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InterActive Legal
Melbourne, FL, USA
InterActive Legal is the premier knowledge company for lawyers specializing in Elder Law, Estate, and Special Needs Planning.
Interests: Elder Law, Estate Planning, Wealth Planning, Legal Drafting,
Recent Activity
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Last week, as the 55th annual Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning concluded, I took a few moments to reflect on the conference which, like many events, was different this year. All of the presentations were virtual, with the presenters streaming from their respective locations and all of us in the audience watching from the relative comfort of our homes or offices (or, in many cases, home offices). Continue reading
Posted May 11, 2021 at InterActive Legal Blog
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InterActive Legal, a knowledge company and software solutions provider in the legal arena of trusts and estates, elder law, and special needs planning, announced the promotion of its 8-year veteran, President and Director of Content Development, Vanessa Kanaga, to the office of Chief Executive Officer. After several successful years in directing the day-to-day operations of the company as President, Ms. Kanaga will now be responsible for guiding the company's future, including investments in technology and increasing the value proposition of subscribership. Continue reading
Posted May 4, 2021 at InterActive Legal Blog
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The Internal Revenue Service (the "Service") issued the 2020 version of Publication 590-B "Distributions from Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs)" on March 25, 2021, to assist taxpayers with understanding how their retirement accounts are taxed, how to calculate required distributions, and how they should report distributions from such accounts. It should have been a quiet affair, attracting little attention. While a publication like this cannot be relied upon as authoritative guidance of any sort, tax planners would normally try to "read the tea leaves" to see what the IRS position may be on some issues related to the SECURE Act, about which further guidance is needed while awaiting regulations. Unfortunately, the Publication made some startling and contradictory statements about the operation of the SECURE Act with respect to inherited IRAs, the operation of the 10-year rule and to whom it applies, and under what circumstances. (A detailed analysis of Publication 590-B is beyond the scope of this article. For more information on the various issues presented by Publication 590-B, including some actual clarifications of policy, I direct you to Natalie Choate's excellent commentary on the subject, "Natalie Choate's Guide to the New IRS Publication 590-B.") Continue reading
Posted May 2, 2021 at InterActive Legal Blog
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Ever since the middle of 2020, there have been rumblings in the estate planning profession; murmurs of tax proposals waiting in the wings, the anticipation mounting as the federal elections (eventually) concluded and the White House and Congress shifted to the Democrats. This change in power, combined with the increased spending by the federal government due to the pandemic, led many to expect proposals for changes to the Internal Revenue Code (the "Code"), including those provisions relating to estate planning. At last, the moment we expected has arrived, with two bills introduced in the Senate: the "For the 99.5% Act," introduced by Senators Sanders and Whitehouse on March 25 (the "Sanders' bill"), and the "Sensible Taxation and Equity Promotion Act of 2021," or "STEP" Act, introduced by Senators Van Hollen, Booker, Sanders, Whitehouse, and Warren on March 29 (the "Van Hollen bill"). Each of these bills proposes changes which, if enacted, would cause a fundamental shift in estate planning, from the foundations up to the more sophisticated spires of wealth preservation strategies. Continue reading
Posted Apr 27, 2021 at InterActive Legal Blog
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Few things are more overwhelming, or more emotionally challenging for heirs than the “stuff” left behind; especially in overstuffed garages and storage units. Continue reading
Posted Feb 8, 2021 at InterActive Legal Blog
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As 2020 draws to a close, and I reflect on a year unlike any other, I find that I am full of contradictions. I marvel at how quickly these twelve months seem to have passed, yet somehow wish that time would move faster. I feel joy for every day that I have with my friends and family, but sorrow for the many who are suffering loss of their loved ones, their health, or their means of living. My fear of the unknown suddenly seems more present, but so is my awareness of all the many things, big and small, for which I am grateful. I am writing this note for three reasons. First, it is a thank you note, to all those who are part of InterActive Legal: Our Advisors, my colleagues, and of course, our subscribers. Thank you for your loyalty to InterActive Legal and to our profession. Your commitment to your craft, your clients, and your communities is proving more important than ever. Continue reading
Posted Dec 28, 2020 at InterActive Legal Blog
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If you haven’t heard, it’s true—Bob Dylan sold the rights to his music publishing catalog. Why, you ask? The short answer, and the one that has fans and the internet grumbling, is money. Continue reading
Posted Dec 15, 2020 at InterActive Legal Blog
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by Vanessa L. Kanaga, Esq., President and Director of Content Development, InterActive Legal An Additional Consideration for Those Advising Business Owners on Lifetime Gifts1 As we near the end of 2020, many estate planners are doubling their efforts to assist clients with making lifetime gifts to take advantage of the... Continue reading
Posted Dec 7, 2020 at InterActive Legal Blog
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What are the most popular documents in InterActive Legal? It’s an interesting question, and one we consider frequently as we work to bring our subscribers the most useful drafting resources. We could take a survey and the results would vary based on the time of year, the location of those replying, and the current political climate. In my role as Director of Education and Support Services, I have a unique opportunity to interact with our subscribers and see what documents and planning ideas are trending from time to time. Right now, at the end of 2020, I find the document asked about most by subscribers is an irrevocable trust for the benefit of the grantor’s spouse, sometimes called a spousal lifetime access trust, or “SLAT.” Lately, we have also had inquiries about Charitable Remainder Unitrusts (which some are using for retirement benefits planning, since the SECURE Act severely limited the ability to stretch-out distributions from retirement assets). Finally, we get questions about how best to draft what I consider to be “bread and butter” estate planning documents – your everyday Will or Revocable Trust with no estate tax planning – for clients who just need a good solid estate plan. Here are some thoughts on drafting in each of these areas. Continue reading
Posted Nov 17, 2020 at InterActive Legal Blog
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By Patrick O’Brien, CEO and co-founder of Executor.org It’s no secret that the internet has disrupted almost every industry known to man. From investing to tax filing, it has left a trail of both success and failure behind it, with winners and losers in those industries shifting in remarkable ways.... Continue reading
Posted Sep 22, 2020 at InterActive Legal Blog
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InterActive Legal, and its document assembly system, is built on AI. The decisions you select for your clients and are reflected in document you provide them are based on AI. Without AI, there would be no smart system that we now all enjoy and rely upon. Continue reading
Posted Sep 16, 2020 at InterActive Legal Blog
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Hiring needs in 2020 vary across a wide spectrum, with some firms busier than ever before and needing additional hands on deck, and other firms seeing fewer clients, and therefore little need to consider a plan for hiring. The InterActive Legal Content Team felt that the guest blog post below would be helpful to those of you who may need to add resources to your estate planning team now, and that those who are not currently in hiring mode could keep it in mind for when your need to hire returns. The step-by-step approach discussed may be a new way of looking at hiring while considering the bottom line, overall team billing and work efficiency, and best practices. Continue reading
Posted Aug 27, 2020 at InterActive Legal Blog
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In fact, the IRS is known to collect more additional wealth transfer taxes on account of challenges to values reported by taxpayers than all legal issues combined. Moreover, penalties of between 20% and 40% may be imposed on the amount of tax underpaid attributable to an undervaluation of property for wealth transfer tax purposes. Continue reading
Posted Jun 19, 2020 at InterActive Legal Blog
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Prominent Trusts and Estates attorneys Jonathan G. Blattmachr, Barron Henley, Thomas A. Tietz, Martin M. Shenkman, and Mary Vandernack provide their valuable tips for practicing and best serving clients during the current Coronavirus crisis. During the pandemic, trusts and estates services are acutely needed, and the authors give us the benefit of their collective experience. Continue reading
Posted Jun 8, 2020 at InterActive Legal Blog
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When the call comes from the plaintiff’s attorney asking what should be done about the client’s public benefits, be prepared to answer. The case is about to settle, or the verdict is in, and now the client wants to know how it will affect his or her benefits. Continue reading
Posted Apr 8, 2020 at InterActive Legal Blog
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Practitioners should be cautioned, however, that the use of the executive power to modify notary and witness requirements is, to our knowledge, unprecedented. Continue reading
Posted Mar 23, 2020 at InterActive Legal Blog
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by Vanessa L. Kanaga, Esq. Each year, at the annual Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning (known simply as "Heckerling"), InterActive Legal hosts a luncheon for our subscribers, prospective subscribers, and Advisors. The luncheon is our way of thanking those who support us (in addition to providing some sustenance in the... Continue reading
Posted Feb 25, 2020 at InterActive Legal Blog
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by David MacMahan Drafting estate and trust documents can be fairly routine or may require some serious planning, but it is extremely helpful to the family and solves the issues for how to preserve and divide wealth and assets. But what about the things typically described as, “divide the remaining... Continue reading
Posted Feb 12, 2020 at InterActive Legal Blog
Bloomberg Tax and Accounting presented the Leonard L. Silverstein Award to InterActive Legal Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Jonathan G. Blattmachr. Continue reading
Posted Jan 22, 2020 at InterActive Legal Blog
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InterActive Legal Advisor and Director of Elder Law Strategy, Letha McDowell, was featured in a recent Money Magazine article titled How to Support Your Retired Parents Without Sinking Your Own Retirement Plan. The article sheds light on the seldom discussed topic of working-age children who find themselves in the position... Continue reading
Posted Jan 13, 2020 at InterActive Legal Blog
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by Anna E. Byrne One of the most difficult things we as estate planners face is the eventual and inevitable responsibility of helping and comforting a client whose spouse has passed away. It is heart wrenching. But it is also the time when we can most offer help and provide... Continue reading
Posted Jan 7, 2020 at InterActive Legal Blog
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Twas the week before Christmas, and Congress was trending Impeachment and budget bills both had been pending Articles to impeach were debated and passed And left for the Senate to later rehash With that taken care of, the next thing to do Was keep the government running, the whole year through Continue reading
Posted Dec 29, 2019 at InterActive Legal Blog
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Historical items can be valuable. This presentation-inscribed Colt Model 1861 New Model Navy Revolver, from the Colt Co. to E.W. Parsons of Adams Express Co., sold for $805,000 at a September 2011 auction. by Vanessa L. Kanaga, Esq. This article was originally published by Heritage Auctioneers & Galleries, Inc., "Trusts... Continue reading
Posted Sep 19, 2019 at InterActive Legal Blog
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by Audrey Ehrhardt, Esq., CBC, Practice42 ADA accessibility and compliance in law firm websites across the nation are becoming not only more relevant, but a necessity as we see an increasing amount of litigation against businesses over their websites. Website accessibility lawsuits center around the fact that all, or a... Continue reading
Posted Aug 20, 2019 at InterActive Legal Blog
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In January 2019, at The Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning, a select group of InterActive Legal subscribers were invited to a private luncheon screening of the documentary film, "Lives Well Lived." The film visits with 40 people ranging in age from 75 to 100 years young and casts a light... Continue reading
Posted Aug 2, 2019 at InterActive Legal Blog