Welcome to Our Blog

  • Can You Probate a Missing Will?

    June brings the end of the school year and the beginning of summer. JGB just celebrated its 9 th birthday and we hope all our clients and friends are all doing well and are enjoying the Virginia spring. Note to our professional advisor friends: Please ‘save the date’ for JGB’s annual three-hour CE class this fall on the following afternoons (details to follow later): September 12: Virginia Beach ...
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  • Buy-Sell Agreements and How to Fund Them

    Buy-Sell Agreements are key documents that any business should have to establish the contractual obligations and rights of the owners at specific triggering events; e.g. death, divorce, bankruptcy, disability and/or retirement of an owner. Any good Buy-Sell agreement will have certain provisions such as establishing the priority for who can purchase an interest and a method to establish the ...
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  • A Cautionary Tale: Beneficiary Designations

    At Johnson, Gasink & Baxter, LLP every client with a trust-based plan has been given custom advice and instruction on “funding” their trust with their assets. Unfortunately, not everyone gives trust funding its due respect, and some clients fail to fully fund their trusts. When it comes to funding a trust, I can provide the advice and direction, but the responsibility is really on the client to ...
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  • Can the Bank Make Me Refinance?

    Heirs and beneficiaries often call the firm asking whether they need to refinance when they inherit property. Many worry they could not qualify for a loan on the property they inherited. Although the law regarding forced refinancing is clear and settled, most folks are unaware of their rights. Mortgages 101 Most debt is cancelled on the death of the debtor. The word ‘mortgage’ comes from French ...
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  • SHOULD I PUT MY CAR INTO MY TRUST?

    Clients often ask if they should put their vehicle into the name of their trust. The answer, as you may have come to expect from me, is “it depends.” Academically, all currently income taxable assets should be held in your trust in order to avoid guardianship and probate exposure upon a disability or death. However, there are also some practical concerns that should be considered when deciding ...
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  • Choosing a Guardian

    On October 14, 2017, my husband and I welcomed our first child to this world. It has been an exciting—and exhausting—three month transition from a family of two to a family of three. Babies frequently bring both joy and stress to new parents. Dealing with doctor’s appointments, finding a suitable daycare, and ensuring baby is hitting her milestones are all common worries new parents face. ...
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  • Final Hour Changes to Tax Law

    As 2017 quickly winds down, I find myself reflecting on the past year and speculating as to what the New Year will bring. Most of us would agree that the past twelve months have certainly been tumultuous. In the beginning of 2017 we saw Donald Trump take his seat as the 45 th President of the United States and with that he ushered in a significant shift in American politics. This past year has ...
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  • Organ Donation and Your Estate Plan

    I often get questions about Organ Donation provisions in Medical Directives and funeral instructions. Having witnessed a kidney donation in my family last summer, I thought our clients may be interested in how organ donation works both in life and after death, how decisions about organ donation are made, and what they should do to make informed decisions about their own wishes. Why donate? ...
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  • Trump and Taxes, Part Deux

    Some of you may remember my Article from February 2017 where I discussed potential elements of a future Trump tax plan. Well, here we are again. On September 27, 2017, President Trump’s administration published its tax reform plan, identified as the Tax Reform Framework (the “Tax Plan” for the remainder of this article). You can go straight to the source and review the Tax Plan for yourself by ...
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  • COORDINATING INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY WITH YOUR ESTATE PLAN

    The phrase “intellectual property” probably sounds familiar to you, but you are not alone if you don’t fully understand its meaning. Intellectual property is better understood when we break it down into its sub-components of copyrights, patents, and trademarks. These three categories of intellectual property commonly include symbols, logos, music, literature, art, and inventions. When someone ...
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  • Contesting a Will or Trust

    After going through the time and effort of creating an estate plan, you will want to ensure it is legally binding and that your loved ones follow the guidelines you set for them. Unfortunately, your last wishes may be disregarded if an heir or beneficiary contests your will or trust. Although estate contests are not the norm, they are hardly uncommon and can seriously derail an otherwise ...
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  • Taxation of Trusts

    There is a great deal of confusion about the taxation of trusts. In this article, I hope to cut through the jargon and lawyer mumbo jumbo (technical term) so that you will have a better understanding of how trusts are treated by the tax code. First, we need to step away from a monolithic view of the tax code. There are many different types of federal tax that could impact a trust at different ...
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  • The Dangers of DIY Estate Planning

    “Can’t I just use an online will creator?” “My [son/sister/friend]’s estate is pretty small. An internet form will work for that, right?” I am no stranger to the do-it-yourself approach—I’m married to an engineer, after all. We enjoy personally maintaining our bicycles, we do a lot of our own car maintenance, and we even attempted to sand and refinish our hardwood floors (that was less of a ...
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  • Estate Planning In a Digital Age

    In the days where vinyl records were king your living room shelves may have been filled with your music library. Today shelf space is less of a concern for our music because more and more people utilize their computer to store their digital music library. You may now be asking yourself, what does music have to do with estate planning? The answer is the digitalization of music is a great ...
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  • Estate Planning for Military Families

    Estate Planning can be daunting for anyone. The dizzying array of benefits and options coupled with the emotional charge of knowing that a loved one may be in harm’s way when serving the country adds additional challenges to the process. This article briefly explores the unique issues military families face when preparing their Estate Plan. We will continue this subject with a subsequent ...
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