Latest from Lauren Jackson Law Blog

In 2008, Congress recognized the need for the public to understand the importance and benefits of estate planning by passing House Resolution 1499, which designated the third week of October as National Estate Planning Awareness Week. Nevertheless, according to a 2019 survey carried out by Caring.com, 57% of adults in the United States have not prepared any estate planning documents such as a will or trust despite the fact that 76% viewed them as important.…
Real estate encompasses not only one’s primary residence but also other real estate such as a vacation home or a rental property. The ideal form of ownership varies depending on the type of real estate you own. Below, we take a look at the different types of real estate and offer advice about the best form of ownership for each. Primary Residence Because your primary residence receives special tax treatment, you should carefully consider how…
With a push by the Democratic party to return federal estate taxes to their historic norms, taxpayers need to act now before Congress passes legislation that could adversely impact their estates. Currently, the federal estate and gift tax exemption is set at $11.58 million per taxpayer. Assets included in a decedent’s estate that exceed the decedent’s remaining exemption available at death are taxed at a federal rate of 40 percent (with some states adding an…
Estate planning—it is an incredibly important tool, not just for the uber-wealthy or those thinking about retirement. On the contrary, estate planning is something every adult should do. Estate planning can help you accomplish any number of goals, including appointing guardians for minor children, choosing healthcare agents to make decisions for you should you become ill, minimizing taxes so you can pass more wealth onto your family members, and stating how and to whom…
A popular question that I answer a lot for my estate planning clients is what is the Medicaid look-back period for assets?  When clients realize they might be eligible for Medicaid, they start their estate planning with that in mind.  However, the timing of everything for Medicaid planning is of the utmost importance.  Most people do know of the two federal programs, Medicare and Medicaid.  A quick refresher: Medicare is a federal health insurance program…
One question that I continually hear from clients, friends, and family is what type of life insurance should I get?  First off, let’s acknowledge that I am not an insurance salesperson and I do not and have never sold insurance.  The following information is based upon my own experience with life insurance and the decisions I have made for myself and my family. Term life insurance is a life insurance policy for a set amount…
When I’m talking with my clients about how often to review their estate planning documents, I always recommend they review all financial accounts; how they are titled and who are the listed beneficiaries.  A good habit to get into is to do an annual review. I personally like to do mine at the beginning of each year, but it really does not matter at what point in the year you do it.  The most…
News about the coronavirus is everywhere, and we have all been affected by it in some way, even if we are currently completely healthy. Although it may seem as though circumstances are spinning beyond our control, we are not powerless. There are steps we can take to protect ourselves and our families, both physically and financially. First, we can exercise caution in our interactions with others to ensure their health as well as our own,…
Life is good and you believe you have found your forever home.  However, what happens if you signed a contract to purchase that home and you changed your mind?  Is there a way to cancel a real estate contract without being penalized?  When purchasing a house, once both parties (buyer and seller) have signed the real estate contact, a time called the “attorney review period” has begun.  The attorney review period lasts for five business…
Revocable living trusts are the most popular estate planning tool for married couples in my law practice.  They can be extremely useful for incapacity planning, probate avoidance, asset protection, and privacy.  Depending on the married couple’s goals and circumstances, when it comes to revocable trusts an estate plan can include either a joint revocable trust or separate trusts for each spouse.  Both options offer advantages and disadvantages.  Below are a few client scenarios that explore…