The U.S. Open Tournament: The Only Time Love Can Equal Nothing

Posted by on Aug 22, 2018 in Legal News |

The rules of tennis can be a little confusing, but you don’t need to understand them in detail in order to have fun watching the U.S. Open Tournament. It’s an exciting time to see the country’s favorite players and ambitious newcomers battle it out on the court. One tennis rule is that “love” equals nothing. Interestingly, the word love as it’s used in tennis comes from the French l’oeuf, which means “egg.” The shape of an egg is the shape of zero, and the concept went from there and became love. 

However, in the rest of the world, love doesn’t mean “egg,” and when you love someone, that takes on a lot of meaning. You need to protect the ones you love, both now and in the future, and estate planning can help you do just that. Here’s how: 

Trust-Based Estate Plans

In general, estate plans are plans for asset protection and distribution, as well as debt repayment, in the future after you pass away. These plans can also include power of attorney designation and health care surrogate appointment in the event you become incapacitated, but when it comes to your family, the word you really need to know is “trust-based estate plan.”

A trust-based estate plan and a will-based estate plan are two very different things. With a will-based plan, you provide instructions to probate court (the court in charge of managing and enforcing the will) as to how to distribute assets. The downside to this is that your family has to go through the long, tumultuous process of probate court. 

A trust-based estate plan, by contrast, keeps you out of probate court. A trust-based estate plan allows your beneficiaries to get your assets directly via a revocable trust. The trust has title of your assets, allowing them to go to your designated relatives when you die without going through a middleman. 

Avoiding Probate Court: A Very Good Gift 

The probate process can take a while to accomplish, sometimes even more than a year. It’s expensive and time-consuming, and there is a lot of room for bickering and conflict with probate court. Staying away from this process ensures that your family isn’t left waiting to get your assets. They can benefit from them immediately, without going through the negative experience of probate court. 

Updating Your Plan 

When you choose a trust-based estate plan, you still need to make sure that you update and assess the plan every three to five years. Even if you think nothing’s changed in your family, it doesn’t hurt to take a look. If your family does go through life changes, however, you should make sure your plan reflects that (i.e. a new marriage, new children, divorce, death, etc.). Updating and re-assessing your estate plan ensures that your plan is current and benefits the people you want it to benefit. 

When you love people, that love means everything to them. A way to show it is through protection in the courts. While not as flashy as roses and lavish gifts, estate planning is a diligent way to protect family members and give them the support they need in the future through a trust-based estate plan. 

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Keep It Real! – Join The “Real Men Wear Pink” Campaign

Posted by on Aug 15, 2018 in Legal News |

August 16th is the kickoff for the “Real Men Wear Pink” campaign, which raises awareness about breast cancer. Male community leaders and figures from around the country wear pink to support survivors of breast cancer and raise funds to continue research into finding a cure for the disease. Men pledge to wear pink all through the month of October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. We’re happy to announce that Michael Wild will be one of the men featured at the August 16th kickoff! Here’s a little more about Real Men Wear Pink and the cause it supports. 

More About This Important Cause 

Real Men Wear Pink gets men involved in what has been predominantly, and inaccurately, thought of as a woman’s issue. In reality, families of breast cancer sufferers are affected as well (not to mention that men themselves, though a tiny percentage, can actually get breast cancer too). Participants in Real Men Wear Pink make several commitments to help win the fight against breast cancer. These commitments include wearing pink all during the month of October, using social media to raise awareness about breast cancer and the need to continue to fund research, and raising at least $2,500 to donate to the American Cancer Society, which sponsors Real Men Wear Pink. 

Pink has always been thought to be a feminine color, but Real Men Wear Pink has shown that it is not. Pink became the color for breast cancer awareness after participants in the Komen New York City Race for the Cure® received pink ribbons in 1991. Since then, the color has stuck, and Real Men Wear Pink demonstrates support for breast cancer survivors and their families by showing that wearing pink can be “a guy thing” too. 

Seeing the Early Signs 

There is a lot of information available on the American Cancer Society website (among many others) about breast cancer, but here are some important facts and statistics, curated from the nonprofit, to know about this disease: 

First, invasive breast cancer will develop in one in eight women (that’s 12.4%) over the course of her lifetime.  In 2018, this number will reach 266,120 new cases. The number of new cases of invasive breast cancer has gone up and down over the years, but, since 2000, the overarching trend has been an increase in cases. 

Second, this form of cancer kills more women than any other type of cancer, with African American women under 45 being at the highest risk of mortality. Right now, over three million women in America possess at least some family history of breast cancer. Family history, lastly, is a major indicator of breast cancer. If you have a close relative that has the disease, your chances of contracting it are very high when compared with someone with no family history. 

Though scary, these statistics and others form an important picture to understanding the seriousness and severity of breast cancer across the country, highlighting why campaigns like Real Men Wear Pink are so important. 

How Can Wild Felice & Partners Help You and Your Family? 

Estate planning can help when dealing with an illness and planning for the future. Schedule an appointment to form an estate plan that will benefit you and your family.

Breast cancer affects thousands upon thousands of women. The Real Men Wear Pink campaign has managed to help many people, both on a personal level and a societal level, by raising awareness and money to battle breast cancer. There will be a cure one day, and the more attention and funding we can raise for this fight brings us that much closer to helping find a cure. In the meantime, aiding survivors and their families is something we can do right now, today. 

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August is National Golf Month: Make Sure Your Estate Plan Doesn’t Have a “Hole in One”

Posted by on Aug 6, 2018 in Legal News |

When it comes to estate planning, you want to make sure that you do not have a hole in one. Estate plans cover a wide range of topics, and asset protection is one of the most important. It’s vital that you go over and check your estate plan for things you may have missed or things you need to add. Estate plans should be assessed every three to five years. You can assess them before that, of course, if there are major changes in your life. 

Here are some reasons and factors that make reassessment of your estate plan a valuable tool. If these have occurred in your life, you should definitely update your estate plan. But, even if they have not, you should still do a routine assessment every three to five years. 

Deaths in the Family 

Unfortunately, it happens. If there is a death in the family, you will need to check and see whether that affects your estate plan. If the person who has passed on is, for instance, someone you intended to leave guardianship to or grant some other important position, you want to get that redone immediately so that there are no holes in the estate plan. 

You may feel a temptation to put off making the assessment appointment, but, if something bad happens and you haven’t updated your plan, your family can really find themselves in a tough spot. 

New Marriages 

New marriages mean new relatives! If you want to include your in-laws in your estate plan, make sure that you update the plan to reflect the new people coming into the family. Or perhaps a marriage has, sadly, ended, and you want to take someone out of your plans. These are grounds for assessment. 

On a related note, childcare issues are considerations for additions. If you yourself are getting married and planning on having children (or perhaps you’re combining families), you should have guardianship plans in place in the event that something happens to you or your spouse while the children are still minors. 

College Plans 

There is a very valuable 529 plan offered by the IRS that allows you to put aside money to pay for a student’s college tuition. The money will be subject to certain tax breaks and exemptions. Generally, these plans are able to be used interstate, for public or private school (but your estate planner will, of course, check to make sure that your state’s law covers this). If you have kids in your family who are set on college, the 529 college savings program can be an important addition to your estate plan. 

Changes in the Law 

Estate law is complex, and it does change. For example, there are recent alterations to the law in the form of the gift tax and the estate tax, where the exemption amount has increased. Now, $22.4 million in income can be excluded by a couple (with over $11 million each available for exclusion by a single person). Tax-exempt gifts at or over this amount should be given now, in case the law sunsets. This is an example of a change in the law that can alter the way your estate plan is formulated. 

Make sure there isn’t a hole in one of your asset protection plans by updating and checking them at regular intervals. This way, no one will get left out of your estate plan and things will be smooth sailing—i.e. there will be no need for probate court. Schedule an appointment today if you find that you’re in need of making any changes. 

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