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New Tax Laws and YOU

Unless you live under a rock, deep in a cave, you have heard about the new tax act that Congress is putting together. This is not a political commentary on that act. More importantly a few things to remember: - With regards to estate tax very few people reading this need to worry about that element of the new tax act as it is set to bump the estate tax exemption from $5.45m to $10.9m. That is per person. So if you are a married couple with over $21.8m then your loved ones would still pay estate tax after your death. Also, it should be noted that the law sunsets so could go back to $5.45m per person or whatever else Congress feels like. However, for all practical concerns the estate tax is dead. - However, there are still income tax concerns after death as relates to the step-up in basis.
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Bad deeds

I have had multiple cases recently where title companies have refused to honor deeds recorded around the time of death. That is, the person just before death signed a deed to transfer the property to another. In each case the facts are slightly different. Before I explain more let me tell you that, in my personal opinion, title companies can be above the law. What I mean is that the laws may say a certain deed meets the legal requirements to transfer title but that doesn’t mean a title company will honor that. Sometimes maybe the title company is actually technically correct and other times I am not so sure. In my opinion title companies are more suspicious when a deed is recorded just before or just after death. I think they look at them more critically. Also, the homemade and o
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Estate planning lessons from other’s mistakes

On March 11, 2016 I got the call of a lifetime… and I do not mean that in a good way. I got the call from the police, in Logan, Utah, that my mother had been shot to death by her husband. This is not a post about domestic abuse, gun control or mental health awareness. That’s not the point of my webpage. This is an estate planning and probate website so let’s talk about those aspects of this horrible situation. First of all I have posted before, since my mom’s death, about some of things I learned. I want to take those posts and go a step further here. I want you to be able to learn from other's mistakes. Just last week I paid off her mortgage. You would think that would be easy to do, right? That is, I have my mom’s money, my mom owed the bank some money, and therefore 2 + 2 s
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New Years Resolutions

Each year I am told of clients who had a new years resolution to "Get our estate plan done this year...." Each year they tell me they failed to do it until finally they came to see me. Often they tell me "the estate planning process was much easier than we thought it would be...." Maybe YOU have been procrastinating about getting your estate plan done!? Maybe you have young children... or not so young anymore as you are busy. Maybe you have assets that you are concerned about taxes, probate, and even just kids WASTING the money. GET YOUR ESTATE PLAN DONE! I strongly believe that DONE IS BETTER THAN PERFECT! You may never have your thoughts organized 100%. You may never agree with your spouse on everything. There may always be one more change about to happen. DONE IS BETTER THAN PERFECT! Pr
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