Kent Larsson writes about the proper use of wills, advance directives, trusts, and other estate planning tools, and how how they play a vital role in you receiving proper medical care and helping you to preserve and pass on your assets to your loved ones.
Court orders body of famous artist be exhumed.
A judge has found enough basis for the claims of a Spanish woman, claiming she is the child of Salvador Dali, that the body has been ordered to be exhumed from its current resting place underneath a theater in Dali's hometown, so DNA testing can be performed, according to the Washington Post in "Judge in Spain orders Salvador Dali's body exhumed for paternity test."
Dali, who was well known both for his eccentric art and lifestyle, was not known to have any children. However, one Spanish woman claims that she is Dali's child.
The only problem is that she cannot prove her claims, since Dali passed away in 1989 at the age of 85.
The woman makes her living as a professional tarot card reader, so perhaps she could prove her paternity by reading the cards. However, she refuses to do such a self-reading. Instead, she has asked the Spanish courts to intervene.
It is not clear what the woman hopes to gain from the testing. Dali's estate has long been closed and all of his valuable artwork donated to the Spanish government.
Even though the artwork is valued at hundreds of millions of dollars, it is unlikely the woman could lay claim to any of that money. For her part, she seems uncertain of what she wants, if Dali does turn out to be her father.
She has only stated that she wants "what corresponds to her."
Reference: Washington Post (June 26, 2017) "Judge in Spain orders Salvador Dali's body exhumed for paternity test."
Just exactly what does Medicaid do?
There is an ongoing attempt to repeal Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act) which is expected to have a major impact on Medicaid. Medicaid touches us at many points in our lives.
NPR recently published a list of some lesser known facts about Medicaid in "From Birth To Death, Medicaid Affects The Lives of Millions," including:
• It is very expensive. Medicaid currently takes up approximately 10% of the federal budget. State governments contribute even more on top of that to the costs of the program.
• Half of all births in the U.S. are covered by Medicaid. The program has been expanded many times to include more and more pregnant women.
• Some 62% of nursing home residents receive their care through Medicaid.
• Disabled people (and the people who take care of them) are often eligible to receive their care through Medicaid.
• Medicaid is a major source of funding for the fight against opioid addiction.
Reference: NPR (June 27, 2017) "From Birth To Death, Medicaid Affects The Lives of Millions."
An estate planning attorney is the right person to answer this question.
The key to determine what the best estate planning option is for you, is for you to decide. However, you may want some advice, according to Madison.com in "Is a Living Trust Right for You and Your Family?."
Trusts do have many benefits over wills.
Trusts do not have to go through probate and, therefore, are not subject to the commonly cited costs and delays associated with probate.
Trust provisions do not have to be made public, as most wills do. Trusts are also a great way to control what your heirs might do with their inheritances, but “testamentary trusts” under wills do so as well.
An estate planning attorney is the person most qualified to advise you on the use of a trust in your estate plan.
Reference: Madison.com (June 27, 2017) "Is a Living Trust Right for You and Your Family?."
A professional can help you know the difference between knowledge and false ideas.
We are not experts on everything. However, one of the areas where many people are often wrong about a subject is estate planning, according to TCPalm in "Misconceptions about wills and trusts."
The article mentions several things people are often wrong about when it comes to estate planning. What is specifically mentioned in the article, however, is not as important as understanding that you are probably wrong about estate planning.
You might not be wrong about everything that has to do with estate planning, but you are almost certainly wrong about more things than you think you are.
This suggests that you should not do your own estate planning.
You are wrong about some aspects of estate planning and you do not even know which aspects you are wrong about.
Consequently, you should seek out people who are experts in estate planning and those people are estate planning attorneys.
An estate planning attorney can guide you in creating an estate plan that fits your unique circumstances.
Reference: TCPalm (June 16, 2017) "Misconceptions about wills and trusts."
The executor of an estate must make decisions on protecting heirs.
Katie May, a former Playboy model may have suffered injuries during a photo shoot and went to a chiropractor for treatment.
She later died and the coroner determined the treatment injured her artery and cut off blood flow to her brain, according to TMZ in "Playboy Model Katie May Estate Sues Chiropractor...Your Treatment Killed Her."
May's executor and the father of her child is suing the chiropractor for wrongful death on behalf of the estate. Even if he did not personally believe the coroner's report that the chiropractor was responsible for May's death, he would likely have an obligation to sue.
While this is an unusual case in that it features a Playboy model and an apparent death at the hands of a chiropractor, it illustrates something important. Executors have duties to the estate and some of those duties can be challenging.
It is for this reason that executors are advised to get the assistance of estate attorneys to help carry out their duties.
Reference: TMZ (June 14, 2017) "Playboy Model Katie May Estate Sues Chiropractor...Your Treatment Killed Her."
Considerable assets found hidden in New Zealand.
Many foreign trusts have failed to register under the new trust laws of New Zealand and may have fled the country, according to the Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog in "Trust the Kiwis."
New Zealand has had lax laws and allowed foreigners to have tax-free trusts with little oversight.
However, the Panama Papers, the leaked emails of a law firm in Panama were released and all that changed.
It was revealed that New Zealand was being used by some very wealthy people to hide assets from their own governments. This created some international pressure on New Zealand by other governments, as those other governments do not appreciate avoidance of their taxes.
In response to this pressure, the New Zealand government changed its trust laws. All foreign trusts were required to register, declare who controlled the trusts and specify who the beneficiaries of the trust were.
It was assumed this move would not be a burden for most foreign trusts, since there are many reasons someone might want to have a tax-free trust in New Zealand, other than tax avoidance.
This suggests that using foreign trusts to hide assets is more common than previously thought.
Reference: Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog (June 20, 2017) "Trust the Kiwis."
Senate Republicans move forward to develop own bill to end ACT.
A Senate version to repeal the Affordable Care Act continues to wind its ways through the legislative process, according to Politico in "Senate GOP prepares for Obamacare repeal vote next week." The House has previously passed its own bill.
The biggest problem with the Senate bill from an elder law perspective, is that no one knows what the problems are.
Since President Trump is reported to have told Republican Senators in private that the House bill is "mean," it is expected that the Senate version will contain some softer provisions.
However, the negotiations over the Senate bill are being conducted behind closed doors. It is also expected that no hearings or debate will be held on the bill, before it is called for a vote.
That makes it difficult for elder law advocates to determine whether the bill is supportable or not.
Reference: Politico (June 20, 2017) "Senate GOP prepares for Obamacare repeal vote next week."
This is one area where you have a limited time to put off the task.
If you procrastinate and it carries over into estate planning, you should recognize that time will indeed run out on that issue, according to the Twin Cities Pioneer Press in "3 moves you should make in the first 3 years of retirement."
If you have managed to put off estate planning until after you have retired from work, then now is the time to stop putting it off.
With any luck, you will still live many more years. On the other hand, estate planning is about more than just deciding what happens to your possessions and assets after you pass away.
It is also about securing your own final years and making sure you have powers of attorney and advanced health care directives in place, should you ever need them.
In the end, estate planning gives you peace of mind in knowing that your family will be okay after you pass away and that you will also be okay should you ever need help.
Reference: Twin Cities Pioneer Press (June 17, 2017) "3 moves you should make in the first 3 years of retirement."
Millennials also expect their own children will help them in retirement.
Millennials expect that their parents and their children will help them out in their retirement years, according to Financial Advisor in "Millennials Want Family Help in Retirement."
There are sometimes big differences between generations.
For example, 61% of millennials expect to receive an inheritance from their parents that will help them in their own retirement.
Many millennials also expect to receive retirement help from their own children. Their other retirement expectations are often similarly unrealistic.
On average, they expect to retire earlier than they probably will and they expect to live fewer years as retirees than is likely.
These misconceptions combine into a big problem for the millennial generation.
By relying on family members and having unrealistic retirement expectations, they risk not saving enough money now. By the time they realize their mistakes, it might be too late to do anything to correct them.
It is important that parents of millennial children talk to them about setting realistic retirement and inheritance goals.
Reference: Financial Advisor (June 6, 2017) "Millennials Want Family Help in Retirement."
The state was attempting to collect tax without consideration for residency.
A tax court has decided that Minnesota’s trust taxation is unconstitutional, according to the Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog in "Tax Refunds for Trusts With Minnesota Grantors? Minnesota Income Tax Statute Ruled Unconstitutional."
Minnesota’s income tax statute makes 100% of a trust's assets taxable in that state, if the trust became irrevocable when the settlor was a resident of Minnesota.
This rule applies regardless of where the trust beneficiaries reside or where any trustees reside.
The court looked at trusts that had an out-of-state trustee, beneficiaries who lived in Minnesota and beneficiaries who lived in other states.
It determined that these trusts could not be considered resident trusts of Minnesota and, therefore, the state could not tax intangible assets. Presumably, the same logic could be applied to some other trust situations.
This ruling could lead to refunds for some trusts.
However, it appears likely that Minnesota will appeal to the Supreme Court.
Reference: Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog (June 7, 2017) "Tax Refunds for Trusts With Minnesota Grantors? Minnesota Income Tax Statute Ruled Unconstitutional."