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What to do with Collections?

Collections are difficult to plan for because their value can be mostly emotional.  People should decide the value of their collection, decide whether it should be kept intact, and choose which family member(s) should receive it or whether it should sold or donated.  None of this applies to Beanie Babies, which should be thrown away.

Never Mind

The prior post about a possible law requiring that inherited IRAs must be distributed within 5 years of date of death is now moot because lobbyists have urged Senate Dems to remove the provision from a highway funding bill.  Skipping the question of why an IRA payout provision is in a highway funding bill, apparently everything has a price, except integrity and strong leadership are priceless.

Accelerated IRA Distributions

The Senate has proposed mandating that withdrawals from inherited IRAs be made within 5 years of the death of  the IRA owner.  The purpose of the legislation is to accelerate income tax revenues.  I agree with this proposal.  IRAs receive preferential income tax treatment because they are intended for retirement.  They were not created to distribute wealth from generation to generation in an income tax advantageous manner.

Facebook and Virtual Data After Death

In what is becoming a common story, questions arise as to what happens to an individual’s virtual data after his death.  Some states are passing laws to authorize executors to access the on-line data of a decedent.   In the meantime, wills should authorize the executor to access data including passwords.

Pet Trusts

Clients can overlook providing for their pets upon their deaths.  Pet trusts are a viable means of ensuring the post-mortem  care of pets.  Ohio has a statute which provides for the creation of pet trusts.  Kentucky does not have a specific statute but the objective of providing care for pets can be accomplished via other means.

Parents’ Personal Belongings

few tips about dealing with the personal items of parents.  Having seen families fight over furniture and jewelry, I agree with “go slow” and “be diplomatic.”  I would also add “remember it is just stuff” and “your relationship with your siblings is more important than any item.”

Adopting a Girlfriend or Mistress?

This is a bit tawdry.  A man who is being sued in a wrongful death case previously created a trust to benefit his 2 minor children.  He has now adopted his 42 year old girlfriend so she can be a beneficiary of 1/3 of the trust.  Assuming they remain a couple, she may use the trust assets to support herself and him even if he is forced to pay a large damage award in the lawsuit.  My trust documents are designed to prevent this because they provide that an adoptee must be younger than 18 to be considered a beneficiary.

Powers of Attorney

Because powers of attorney are so powerful, and eyed suspiciously by financial institutions, it is better to have an attorney prepare one than use a standard off the shelf form.

Funeral Planning

I typically see a funeral bill of $10,000 for my clients.  Here are  a few quick tips to reduce funeral costs – shop around, remember that the funeral home exists to make money, and that a reasonable casket can be purchased for $400 – $600.

Clawback for Gifts?

If the gift tax exemption reverts to $1 million in 2013, as slated, some commentators opine that the IRS will attempt to collect gift taxes on gifts in excess of $1 million made when the exemption amount was $5 million.  I do not see how the government can do this either legally or practically.

2012 – A Great Year to Plan

2012 is a great year to incorporate gifting into an estate plan.   The gift tax exemption amount is $5 million, interest rates are low, and asset values are depressed.  In 2013, while interest rates are supposed to remain low, the gift tax exemption amount is supposed to revert to $1 million.

Mistress Loses Claim Against Billionaire’s Estate

The estate of Australia’s 4th wealthiest man prevailed in a claim filed by his mistress, a former Penthouse Pet, for support and $5 million.  The court found that the absence of a written agreement was one of the big factors against her claim.

Wealth Tax?

The WSJ has an opinion piece favoring a wealth tax as a means of raising revenue.  Responses which mostly debunk it are here.  I agree with those who think a wealth tax is a stupid idea.

Merry Christmas

I am done posting for the year and will resume posting in the new year.  Until then, enjoy the best Christmas song ever by Darlene Love.

Gift Tax Non-Compliance?

The IRS is requesting information from various states, including Ohio about real estate transfers between parents and children from 2005-10 for purposes of determining gift tax compliance. If you made or received such a gift, you should file a Form 709 immediately.

Treating Children Differently

If someone wants to leave differing inheritance amounts to her children, she should explain the reasons for doing so. Also, she should make sure that her estate planning documents reflect her current wishes, not her wishes from several years ago when relationships and asset values might have been different.

Designating A Guardian

Some people refrain from implementing an estate plan because they can not agree on a guardian. However, an imperfect choice is better than no choice which will put the guardian decision before a probate judge.

Protecting an Inheritance

Trusts offer uniquely tailored ways to protect children from blowing their inheritance.

Survivors Not Responsible for Debts of Decedent

In Ohio, creditors have six months after death to file a claim against the estate to secure payment for the debt of a decedent. After that time, the claim is forever barred. However, some creditors/collection agencies still attempt to collect from surviving spouses and family members by appealing to their guilt.

Ohio – Next of Kin Notification

Recent legislation allows Ohio residents to submit 2 names to the Ohio BMV to be used by law enforcement in the event of a serious automobile accident.

Contact Me

All Posts By Jay Brinker

I am an attorney located in Cincinnati, Ohio who practices in the areas of estate planning, probate, asset protection, and small business advice. I make a difficult and bewildering process as simple as possible. Most importantly, I provide "more for less" for my clients.