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Question #1 – Wills
Is it possible to leave my company or business to someone in my will?
Yes. You should have a provision in your will for your business and should also prepare the necessary Business Succession documents for transfer of your company/business to someone else.
Question #2 – Wills
When do changes to your will become inadmissible?
When a doctor has declared you incapacitated/incompetent; when you no longer understand the nature of your property; when you are no longer of sound mind, etc.
Question #3 – General
Who makes decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated?
If you have made the necessary preparations prior to your incapacitation, whomever you listed to make those decisions. If you did not prepare for your incapacitation, then your family/friend may have to petition the Court to ultimately make decisions on your behalf.
Question #4 – POA
What is a financial power of attorney? Is it necessary to have one?
A power of attorney is a written instrument executed by one person, called the principal/grantor, which designates another person, called the agent/attorney-in-fact, to perform acts on the principal’s/grantor’s behalf. An executed POA allows your agent to make decisions on your behalf when you are unable to do so on your own.
Question #5 – General
How is joint tenancy different from tenancy by the entirety?
Joint tenancy is a type of ownership of real or personal property held by two or more persons in which each owns an undivided interest in the whole.
Tenancy by the entirety is a type of ownership of real property held by a Husband and Wife where each owns the undivided whole of the property, with the Right of Survivorship, so that upon the death of one, the survivor is entitled to the decedent's share.
Question #6 – General
How do you determine if an estate is taxable?
If your death occurs during a year when the federal estate tax is in effect, then whether your estate will be liable for federal estate taxes will depend on the value of your gross estate, the amount of debt you owe at the time of your death, the total expenses that will be incurred while settling your estate, and any deductions that your estate can take.
Question #7 – General
What is the tax rate for taxable estates?
The federal estate and gift tax rate for deaths in 2011 and 2012 is 35%.
Question #8 – Trusts
Does a living trust ever become public, like a will does when it goes to probate court?
No, a trust is not a public document.
Question #9 – Pour Over Will
If I have a living trust, why would I still need to create a will?
A trust document cannot necessarily cover all of your belongings. Accordingly, a pour over will would be recommended to handle all outstanding assets not covered in the trust.
Question #10 – General
Do all banks have the options to have an account Transfer on Death or make an account Payable on Death?
Yes, all banks should have the options.
MVP Law Group would like to thank everyone who contributed a question or comment.
Our next “Estate Planning Q & A Forum” is scheduled for Friday, March 9th, 2012!
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