HIPAA and Misinterpretation of the Law

One of the components of the comprehensive estate plans we establish for our clients is a HIPAA authorization. This form allows our clients to name trusted loved ones or professional advisors to have access to their otherwise-confidential records. I found this New York Times article regarding HIPAA authorizations interesting. It discusses how many institutions have incorrectly

The New Rules of Estate Planning

Forward-thinking estate planners and certified estate planning specialists are the most likely to be creating and following the new rules of estate planning as outlined in this Wall Street Journal article. One of the most important "new rules" is the enhanced focus on minimizing and avoiding capital gains taxes for higher-net worth families whose level of

2018-03-01T16:00:30+00:00 February 28th, 2014|Tags: , , , |

A Respectful Deference to Elders Curdles Into a Fight Over Assets

This NY Times article from late November focuses on a film, “Black Heirlooms” that describes a family dispute over a relatively modest amount of money that ended up tearing the filmmaker’s family apart. Besides the strained family relationships, the article mentions that “money goes to lawyers that could have gone to heirs.” That sentence resonated with

2018-03-01T16:02:28+00:00 February 28th, 2014|Tags: , , , , |

Plan B Eased Clippers Deal: Sterling’s Diagnosis

A recent article in the New York Times on the Donald Sterling saga illustrates the uses and effectiveness of incapacity planning as a part of estate planning. Although this case is by no means a model for how any of us would want our incapacity handled, it underscores how incapacity planning may work in the event

2018-03-01T16:03:14+00:00 February 22nd, 2014|Tags: , , |

Focusing on the Human Element of Estate Planning

This NY Times article - about estate planners who focus on a more holistic approach to planning than those who laser in almost exclusively on tax strategies and savings – really resonated with me. I often describe my sweet spot as working with “Millionaire Next Door”-type families and helping provide a bridge between legal issues and

Estate Tax Exemption for 2015

According to this Wall Street Journal article, the rise is now official. When the new estate tax laws were passed at the beginning of 2013, the law set the applicable exclusion amount (the value of assets that an individual can pass without any estate taxes) at $5,000,000. That amount was indexed for inflation based on the

2018-03-01T16:05:33+00:00 February 22nd, 2014|Tags: , , , |

7 Tips From Philip Seymour Hoffman, Gandolfini, & Other Celeb Estates

What do Philip Seymour Hoffman, James Gandolfini, Heath Ledger, and Amy Winehouse have in common? Unfortunately, two things: an unexpected and early demise and the other -- problematic estate issues. This Forbes article from earlier this year provides some key lessons to take away from these celebrities’ untimely passings. There are numerous stories about families having

Money Stumbles For You To Avoid

Consumer Reports magazine highlights the top “7 money stumbles to avoid,” and lists “not updating your [estate plan] and beneficiaries” as the number one stumble. The article highlights CR’s finding that 86% of respondents hadn’t updated their estate planning documents or beneficiary designations within the previous five years and then talks about situations in which that

The Talk You Didn’t Have With Your Parents Could Cost You

This New York Times article does a good job of highlighting a bad-case scenario where there wasn’t enough communication about financial affairs between a mother and her daughters. Although it can often be difficult, I almost always encourage my clients to talk with their adult children about their estate plan and their wishes. Often, we will

2018-03-01T16:08:33+00:00 February 8th, 2013|

More Heirs Wait as Wills Dole Out Money Slowly

A recent Reuters article explored the increasing phenomenon of parents delaying distribution of their loved ones inheritance – even after the parents have passed. I’ve seen this take place in my own practice – most parents are not comfortable with the idea of their children having full access to significant funds until after the age of

2017-02-23T02:04:13+00:00 February 8th, 2013|