Recent Posts in Newsletter Category

  • Three Ways To Cash In On The New Tax Plan Before The End Of The Year

    Clients often ask us for tips on how they can avoid paying Federal Income Taxes. Typically, we refer these folks to their financial and tax advisors for advice. This year has been an unusual year and we have had the opportunity to speak to many of our friends in financial advising and accounting on the subject of smart tax strategies for 2018. This newsletter briefly explores three strategies that ...
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  • Changing the Irrevocable

    Congratulations! You’ve completed your estate plan and everything is good to go. You’ve selected a living trust to protect yourself, your assets, and your family. However, as the grantor, once you are gone (or incapacitated) your living trust becomes irrevocable. What happens if changes need to be made? What happens if the law changes and what was once a good plan turns into a plan no longer ...
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  • Can't I Just Create My Own LLC Online in 5 Minutes?

    I am fortunate to meet with a wide variety of people in my practice. Often, I discover that many of these people have started their own businesses. Having an entrepreneurial streak, I feel excitement for my clients that are carving out a piece of the American dream for themselves when starting new ventures. However, my excitement often turns quickly to disappointment when I ask them which attorney ...
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  • Tangible Effects Memorandum: Who receives my jewelry when I am gone?

    “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Over the years I have noticed many of my clients focus their time and efforts planning for the distribution of their real property and financial assets (residences, businesses, stocks, bonds, etc.) rather than their tangible personal property. Often the allocation of their tangible personal property is merely an afterthought. For ...
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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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  • 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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  • TRUMP and TAXES - How Does This Impact Your Estate Plan?

    (W&M Law Student and Spring 2017 Extern) The results of the 2016 Presidential election were surprising to some and a relief to others. Towards the end of the election season, the spotlight was focused on Clinton’s campaign and less attention appeared to be given to Trump’s tax policy position. In order to help our clients better understand our 45 th President’s tax policy proposal and its ...
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  • Special Needs Trusts and the ABLE Act

    One of the most common goals in estate planning is to protect loved ones. How to actually do so really depends on the beneficiary’s particular circumstances and needs. A beneficiary with special needs is often a complex situation to address. The term “special needs beneficiary” refers to an individual who will likely receive needs-based government benefits in the future or is currently receiving ...
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  • Writing an Obituary

    A client recently asked me for advice on how to write an obituary. Having no idea, I consulted my father-in-law, Dave Callahan, who spent most of his career working for Gannett newspapers. All credit for this newsletter belongs to him. When to write an obituary Sometimes it's possible, and advisable, to prepare the obit ahead of time. If death is imminent, a family member who writes with clarity ...
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  • Isn't Trust Settlement Automatic?

    I have noticed a consistent misunderstanding amongst clients and potential clients that should be addressed. Too often I hear people exclaim that settlement of a trust at death is ‘automatic.’ I am not certain how they arrived at this conclusion; however, it is completely and utterly flawed. Let’s reason through this together. First, a revocable living trust (RLT) is a document, pure and simple. ...
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  • JGB Richmond Office Expansion and TrustguardTM

    Now that summer is winding down, we can reflect on the year’s events and look forward to finishing it out with happiness and success. With that said, Johnson, Gasink & Baxter, LLP is happy to announce a few changes with the firm regarding our Richmond office as well as an early reminder about our TrustguardTM program. New Office Our Richmond office has moved to a new, larger space at 3741-B ...
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