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Articles written by Kenneth Kirk

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 By Kenneth Kirk    Columns    April 1, 2021 

'Do I really need a will?' Yes you do

Sometimes when you spend all day, every day dealing with the complications of a particular area of law, the simplest question can surprise you. People ask me, on a fairly regular basis, whether they...

 
 By Kenneth Kirk    Columns    March 1, 2021

When estate planning gets Fast and Furious

If you like movies with car chases, then you know who Paul Walker was. During the past 20 years, the Fast & Furious movies — I think there were nine in all — were your visual feast for car races,...

 

Death, taxes and stepping up to the plate

Deadlines are a funny thing. Two months ago, I needed to get my Senior Voice column in, shortly after the election. So on the morning after election day, I took a quick look at the results, and it app...

 

The power that springs into action

I try to avoid using Latin, since so few people understand it and I’m not in the business of confusing people. But as we lean toward the tape in this marathon run that 2020 has been, the words...

 

The only constant is change – try to keep up

You have the advantage over me, Dear Reader. You know how the election turned out. Oh, I have a general idea. As I write this, it is November 4, the day after the election. At this point it looks...

 

Tackling the $15,000 tax question

The most stubborn myths usually start with a kernel of truth, which is then taken out of context. For instance, this is true: “You can give up to $15,000 away each year, tax-free”. But from that...

 

To have and to hold (together) is not so easy in Alaska

Al Martinez was a longtime syndicated newspaper columnist. Toward the end of his career, he said that of all the controversial subjects he had written about (including a lot of articles about...

 

Will the estate tax be an unwelcome 'comebacker'?

Baseball fans love to nickname things. A home run can be a simple “homer” but it can also be a “tater,” a “dinger,” a “jack” or “going yard”. In fact, there are dozens of...

 
 By Kenneth Kirk    Columns    August 1, 2020

Putting away childish notions

You know how nice it is when you get a toy you have been wanting? If you don’t remember that far back, think about how a child’s eyes light up when it sees a toy under the Christmas tree. Or if...

 
 By Kenneth Kirk    Columns    July 1, 2020

Estate planners and the consolation of philosophy

I can sum up the premise of today’s column in two words: philosophy matters. I’m not talking about Plato and Sartre and Descartes. I’m talking about the philosophy each of us brings to our...

 
 By Kenneth Kirk    Columns    June 1, 2020

Advance Directives in the time of corona

Covid-19 is some scary stuff. It’s even more so if medical procedures make you nervous. By now we’ve all seen videos of people having long swabs stuck far up their noses, or a tube stuck down...

 
 By Kenneth Kirk    Columns    May 1, 2020

Never let a crisis go to waste

This is the second time in less than two years I have written this column in the wake of a major traumatic event. A few days after the 2018 earthquake, I used that event to remind people that...

 
 By Kenneth Kirk    Columns    April 1, 2020

What does a Miller Trust actually do?

I’m keeping a list of the most frustrating myths I run into. First on the list, without a doubt, is the belief that a will avoids probate (it doesn’t). A close second is the myth that a Miller...

 
 By Kenneth Kirk    Columns    March 1, 2020

The sharpest (estate planning) tool in the shed

IPop quiz: What is the most powerful estate planning tool? Most people are thinking: “That would be a will, right”? And indeed, the good old Last Will and Testament is important, but it has its...

 

A lump of coal, and the Stretch is gone

Well, they did it to you. Right before Christmas, too. Your Congress sent you a nice Christmas stocking, but inside was a nasty lump of coal. They eliminated the “Stretch IRA”. I guess I had...

 

With planning you can bypass the guardianship system

I have had a lot to say about the problems with the probate system -- it’s expensive, it takes a long time, it is easy for a disgruntled heir or creditor to hold up the proceedings, it is very...

 

Make those final arrangements for yourself

By KENNETH KIRK For Senior Voice Since I finally got my TV antenna adjusted, I’ve been watching more of those higher-number UHF channels, the ones with numbers in the 30s and 40s. A lot of those...

 

Reader's question reveals legal complexities

In the last issue of the Senior Voice, a reader named Yvonne Gossett from Palmer asked what sounds like a simple question: When I die, will Medicaid take my life insurance? She complained that nobody,...

 

Covering the expenses of bequeathed property

I have long been a fan of Robin Williams. From the first time I saw him, in "Mork and Mindy," to his wacky comedy routines on stage, to hilarious movies like "Mrs. Doubtfire" and "Good Morning,...

 

The Class Act that was anything but

What I really wanted to write about this month was the legislation making its way through Congress which would dramatically change how inherited IRAs can be taken out over time. That is what I wanted...

 
 By Kenneth Kirk    Columns    August 1, 2019

Think you're covered? Not so fast

I don’t know how many times I have heard someone say “I don’t need to do any estate planning. I have a will and it does what I want”. Oh, I wish it was that easy. A will is a good and...

 
 By Kenneth Kirk    Columns    July 1, 2019

Were you admitted as an inpatient?

Here’s an interesting question: The last time you were admitted to the hospital, were you admitted to the hospital as in inpatient? “Kirk, you’re crazy as a loon,” you might respond, “of...

 
 By Kenneth Kirk    Columns    June 1, 2019

Oh no! Another holographic will

Seated across the desk from me is the dejected widow. Arrayed around her are her children, there to give support. The mood is sad, as it always is in the days after a husband and father has died. “I...

 
 By Kenneth Kirk    Columns    May 1, 2019

Another Alaskan myth bites the dust

I recently saw the movie "Bohemian Rhapsody", which tells the story of the rock band Queen and its lead singer, Freddie Mercury. Having come of age in the ‘70s, I found it interesting enough to...

 
 By Kenneth Kirk    Columns    April 1, 2019

Another DIY estate plan gone wrong

I recently read an interesting case; it happened in British Columbia, but it could just as easily have happened in any U.S. state. The father owned his home. He put his daughter on the title as half...

 

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