Four Easy to Avoid Mistakes People Make at Tax Time

It’s that time of year again: tax season. No one enjoys doing their taxes, and that is likely why many of us leave this tedious task to the last…possible…moment. As Tax Day approaches, millions of Americans are likely scrambling to track down all of their important documents to meet the April 15 deadline. But as with anything in life, the more you rush, the more likely you are to make mistakes. When it comes to your taxes, these mistakes can result in monetary penalties, delays in getting a refund, and even an increased chance of being audited. Below are four easily avoidable mistakes people make at tax time.

Not filing when you could get a refund: No matter what your income level, filing your taxes is important. This is particularly true if you are a low-income earner, as you may be entitled to a refund from the government through the earned income credit. Read More

Consider “Micro” Estate Planning in the New Year

You are probably familiar with the idea and benefits of traditional estate planning: eliminating probate fees, lowering tax liabilities, and providing financial peace of mind and security for your loved ones. If you do not currently have an estate plan, you should consider getting one as soon as possible.

But while many are aware of traditional estate planning techniques, they may not be familiar with the more short-term planning approach—often referred to as “micro” estate planning. As the New Year approaches, now is a great time to sit down and put your short-term wishes in a legal document. Read More

The Silent Threat to Your Estate Plan

It is common knowledge that everyone needs to have an estate plan in place. Commonly, the focus is on assets, taxes, and any changes to legislation that may affect the security of your loved ones in the event of your incapacity or death. What many often forget, however, is that changes in family dynamics and circumstances can threaten even the most well thought out estate plan. This silent threat can easily keep your estate plan from actually working when it is truly needed. Below are several situations where updating an existing estate plan or creating a plan for the first time is necessary to protect your loved ones. Read More

Small Business Owner? Know What Can Happen to Your Business If You Become Incapacitated or Pass Away

Preparing your company for your incapacity or death is vital to the survival of the enterprise. Otherwise, your business will be disrupted, harming your customers, employees, vendors, and ultimately, your family. For this reason, proactive financial planning — including your business and your estate plan — is key. Below are some tips on how to protect your company and keep the business on track and operating day-to-day in your absence. Read More

Who should I pick to be successor trustee?

When you create a living trust, you usually need to choose who to name as your successor trustee. It is crucial that this decision is not taken lightly and that the right person is selected for the job.

If you become incapacitated, your successor trustee will step into your shoes and take full control of your trust assets on your behalf. This means he or she will have full authority to make financial decisions — including selling or refinancing trust assets. In fact, as long as the act does not interfere with the instructions in the trust document and does not breach any fiduciary duty owed, your successor trustee is given broad authority over your trust assets. The authority is very helpful in many circumstances because it avoids costly, time-consuming court proceedings, like guardianship, conservatorship, or probate. Read More

What do successor trustees and executors do?

An executor, sometimes called a personal representative, is the person who is named in a will, appointed by the court, and responsible for probating the will and settling the estate. Depending on the state, an executor may work under court supervision or may use so-called “independent” administration for an unsupervised probate. A trustee, on the other hand, is an individual or trust company named in a trust document and is in charge of the assets that are held in a trust. Assets held in a living trust avoid probate, which means that court supervision is typically not required. In most revocable living trusts, you act as the trustee.
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