Property you own can be transferred to your heirs or chosen beneficiaries upon your death in one of several ways. If the particular asset is owned by you and another individual, as in the case of a residence which you jointly own with your spouse with a right of survivorship (JWROS), the property will automatically pass to your spouse upon your death. Assets may also pass by means of a beneficiary designation, such as in … Read more
Jan 16, 2018
Aug 3, 2017
Among the more common estate plans for married couples is what is sometimes referred to as a sweetheart estate plan. Such a plan provides for the entirety of the deceased spouse’s estate to pass to the surviving spouse; on the death of the surviving spouse, whatever remains will pass to the couple’s children or other designated heirs. Mutual reciprocal wills can be used to accomplish this intent. Of course, on the death of the surviving … Read more
May 10, 2017
More than a century ago, Oliver Wendell Holmes observed, “the life of the law has not been logic; it has been experience.” I wonder what Justice Holmes would think of the matter these days when cases come down the pike which seem to run counter to both logic and experience.
For a case in point, consider a report from the Oregonian recently describing how a lawsuit against Washington County for the drowning deaths of four … Read more
Feb 27, 2017
Benjamin Franklin once observed “in this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” For those who doubt Franklin’s sagacity in that regard, consider the recent case of Marci McNicol. A federal court found her personally liable to the Internal Revenue Services to the tune of $125,000.00 with respect to taxes owed by her late husband. Here’s what happened.
On his death, in addition to their four minor children, McNicol’s husband … Read more
Feb 14, 2017
Most folks will acknowledge that an adult of sound mind is free to give his money and property to whomever he pleases, both during his lifetime and after death, as directed by his estate plan. Such an acknowledgement, however, is subject to qualification, particularly when the soundness of the giver’s mind is called into question. This can arise in a variety of scenarios, often when the giver makes someone new the object of his affections … Read more
Feb 7, 2017
Companion bills have been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and in the Senate to repeal the federal estate tax. On January 24, 2017, Representative Noem introduced H.R. 631 which was referred to the House’s Ways and Means Committee for consideration. The same day, Senator Thune introduced comparable legislation in the Senate. If enacted by Congress and signed by President Trump, no federal estate tax would be assessed against estates of decedents dying thereafter.… Read more
Jan 31, 2017
When most people think of estate planning, I would venture a guess that their thoughts don’t usually include making provision for their pets in the event of their own untimely passing. That is not surprising given that most of us assume, correctly, that we will outlive our beloved four-legged companions. However, experience shows that such is not always the case. So, as you look deeply into the eyes of your faithful and devoted canine/feline, ask … Read more
Jan 6, 2017
A recent Washington case illustrates why it’s prudent to specify how and where you want your body disposed of after death if you really want to rest in peace ever after.
Kyril Faenov left a wife and two young children when he committed suicide. His widow and her father arranged and paid for the burial of his remains in a Seattle cemetery. However, Kyril had forgotten to leave written instructions concerning his place of burial … Read more