Trusted Legal Resources

President Biden’s First One Hundred Days: Looking Back and Planning Ahead

This year has been unprecedented from a political perspective in many ways. President Joe Biden stepped into office facing huge obstacles related to the COVID-19 pandemic, an economy battered by the pandemic, a crumbling national infrastructure in dire need of repair, an ongoing immigration crisis at our southern border, and deep political and social divisions in this country, among other challenges. As Biden entered office, he named the following issues as his top priorities: Getting past the COVID-19 pandemic through masking, vaccinations, and opening schools Addressing climate change and alternative energy solutions Financial regulation and student debt Anticompetition practices among the leading companies in Big Tech Revitalizing the economy and employment to recover from the pandemic Improving international relations Immigration Race, gender, and social issues With these issues at the top of Biden’s priority list, it may appear that no real changes are coming down the pipeline that are directly

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Powers of Appointment: A Handy Tool in Your Client’s Toolbox

An often misunderstood but prevalent estate planning tool that often appears in estate planning documents is the power of appointment. Not to be confused with a power of attorney (the document that allows a living person to delegate certain powers to an agent to act on their behalf), a power of appointment can be an incredibly useful tool if used properly and knowledgeably. A well-considered power of appointment allows a client to maintain significant flexibility in their estate plan now and in the future, even when that estate plan is otherwise considered irrevocable under the law. Though hundreds of pages of books, scholarly articles, court decisions, and tax regulations have been written on the topic of powers of appointment, this newsletter can help you counsel your clients intelligently and confidently on the topic. It can also help you recognize and identify the existence of powers of appointment in your client’s

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Trust Protectors: Are They a Good Fit for Your Client?

Posted by Robert L. Arone What Is a Trust Protector? Traditionally, the three roles that must be filled when setting up a trust are the settlor (also called a grantor, trustor, or trustmaker), the trustee, and the beneficiary. All three roles are necessary to create a trust that functions properly. Although it is relatively common to use trust protectors in foreign asset protection trusts, a trust protector is a fairly new role in trusts drafted in the United States for estate planning purposes. However, as the number of trusts designed to last for generations grows, estate plans need more built-in flexibility. Giving a trust protector, through the terms of the trust, certain powers over the trust, such as removing or appointing trustees, adding or removing beneficiaries, and amending or even terminating the trust, ensures that your client’s intentions for creating the trust are fulfilled despite changing law or circumstances. How

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Helping Clients Create an Up-to-Date Inventory

Posted by Robert L. Arone If your client has already done estate planning by creating a will or trust, then the client has taken a very important step toward ensuring that if the client becomes incapacitated or dies, the client’s loved ones will know how to help manage the client’s financial and legal affairs. However, simply having a will or a trust and related estate planning documents is often not enough. An inventory of all of the client’s accounts and property is crucial for helping the client’s loved ones manage the client’s affairs effectively. Most estate planning attorneys have received calls from distressed children who know that a deceased parent had a will or a trust, but have no idea what accounts, insurance policies, or items of real and personal property the parent owned. If an inventory was never prepared and shared with the parent’s attorney, the child likely had

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Is Your Client’s Estate Plan Incapacity Proof?

Posted by Robert L. Arone For most people, it is perfectly natural to think about estate planning only in terms of planning for death. While it is certainly important for clients to make a plan for their eventual death, if that is all they plan for, their planning will be woefully inadequate. As medical knowledge and technology have improved over the decades, so too has modern medicine’s ability to keep people alive for much longer. It is no accident that in many areas of the country, long-term care facilities such as assisted living centers and nursing homes are being built at record pace.[1] At first blush, staying alive longer would seem to be a good thing. And for many people, it is. However, simply living longer does not necessarily result in ideal circumstances. Longevity coupled with incapacity can be extremely challenging if a client has failed to make arrangements for

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