Estate Planning Information and Resources

Love giving to Charity? The Charitable Remainder Trust May be Just What You Need

Charitable Remainder Trust

A couple of weeks ago I was approached by a friend of mine who has several clients with low-basis, highly appreciated stocks. They were looking to diversify, minimize taxes, provide some additional income, and keep some level of control over their investments. I initially thought a charitable remainder trust would be a great option… And then he asked me for my advice. I looked up a number of options for these clients including: Private Family Foundations Exchange Funds Gifting Programs Leaving the stock as is and letting their children inherit it Other related strategies But ultimately, I kept coming back […]

Should You use a Joint Tenancy With Right of Survivorship as an Estate Planning Tool?

Joint Tenancy with Right of Survivorship

A joint tenancy with right of survivorship is a way that several people can hold legal title to an asset such as a piece of property, a bank or investment account, or even a car. When two or more people own a bank account or piece of property as joint tenants with right of survivorship, each “co-owner” has equal rights and access to that property. When one of the co-owners dies, the property passes immediately to the other co-owners without needing to go through probate. RELATED: Click here to read more about why updating beneficiary designations does NOT count as […]

Last Minute Tax Tips to Reduce Your 2017 Tax Bill [Updated]

last minute tax tips

We are almost to the end of 2017, and this year we may have some much bigger changes coming our way in 2018 than in a typical tax year. For that reason, you may want to pay close attention to this post. The reason we have so many changes coming is that Trump’s Tax Reform is finally upon us. There are a lot of changes coming down the pipeline in 2018 and 2019, so you may want to take some proactive measures before the end of this year to maximize your savings. Let’s start with the current state of the […]

Privacy and Estate Planning

privacy and estate planning

I’m amazed at the number of clients I have that have not truly considered the privacy implications of their estate plans. From the dawn of time, humans have been concerned about privacy. Privacy keeps us safe from predators, enemies, and even in some cases, our closest friends. But at the same time, many people forget about how important privacy is when constructing their estate plan. Will-Based vs. Trust-Based Plans There are two primary options people have when putting together an estate plan – a trust-based plan or a will-based plan. There are numerous advantages to selecting a trust-based plan, including incapacity […]

What is a Power of Attorney and Why is it so Important?

What is a power of attorney

I’ve done a lot of posts on this blog talking about powers of attorney in North Carolina, what they are, why they are important, and why you need to have one. I’ve even talked about some of the pitfalls and mistakes people make with powers of attorney. I’ve had a number of clients recently that have made some mistakes when it comes to their powers of attorney. And right now I’m in the midst of filing a guardianship for one client because of a faulty power of attorney. The bottom line is that these mistakes are easily avoided with proper legal […]

Why Estate Planning is so Important to Me, and Why It Should Be Important to YOU too

Why Estate Planning is so important

Today I wanted to take a minute to talk to you about why estate planning is so important to me, and why it should be important to you too. So many people just pass off estate planning as something they need to do, but never actually get around to doing it. Frankly, this is a terrible mistake and one that is easily avoidable. Check out this video to learn more about what I mean. Here’s a full transcript of the video… Why Estate Planning is so Important to Me Hey there. Good morning, gang. This is Jim Hart here from […]

Why Updating Beneficiary Designations Does NOT Count as Estate Planning

beneficiary designations

Today I did a quick Facebook Live Video to discuss something that is really ticking me off lately. Let me be clear – just because you have updated beneficiary designations does NOT mean you have a good estate plan in place! Watch the whole video for my reasons why… Full Transcript – Why Beneficiary Designations do NOT count as Estate Planning! Hey there, Jim Hart here from the Hart Law Firm and I thought I would do a quick video today outside because it’s a beautiful day here in North Carolina. It’s in the 60’s, mid 60’s degrees outside. It’s […]

What is Included With a Typical Estate Plan?

typical estate plan

If you talk to one of our clients about our estate planning services, you will find out a couple of things. First, our plans are extensive. We don’t just copy and paste your name into a pre-written package of 5 documents and call it a day. Second, you will find out that we are not the cheapest estate planning lawyer in town. But as you can see from reading below, there is a reason that we charge a premium rate – our service greatly exceeds that of other firms. What Sets Us Apart from other Estate Planning Firms? Our plans […]

What the Cavs Game 3 Loss Can Teach Us about Estate Planning

What the Cavs Game 3 Loss Can Teach Us about Estate Planning

For those of you that don’t know, I’m a huge Cleveland sports fan. Although I was born in the Carolinas, I was raised in Cleveland (Chagrin Falls to be exact), and have been a huge fan of the Cavs, Browns, and Indians for as long as I can remember. You could call me a glutton for punishment. Yes, the Cavs won the NBA Championship last year, but as time goes on, it is starting to feel more and more like a blip on the screen of Cleveland sports. Which brings me to the topic of today’s post – the Cavs […]

Estate Planning for the Sandwich Generation… What You Need to Know

Estate Planning for the Sandwich Generation... What You Need to Know

How do you know if you are part of the current sandwich generation? If you are like me, you are a member of “Generation X”, a demographic grouping of people who were born somewhere between the mid-60’s and the early 80’s. Do the math and you should be in your 30’s or 40’s right now. What is unique about this age range? For starters, it makes you part of the current “sandwich generation”. In other words, you are old enough to have young children that you must care for, but still young enough to have aging parents that may also […]