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Articles written by Kenneth Kirk

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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...

 

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...

 

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...

 

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...

 

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...

 

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...

 

A new thing: Supported decision-making

I’m not a big fan of the adult guardianship system. I realize it’s necessary; there are a lot of cases in which guardianship or conservatorship is absolutely needed and there isn’t a reasonable...

 

IRA? You've got some options

Very few people have to worry about estate taxes any more. Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, only estates worth more than $11.4 million are subject to estate tax. However even fairly small...

 

Mortality: An ounce of preparedness

As I write these words, it has been only a few days since the recent earthquake. By the time you read these words in the Senior Voice, though, it will probably be at least a month out, and most people...

 

A jug of wine, a living trust, and thou

I’m not much of an oenophile. Occasionally I might enjoy a nice glass of wine with certain foods, but I can’t tell the difference between a Merlot and a Bordeaux. But despite my lack of...

 

How much is that probate in the window?

Sometimes when we talk about a particular subject a lot, we take it for granted that people know certain background facts. I realized this recently when I was talking about the high cost of probate...

 

Still true, forsooth, after 400 years

Ask people their favorite Shakespeare play, and chances are they will name Romeo and Juliet, or perhaps Hamlet or Macbeth. A few of the cognoscenti might name something else, but they’re just...

 

Estate planning in the Trailerhood needs help

I liked Max Gruenberg. Max was a lawyer, and a long-time legislator. I did battle with him in both venues; as a trial lawyer, when we had cases against each other; and when he was in the State House...

 

Alaska is a Filial Responsibility state? Really?

You can’t believe everything you read online. You knew that already, right? For instance, I don’t know how many times I have seen a list online, showing all the community property states, and Alas...

 

The stuff you don't get can hurt you

One of the biggest problems with DIY estate planning (where you get a kit, or a program, or a form, and “do it yourself”) is that the stuff you don’t understand can ruin everything. But then,...

 

With estate planning, you gotta know the territory

You can bicker, bicker, bicker You can talk, you can talk You can talk all you wanna But it’s different than it was. I love a good musical, and one of my favorites is The Music Man. And the...

 

An attorney is the guardian of a person's voice in court

Adult guardianship cases are kind of a big deal. And sometimes, they’re difficult. On one side you have the Respondent. This is typically someone who has some kind of dementia, mental health issue,...

 

That lawyer stuff at the end of the will

When you last signed a will, you might have noticed that after the main part of it, there was a bunch of added legal stuff. This is about that all-important added legal stuff. (Wait, you have signed a...

 

The patient, the surrogate and the pulled plug

This is a subject which, for a lot of people, is going to touch on some very personal, and perhaps painful, circumstances. Some years back, I was involved in a case involving termination of life...

 

The new tax laws: Less of the same

Last month, I promised that I would cover the estate planning consequences of the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” in this month’s column. At the time that previous column was due, the final version of...

 

Old Blue Eyes did it his way (the right way)

I was hoping this month's column would be about the changes to the tax code and how that effects estate planning. No such luck -- the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is still pending in Congress, subject to...

 

A little problem with a common form

Forms can be helpful. And dangerous. Back in the days when I did a lot of trial work, I encouraged the court system to develop forms that people could use for simple matters. I saw a lot of folks who...

 

Come not between the dragon and his Roth

I really wish they hadn’t called it an IRA. Back in 1997, a senator named William Roth pushed through a law which allowed for a different type of retirement account. Up until then, if you wanted to...

 

What we can learn from cracked ribs

Let me tell you a story. I promise I will eventually flounder my way to a relevant point. A few years back, on a cold winter day, I was out walking my dogs. At one point the boy dog suddenly began...

 

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