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McClellan Legal LLC Estate Planning & Tax Assessment Blog

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Naming Guardians for Minor Children


Who will care for your minor children if you cannot? For those with minor children, there is no more important estate planning decision than naming guardians for your children.  In fact, the birth of a child is one of the major life events that triggers my clients to begin estate planning.  A guardian is an adult that you designate in a Will to care for a child if both parents pass away before the child reaches the age of majority.  While it’s difficult to imagine that situation, it is important that parents designate a guardian because otherwise a court may choose your next of kin for this role, but that person may not be your first choice.

Quite often parents struggle to designate a guardian.
Read more . . .


Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Five Things to Know When Disinheriting Someone


There are situations that arise when you decide to specifically disinherit someone.  My clients have mentioned several reasons to disinherit an individual, such as: an estranged relationship with the individual, the individual is financially irresponsible, the individual is already financially better off than other potential beneficiaries, and more.

Who Is Disinherited?

Who are the usual disinheriting targets?  There is no need to disinherit someone that wouldn’t naturally receive an inheritance at your death.  Disinheriting targets are those that stand to lose out if you move forward with a new Will.  Hence, are you changing the status quo?  In most situations, your spouse and children are your natural heirs.
Read more . . .


Friday, January 17, 2020

How the SECURE Act Impacts Your Retirement Planning


In late December, 2019, The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act was signed into law and became effective in early January, 2020. The SECURE Act contains both benefits and drawbacks that may lead you to reconsider your retirement planning.

Advantages

The SECURE Act increases the forced withdrawal age from 70.5 to 72 years old. This means that you can wait an extra year and a half before taking out any money from your retirement accounts, unless you have reached age 70.
Read more . . .


Friday, January 17, 2020

Top Five Triggers for Updating Your Will in 2020


Many people neglect to occasionally review their estate planning documents after its execution. However, your Will should be updated when your personal circumstances change, which could happen at any time.  The passage of time in itself is not a trigger to change your Will.  Your Will is like your home: if properly maintained, your home will last a very long time.  Likewise, if properly updated, your Will can also have a greater longevity.
Read more . . .


Friday, November 22, 2019

Isn't Estate Planning Only For The Wealthy?


Many people believe that estate planning is only for the wealthy.  The fact is that everyone over 18 years old, despite whether they are married, have children, or have a large net worth, will benefit from preparing at least a basic estate plan.  You will want an estate plan in place in case you become temporarily or permanently incapacitated, or unable to make these decisions or care for yourself due to various mental and physical issues. If estate planning is beneficial for everyone, what is estate planning?

There are a few basic documents that everyone needs.  A basic estate plan includes a Will, Durable Power of Attorney, Health Care Power of Attorney, and Living Will.
Read more . . .


Friday, November 22, 2019

Do Your Parents Have an Estate Plan?


Discussing estate planning can be difficult, or even avoided, due to the heaviness of the topic. Those who do speak with their parents regarding estate planning may get a simple answer in return, such as: "Don't worry, we took care of that years ago!"  or "It's all settled, there's no need to worry."  

However, it is important to understand children’s concern regarding their parents’ estate planning because a parent’s lack of planning will negatively impact their children. Typically, children are called upon to help their parents during their incapacity and to administer their estate.  Without proper estate planning, children will be burdened with unnecessary delays, costs, taxes, and stress.


Read more . . .


Friday, October 18, 2019

Five Essential Documents for Estate Planning


During our initial call, our new clients commonly ask us to draft only a Will. We like to explain to our clients that estate planning is more than one document. Instead, you will need a few documents that work together to best express your wishes and achieve your estate planning goals. Our basic estate planning includes a Will, Durable Power of Attorney, Health Care Power of Attorney, and a Living Will. The last essential document is the Beneficiary Designation Form, which you obtain from the bank.
Read more . . .


Friday, October 18, 2019

Are your Out-of-State Estate Planning Documents Still Valid?


People move from one state to another for a myriad of reasons: better education for their children, job relocation, retirement, etc. Moving can be stressful and all-encompassing. Once you have settled into your new home, you may believe that the moving process has been completed. However, you should consider updating your estate planning documents to reflect your move.

If your Will was properly executed in one state (e.
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Friday, September 27, 2019

Retirement Accounts and the SECURE Act


Earlier this summer, the United States House of Representatives passed The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act almost unanimously. However, the Senate has not made the decision to pass this bill yet. The SECURE Act, if passed as it is currently written, may lead you to reconsider your retirement planning.

One of the most important ways the SECURE Act may help you is by altering the forced withdrawal age from 70.5 to 72 years old.
Read more . . .


Friday, September 27, 2019

Planning For Your Child's Inheritance


One of the biggest decisions that people need to make when drafting their estate planning documents is determining how and when their children or grandchildren will receive their inheritance.  The law requires that a minor child’s inheritance be managed in a trust until they reach adulthood, usually 18 or 21 years old depending on the state in which you reside. Then, the issue arises when the child reaches that age. It may not be wise to give your young adult child full access to all of your assets, which includes retirement accounts, life insurance payouts, home equity, etc.  If you do not execute effective estate planning documents, this is exactly what will happen.
Read more . . .


Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Don't Make Estate Planning's Biggest Mistake


When developing your estate plan, I do not recommend following Ron Popeil’s catchphrase of “Set it and forget it!”  Estate planning requires a coordinated effort of drafting and reviewing various documents to ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes. Some of the biggest mistakes in estate planning is not completing or updating your beneficiary designation forms for life insurance, retirement accounts, and so on. 

Beneficiary Designations for Non-Probate Assets

Most people are aware of the importance of executing a Will to distribute their assets to their loved ones.  Assets that pass via your will are distributed via a court supervised process known as probate.  These probate assets include all property individually owned by the deceased that do not include a designated survivorship interest.
Read more . . .


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McClellan Legal LLC is located in Kennett Square and serves clients throughout the areas of Avondale, Chadds Ford, Coatesville, Downingtown, Landenberg, Oxford, Phoenixville, Pottstown, West Chester, & West Grove.



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