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West Michigan Estate Planning Center
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T he probate process can be expensive and time-consuming. However, there are instances when strategies used to avoid probate create more problems. There are a number of efforts underway in several states to help people avoid probate, according a recent article in The PV Democrat, “Avoiding probate - panacea or... Continue reading
Posted Nov 21, 2017 at West Michigan Estate Planning Center
One of the first questions people ask when they sit down to do their estate planning, is almost always whether or not they need a trust. The answer depends on many different variables. Before you can decide if a trust is right for your estate plan, you need to understand... Continue reading
Posted Nov 16, 2017 at West Michigan Estate Planning Center
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Good for some people, not so good for others, the changes to reverse mortgages are already in effect. Insurance costs and a reduction in how much can be borrowed, are just two things that are now different. Here’s a new twist for those considering a reverse mortgage: according to a... Continue reading
Posted Nov 13, 2017 at West Michigan Estate Planning Center
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A recent case of elder abuse in Michigan that resulted in only a misdemeanor, may have been the last straw for legislators. They introduced a law that would make it a felony, if a person was convicted of harming a vulnerable adult or senior citizen. The punishment for causing serious... Continue reading
Posted Nov 10, 2017 at West Michigan Estate Planning Center
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There’s more than retirement savings power in a Roth IRA. Used properly, it can help cut your beneficiary’s tax liability, regardless of if and when tax reform becomes reality. If you’re interested in reducing the taxes your heirs will have to pay, you’re probably concerned about the discussion about tax... Continue reading
Posted Nov 8, 2017 at West Michigan Estate Planning Center
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For living trusts, the person or people who set them up are usually named the initial trustees, but after that, there needs to be a successor trustee. Think carefully about who you would want to take on these responsibilities. When the first spouse dies, the surviving spouse usually becomes the... Continue reading
Posted Oct 20, 2017 at West Michigan Estate Planning Center
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When you know you don’t have a lot of time left, your focus shifts—and that is being seen right now as John McCain discards any concern about political capital and has directed his attention to fighting for what he believes in. John McCain, diagnosed with a brain tumor, is more... Continue reading
Posted Oct 19, 2017 at West Michigan Estate Planning Center
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A large percentage of Americans require assisted living care at some point during their senior years. Their understanding of how that gets paid for is way off base. It’s a hard lesson to learn. Approximately one-third of Americans (34%) thought that Medicare would cover their nursing home costs, as reported... Continue reading
Posted Oct 17, 2017 at West Michigan Estate Planning Center
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While the names sound familiar, a Living Will is not the same as a Will, and a Lasting Power of Attorney is not the same as a Power of Attorney. You’ll want to know what these documents are, and what they can and cannot do for your estate plan. A... Continue reading
Posted Oct 16, 2017 at West Michigan Estate Planning Center
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You’ll need an experienced estate planning attorney to discuss your family’s dynamics, so that the person you choose to be an executor is less likely to have a legal or emotional battle with other heirs. Successful challenges to wills don’t happen often, according to an article from The Northwest Indiana... Continue reading
Posted Oct 16, 2017 at West Michigan Estate Planning Center
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The court saw no validity to the case, which alleged that Alan Thicke’s widow was preparing to contest a prenup she signed. The court said there was no evidence to support that claim. In May, Alan Thicke’s sons Brennan and Robin Thicke filed a lawsuit against their father’s widow, Tanya... Continue reading
Posted Oct 13, 2017 at West Michigan Estate Planning Center
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Negotiations are still going on between the IRS and the Whitney Houston Estate. The government agency wants an $11 million payment, but the late singer’s estate is pushing back. If Whitney Houston was a legend before her death in 2012, today her music continues to sell and generates big profits... Continue reading
Posted Oct 12, 2017 at West Michigan Estate Planning Center
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There are certain situations when a reverse mortgage is a suitable financial tool for a senior. An elder lawyer will be able to look at the big picture and provide useful guidance. Among the many concerns addressed by elder law attorneys are: planning for long-term care, how to manage the... Continue reading
Posted Oct 11, 2017 at West Michigan Estate Planning Center
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With the passing of a new state law, Texas banks are among the financial institutions that can now shut down transactions, if they suspect a scammer has targeted a vulnerable client. This is a sad story and a hard lesson for an elderly Texas woman who was fleeced by a... Continue reading
Posted Oct 10, 2017 at West Michigan Estate Planning Center
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One of the key purposes of an estate plan is to ensure that assets pass to heirs smoothly and if possible, with less taxes and fees. Trusts are often promoted as a way to do this, but there are certain risks. You’ll want to understand how it works before going... Continue reading
Posted Oct 9, 2017 at West Michigan Estate Planning Center
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The intention of doing an estate plan on your own, is rarely to create a massive headache for family members. However, that is very often exactly what happens. Certain areas of the law are more complicated than others. The tax law is one of the more complex ones. That’s one... Continue reading
Posted Oct 6, 2017 at West Michigan Estate Planning Center
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There will likely be an appeal, but for now John Steinbeck’s stepdaughter has won a lawsuit claiming that obstacles created by the author’s son and daughter, made it impossible for her to develop Hollywood movies based on his novels. When Stephen Spielberg and Jennifer Lawrence want to make a movie... Continue reading
Posted Oct 5, 2017 at West Michigan Estate Planning Center
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With lower average income than their Boomer counterparts, it’s important that millennials begin saving regularly, if they are to be able to retire at what only feels like the far distant future. According to a research report from the Wells Fargo Investment Institute, forty one percent of millennials—those between 17... Continue reading
Posted Oct 4, 2017 at West Michigan Estate Planning Center
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There are steps you can take now to prepare for the cost of assisted living, which is only likely to increase in years to come. The sad truth is, for most people, savings and Social Security checks simply won’t be enough to cover the cost of assisted living. Many people... Continue reading
Posted Oct 3, 2017 at West Michigan Estate Planning Center
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There’s no way to know how far Republicans will get with tax reform, but one thing is clear: no one likes the federal estate tax. However, despite all of the fuss over the “death tax,” relatively few people actually end up paying the tax. Most people avoid it through savvy... Continue reading
Posted Oct 2, 2017 at West Michigan Estate Planning Center
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It is premature for anyone who depends upon either Medicaid or Obamacare to breathe a sigh of life. While recent attempts to repeal Obamacare have failed, both of these programs are being targeted. Medicaid is far more important to more Americans than most people know. It does provide healthcare for... Continue reading
Posted Sep 29, 2017 at West Michigan Estate Planning Center
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Your best bet for making or changing a will, is to sit down with an experienced estate planning attorney at Cottrell & Jacobs, so that your will won’t be invalid. Mistakes in wills are not easily fixed. Having an estate plan in place and discussing your estate plan with your... Continue reading
Posted Sep 28, 2017 at West Michigan Estate Planning Center
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A government program for lower income savers is being closed down. However, there are still retirement savings accounts appropriate for even small monthly investments. Given what we know about the longer lives of Americans and the cost of healthcare in retirement, it’s hard to fathom the fact that less than... Continue reading
Posted Sep 27, 2017 at West Michigan Estate Planning Center
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Statistically speaking, women live longer and earn less than men. That makes financial and retirement planning far more important for women. It’s not pleasant to contemplate, but because women often take time out from their careers to raise children or take care of elderly parents and still earn less than... Continue reading
Posted Sep 26, 2017 at West Michigan Estate Planning Center
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No matter how much you may be mentally prepared for death, when the time comes, even the most logical people are overwhelmed by grief. It is not unusual for grief-stricken people to panic, experience severe anxiety or insomnia while mourning a loved one. This is the case, even if the... Continue reading
Posted Sep 25, 2017 at West Michigan Estate Planning Center