For most people, there are many uncertainties associated with the creation of a Will. Deciding if you need a Will and eventually preparing one can raise a lot of questions and if left unanswered, can also lead to problems in the future. Below are a few of the most common questions associated with creating a Will.
Most family-owned business owners put off their succession planning because they don’t want to think about their retirement, disability or death, however, business succession planning should be a priority in every family owned business. A family owned business owner’s decision to eventually retire is not as simple as no longer going to the office.
A Power of Attorney allows you to designate another person to act on your behalf to handle financial, medical, or legal matters in the event that you are unable to do so, or unavailable. The person that is so designated is referred to as your “attorney-in-fact”. There are different types of powers of attorney: a general power of attorney, a limited power of attorney, a durable power of attorney, a durable power of attorney for healthcare and a springing power of attorney.
There are three principal types of tenancies related to the ownership of real estate. Perhaps the most popular, and most familiar, is the joint tenancy. If two persons own a property as joint tenants, upon one person’s death, the other person automatically owns all of the interest in the property. There is no limit on the number of persons that can hold property as joint tenants. If a husband and wife own a property together and add their child to the deed, each will own a one-third interest in the property.
A Will is more than an estate planning document used to distribute property. One of the most important reasons to have a Will is to appoint guardians for your minor children. So often parents delay their estate planning because they cannot decide which persons will be the best guardian for their minor children. If the parents should die without a Will appointing guardians for their minor children, a judge may have to make the decision as to the guardian (this should be avoided!).
Clients often ask what happens if they die without a will. It is a common misconception that if you die in Pennsylvania without a will that everything will be left to the Commonwealth. Because of the statutory scheme that Pennsylvania has in place, it is a rare occurrence that anything will be left to the Commonwealth.
Melvin Simon, together with his brother and business associate Herbert Simon, built a business empire upon the then novel concept of the shopping mall. The company that he and his brother founded – Simon Property Group, Inc. – is now the largest mall owner on the United States with over 300 shopping malls in its property portfolio.
As many people are now aware, Congress has (at least for now!) let the federal estate tax die. The federal estate tax is scheduled to come back in 2011 and in future years after that. In future years, estates worth as little as $1 million dollars are scheduled to be taxed (compared to estates worth more than $3.5 million dollars in 2009).
In order to have an effective estate plan and properly provide for your heirs, it is vital that you avoid the following estate planning mistakes.
The Internal Revenue Service announced in late October that the annual gift tax exclusion for 2010 will be $13,000, the same as in 2009. The annual exclusion allows every individual to give $13,000 to each family member or other beneficiary without any transfer tax implications. If only one spouse makes a gift to an individual, the donor and his or her spouse can elect to treat a gift to an individual as though each spouse made one-half of the gift to the individual, effectively allowing a married individual to double the benefit of the annual exclusion to $26,000 if the non-donor spouse makes no annual exclusion gifts to the done in the same calendar year.