We’re near the end of the month. That’s when we like to survey the elder law landscape and share articles and developments of interest. For the March review, we touch on everything from cryptocurrency to Purple Rain Wine.
March Review: Estate Planning
It seems like everyone is investing in cryptocurrency these days. Many investors, however, don’t consider what happens to the investment at death. Passing it on can be tricky. For one thing, there’s no established process. As a result, the risk of losing it all is real. One important step: telling your advisers and executors that you have it!
Not considering how to pass on your cryptocurrency is one possible estate planning mistake. Here are seven more. The sources are estate planning attorneys, and we agree with them all. A couple stand out, though. One is a common misunderstanding: “You believe that a will is all you need to avoid loved ones going to court.” (Not true.) Most importantly: “You don’t work with someone who actually understands estate law.”
Some believe estate planning is so important that it ought to be an employee benefit. That’s based on survey reflects that show employees want it. Here again, it’s important to make sure the benefit provides advice from someone who actually understands estate law.
Part of an estate planner’s skill is recognizing special considerations for almost every person, such as newlyweds and unmarried partners. And, in addition, knowing when a revocable trust might make sense.
For many, part of an estate plan involves minimizing tax. The SECURE Act eliminated the lifetime “stretch” for IRA beneficiaries. But different strategies can help counter the downsides. Other tax benefits can be found by super-funding 529 plans, for instance. And by making gifts that are excluded from the estate tax ($16,000.00 per person this year).
Estate plans typically include living wills, which spell out medical treatment preferences in the event of incapacity. They also can include burial or cremation wishes. Few clients consider climate change in their decision. One woman did and shared her findings.
Care & Aging
Planning is also important if a loved one receives a diagnosis of dementia. First and foremost, seek help early.
Being a good caregiver takes a special kind of skill. Family members who provide care often learn along the way. A former journalist who cared for his mom for 10 years (she lived to 105!) writes about the rewards and challenges. He says: “My mom was a remarkable woman who taught me more than I sometimes wanted to know, as did the extraordinary women caregivers who accompanied me. Yes, I failed in ways I never imagined, but I was also rewarded in ways I never dreamed.”
March Review of Celebrity Estates
Like Britney Spears, actress Amanda Bynes requested that her court-ordered conservatorship end. The judge granted her request this month. Bynes’ mother served as her conservator for almost a decade. In that role, she oversaw Bynes’ personal decisions and, for a time, finances. Her mom agreed with ending the arrangement, and a psychiatrist signed off, too. Amanda and Britney are not the only famous people to become “wards.” Here are four more. Although the celebrities’ situations may seem unique, there are lessons for us regular people. For instance, plan for your own incapacity via powers of attorney.
That’s the March review. Cheers to spring!