There are two essential talks that a son or daughter should have with his or her parents. The first usually happens when a child begins his or her trek into adulthood. The second should take place as one's parents begin to pass into old age. The first is geared towards taking care of yourself, but the second should be focused on taking care of your parents.
The squabbling over Gary Coleman's will, his remains and his legacy has already begun in earnest. Before the famous actor could even be buried, allegations started to fly that ex-wife Shannon Price had pulled life support too soon. Then Coleman's adopted parents battled over the right to bury him. His parents eventually withdrew their demands and Coleman was cremated.
Traditionally, estate planning focuses on the physical assets possessed by an individual. These often include a house, family heirlooms, classic cars, personal effects and money. However, as the Internet continues to present opportunities for individuals to share their lives, the amount of digital assets we possess online has grown as well.
Suppose you have young relative whose parents are both killed in a tragic accident. Being too young to care for himself, this relative needs someone to take him in, essentially raising him in his parents' place. In a case such as this, you might find yourself in a position to act as this child's legal guardian.
Partisan bickering and indecision allowed the federal estate tax to expire last year for the first time in nearly 100 years. The result is 365 days of reprieve for wealthy Americans. In addition to making changes for this year, those planning estates are looking forward to 2011, when the estate tax will return at an even greater percentage.
This year could provide a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make any large gifts to loved ones, according to many estate planning lawyers. They key point: Gift taxes are at their lowest point this year than at any time since the Great Depression, and they're scheduled to jump next year. For gifts made in 2009, the highest tax rate was 45 percent. This year, the top gift tax rate is at 35 percent -- and next year it will rise to 55 percent.
Elizabeth Edwards, estranged wife of former presidential candidate John Edwards, has reportedly been looking into whether the couple's eldest daughter, Cate, can obtain legal guardianship over her two younger siblings. Cate is 28-years-old, while her Jack and Emma Edwards are 10 and 12, respectively.
Estate planning is an extremely important, yet extremely underutilized option for individuals across the United States. While the estate planning process is not overly complicated for most and can easily be worked through with the help of an attorney, the idea that it is complicated and time-consuming persists. For seniors, especially, it is important to start planning for advanced care and the settling of estate matters.