Recently, many have begun planning for the possibility that they may fall ill and may not be able to conduct business as usual. The most commonly thought of planning device for such situations is the power of attorney (POA). A POA is a document whereby a “principal,” the person signing document, gives certain powers to an “agent,” the person designated to act on behalf of the principal. A POA allows an individual to name another person to act on their behalf during times of incapacity, for a particular purpose, for a specified duration of time, or even to simply execute everyday dealings for the individual. It all depends upon the type of POA established and the objectives sought.
By: Attorney Grant Brown
One of the first steps in Estate Planning and Estate Administration is determining what interests are owned in the property. Property is generally divided into two main categories, personal property and real property. Real property is land and anything that is attached to the land, like a house. Personal property is generally everything that is not land or attached to land, so everything else.
On a personal note, I want to let my readers know that this year I celebrate my 25th year as a certified specialist in estate planning and probate law. I was first certified by the North Carolina State Bar in 1995. What that means for me is that I AM OLD. What that means for you is that I have handled a large variety of wills, trusts, powers of attorney, guardianships, estates, and other matters for my clients over the years.
Trusts come in many flavors, with specialty uses to fit unique situations. A “special needs trust” or a “discretionary” trust is just one flavor. A special needs trust is designed to protect a beneficiary who is, or may become, institutionalized. Having a child or grandchild who is unable to care for themselves is not a happy situation, but it is unfortunately a common situation that must be dealt with.
Happy Wednesday from your legal team at the Law Offices of W. Woods Doster, P.A. This is Attorney Brown speaking and we hope all of you are staying safe and looking at the bright side of life under quarantine. With the beautiful weather this weekend, I spent most of my day Saturday taking it in by working in the yard. I stayed out there so long that I was using tools and gadgets that I did not even know I had! The yard looks great and my wife is happy that I am finally getting around to things on the “honey-do” list. Hopefully, the pleasant weather maintains so we can at least enjoy simply being outside.
As I work from home, I can look out my window and see the fresh green leaves and bright colorful flowers of this glorious spring. Working from home is a different experience, with its own pleasures and rewards. But it will never take the place of looking out over the rooftops of downtown Sanford from our office on Chatham Street, or listening from our office in Pittsboro to the Courthouse bell chiming the hours. And working from home will never permit us to gather the information about our clients that we get while sitting across from you at a conference table with a cup of coffee in hand.
There is no question that the coronavirus pandemic will have some sort of financial impact on each one of us in some way. Current news headlines are filled with important financial information. From the roller coaster ride of the stock market to the government’s stimulus packages, it can all be overwhelming. Now, more than ever, it is apparent how important financial decisions are in life.
In honor of our Veterans, let’s take a look at the structure of the Veterans Asset Protection Trust (VAPT). The VAPT is a powerful tool that can protect assets while enabling the grantor to qualify for needs-based pension benefits. There are two sub-trusts within the VAPT – one is a grantor sub-trust and the other is a non-grantor sub-trust. Why is it structured this way? The VA has a direct line of communication with the IRS. The VA routinely checks the tax returns of pension recipients, to get income information. Because of this, it is best to avoid any “phantom income” from a grantor trust being reported on the grantor’s tax return. This additional reported income may jeopardize eligibility for benefits.
The growth and strength of our nation, with its vast geographic territory, is integrally connected to farming. Although the percentage of the population engaged in farming has shrunk dramatically since the nation’s early days, there are still two million farms in the United States. Unfortunately, the future of the family farm is in jeopardy. In 2017, between one-half and three-quarters of small farms (depending upon the type of farm) had an operating profit margin in the red zone, signifying a high risk of financial problems. In fact, for many small farming families, the majority of household income comes from off-farm sources such as wage income, non-farm business earnings, and dividends, and operators of small farms frequently report losses from farming.
According to a US Census Bureau report, couples in which one or both spouses are foreign-born account for 20% of all marriages in the United States. Of these foreign-born spouses, approximately 60% are naturalized and 40% are noncitizens. The Bureau links this trend to both the growth of the US immigrant population and the increased number of Americans traveling and living abroad. This demographic faces unique estate and tax planning issues.