The Montana Estate Lawyer

Friday, November 2, 2018

The Lighter Side--Everyone's Life is a Story Worth Sharing, Even if Make-believe

A couple of weeks ago, I came across a touching news item in the Washington Post that I think you may enjoy as much as I did. The link to the piece is as follows: https://www.
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Friday, October 19, 2018

Long-Term Care: Planning and Paying for Your Eventual Needs

America’s population is living longer, and with longer lives come increasing healthcare needs. When it comes to your future long-term care needs, you have about a 50/50 chance of needing some form of care. Yet, despite the eventuality of long-term care needs, most Americans are wildly unprepared for the steep costs that come with them -- costs that are
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Monday, October 8, 2018

The 2014 Farm Bill Expired, Now What?

The Farm bill covers the country’s agricultural funding, conservation efforts, and food aid.  Congress passes a new farm bill every five years.  The five-year timeline is triggered by sunset provisions (expiration dates) for specific programs contained in the previous bill. 

On September 30, 2018, the 2014 Farm Bill expired and Congress has not yet passed an extension for the 2014 Bill.  Without an extension for the 2014 previsions, the federal price supports revert to the 1949 levels.
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Friday, September 21, 2018

The Best and Most Practical Financial Advice for Seniors

It’s hard work to reach retirement, and you want to spend that time free from financial worries. In order to live comfortably, it’s necessary to understand how you can make the most of every dollar. Here is important information about smart money management for seniors.

Cut Costs

Saving on expenses is important, even if it’s just a little here and there. Thankfully, there are many discounts available to seniors, and you should take advantage of them every chance you get.
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Friday, August 31, 2018

The 10 commandments of retirement

I came across a good, concise, article on retirement that I want to share.  It was written by Richard Quinn and appeared on the Market Watch website.  (See Richard Quinn, The 10 Commandments of Retirement, Market Watch, August 22, 2018.) 

The author reminds us that, when it comes to retirement, don’t overly fixate on the issues were told that many Americans face, such as: keeping Social Security solvent; making Medicare affordable; that many of us aren’t saving enough; that we as a population want to retire earlier than we can reasonably afford, etc.  Many people have ideas and suggestions on how to "solve" the retirement crisis in America, but in the end, you don’t need to worry about all Americans.


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Friday, August 17, 2018

Which Business Entity Makes The Most Ssense For Your Business?

We always advise you to consult with a tax advisor, certified public accountant, or business attorney before making the decision to form any business entity, but this article may give you some insight on what options are available.

Factors in making this decision may include the size of the business, location of business operations, and number of owners. The most commonly used types of business entities are sole proprietorships, partnerships, limited liability companies, and corporations. In this article we’ll give a brief description and the advantages and disadvantages of each entity.

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Friday, August 10, 2018

The Importance of Estate Planning

It is estimated that a majority of Americans, perhaps over 60%, die without an estate plan. The importance of having and updating an estate plan cannot be overstated.

So why is it that most of us have not done even the basic estate planning that is so important to our families? Death is not something we want to think or talk about. Thus, we procrastinate and put off dealing with these types of decisions. For most people, things like planning a vacation or family activities is a lot more fun than planning for death or the possibility of becoming incapacitated and unable to make decisions.

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Friday, August 3, 2018

Think Twice About Adding Your Children to Your Bank Account or Other Assets

I see it often in our practice.  When people hear about the cost, delays and potential perils of the probate process, they often just add their children as co-owners on their bank accounts or their residence in order to avoid probate.  However, this should be done, if at all, only after careful consideration of the potential perils of joint ownership and the alternatives available to avoid probate.

I know, most people’s first thought in response to this is, “Why?  My children are good kids, they’d never steal from me.”  That’s probably true and I’m not trying to convince you otherwise.

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Friday, July 27, 2018

The Veterans Asset Protection Trust

The Veterans Asset Protection Trust can be an applicable and beneficial option for many of our elderly clients who are looking for long-term planning options. The Veterans Asset Protection Trust is an intentionally defective grantor trust and can be considered as an option for clients who are wartime Veterans or the surviving spouses of a wartime Veteran. This trust is designed to meet the eligibility requirements from the Veterans Administration (VA) of a complete gift or complete relinquishment. 

When it comes to assets, the most significant for a Veteran is often his or her residence. As long as a Veteran retains that home, it does not count as part of his or her net worth for VA-eligibility purposes and instead qualifies as a “non-countable resource.

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Friday, July 20, 2018

A New Tax Identification Number is Required for Revocable Living Trust After the Trustmaker's Death

Many of our clients choose to create revocable living trusts as their primary estate planning vehicle to state their wishes for the management of their assets during life and what will happen to the assets after their death. Creating a revocable living trust establishes a separate legal entity that owns the property that is funded into the trust. In general, trusts are subject to taxation as separate entities and as a result they need to have their own identification number for tax purposes. However, for a revocable living trust a separate tax identification number typically is not necessary during the grantor's ("trustmaker's") lifetime. Revocable living trusts are treated as what the IRS calls "grantor" trusts, which allows them to use the Social Security number of the creator or grantor of the trust.

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Friday, July 13, 2018

What Is a Living Will?

A living will is a document that allows you to say what should happen if death is imminent and there’s nothing more medically that can reasonably be done.  If you are in a hospital and your doctor determines that you are terminally ill with only a short period of time to live, you can clarify that you do want to have administered that serve only to prolong the dying process. 

It allows you to express your wishes in advance at a time when your life is not yet threatened and you're thinking clearly.  It comes into play when, an only when, you can't voice your own wishes and covers only one stage of your life, when you're near death. For your declaration to take effect, your attending physician must determine that there can be no recovery from your terminal or vegetative condition and your death is imminent or you can no longer experience a meaningful life.

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