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You Can Stretch the Gift Tax Limit by Paying for Education or Health Care

Lavelle & Finn


If you want to make a gift to family members but have exceeded the annual gifting limit, there is another way. Payments for a family member’s education or health care expenses are exempt from the gift tax.  The annual gift tax exclusion for 2020 and 2021 is $15,000. This means that any person who gave […]

The Durable Power of Attorney: Your Most Important Estate Planning Document

Lavelle & Finn


For most people, the durable power of attorney is the most important estate planning instrument available — even more useful than a will. A power of attorney allows a person you appoint — your “attorney-in-fact” or “agent” — to act in place of you – the “principal” — for financial purposes when and if you […]

9 (Potential) Problems with Your Trust

Lavelle & Finn


All trusts should be reviewed every few years to make sure that they are up-to-date with the law and meet your current goals. Following is a checklist of trust features you can review yourself. But be aware that these only refer to revocable “living” trusts, not to irrevocable trusts. Do you have the right successor […]

How to Make Changes to Your Will

Lavelle & Finn


As life circumstances change (births, marriages, divorces, and deaths), it may become necessary to make changes to your will.  If an estate plan is not kept up-to-date, it can become useless. The best way to make changes is either through a codicil — an amendment to the will — or by creating a new will. […]

How Your Estate Is Taxed, or Not

Lavelle & Finn


Congress sets the amount that an individual can transfer tax-free either during life or at death. The current estate tax exemption is so high that very few estates will have to pay an estate tax.  In 2017, Republicans in Congress and President Trump doubled the federal estate tax exemption and indexed it for inflation. In […]

What Are the House Ownership Options When Parents and Adult Children Live Together?

Lavelle & Finn


Increasingly, several generations of American families are living together. According to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census data, 64 million Americans, or 20 percent of the population, live in households containing two adult generations. These multi-generational living arrangements present legal and financial challenges around home ownership. Multi-generational households may include “boomerang” children who […]

Using Estate Planning to Prepare for Medicaid

Lavelle & Finn


Long-term care involves not only a loss of personal autonomy; it also comes at a tremendous financial price. Proper planning can help your family prepare for the financial toll and protect assets for future generations.  Long-term care can be very expensive, especially around-the-clock nursing home care. Most people end up paying for nursing home care […]

What You Can’t Do With a Will

Lavelle & Finn


While a will is one of the most important estate planning documents you can have, there are things that it won’t cover. A will is just one part of a comprehensive estate plan.  A will is a legally-binding statement directing who will receive your property at your death. It is also the way you appoint a […]

Using Life Insurance as Part of Your Estate Plan

Lavelle & Finn


Life insurance can play a few key roles in an estate plan, depending on your age and situation in life.  There are two main types of life insurance: term and permanent. Term life insurance is the simplest: You buy a policy for a set number of years and you have coverage with a death benefit if […]

When Planning Your Estate, Don’t Let the Perfect Be the Enemy of the Good

Lavelle & Finn


There are many unknowns when planning an estate, but you can’t let the uncertainties get in the way of creating any kind of plan. Having an imperfect plan is usually better than having no plan at all.  When planning an estate you want to be able to consider all the angles, but there are inevitably […]