Testamentary.

Elder Law 101: Nursing Home Care vs. Assisted Living

How Do Nursing Homes Differ from Assisted Living

Nursing home lawyers provide assistance in making an advanced plan to get you care required as you get older or if you experience illnesses or injuries that make you unable to care for yourself any longer.  

As you experience age-related sickness or the affects of illness, there is a substantial chance you will some day require care in an institutional care environment.  

In fact, as Wall Street Journal explains, more than 70 percent of people who reach the age of 65 will require nursing home care at some point in the future.  

You’ll need to make sure you are prepared to move to the right environment — and to pay for the care you require.

Most nursing homes cost upwards of $5,000 a month for care.

The Weaver Firm attorneys can help you understand your options for nursing home care or other care you might require.

In particular, you should consider the differences between nursing homes and assisted living facilities so you can make a fully informed choice regarding which environment is right for you.

If you want help in understanding the different options for senior living when you cannot live alone any longer, you can give us a call at any time to talk with nursing home lawyers at our firm.

Assisted Living vs. Nursing Homes

Assisted living and nursing homes both provide an option for seniors who can no longer live independently but as the New York Times explains, there are important differences.

Assisted Living Facilities

Assisted living facilities generally provide a more home-like environment while nursing homes have a more institutional or hospital-like feel.

These homes may involve seniors living more independently in their own rooms or their own apartments, while nursing homes generally provide semi-private or private rooms with much less privacy and autonomy than assisted living facilities offer.

While an assisted living facility can feel more like living independently for seniors, this independence makes assisted living facilities unsuitable for many seniors who require more hands-on help.  

Assisted living facilities may offer housekeeping services, meals, activities, and some help getting medical care, assisted living facilities typically do not provide the same level of supportive services that a nursing home does. 

The New York Times also indicates that nursing homes are more heavily regulated than assisted living facilities. 

Assisted living facilities are covered by VA aid and attendance. The rules for this program are complex but are not nearly as intense as Medicaid rules.

Some facilities have an assisted living section and a nursing home care section for seniors who are attracted to the idea of assisted living but who may need nursing home care in the future.

If you think this could be an option, you should make sure to find out what the rules are for when and how different kinds of care can be paid for. 

Getting Help from Nursing Home Lawyers

How much does it cost to stay in a nursing home?

The average cost of a private room in a nursing home is more than $90,000 a year.

What are ways to pay for a nursing home stay?

There are four main ways to pay for a nursing home stay:

  1. Cash out of your pocket
  2. Medicaid
  3. Private Long Term Care Insurance
  4. Medicare

How does Medicaid pay?

Medicaid is a joint federal and state government program that helps people with low income and little assets pay for their nursing home cost.

Generally, to be eligible for Medicaid, your income and asset levels can’t exceed levels set forth in your state.

Medicaid officials will “look back” at your financial information over a certain number of years to determine if you have been getting rid of property in order to receive Medicaid.

However, if you have assets over the allowable level, you are permitted to “spend down” or decrease your assets before you receive Medicaid.

Typical spend down costs include medical expenses, mortgages and other debts, and funeral expenses.

Also, your house and car are generally not counted against you for qualification purposes, and therefore don’t have to be spent down.

States vary in their eligibility requirements, so you should check with your state social services office or an elder law attorney for specific information.

Also, keep in mind that not all nursing homes accept Medicaid, so you’ll need to ask about a particular nursing home’s policy. 

Nursing home lawyers at the Weaver Firm can provide assistance with the process of making a plan to get nursing home care or to get care in an assisted living community.

We can also provide guidance on reviewing nursing home facilities and assisted living facilities to find the right care environment for your particular circumstances.

Because the costs of care can be expensive and are not covered by Medicare or by most private insurance, we also provide assistance with the creation of a Medicaid plan so you can protect assets while getting Medicaid to cover the costs of your care. 

Contact us today at 817.638.9016 or RWeaver@weaverlegal.net

What Are the Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease?

The symptoms of Alzheimer’s and dementia develop slowly over a number of years Sometimes these signs are mistaken for normal, age-related mental decline instead of the result of a more serious problem.

Because the symptoms progress slowly, it’s easy for loved one’s to deny they even exist until an event happens that is so uncharacteristic or bizarre that the symptoms become undeniable.

We’ve seen this type of denial in our family.

Look for the below-mentioned signs and consider a planning meeting with our attorneys before the situation deteriorates beyond repair.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, the following are ten warning signs of Alzheimer’s:

  1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life, especially newly-learned information. Early symptoms include repeatedly asking the same questions, and increasingly relying on memory aids, such as notes, to recall routine tasks.
  2. Challenges in planning or solving problems. The onset of Alzheimer’s can make it difficult keep track of finances, and plan and cook meals. Sometimes, people give gifts or make unusual purchases.
  3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, work, or leisure, such as driving to a familiar location or recalling the rules of a game.
  4. Disorientation of time or place. Those with Alzheimer’s can experience confusion about where they are, how they got there, or what day it is.
  5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships, such as depth perception. This leads to people tripping on stairs or ledges and can cause physical harm.
  6. New problems with words in speaking or writing. People with Alzheimer’s struggle with remembering the right word or use the wrong word to describe familiar objects. Sometimes, people will avoid discussing certain issues or avoid situations altogether to cover up these signs.
  7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps to locate them. This includes keys and medications.
  8. Poor or impaired judgment. Those with Alzheimer’s may be more prone to give away large sums of money to telemarketers, dress inappropriately, or keep up with personal hygiene. They may even forget to eat for days at a time.
  9. Withdrawal from work or social activities.
  10. Changes in mood and personality. Symptoms can include mood swings, anxiety and delusions.

Our recommendations if a loved one is experiencing these symptoms:

The Alzheimer’s Association recommends seeing a doctor right away if you or someone you love experiences any of these symptoms because early diagnosis and treatment can delay the progression of Alzheimer’s.

In our pre-planning session, we discuss estate planning documents to protect your loved ones and options for long term care including Medicaid and VA planning.

Schedule a meeting today. 817.638.9016 or RWeaver@weaverlegal.net

How the Tax Plan Affects You in 2018

On December 22, 2017, President Trump signed into law new tax legislation (the “2017 Tax Bill”). The 2017 Tax Bill makes significant changes to the tax code, including a reduction in corporate tax rates, major changes to individual taxes, a repeal of the Health care mandate, and a number of other changes.

This update focuses on how this law affects individuals from an estate planning and tax perspective, including charitable gift planning, taxation of trusts and estates and asset transfers for planning purposes.

Estate Tax Exemption Doubles to Approximately US$11.2 million per Individual.

Rockefeller would be proud. The 2017 Tax Bill keeps the estate and gift tax at 40% but doubles the estate tax exemption to approximately US$11.2 million per individual (US$22.4 million per married couple), beginning on January 1, 2018. This increase also applies to the exemption from generation-skipping transfer (“GST”) tax, which also increases to US$11.2 million per individual (US$22.4 million per married couple). In layman’s terms, this means your estate will not pay taxes as long as it remains under $11.2 million. If you have a taxable estate, come see us right away so we can begin the planning process.

The other rules applicable to gift and estate taxation, such as heirs receiving fair market value basis for assets received from an estate, stay the same.

This US$11.2 million exemption will continue to be adjusted for inflation each year. Along with most other changes to the individual tax regime, this increased exemption is scheduled to expire after 2025. This increased exemption creates significant planning opportunities for individuals, particularly those with estates in excess of the increased limits. 

Clients Should Consider Using This Increased Exemption Starting in 2018

Clients should consider making gifts (either outright or in trust) in order to utilize this increased exemption, particularly since this increased exemption is scheduled to expire at the end of 2025. In addition, other estate planning techniques, such as GRATs and sales to grantor trusts, can still be used under the new 2017 Tax Law. 

Clients Should Review Current Estate Plans in Light of the Increased Exemption

One planning item to consider is that many clients have wills and other estate planning documents that use formulas based on the exemption amounts available at the client’s death. For example, an individual’s will may leave an amount equal to her available exemption from the estate tax to her children (either outright or in trust) and the balance over the exemption to her spouse. Without changing her documents, the change in the law increases the amount passing to the children and decreases the amount passing to her spouse by more than US$5 million. Accordingly, clients should review their current estate planning documents to ensure that their plans and these formulas still accurately reflect their wishes in light of the dramatically increased exemption amounts.

In addition, clients who live in New York State and whose estate planning documents fund trusts with the entire federal exemption amount may owe significant New York estate tax on the death of the first spouse and, therefore, may wish to review the structure of their estate plans. Clients living in other states that have state estate or inheritance taxes may also have similar tax considerations.

529 Plans May be Used for Educational Expenses for K-12 

The Tax Bill also expands the use of 529 plans so that they may be used for K-12 education. 529 plan funds (up to US$10,000 per year per beneficiary) can now also be used for tuition expenses for any elementary or secondary school, including public, private, or religious schools. Previous law only allowed 529 plan funds to be used for college and other post-secondary programs and expenses. A previous provision also allowed 529 plan funds to be used for homeschooling expenses, but that provision was removed from the final 2017 Tax Bill.

Limit on Deductions for Charitable Cash Contributions Increases to 60% of AGI

In addition, although the 2017 Tax Bill limits a number of income tax deductions, it does increase the deductibility limitation for cash contributions to public charities from 50% to 60% of adjusted gross income. This increase is scheduled to expire after 2025. Other charitable contributions (such as contributions of appreciated property and contributions to private foundations) are still subject to the 30% (and in some cases 20%) of adjusted gross income limitations, and the ability to carryover unused charitable contribution deductions for five years remains unchanged. 

Many Changes to Individual Taxation Also Affect Trusts and Estates, Including the New 20% Deduction for Certain “Pass-through” Income

Many of the changes to the taxation of individuals (e.g., reduction in tax rates, limitation on state and local income tax deductions, etc.) will also apply to trusts and estates. 

However, one change of particular importance for trusts and estates is the deduction for income received from pass-through entities. 

Under the 2017 Tax Bill, trusts and estates are entitled to take the 20% deduction for pass-through income also applicable to individuals, which creates an effective tax rate of 29.6% for most pass-through income earned by a trust. While beyond the scope of this discussion, certain restrictions apply to the availability of this deduction. It is important for trustees of trusts that own interests in pass-through entities to understand the effect of these rates on fiduciary income tax obligations. 

Conclusion

Although the ultimate scope and effects of the 2017 Tax Bill will continue to unfold, the most significant change from a transfer tax and estate planning perspective is the doubling of the estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer tax exemptions to approximately US$11.2 million beginning on January 1, 2018.

For questions or concerns about tax planning, please contact us immediately at 817.638.9016. Don’t wait until you’re facing an enormous tax bill!

The Most Important Things You Need To Include In Your Will

A will can accomplish many different legal tasks, including naming heirs, naming guardians for minor children, and naming an executor to take care of your estate. Many people can get by with a simple will that has a few important provisions. You can even draft your own Will as long as you carefully follow state specific instructions for execution and drafting. If you have questions, come see a qualified Estate Planning Attorney. Here is what your Will needs to include.

Choose Who Receives Your Property…Who Gets What

Many people will want to leave all of their property to their spouse or children. This is standard. Here is what you don’t usually think about.

First, you may want to spell out what should happen if one of your beneficiaries passes away before you do. We often see people who leave all of their estate to one beneficiary and forget to include a back up plan. In many cases, you can simply state that their share will be divided equally among the remaining heirs based on current intestacy laws. Don’t forget your backup plan.

You may also want to include a survival clause. For example, if you both you and your spouse are involved in an accident, there is a possibility that your assets could have to go through probate twice if one of you passes away shortly after the other spouse does. You can designate a longer survival period to avoid this problem. Standard survival is 120 hours or 5 days for the math majors out there.

Name an Executor…Who is the Boss

The executor is in charge of administering the estate. Many people choose a family member or someone else with the necessary skills to complete this task. This person needs to be trustworthy and should immediately move to secure the Estate after you die.

You should also consider choosing a backup executor just in case your primary executor is unable to serve or refuses or resigns. This position does require some legal or business knowledge, so make sure you choose someone with those skills.

Other Important Will Language

The following are a few additional things you should include in your last will and testament:

  • State that you are revoking all prior wills to avoid a potential conflict between the new will and a prior will.
  • Include a residuary clause, which controls what happens to all property not specifically mentioned in the will. This ensures that any property you acquire after drafting the will is still distributed to your designated heirs.
  • If you have minor children or a trust, you should name any trustees and guardians in your will.

Every family is unique, and very few Wills are “simple.” If you have questions about what to include in your will, give us a call and let us craft a plan for your family.

817.638.9016

Sign up for our newsletter to receive up to the date legal news!

Founding Fathers had Wills and So Should You

Ever wondered what a founding father’s Last Will and Testament looked like? Probably a lot like yours. Ben Franklin provides an excellent look into several issues regarding what you leave and to whom.

Sam Moak, an attorney in South, Texas, has a great breakdown of Ben Franklin’s Will. Here are some of the highlights.

Franklin gave his son William all of his property in Nova Scotia “to hold to him, his heirs and designs forever.” William is what we consider a primary beneficiary because he received the property outright from the will. Much like you might leave your home to your children or to their children, Ben Franklin kept his property in his bloodline.

Franklin owned three homes on Market Street in Philadelphia, other property within Philadelphia and pasture land outside the city. These are probably worth a pretty penny nowadays. Ben transferred the right to use that property together with his “silver plate, pictures and household goods” to his daughter Sarah Bache and her husband Richard Bache for use “during their natural lives.” 

This gift created a life estate. You may have a home or other real property and desire for a particular person to use that property for his or her lifetime. A life estate is an excellent way to give a person life use of property. Clients often use this type of gift to ensure a piece of property remains in the family for multiple generations. Children can’t sell the property, but can live in the home forever. Think a family ranch for a Texas specific example.

If you create a life estate for a person, then you may also designate a person or perhaps a charitable organization to own the property after your life tenant passes away. Make sure to visit our site for an upcoming article about charitable giving and how it might be a great idea for you.

Ben Franklin’s intent was to transfer property to his daughter and son-in-law for life, with the remainder to his grandchildren. But what if one of the grandchildren were to pass away prior to the demise of both parents? Franklin indicated that if one of the grandchildren were “to die under age, and without issue,” that share would be “equally divided among the survivors.” This is an example of a contingent beneficiary.

A contingent beneficiary is the person who will receive the property if the first person is not living at the time of the transfer. For example, you may wish to give a gift through your Will to a brother or sister. But if he or she passes away before you do, then it is important to select another person to receive the property. We often see DIY Wills where a client names a primary beneficiary but fails to name a successor beneficiary. 

Franklin also realized some of his grandchildren might be young if and when their parents passed away. Franklin stated in his Will that some of them are “under age” and “may not have capacity” to manage the property. Therefore, he ordered the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania to select “three honest, intelligent, impartial men” to manage the property. 

If your estate plan includes young children, then you will want to create a trust to manage property for the benefit of the children. The trust should work to provide a distribution of income and, if needed, principal from the trust to the child until the recipient reaches an age you designate for distribution of the assets. In Texas, children under eighteen (18) cannot inherit property outright. Instead of going through the expensive and time consuming process of petitioning the Court (not the Supreme Court in this case, but a Probate court) to create a Trust, consider having an attorney draft this trust as part of your Last Will and Testament.

If you don’t have a Will, don’t panic. Wills are simple to draft and easy for attorneys to set up. Over 60 percent of people pass away without Wills. Your property will eventually get to your heirs-at-law, but the process is more expensive and time-consuming.

Come see us for an Estate Planning meeting right away! 817.638.9016.

$100,000.00 Hotel Room? Only in Aggieland

Texas A&M recently auctioned off the rights to premier rooms located in their on-campus hotel. If this sentence is confusing, you aren’t alone. As tax deductions for things like football and basketball suites become increasingly scarce, the Aggies decided to get ahead of the curve with hotel room licensing.

Basically, Texas A&M will allow you to pay $100,000.00 (if you win an auction) for the right to reserve hotel rooms in the new Texas A&M hotel currently being constructed on campus. Your name will appear on the door of the hotel room and you get first dibs on these premium rooms directly adjacent to the football stadium. This $100,000.00 fee is complete tax deductible, although the website does recommend you speak to a tax professional before shelling out the 100k. A couple of things to watch:

  • prices depend on the game being played (much like other hotels in the area)
  • donors must reserve the room 45 days in advance of any football game
  • hotel has a pool, 24 hour room service, sports bar, and conference center
  • the hotel is using a private/public development partner, so watch out for IRS red flags if making the deduction
  • the hotel is being paid for by private funds and NOT student funds
  • this donation does NOT count towards 12th Man priority points for sporting events

This is an interesting idea and should provide Aggies the ability to stay in luxury while they watch their team lost at home.

If you have an interest in Aggie Football and happen to have $100,000.00 burning a hole in your pocket, do I have an idea for you!

If you need help designing an Estate Plan that may or may not leave money to an Aggie hotel, please give us a call today.

Gig Em

The Weaver Firm 817.638.2022

 

Estate Planning for Entrepreneurs

Forbes published a great article showing 9 out of 10 entrepreneurs have out of date Estate Plans. What exactly is an “out of date estate plan”? Basically a plan (i.e. Wills, Power of Attorney, Living Will) that hasn’t been looked at in more than five years.

Here are five reasons to update your Estate Planning documents regularly:

  • changes in the law: tax laws change yearly
  • changes in your family: births, deaths, divorces
  • changes in where you live: did you move to Texas recently?
  • changes in your Estate: did you win the lottery or purchase a home in another state?
  • changes in your life: were you diagnosed with an illness?

Check out the article and understand that it is never too late for Estate Planning…until it is too late

h/t to Professor Beyer and his blog at http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/trusts_estates_prof/ for the article

817.638.2022 or TWeaver@www.weaverlegal.net