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November 2012 Archives

Where Congress will land on 2013 estate and gift tax exemption still unclear

Our readers have probably heard the talk about the coming fiscal cliff in Washington. For those who are unaware of the debate, it basically involves the cumulative effect of various laws that would result in tax increases and spending cuts if left unchanged. The focus of much of the debate has been on income tax, but estate and gift tax exemptions are also implicated. Where

May still be time to gift in 2012, but gift planning should be done carefully

Our regular readers know that we've spoken frequently about the upcoming changes in tax law that will impact estate planning in the coming year. The gist: tax bills on large gifts are set to increase substantially in 2013, which means now is an ideal time to do gifting. Of course, with the year almost at its end, the biggest challenge now is getting it done in time.

Estate planning after divorce requires specific considerations

Estate planning is a multifaceted discipline in that it includes aspects of various specialties, from tax law, insurance, health care, Medicaid, and divorce law. With respect to divorce, estate planning requires a special approach. In addition to dealing with the formal submissions required to receive a divorce, some financial planning is in order.

Body of "George Jefferson" buried after will dispute resolved

We have written before on this blog about the unfortunate situation with the body of actor Sherman Hemsley, famous for his role in "The Jeffersons." As our regular readers know, Hemsley's body has been in limbo due to a probate dispute, and has been prevented from being buried. Fortunately, the situation was resolved last Friday, when a Texas Court ruled in favor of Flora Enchinton, the woman Hemsley appointed as his sole beneficiary and the executrix of his estate.

Including pets in estate planning ensures they are cared for

Including pets in estate planning is not something we Americans take all that seriously, even if we love our pets. And while the consequences of this oversight may not be that drastic in the big picture, there are times when we can see the effects a little more clearly. Like when a hurricane hits a section of the country, causing numerous animals to be without any identifiable owner.

Some issues to consider with respect to special needs planning

Caring for a child with special needs is something that is close to the heart of a good number of Americans. This is a particularly important issue dealt with in estate planning. Many parents facing this issue aren't sure where to begin, though. While there are various facets and approaches to special needs planning, we'll offer some suggestions here for the issue as a whole.

Continuing probate battle continues to delay repose of actor's body

Three months after his death on July 24, the body of actor Sherman Hemsley has still to be buried. Months of legal dispute over Hemsley's will have put the actor's estate in limbo. As we've written previously, a man by the name of Richard Thornton-Hemsley's former manager, and self-proclaimed businessman-claimed that he was the actor's brother.

Discretionary trusts: useful for protecting vulnerable beneficiary's inheritance

Our New Jersey readers may have heard of the troubles regarding Whitney Houston's estate, particularly with respect to her daughter Bobbi Kristina. Houston left a total of $20 million in trust to her now 19-year-old daughter, and this has been a source of contention in the family. Whitney Houston's mother, Cissy Houston, and her sister-in-law, Marion Houston, have filed a petition as executors of her estate urging a Georgia probate court to put restrictions on Bobbi Kristina's inheritance payments.