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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) September 19, 2016 – In families with adopted children or stepchildren who have not been formally adopted, there can be some estate planning challenges. More attention must be given to estate planning involving a family that consists of an unmarried couple in which one member has children, either biological or adopted, who are not also the children of the other member of the couple. In such a scenario, the couple should have a thorough understanding of their estate planning options. In most cases, adopted children are treated in the same manner as biological children […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) August 8, 2016 – Among the most significant factors to consider when establishing a business succession plan is the timing of the change of ownership. Whether the owner is planning to sell or make the business a gift, or combine the sale with a gift, the changeover should not occur prior to the identification and development of the next generation of leaders. Several estate planning methods for business succession plans work most effectively in an environment of low interest rates. Usually, when there are lower interest rates, the seller has more chances to finance […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) July 15, 2016 – Older workers need to be wary of some potential Medicare errors that may come up if they intend to continue working past the age of 65. Approximately one-third of Americans within the age group of 65 to 69 stay in the workforce. This rate is 50 percent higher than it was ten years ago. Thus, an increasing number of older Americans are not getting Medicare upon reaching age 65. Andrew H. Hook, a prominent Virginia elder law attorney of Hook Law Center with offices in Virginia Beach and northern Suffolk, […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) June 9, 2016 – When an individual or family has an estate plan, it is important to review the documents periodically, and to update them. It is also important to make certain that specific assets are contained within the trust. Any changes in the financial or family situation should be reflected in a revision of the estate planning documents. There are some life events that may prompt the testator to review the estate plan. “Due to changes in circumstances, it is advisable to review the estate plan whenever there is a major life-changing event, […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) May 31, 2016 – Diminished capacity can have a detrimental effect on a person’s investments. A decline in an individual’s financial capacity means that a person can no longer manage their money and financial assets, and is unable to comprehend the ramifications of investment decisions. When people lose the ability to manage their finances, they may become susceptible to investment fraud and other types of financial abuse. However, there are steps people can take to avoid or reduce the likelihood of problems for themselves and their families. For instance, they can organize important documents, […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) May 23, 2016 – It can be challenging to find tax-advantaged ways to save for retirement when an individual is highly compensated. Under the general rule, workers can save $18,000 annually in pre-tax income in a 401(k) plan. However, if the worker earns over $120,000 annually, owns in excess of a five percent interest in an employer’s company, or is among the employees who earn the top 20 percent of income at the firm, the IRS considers such a worker to be a highly compensated employee (HCE). The contributions made by an HCE can […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) May 16, 2016 – Estate planning clients often ask about the most effective methods of protecting assets from creditors. It is always best to transfer assets prior to the time at which any claims arise. It is too late to make any transfers after there is a creditor issue. If such a transfer is made, it will be considered a fraudulent transfer. Other factors to consider are the following. If the grantor makes a gift to keep an asset from current creditors, but the grantor maintains control over the gift, then the gift may […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) April 19, 2016 – Many estate plans fail to consider the fate of items that do not necessarily have great monetary value, but have much sentimental value to the heirs. Such was the case in the estate of comedian Robin Williams, whose children and third wife were fighting in court over possession of specific sentimental items, such as the tuxedo he wore at his wedding. Mr. Williams bequeathed to his three children the clothing, jewelry and personal items he had accumulated prior to his third marriage, and that appears to include his tuxedo. However, […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) April 12, 2016 – Childless couples can face certain challenges with respect to estate planning. It may be difficult for couples to select the person who will make decisions on their behalf in the event of their incapacity and upon their death. They may also not know to whom they should leave their assets. As a result, they may fail to engage in any estate planning at all. If there are no powers of attorney, and one or both spouses become incapacitated, in all likelihood, the state will mandate that the family file for […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) April 5, 2016 – A significant part of an estate plan can be the designation of a person’s IRA beneficiary. If an IRA account owner does not name a beneficiary, their heirs could be required to pay more income and estate tax than necessary following their death. It is recommended that an account owner modify IRA beneficiary designations to suit their objectives. Usually, people name their spouses, children or grandchildren as beneficiaries. Another possibility is to designate a trust, a charity, or a group of persons, trusts or charities. Following the account owner’s death, […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) March 31, 2016 – Some retirees and former employees have received offers from their employers to accept a lump-sum payment of their pension. This is an offer that they must consider very carefully because it will entail a loss of income for the rest of their life, and they will be in charge of managing their own investments and ensuring that the funds last through retirement. The IRS and Treasury made an announcement in July 2015 that they would forbid companies from offering lump-sum payments to retirees who were already getting a monthly pension. […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) March 24, 2016 – Under Virginia law, a trustee has the power to assign the trust principal or income to the trustee of a second trust. This is called a decanting power, which does not require the approval of the court or the beneficiaries. For instance, a trustee could assign the assets of a previous trust to a new trust that has up-to-date provisions. A decanting power can also be used to add a trust adviser or trust protector, replace the trust situs, appoint a different trustee or alter trustee succession provisions. Additionally, it […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) March 2, 2016 – Many baby boomers expect to work for a longer period of time and would prefer a phased retirement in which they gradually reduce the number of hours they work and/or work remotely. Therefore, they are seeking assistance from an increasing number of firms that concentrate on placing older workers in part-time and temporary positions in certain industries. While some jobs can be performed in the office, others can be completed from home or another remote area. According to a retirement study conducted in 2013, almost half of the participants expressed […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) February 29, 2016 – An estate-planning method that was one time frequently used was an irrevocable trust that held a life insurance policy, with the objective that the death benefit be used to pay estate taxes. This technique permitted the policy’s benefits to be applied toward payment of the estate taxes of the individual who died without inclusion of the policy in the estate. Although this method remains useful, it is not as common because the threshold for being affected by the estate tax has increased to such a degree that only the affluent […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) February 25, 2016 – Many retirees are considering putting their home on the market and moving to a less expensive area. Two married couples did exactly that when they left their homes in Maryland and moved to Florida. Barbara and Mike West made the decision to sell their home in a suburb of Maryland that they had owned for 26 years. Encouraged by a desire to escape the Mid-Atlantic winters, they thought about relocating to Hawaii, where they had resided during Mike West’s time in the Navy. However, they concluded that it was too […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) February 18, 2016 – Although retirees’ health-care expenses are often high, there are options to handle their potential medical expenses. In a study conducted by Fidelity Investments, it was revealed that in 2014, a couple aged 65 would have required $220,000 to pay for health-care costs in their retirement years, excluding skilled nursing care. According to the American Council of Life Insurers, the average annual cost of care in a nursing home is approximately $81,000, with 2.6 years as the average time spent in a home by an elderly female patient, and 2.3 years […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) January 26, 2016 – The majority of individuals who purchase life insurance wish to replace their income should they die prematurely. They can choose a term plan that ends upon retirement. Another option is to pay for retirement by using a permanent life insurance policy, and withdrawing funds from the plan’s cash reserve. However, there are possible drawbacks when using this strategy. According to experts, whole life insurance may not be an appropriate investment vehicle because it is costly and not liquid. “When considering retirement planning, it is important to obtain sound investment advice […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) January 19, 2016 – When creating a trust fund, parents can select a trustee to be in charge of the funds for as long as the parents wish. One way of structuring inheritance is to have the trustee distribute the funds in three separate amounts. For example, the trustee could give the child one sum upon graduation from college, or at age 22, the second a few years later, and the last at around age 30. The main reason cited by parents for releasing the funds in stages rather than all at once is […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) January 12, 2016 – While most people would like to live a long life, not everyone is financially prepared for it, especially if long-term care is needed. According to personal finance experts, within each person’s budget, money should be allocated toward a long-term care plan. In this way, an individual can develop a strategy to assist with daily living activities in the event of becoming infirm. Each day ten thousand baby boomers reach the age of 65, and approximately 70 percent of Americans will ultimately require long-term care services. There are important factors to […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) January 4, 2016 – The latest survey conducted by Genworth reveals that among individuals without long-term care insurance coverage and have no plans to purchase such coverage within the next five years, only 15 percent have a backup plan. There are choices for financing long-term care for many Americans prepared to make compromises. “In planning for long-term care, one must become aware of the various options available in order to select a policy that provides the desired amount of care and is not cost-prohibitive,” said Andrew H. Hook, a Virginia elder law attorney with […]


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