estate planning

Help Clients Celebrate Earth Day with These Environmentally Friendly Burial Options

Posted by Robert L. Arone When it comes to death and what to do with a deceased’s remains, most people think of only two options: burial or cremation. However, these options are not particularly environmentally friendly. Burial, which is arguably the worst option from an environmental standpoint, uses an estimated 100,000 tons of steel, 1.5 million tons of concrete, 77,000 trees and 4.3 million gallons of embalming fluid every year.[1] Some of that 4.3 million gallons of carcinogenic embalming fluid likely leaks into the earth, polluting our water and soil. Cremation, often considered the greener option, is not much better. Some estimate that one cremation uses about as much gas and electricity as a 500-mile road trip and gives off around 250 pounds of carbon dioxide.[2] For those clients that are more environmentally minded, here are some nontraditional, eco-friendly burial ideas. An added benefit is that many of these environmentally friendly ideas

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What Will Happen If Your Clients’ Loved Ones Become Disabled?

Posted by Robert L. Arone We all plan for “just-in-case” scenarios. When packing for our week-long vacation, we throw in a rain jacket even though the weather forecast is sunny—just in case. When helping clients plan for the future, it is also important to consider what will happen just in case one of our clients’ loved ones becomes disabled. We tend to think that disability is something that affects other people. But approximately 61 million adults in the United States live with a disability—that is one in four adults.[1] And more than one in four twenty-year-olds will become disabled before reaching retirement age.[2] Disability is unpredictable, and accidents or serious physical or mental conditions, such as cancer or mental illness, can happen to anyone at any age. As helpful as it would be when advising our clients, no one has a crystal ball to see into the future. We do not know when a

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Presidential Estate Planning Lessons You Can Use to Advise Your Clients

Posted by Robert L. Arone February 21 is the day on which we celebrate several US presidents who made noteworthy contributions to our country. As with any discussion that involves politics, a discussion about US presidents risks generating a variety of opinions about which reasonable minds can disagree. However, politics is not the focus of this month’s newsletter. Instead, our aim is to examine a few of the important lessons we can learn from the estate planning of some of our country’s most famous political leaders. Armed with these important lessons from history, you can help your clients make better decisions for their own estate planning. George Washington Washington was arguably the most universally beloved and revered US president. Volumes have been written about this man and what he accomplished during his life. One significant achievement that few people know about is the care Washington took to ensure that his

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Estate Planning Awareness: Don’t Fall Victim to These Common Myths

Posted by Robert L. Arone Left unaddressed, these myths can create serious trouble for families and individuals, often leading to intrafamily conflict, permanently damaged relationships, and lengthy and expensive court battles. Myth #1: Estate planning is only for the wealthy. When the topic of estate planning comes up, professional advisors often hear their clients respond with phrases like “Oh, estate planning is only for rich people,” or “Why do I need an estate plan? I plan to spend it all before I die!” Unfortunately, this kind of response, perhaps subconsciously, allows the person making the statement to avoid having to expend any further energy thinking about the uncomfortable reality of their own mortality and the consequences of not having planned for their incapacity or death. As their professional advisor, consider whether you have a responsibility to gently push back on such responses from a client. Most things worth doing are

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Preparing for the Reduction in the Estate Tax Exemption

Posted by Robert L. Arone In late May of this year, the U.S. Treasury released a publication detailing a number of the proposed tax code changes that the Biden administration would like to usher through Congress in an ambitious effort to modernize the US tax system to meet its citizens’ needs. While reasonable minds may differ strongly on the best way to stimulate the US economy and create wealth and security for the American people, one thing is certain: the need for individuals to engage in careful estate and tax planning to avoid paying more tax than necessary is not going away. The IRS publication,[1] sometimes referred to as the Green Book, outlines a number of key proposals that—if ultimately passed—have the potential to significantly shake up the estate planning world as we know it today by sidelining a number of tried and true estate planning strategies while potentially increasing the

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