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The many dangers of the deathbed will

As an estate planner, there is one call I absolutely hate to get. It’s second only to hearing that a client has died, and in many ways worse. It’s the message that somebody in the hospital needs a...

 

The costs of a trust vs. probate fees

Dear Jonathan: My financial advisor is pestering me to create a trust for the purpose of holding my assets for probate avoidance. However, I am really not interested in creating a trust and I am not all that concerned with having my estate being...

 

'What you got away with was in fact illegal'

Dear Jonathan: My mother, who is a widow, passed away several months ago. Thankfully she prepared a trust and transferred her assets to that trust so that there would be no probate to deal with at her death. While in the process of cleaning out her...

 

Your Social Security questions answered by the experts

Staff from Alaska’s Social Security office will be available for questions via videoconferencing at the following locations and times:     Kodiak Job Center, on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month (Nov. 10 and 24), 9 a.m. to noon. Kenai...

 

His kids, her kids – who will inherit what?

Dear Jonathan: My husband and I have been married for 10 years and it is a second marriage for both of us. We both have adult children from our first marriages. We have recently been talking about putting together an estate plan, but we are having...

 

Outrageous scam stories are sadly true

Earlier this year, I wrote a blog on lottery scams and the vulnerability of seniors to this type of scheme – whether by phone, mail, or email. Since then, I have received more reports from victims. Community partners throughout the state have all...

 

Why a 'pour over' will can be a good idea

Dear Jonathan: My husband and I recently completed our estate planning. We were able to save a lot of money by downloading forms off the Internet. The forms were pretty straightforward and after doing our own research we feel very comfortable with...

 

Ghosts walk among us and they have credit cards

They’re not real ghosts, but sadly it’s true that thieves are able to steal the credit of people who are gone. They open accounts, run up bills, and get away with it for a while. That’s called ghosting. According to security firm ID Analytics,...

 

These are the worst places to hide money in your house

Everyone keeps a little cash for emergencies, right? We do our best to hide it, but the trouble is, most of us hide it in places that burglars can easily find. Chris McGoey, a Los Angeles based security expert lists a couple of the worst places to...

 

Save your surviving spouse the extra grief

Dear Jonathan: My wife and I know the importance of each of us having a durable power of attorney for health care, so each of us has one. However, we own all of our assets jointly, so we know we don’t have a probate problem and we really don’t se...

 

Trying to avoid probate? Just a will alone won't

Dear Jonathan: My wife and I prepared wills several years ago. We thought by doing so that we were avoiding probate which was the main purpose why we prepared wills. However, a close friend of ours recently died and her estate is now being probated e...

 

So that's what those legal terms actually mean

Dear Jonathan: What is the difference between an executor and a personal representative? Jonathan says: There is no difference, they mean the same thing. Some states use the term executor and other states use the term personal representative. An...

 

A beneficiary deed helps avoid expensive trusts, costly probate

Dear Jonathan: My wife and I have a pretty modest estate. Basically, we have our home and a couple of bank accounts. We only have one child, a daughter, who will be the beneficiary of all of our assets. We know we don’t need a complicated estate...

 

Why you need a will in addition to a revocable living trust

Dear Jonathan: I recently updated my estate planning, which included a new will, as well as a revocable living trust. I decided to go with the trust because I want to make sure that my estate is not probated at my death. I recently read that if all...

 

Spare your eventual executor some stress

Dear Jonathan: I just completed the probate of my late brother’s will. I was the executor he appointed to act on behalf of the estate. This was not a pleasant experience and in fact was quite the opposite and made me realize that I don’t want to...

 

Social Security experts answer your questions

Staff from Alaska’s Social Security office will be available for questions via videoconferencing at the following locations and times:     Kodiak Job Center, on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month (March 10 and 24), 9 a.m. to noon....

 

Giving it away tax-free and other legal advice

Dear Jonathan: I know that the annual gift tax exclusion for 2014 was $14,000. Is this amount being increased for 2015, or is it staying the same? Jonathan says: The annual gift tax exclusion for 2015 will remain at $14,000. Dear Jonathan: How much...

 

Age and your credit score

Age does not directly affect your credit score. At least not the way late or missed payments or overuse affect your score. But there is a definite connection. Assuming you’ve handled your finances well, age can be a positive factor in determining...

 

Separate trusts? Be sure you understand what you need

Dear Jonathan: Several years ago my wife and I completed our estate planning. At that time our estate was worth around $2 million and the exemption from federal estate taxes was only $1 million. Consequently, our attorney recommended that we prepare...

 

Intra-family loans and IRS interest rate rules

Dear Jonathan: If I loan my son $80,000 to pay off his mortgage, would either of us have an issue with the IRS? My son would repay the loan at a set amount each month. I would prefer not to charge an interest fee. Thank you for any advice you can...

 

The crucial basics of getting down to business about your business

Dear Jonathan: I am a widower and 50 percent owner of a small business which employs two of my children. I am at retirement age now however I am not ready to stop working quite yet. I am thinking that I should probably update my estate planning becau...

 

Helpline for landlord/tenant legal questions to expand hours

Alaska Legal Services Corporation (ALSC) is adding a second day of the week to their Landlord/Tenant Legal Helpline, providing free assistance to both tenants and landlords with legal questions and situations.  The Landlord/Tenant Helpline will now...

 

Passing on assets is easier with proper paperwork

Dear Jonathan: I am a widower. My only child, my daughter, is the sole beneficiary of my estate under my will. When I prepared my will, I did not prepare a trust because quite frankly I didn’t feel I had a large enough estate to warrant the cost....

 

Pay attention to advice to update documents

Dear Jonathan: My wife passed away last year just a few months after we had updated our estate planning documents. The attorney who prepared the documents on our behalf has recommended to me that I engage in yet another update of my estate planning...

 

Families need to tackle tough talks with parents sooner than later

Discussing aging issues, such as living arrangements, finances, dating, end-of-life decisions and driving, early and often can save families years of heartache, tension and even legal battles. Yet, research indicates that about two-thirds of...

 

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