Skyrocketing Probate Fees – Another Reason to Avoid Probate Court

Gabriel Katzner - January 29, 2016 - Estate Planning

As of July 1, 2015, Connecticut probate courts earned the dubious distinction of charging the highest probate fees in the U.S.  Amazingly, the Connecticut legislature voted to completely cut general fund support for the state’s probate courts for the next two fiscal years, thereby creating a $32 million deficit.  In order to cover the shortfall, […]

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What if Treating Your Children Fairly Means Unequal Inheritances?

Gabriel Katzner - January 26, 2016 - Estate Planning

When planning their estate, most parents express the desire to treat their children equally out of a sense of fairness.  However, sometimes being fair or doing what’s right by your children may not mean equal or the same inheritances. The Key Takeaways  Treating children fairly does not always mean equal inheritances. How and when each […]

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Dennis Hopper Saves Heirs with Last Minute Estate Plan Changes

Gabriel Katzner - - Estate Planning

Dennis Hopper, known for his role in Easy Rider, wanted to leave his fortune to his family.  Well, not everyone in his family. Hopper made numerous estate planning changes in the last months of his life. His goal? To make sure his heirs shared his approximately $40 million in wealth and that his fifth, and […]

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Listen Up: These States Will Usher in Changes to Their Death Taxes in 2016

Gabriel Katzner - January 25, 2016 - Estate Planning

Listen Up:  These States Will Usher in Changes to Their Death Taxes in 2016 In 2015, there are still 20 U.S. jurisdictions that collect a death tax at the state level:  Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, […]

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Warning: Don’t Let Creditors Inherit from You

Gabriel Katzner - January 21, 2016 - Estate Planning

(This is part 3 in a 3-part series). Shocking to most people, the retirement account you leave for your spouse can be seized in a divorce, lawsuit, or bankruptcy. 3 Options Available To Surviving Spouses When your surviving spouse inherits your IRA, he or she generally has three options: Cash out the inherited IRA and […]

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5 Reasons to Protect Your Retirement Accounts Now

Gabriel Katzner - January 20, 2016 - Estate Planning

(This is part 2 in a 3-part series). During your lifetime, your retirement account has asset protection, but as soon as you pass that account to a loved one, that protection evaporates. This means one lawsuit and POOF! Your life long, hard earned savings could be gone. Fortunately, there is an answer.  A special trust called […]

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Caution: Creditors Now Have Easy Access to Inherited IRAs

Gabriel Katzner - January 19, 2016 - Estate Planning

(This is part 1 in a 3-part series). Do you have IRAs or other retirement accounts that you plan to leave to your loved ones?  If so, proceed with caution.  Most people don’t know the law has changed: in Clark v. Rameker the United States Supreme Court effectively ruled that inherited retirement accounts no longer […]

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Doris Duke’s Trustee Bilked Estate for $1M: How Well Do You Know Yours?

Gabriel Katzner - - Estate Planning

Choosing a trustee is a very personal matter and should never be left to chance. Doris Duke, heiress of Duke’s energy and tobacco fortunes, didn’t seem to know her trustee very well at all.  After Duke passed in 1992, her trustee bilked the estate for over $1 million. It begs the question:  How well do […]

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Marlon Brando’s Housekeeper Claimed He “Told” Her She Would Inherit His Home

Gabriel Katzner - - Estate Planning

Legendary Oscar-winning actor Marlon Brando left the bulk of his estate (worth approximately $26 million) to his producer, other associates, and his longtime housekeeper, Angela Borlaza. Brando created a valid last will and testament.  However, he did not include Borlaza – who later sued alleging that Brando promised that she would inherit his home when […]

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