Estate Planning Myth #10: All Top Ten Lists have Ten Items

Erika Stein Rosenhagen / May 14, 2014
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While there are plenty of other myths I could include in this post, one overarching theme seems to be prevalent throughout: uniqueness. While it may seem like a given estate planning situation is vanilla, working to achieve your specific goals and planning for the various anomalies present in your life is the only way to […]

Estate Planning Myth #9: Trusts? Trusts are for billionaires

Erika Stein Rosenhagen / May 8, 2014
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Sure, billionaires may have trusts for charitable gifting, inter-generational wealth transfer, and asset protection purposes, but for many families, trusts assist in more mundane circumstances, too. They can be useful tools for managing judicial awards or settlements from law suits. Leaving all assets outright to 18 year olds – even if these assets are not […]

Estate Planning Myth #8: Prenuptial Agreements aren’t estate planning

Erika Stein Rosenhagen / May 6, 2014
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Why on earth is she talking about prenups in an estate planning blog?! Well, estate planning and ante-nuptial agreements go hand in hand, especially in second marriages and legacy planning. The prenup sets the minimum expectations and ground rules upon which the newlyweds can do more for each other and each other’s families. Existing prenuptial […]

Estate Planning Myth #7: Gift Taxes?! I don’t make taxable gifts.

Erika Stein Rosenhagen / April 30, 2014
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Many clients are familiar with the gift tax exclusion and understand that their small gifts (even to organizations that are not tax-exempt) will not be subject to gift tax. Where there tends to be confusion is around the concepts of what is a taxable gift and what is not, and valuation of the gift. These […]

Estate Planning Myth #6: I must avoid probate

Erika Stein Rosenhagen / April 24, 2014
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This issue varies significantly based upon where you live. In Minnesota, unlike some other jurisdictions, the probate avoidance opportunity doesn’t always rise to the level of necessity. The benefits of avoiding probate include: not incurring the time delay, avoiding the expense of court filing fees or attorney’s fees for opening the probate and administering the […]

Estate Planning Myth #5: Equal is Fair

Erika Stein Rosenhagen / April 22, 2014
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I have noticed that many clients use the words “equal” and “fair” interchangeably in the discussion around leaving assets (especially to children and grandchildren). Unfortunately, when thinking through the ramifications of equal treatment, it often starts to not look as fair to all takers. One example involves the family business where one of the client’s […]

Estate Planning Myth #4: Anyone can write a simple will

Erika Stein Rosenhagen / April 16, 2014
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This is somewhat correct: I clearly remember reading anomalous cases in law school about concepts like Holographic Wills and whether something as simple as “I leave everything to my wife” is a Will. A gentle reminder: I was reading these stories in a case book, which means these were matters that wound up being litigated. […]

Estate Planning Myth #3: All I need I can find on legal zoom

Erika Stein Rosenhagen / April 11, 2014
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Yes, there are forms out there, and yes, many documents that attorneys draft begin from a template or form. However, consider these two major points for discussion with this myth: first, the law is full of variation from state to state and forms may or may not be drafted with your state’s peculiarities in mind, […]

Estate Planning Myth #2: Death Taxes Only Affect the Super Wealthy

Erika Stein Rosenhagen / April 8, 2014
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One wonderful thing about the first session of the 113th Congress was its efforts to enact a taxing scheme allowing an exemption from estate taxes for those with less than $5 million (indexed to inflation), and making permanent the concept of portability. These codified changes taken together mean that married couples with a combined net […]

Estate Planning Myth #1: I don’t need a Will – I don’t have kids

Erika Stein Rosenhagen / April 2, 2014
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Even if you don’t have a Will, you still do have an estate plan. Without a Will, it’s the state’s version of estate planning that prevails through your state’s intestacy statute. The state’s plan will vary based on the state in which you live and where you own property, but there will be a distribution […]

Estate Planning Tips for the Sandwich Generation

Erika Stein Rosenhagen / November 12, 2013
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While long proven to be a delectable meal, a sandwich as applied to the “sandwich generation” is significantly less appealing. For many of us, we are facing a time where our parents and our children need us simultaneously – and frequently this is occurring during a period in our professional lives when our employers’ and […]