How to Inherit an IRA When a Trust is the Beneficiary
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Oddly enough, how a trust inherits an IRA is as important as what it does with the IRA after receiving it.

Q&A: Moving Across State Lines With a Tenants by the Entirety Account
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“I’m moving to a state which does not recognize Tenants by the Entirety. What do I need to do?”

Q&A: Can I Amend My Estate Plan by Hand?
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When it comes to legal, if your attorney is allowed to make the edit, you are allowed to make the edit.

Your Estate Plan Might Disadvantage Your Heir’s Cost Basis
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Is what I’m accomplishing here worth sacrificing the step up in basis? If it is not, perhaps there is a better way to implement your estate wishes.

Understanding The Estate Exemption
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To preserve the portability of a deceased spouse’s exemption, you must file an estate tax return after the death of the first spouse even if you otherwise did not have to do so. The due date of the estate tax return is nine months after the decedent’s date of death.

Estate Settlement: Satisfying the Year of Death RMD
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The required IRA distribution in the year the account owner dies is called a Year of Death RMD.

Q&A: What Happens if an Inherited IRA Fails to Get Inherited?
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There is a tangled web of rules and options. For any given family situation and set of desires, there is a best answer when it comes to meeting your wishes, minimizing the tax owed, and optimizing your estate plan.

Does per capita or per stirpes include spouses?
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People think about marriage differently. These views and more shape the way that people want per stirpes and per capita to work.

Q&A: Do we need contingent beneficiaries if we have wills?
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The short answer is absolutely yes you do. Here’s why.

Inherited Required Minimum Distributions: Your Custodian May Mislead You
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For Inherited IRAs, all the Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) rules are complicated. There is no easy case.

Can I Update My Beneficiaries Online?
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Yes, but if you have complex wishes, you should utilize paperwork.

Q&A: Does a Power of Attorney Agent Have a Fiduciary Duty?
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A reader asks, “As her descendant and agent following the rules as written, it is my understanding that I could gift myself $14,000 each year. But can I really?”

Preparing for Death
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I recently stumbled upon an interesting website called OK to Die which has resources for preparing for and dealing with either your own death or the death of another.

What You Need to Know to Inherit an Inherited IRA
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Although you can have second generation beneficiaries, the first non-spouse designated beneficiary is the last one to receive a new RMD divisor calculation.

Why Trusts Are So Confusing
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Trusts are like Calvinball except that the government is trying to play referee. It is quickly confusing.

Q&A: Can you be my executor?
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Sadly, we have to say no. Even though we won’t be your executor, we are still here to help your executor, trustee, and loved ones through the estate maintenance and settlement process.

6 Ways To Prevent Your Estate Plan From Ruining Your Roth IRA
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Many executors, trustees, or even estate plans make careless mistakes which end up in Roth IRAs being distributed too quickly. Here’s a list of ways to prevent your estate plan from ruining your Roth.

How You Take Your Inherited IRA RMD Is the Exception to the Rule
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Inherited RMD rules demonstrates the power and importance of beneficiary designations and why it is so important to set them.

Roth IRAs Make Great Estate Planning Tools
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Taking the smallest distribution each year will ensure the beneficiary achieves the maximum tax-free growth of tax-free income.

Planning for a Funeral
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Funeral expenses are often a family’s fourth largest expense.

Understanding the Estate Tax Return
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The estate tax return is definitely complex, but that’s because it has to account for the multitude of special rules that only apply to a few households.

Testamentary Donor Advised Funds
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An easy estate workaround is to set up a Donor Advised Fund as a Testamentary fund, meaning you aren’t funding it yet, but it will be funded upon your death.

Understanding the Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax
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The fact that we have an 80% “generous grandparent” tax is ridiculous.

Digital Estate Plan: Facebook Legacy Contact
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Facebook added the “Legacy Contact” feature that allows you to designate a Facebook Friend of yours who you would like to gain access to your Facebook page after you have passed away.

Free Advanced Medical Directives from the Virginia State Bar
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The Virginia State Bar has even made a few variations of a simplified Advanced Directive free to the public on their website.

How Cookie-Cutter Powers of Attorney Fail
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This style of Power of Attorney certainly gets the job done, but there are a few ways that the cookie-cutter POA most frequently fails to meet people’s wishes.

Gifts, Taxes, and IRS Form 709
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Most people are unaware that giving a gift can be a taxable event because they themselves have not yet experienced the tax.

Radio Interview: Wills, Estates, and Beneficiaries
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David and host Rob Schilling discuss what estate planning is, why you want to do it, and explain some of the jargon.

Six Creative Beneficiary Designation Ideas
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These are just some examples of the creative beneficiary designations, but the important part is to dream big about what your wishes are.

Trust Protections from Creditors and Spendthrift Beneficiaries
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The beauty of trusts is that they are very flexible, and an estate lawyer can help you craft a document that will follow your wishes and give you peace of mind.

Utilizing Uncommon Beneficiary Designations
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Will substitutes sacrifice some of the customization of trusts but avoid the accounting complexities.

Can I Write My Own Estate Plan?
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The shortest answer is yes, you can. But just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

How Frequently Should I Redo My Estate Plan?
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Here are the most common reasons that your plan might need to be updated or revised and what to do about them.

How to Be a Good Executor
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You’ve been named the executor of a relative’s will – now what?

Preparing Your “Digital Estate” – Hardware and Digital Property
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You probably have dozens of online accounts and possibly hundreds of dollars of digital property. What happens to it when you die?

Preparing Your “Digital Estate” – Social Media Edition
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What happens to my Facebook, Twitter, Wordpress, and other online accounts when I die? Could I decide?

Get Your Estate in Order, Pt. 3: Choose an Executor
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Who do I choose to be the executor of my estate? What will their basic duties be?

Get Your Estate In Order, Pt. 2: Physical Assets
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Today’s question: What do I want to happen to my physical belongings and assets after my death?

Get Your Estate Plan In Order – Even if You’re Only 26
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Today’s question: What if something happens to me and I am not able to make decisions for myself?

One Hidden Way the IRS Hurts the Bereaved
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It is often said that the only two certainties in life are death and taxes. The IRS takes that truism to heart.

How Do I Find An Estate Planning Attorney In My Area?
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What is a better starting place than advertisements and phone directories?

How To List A Charity As Your Beneficiary
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There is a tax benefit to leaving some assets to your favorite charity rather than leaving it to your heirs.

Mailbox: How Can I Leave My Estate To A Charity?
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Leaving a legacy can be a great benefit for the charity receiving the gift.

Lifetime Exclusion From Gift Or Estate Taxes
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When you die, your assets and belongings–called your “estate”–are subject to taxation, but the there is an amount under which the executor of your estate will not have to pay taxes.

Annual Exclusion From Gift Taxes
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There is a limit, or exclusion–an amount that the government will allow you to gift to a person per year, without incurring tax consequences.

Myth: A Will Determines How Your Assets Are Distributed When You Die
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It is a common assumption that your last will and testament determines who gets your stuff when you die. What you may not know is the vast majority of your assets may be transferred to others regardless of the instructions in your will.

Estate Planning is More Than Just a Will: 3 Essential Documents You Should Have
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A good estate plan is every bit as useful during your lifetime as it is at your death. No matter your age or how much (or how little) money you have, there are three essential estate planning documents you should have.

Estate Planning
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The most important product of estate planning is achieving family harmony.

Who Gets Your Stuff When You Die Without a Will?
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It can be tricky to figure out who your “next of kin” is, so here’s a handy flowchart to help you figure out who gets everything you leave behind if you don’t have a will.

Beneficiary Designations: Per Capita or Per Stirpes?
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Before a grandmother passes away, both her sons predecease her. Left with only her daughter and grandchildren, depending on her titling one of three things may happen.

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