A recent survey shows that the majority of Americans do not have an estate plan – in the form of either a will or a living trust – in place. Among Americans 72 years old and above, 81 percent do have an estate plan, but 78 percent of millennials (ages 18-36), 64 percent of Generation X individuals (ages 37 to 52) and 40 percent of people between 53 and 71 years old do not have a will.
Joseph Greenwald & Laake, PA Blog - Estates & Trusts
Eleanor Hunt, senior counsel at the Firm, recently discussed wills, trusts, and related estate-planning topics on “Your Future Your Finances,” a television show that aired in Montgomery County, Md., on MMC Channel 16.
Hunt, who represents clients in the areas of family law and estate planning, told the show’s moderator, Brian Kuhn, that a basic estate plan for most individuals consists of three documents – a will, a financial power of attorney, and an advance medical directive.
Hunt noted that although these documents are very important for people to have, a surprisingly large number of people fail to have them prepared. She pointed to the recent passing of Prince, who died without a will, as an example of a celebrity who did not take care of these key matters.
Does the Attorney-Client Privilege Continue to Apply After Your Death? Of Course It Does … Don’t Be So Sure.
Last month, the Maryland Court of Appeals formally recognized the testamentary exception to the attorney-client privilege. In Zook v. Pesce, 438 Md. 232 (2014), the high court reaffirmed a ninety-five-year old exception to the attorney-client privilege.
Even estate planning seems to go through stages and fads with discussion of new techniques making the cocktail party circuit and the “free” lunch seminars for discussion. One popular topic these days is the use of Revocable Living Trusts. Before you consider rushing in to visit your estate planner to “get one of these” you might want to understand the basics of it and see why it is not a “one size fits all” tool for everyone.
Everyone has heard that “Nothing is certain except death and taxes.” And, we also know that when you pay your taxes late, there is another certainty: penalties and interest. Now, let’s say you pay your taxes late, you are assessed with penalties and interest, you pay the penalties and interest, but later discover that, in fact, you never owed the tax in the first place. You would then expect to have the tax, along with the penalties and interest, which you paid, to be refunded to you. Right?
Don’t look now but Maryland, a state that has a reputation for being a little too fond of imposing taxes, is on the verge of enacting a substantial tax reduction. No, this is not an early April Fool’s joke. As improbable as it may sound, the home of the dreaded bag tax, hard surface run-off tax and a plethora of other ways to separate its residents from their money is on the verge of enacting a law that will result in a significant reduction in the amount of estate taxes paid to the state, which is estimated to total more than $100 million per year when the law is fully phased in on January 1, 2019.
Do you have a will?
Even if you never get around to consulting a lawyer to prepare a will and have it properly executed, virtually every state in the union has taken the trouble to write one for you. Unfortunately, the legislatures who created the laws of intestacy don’t know you, don’t know your children, don’t know your crazy “ex”, don’t care if your only sibling is a homeless, unemployed, or deadbeat. They create a “one size fits all” set of rules that direct where your assets go and in what percentages without regard to any of those details of your life.
(Monopoly® is a registered trademark of Parker Bros., and is produced by Hasbro)
Two bills in the Maryland legislature could affect which estates would be subject to Maryland estate tax in the future and should be carefully watched by estate and tax attorneys and those Marylanders looking to protect their estate assets.
Well it’s that time of year again. Yes, it’s time to perfect your strategy, lock yourself in your office, “Hold all my calls” and get this work finished. No, I’m not talking about that tax return you extended in April or the TPS reports you have yet to complete; I’m talking about the final tweaks to your roster that will finally put you on top of your fantasy football league: can’t you visualize the Championship ring now?