Family Estate Planning
Resources for Families
The ACTEC Family Estate Planning Guide offers families insight into the fundamentals of wills and trusts to encourage planning. We have tapped some of our most honored ACTEC Fellows to help explain to families some of the basics of Wills, estate planning and guardianship.
Estate Planning Topics
- Common Ways to Title Your Home ACTEC Fellows Chang H. Chae and Shaheen I. Imami explain the options when titling your home: Tenancy by the Entirety (TBE), Joint Tenants with Rights of Survivorship (JTWROS), Tenancy in Common (TIC) and more.
- Social Security Retirement Age and Benefits ACTEC Fellows Crystal West Edwards and Rosemarie S. Sam explain when you should take Social Security retirement benefits and how the decision may result in a reduction of income for dependents.
- Owning Property and Titling Assets ACTEC Fellows Stephanie Perry and Akane R. Suzuki explain the ins and outs of how to title property - joint tenancy, tenancy in common, tenants by entirety, sole ownership, and community property.
- Gift Tax Exemption ACTEC Fellows Jean G. Carter and Larry H. Rocamora explain the lifetime gift tax exemption amount and when to use it. The exemption amount is scheduled to decrease to six million dollars in the future.
- Who Pays Taxes on a Gift? ACTEC Fellows Natalie M. Perry and Robert E. Temmerman, Jr. discuss exemption from transfer tax and when and why the lifetime gift tax exemption may change. Because each state is a different jurisdiction, tax advisors are critical when considering planning that involves federal or local taxes.
- What is a Prenuptial Agreement? ACTEC Fellows Anne W. Coventry and Natalie M. Perry discuss premarital agreements in this video. Learn when it’s important to create a premarital agreement and what to consider if you live in a community property state.
- What is Community Property? ACTEC Fellows Michelle B. Graham and Todd J. Schneider explain what community property is, how it affects assets such as a home or a business, what is quasi-community property and more in this short video.
- Motivating Heirs with an Incentive Trust ACTEC Fellows Tami Conetta and Thomas E. Simmons discuss how an incentive trust works, examples of incentives, and what to keep in mind when creating a family incentive trust for heirs.
- Gift Tax, the Annual Exclusion and Estate Planning ACTEC Fellows Jean Gordon Carter and Janice L. Davies explain when gift tax comes into play, how the age of the recipient impacts gift tax, efficient ways to transfer property, split gifts, the annual exclusion and more.
- Estate Planning in the 2020 Election Year ACTEC Fellows Ronald D. Aucutt and Stacy E. Singer discuss how the 2020 election might affect estate planning, taxes and charitable giving. Learn what steps taxpayers may want to consider and how to plan for future legislation, changes in the estate gift tax exemption and charitable giving.
- Estate Planning Strategies for Retiring Abroad ACTEC Fellows Lyat Eyal and Natalie M. Perry discuss estate planning information to keep in mind when moving overseas, such as if your will or trust will be valid in another country, guardianship considerations when moving with minor children, and special tax considerations and laws.
- Estate Planning Considerations for Small Business Owners ACTEC Fellows Michaelle Rafferty and Natalie Perry explain items of importance in small business owners estate plans, such as impact of state laws, multiple beneficiaries, how to plan for estate taxes and more.
- Utilizing Positive Psychology in Your Estate Plan ACTEC Fellows Stacy E. Singer and Ray Odom discuss the role of positive psychology in estate planning. Learn about the importance of effective estate planning communication with family and beneficiaries and how to measure happiness and success.
- Can I Change My Irrevocable Trust? ACTEC Fellows Susan T. Bart and Stacy E. Singer explain what individuals need to know and the possible pitfalls when considering modifying an irrevocable trust.
- Special Needs Trusts ACTEC Fellows Stacy E. Singer and Peter S. Stern discuss the different types of special needs trusts, what to consider to avoid losing public benefits like Medicaid, and other potential pitfalls.
- Advance Medical Directives ACTEC Fellows Daniel G. Fish and Tara Anne Pleat define and discuss end-of-life advance medical directives including a Living Will, Healthcare Proxy, medical orders (MOLST & POLST), and Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) orders.
- Getting Your Affairs in Order: Essential Legal Documents ACTEC Fellow Bernard A. Krooks, an elder law expert, reviews the essential legal document such as Durable Power of Attorney (aka Financial Power of Attorney), and Advanced Healthcare Directives (Healthcare Proxy and Living Will) that should be in place.
- How the SECURE Act May Impact Your Retirement Plan ACTEC Fellows Steven E. Trytten and Nancy H. Welber help families understand what has changed in retirement planning following the enactment of the SECURE Act.
- Estate Planning for a College Student or Young Adult ACTEC Fellows Jean Gordon Carter and Katherine E. Ramsey discuss what documents you should discuss and prepare for your college-bound and young adult when they turn 18, a legal adult.
- Transferring Assets to a Minor Child ACTEC Fellows Jonathan W. Michael and Sandra L. Perkins discuss how to transfer assets to minor children, the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA), 529 plans, naming a caregiver for a minor child in a will and more.
- A Child's Right to Information When a Parent Dies ACTEC Fellows Eric W. Penzer and Natalie M. Perry discuss the rights of a child to information after the death of a parent.
- Coordinating Beneficiary Designations with the Overall Estate Plan ACTEC Fellows Frank Adams and Richard Gans discuss coordinating beneficiary designations in assets such as life insurance, annuities, pension plans, 401ks and IRAs in this helpful video.
- Digital Asset Management in Life and Death ACTEC Fellows Stacy E. Singer and Suzanne Brown Walsh discuss how to plan and manage your digital assets, such as photos, email accounts and passwords, during life and in your estate documents in this informative video.
- 5 Reasons to Update Your Estate Plan ACTEC Fellows Nancy C. Hughes and Natalie M. Perry discuss when to update a will or trust, such as after a move or divorce, when your children grow up or if you have a business.
- What to Consider When Setting Up Trusts for Children What’s the best way to leave assets to minor children. Should children receive equal assets? These and other questions are answered by ACTEC Fellows Tami Conetta and Natalie M. Perry.
- Choosing an Executor or Trustee Selecting an executor or trustee to oversee your will or trust requires careful consideration. ACTEC Fellows Lorraine Cavataio and Stacy Singer clarify the duties of an executor or trustee, traits to look for when selecting an individual(s) executor or trustee and when to consider a corporate trustee.
- Divorce and Estate Planning Going through a divorce can be emotionally and financially stressful. Knowledge is power. Understand what estate planning documents are impacted by a divorce from ACTEC Fellows Richard R. Gans and Diana S.C. Zeydel, experts in the trust and estate field.
- Should I Sign New Estate Planning Documents When I Move to a New State? Individuals and families need to update estate planning documents when relocating to a new state. ACTEC Fellows Jonathan W. Michael and Anita M. Sarafa explain why in this short video.
- What is a Will and Why Do I Need One? Experts in estate planning, ACTEC Fellows Jean Gordon Carter and Elizabeth K. Arias, answer questions that families often have when preparing a will.
- IRAs and IRA Beneficiaries IRA beneficiary designations can be confusing. Learn the essentials of naming IRA beneficiaries from trust and estate experts and ACTEC Fellows Stacy E. Singer and Svetlana V. Bekman.
- How Does a Revocable Trust Avoid Probate? ACTEC Fellows Stacy E. Singer and Jonathan W. Michael discuss the purpose and role of a revocable trust in avoiding probate, what a revocable trust can and cannot do, if a revocable trust can protect assets from creditors, and step individuals need to take when setting up a revocable trust.
- What is Joint Tenancy and When Should I Use It? ACTEC Fellows Richard R. Gans and Tami Conetta of Sarasota, Florida offer professional information and insight regarding the topic of joint tenancy.
- What Is Probate? ACTEC Fellows Richard R. Gans and Phillip A. Baumann discuss probate, probate administration of a decedent's (deceased person) and other probate-related topics.
- What Is a Revocable Trust and Do I Need One? is a common question among families beginning estate planning. ACTEC Fellow Professor Mary F. Radford frequently gives presentations on estate planning and guardianship and shares her insights with families in this video.
- Understanding Power of Attorney addresses a fundamental question in estate planning. ACTEC Fellow Bernie Krooks explains why a Power of Attorney (POA) is the most important estate document you can sign in this video presentation.