Blog — Real Estate Planning

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A Different Option for Resolving Disputes Over Wills and Trusts

Background

Historically, the rules have been such that beneficiaries to a will or a trust are not bound or forced to present their claims pursuant to “binding arbitration clauses” that were drafted into a will or a trust by the decedent prior to his or her death. The rationale to not enforce arbitration clauses in wills and trusts was that only voluntary parties to a contract, where both parties were providing...

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

How to Make Changes to Your Estate Plan

As life circumstances change (birth, marriage, divorce, death), it may become necessary to make changes to your estate planning documents. If estate planning documents are not kept up-to-date, they can become useless. The best way to make changes to estate planning documents is to either restate an estate plan in its entirety or make specific changes to documents like a will through a codicil or a trust through an amendment to the trust.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

One of the most significant tax advantages to owning a home comes at the back end of ownership, when you decide to sell it for a profit. A homeowner can exclude up to $250,000 of such profit from their federal capital gains tax. For married couples filing a joint tax return, the exclusion jumps to $500,000. This big tax break, however, does come with some basic requirements. It applies to the sale of only a “principal residence,” not a vacation home or investment property. With some limited exceptions for poor health, job changes and unforeseen circumstances, the taxpayer must have owned and used the home as a primary residence for at least two of the five years (the two years need to be...

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Common Mistakes When Naming Beneficiaries

As part of a recent series, I wrote an article about various issues involved with making sure beneficiary designations on such matters as Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), 401(k) accounts, life insurance policies and other similar retirement benefit accounts. Since writing the original article, I have encountered at least three different situations with respect to new clients where the beneficiary designations that were made by an individual...

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

New Options for Terminating Qualified Personal Residence Trusts (QPRT) Holding Michigan Real Estate

Over the past 20 years, many individuals established Qualified Personal Residence Trusts (QPRT) whereby an individual transferred title of his/her real estate to a QPRT, which essentially leveraged the value of the gift made to the trust by deducting the value of the transferor retaining use and enjoyment of the property for the term of years of the QPRT. For example, this mechanism allowed someone to...

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