Assets Archives - Morris Hall, PLLC

Self-Directed IRAs – the Lurking Danger

By | E-Alert, Retirement Planning | No Comments

IRAs are a great way to defer current income tax into the future.  By contributing to your IRA, the amount contributed is not taxed today.  The tax is deferred until the time you start withdrawing (Currently the government forces a withdrawal when you are 70 ½ years old).

The government likes that you are saving for your golden years, so there are statutes that limit the ability of a creditor (bankruptcy or lawsuit) to reach into your IRA to satisfy your debt.  That is a good thing!

However, those of you who have decided to utilize a self-directed IRA may not realize that those protections may not be there.  The statutes don’t go away; however, if the investments you make have a liability risk, the fact that the investment is in an IRA does not shield the asset, and potentially you personally, from that risk.

For example, if you decide to use your Self-Directed IRA to purchase a rental home, the risk that the tenant, or a visitor of the tenant, sues you lurks.  If that tenant slips and falls due to your negligence as a landlord, the fact that the investment is in your IRA does not prevent the prevailing tenant from getting at the rental home.  Further, there are arguments that the tenant, if the rental home asset is not enough, can reach to your personal assets to satisfy the claim.

There are ways to avoid those risks.  Protecting your investments through the use of a Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a good way to reduce your exposure to those lawsuits.

Come in and talk with one of our estate planning attorneys to see what is the best structure for your investments.

 

jim-plitz Contributed by Morris Hall, PLLC Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Las Cruces Estate Planning Attorney and Partner,

James  P. Plitz.

 

 About Morris Hall, PLLC:
At Morris Hall, we have focused our legal practice on estate planning for over 45 years.  Along with estate planning, our attorneys help clients and their families with matters of probate, trust administration, wills, power of attorneys, business planning, succession planning, legacy planning, charitable gifting and other important legal aspects.   We also have divisions in financial, real estate and accounting to help you incorporate all of your planning together, ensuring that everything works perfectly for your needs and situation. Our Arizona offices are located in Phoenix, Mesa,  Scottsdale, Carefree, Tucson, Oro Valley, Prescott, Flagstaff and Arrowhead.  Our New Mexico offices are located in  Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Santa Fe.  Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!

This blog should be used for informational purposes only.  It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice.  If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.

Go Red for Women

By | MH Cares, Other | No Comments

 

Heart disease is the number one killer in the United States.  One in three women will die of stroke or heart disease each year.  A major part of the prevention of this terrible disease is being aware. Knowing what to do, how to identify risks and implementing the plan allows each of us to live longer and healthier lives.

 

The American Heart Association strives for this awareness.  President Obama has declared February as American Heart Month.  And one of the first events is this Friday, February 6thNational Wear Red Day.

 

Help spread the awareness.  All you have to do is wear red.  Put on that red dress, don that red blazer or accessorize with the red tie or purse.  Show your support of this wonderful cause.  Show your support of all those people who have overcome and now survive and thrive.  Show your support of all those families who have lost a loved one to this dreaded disease.

 

Show your support by wearing red.

 

In my role as an estate planning attorney, I get to see all the good that people do for these great causes.  And I see the impacts that this support has on the families of those affected.

 

Let us all join together and wear red.

 

Albuquerque, New Mexico Estate Planning Attorney James PlitzContributed by MH Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Las Cruces Estate Planning Attorney, James P. Plitz.

 

About Morris Hall:
At Morris Hall, we have focused our legal practice on estate planning for over 40 years.  Along with estate planning, our attorneys help clients and their families with matters of probate, trust administration, wills, power of attorneys, business planning, succession planning, legacy planning, charitable gifting and other important legal aspects.  We also have divisions in financial, real estate and accounting to help you incorporate all of your planning together, ensuring that everything works perfectly for your needs and situation. Our Arizona offices are located in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Carefree, Tucson, Prescott, Flagstaff and Arrowhead.  Our New Mexico offices are located in Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Santa Fe.  Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!

This blog should be used for informational purposes only.  It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice.  If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.

What is the difference between a Will and a Trust?

By | Estate Planning, Estate taxes | No Comments

A Will and a Trust are both estate planning tools, with some similarities and differences. There are advantages and disadvantages to both Wills and Trusts, and since estate planning is not a ‘one size fits all’ situation, it is important to contact an estate planning attorney to determine which option is best suited for your situation.

Here are some differences:

  • A Will is considered a ‘death instrument’, that is, a Will becomes effective when someone dies. On the other hand, a Trust can be both a ‘living instrument’ and a ‘death instrument.’
  • A Will directs who will receive your property upon your death during a court process called a Probate; whereas a Trust distributes your property at death without a court process.
  • A Will covers the property solely owned by the person creating the Will; whereas a Trust covers only property placed in the Trust.
  • Wills are public record, whereas generally a Trust remains private.

Why Choose MH:
You have a number of options when it comes to estate planning, so why pick MH?  First off, estate planning and asset protection are a very complicated endeavor and you should only trust someone who focuses exclusively on those matters.  Also, MH is a proud member of The American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys (AAEPA) which provides us additional support, advanced training, tools and information that is not available to others – which means that we can better protect your assets and your loved ones.  We are one of only two firms in Arizona that belong to the AAEPA and are the only firm in New Mexico that has been granted membership.  If you have assets and loved ones that you want to protect, you are in good hands with MH.  Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!

 

This blog should be used for informational purposes only.  It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice.  If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.

Estate Planning Tune-Up Time

By | Other, Preparedness | No Comments

There are certain live events that will trigger the need to have your estate plan reviewed and possibly updated.

Some of these live events can include:

  • marriage
  • divorce
  • birth
  • adoption
  • death of a spouse
  • move to a different state
  • change in assets
  • change in tax laws

When you become a client of Morris Hall, we will contact you every three years, to remind you it’s time for an estate plan review. Of course, if there are law changes prior to this time, we notify our clients immediately; and if you just want a review, please contact us.

If you are not yet a client of Morris Hall, please contact us to schedule a no-cost review of your existing estate plan or to discuss the creation of a new plan.

 

What the Attorneys of Morris Hall Can Do For You:

The attorneys at Morris Hall have 100’s of years of combined experience ensuring that families’ assets are protected from probate, unnecessary taxes, creditors, ex-spouses and Medicaid spend-down.  The attorneys also help those in Arizona and New Mexico to apply for and receive Medicaid assistance and Veterans Benefits.  Our Arizona offices are located in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Cave Creek, Tucson, Prescott, Flagstaff and Arrowhead.  Our New Mexico offices are located in Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Santa Fe.  Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!

This blog should be used for informational purposes only.  It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice.  If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.

How Can I Protect My Children’s Inheritances from Divorce or Creditors?

By | Attorney David Eastman, Estate Planning, Guardianship | No Comments

Typically, a will provides that a person’s assets will be distributed to his or her children upon that person’s death.  If a beneficiary trust were used instead of a will, the inheritance can be protected from the ex-spouses or creditors of the beneficiary.  With a beneficiary trust, the beneficiary can control his or her inheritance and decide how the inheritance is invested.  The beneficiary also gets to decide how and when it is spent.  But if the beneficiary were to get a divorce or sued, the inheritance belongs to the trust, and not the beneficiary.  While there are some limitations to the protection a beneficiary trust affords, a qualified estate planning attorney can help maximize your legacy for your family.

Scottsdale and Glendale Estate Planning Lawyer David Eastman - VA Accredited AttorneyContributed by MH Arrowhead, Scottsdale and Phoenix Estate Planning Attorney and Partner, David T. Eastman.

About Morris Hall:
At Morris Hall, we have focused our legal practice on estate planning for over 40 years.  Along with estate planning, our attorneys help clients and their families with matters of probate, trust administration, wills, power of attorneys, business planning, succession planning, legacy planning, charitable gifting and other important legal aspects.  We also have divisions in financial, real estate and accounting to help you incorporate all of your planning together, ensuring that everything works perfectly for your needs and situation. Our Arizona offices are located in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Cave Creek, Tucson, Prescott, Flagstaff and Arrowhead.  Our New Mexico offices are located in Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Santa Fe.  Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!

This blog should be used for informational purposes only.  It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice.  If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!

By | Attorney Andrea Claus, Attorney David Eastman, Historical Events, Holidays | No Comments

On the third Monday of January we celebrate the birthday of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  King is remembered and honored for his work as a spokesman for nonviolent activism in the civil rights movement towards ending discrimination towards African Americans.  King is best know for his “I have a dream” speech, where he passionately declared his wishes for the future in America – hoping for a land where his children would not be persecuted and would enjoy equal rights as full citizens of our great nation.

 

Shortly after King was assassinated in 1968 a campaign was begun to create a national holiday in honor of his memory.  The holiday was officially signed into law by Ronald Reagan 15 years later in 1983.  It was first observed on January 20, 1986.  It wasn’t until 2000, however, that all 50 states officially observed the holiday.

 

We hope today you have a happy and safe Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!

 

This blog should be used for informational purposes only.  It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice.  If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.

 

What are the odds your family will need estate planning?

By | Attorney David Eastman, Estate Planning | No Comments

Anyone who will die someday needs to plan for that eventuality! Planning for disability or incapacity is also a concern for most of us.  Even those in their 20’s and 30’s have a greater than 40% chance of being disabled for at least three months prior to age 65. Of course, none of us think this will actually happen to us, but we plan for things which are much less likely to happen.

 

Who would think of going without car or fire insurance? Yet, the chance of being injured in a car accident this year is about 1 in 100; the chance of your house burning down this year is about 1 in 2,500. We think we will have a warning and can prepare for death or disability. Unfortunately, that is often not the case. Even if we could wait to the last minute, doing so would add immeasurable pressure, stress, and difficulty during an already difficult time in our lives. Without planning, your family is often left struggling to pick up the pieces during an already tumultuous time.

Scottsdale and Glendale Estate Planning Lawyer David Eastman - VA Accredited AttorneyContributed by MH Arrowhead, Scottsdale and Phoenix Estate Planning Attorney and Partner, David T. Eastman.

What the Attorneys of Morris Hall Can Do For You:
The attorneys at Morris Hall have 100’s of years of combined experience ensuring that families’ assets are protected from probate, unnecessary taxes, creditors, ex-spouses and Medicaid spend-down.  The attorneys also help those in Arizona and New Mexico to apply for and receive Medicaid assistance and Veterans Benefits.  Our Arizona offices are located in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Cave Creek, Tucson, Prescott, Flagstaff and Arrowhead.  Our New Mexico offices are located in Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Santa Fe.  Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!

This blog should be used for informational purposes only.  It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice.  If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.

Optional Tax Planning Still Available for the Beginning of the New Year

By | Estate taxes | No Comments

Although the ball has dropped in Times Square, there is one 2014 tax planning option you still have an opportunity to do:

Until April 15th, 2015, you can make a 2014 IRA contribution. What this means is that you can make a contribution to a traditional IRA by that date; or you can make a contribution to a Roth IRA by that date.

It’s worth noting the differences between a traditional IRA and a Roth IRA.

Traditional IRA - you get an income tax deduction upon contribution; the earnings grow tax-deferred; then withdrawals are taxed as ordinary income.

Roth IRA - you do not get an income tax deduction upon contribution; the earnings grow tax-free; then withdrawals are generally tax-free. So, a Roth can be better for a taxpayer with a small income because the deduction on contribution with a traditional IRA would be worth little or nothing.

What the Attorneys of Morris Hall Can Do For You:

The attorneys at Morris Hall have 100’s of years of combined experience ensuring that families’ assets are protected from probate, unnecessary taxes, creditors, ex-spouses and Medicaid spend-down.  The attorneys also help those in Arizona and New Mexico to apply for and receive Medicaid assistance and Veterans Benefits.  Our Arizona offices are located in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Cave Creek, Tucson, Prescott, Flagstaff and Arrowhead.  Our New Mexico offices are located in Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Santa Fe.  Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!

This blog should be used for informational purposes only.  It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice.  If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.

Congratulations—You Have An Estate Plan!

By | Estate Planning, Estate taxes, Other | No Comments

Bravo! You did it! You finally have an estate plan. After all these years of “waiting for the right time” and “talking it over” with your spouse, your estate plan is complete. It must feel nice to finally breathe that sigh of relief knowing that your present and your future is secure—talk about getting 2015 started off on the right foot.

Wait…what did you say? You haven’t established an estate plan yet? But of course you have! Didn’t you know that the government established an estate plan for you? That’s right—every American has an estate plan! Cue the celebratory music! There is no longer any need for customized estate planning or estate planning attorneys. This, my friends, will be my final blog. Sigh.

I sincerely hope that you recognize my levity. Of course you need a customized estate plan; of course there is a need for estate planning attorneys; of course this will not be my final blog (unless something unfortunate should occur); and, yes, of course the government established an estate plan for you.

Your government-sponsored estate plan is called “intestate succession.” Sounds special, right? These laws of intestacy govern where your assets will be distributed if you die without a will, trust, or beneficiary designation (on certain types of assets).  These laws are often convoluted and may result in your estate not going where you want it to go.  Arizona law for example, provides, in part, that without a valid will or trust in place, the intestate estate will be split as follows:

The following part of the intestate estate, as to both separate property and the one-half of community property that belongs to the decedent, passes to the surviving spouse:

If there is no surviving issue (child) or if there are surviving issues (children) all of whom are issues of the surviving spouse also, the entire intestate estate.

If there are surviving issues (children) one or more of whom are not issues (children) of the surviving spouse, one-half of the intestate separate property and no interest in the one-half of the community property that belonged to the decedent.

Clear as a bell, right? As you begin this New Year, please write to your state legislature to thank it for the gift that keeps on giving. Again, please indulge my levity. Actually, as you begin this New Year, make it your resolution to establish your own estate plan. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a plan that directs where and how your assets are to be distributed, free of government involvement? Wouldn’t it also be nice to have a plan that can help protect some of your assets while you’re living and maintain protections after you die? If this sounds appealing to you, please re-gift your government-sponsored estate plan back to the government and contact the attorneys at Morris Hall for a free estate planning consultation. Let us help you start 2015 off with a bang!

Phoenix, AZ Estate and Trust Lawyer Darren RichardsonContributed by MH Phoenix Estate Planning Attorney Darren L. Richardson.

About Morris Hall:
At Morris Hall, we have focused our legal practice on estate planning for over 40 years.  Along with estate planning, our attorneys help clients and their families with matters of probate, trust administration, wills, power of attorneys, business planning, succession planning, legacy planning, charitable gifting and other important legal aspects.  We also have divisions in financial, real estate and accounting to help you incorporate all of your planning together, ensuring that everything works perfectly for your needs and situation. Our Arizona offices are located in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Cave Creek, Tucson, Prescott, Flagstaff and Arrowhead.  Our New Mexico offices are located in Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Santa Fe.  Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!

This blog should be used for informational purposes only.  It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice.  If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.

Should I name my trust as the beneficiary of my IRA’s and Qualified plans?

By | Attorney David Eastman, Estate Planning, Qualified Trust | No Comments

For your trust to be the beneficiary of your retirement plans your trust must be a “Qualified

Trust”. Some of the requirements for the trust to be qualified include the trust being valid under state law, the trust being irrevocable at death and the beneficiaries of the trust being identifiable. There are many benefits to having a qualified trust and being able to name your trust as the beneficiary of your retirement plans. Some of the benefits include being able to stretch out the retirement plan over your children’s life expectancy while sheltering it from their creditors, ex-spouses, or long term care spend down. You should meet with a qualified estate planning attorney to make sure your trust is qualified before you make this beneficiary designation on retirement plans.

Scottsdale and Glendale Estate Planning Lawyer David Eastman - VA Accredited AttorneyContributed by MH Scottsdale, Arrowhead and Phoenix Estate Planning Attorney and Partner, David T. Eastman.

Why Choose Morris Hall:
You have a number of options when it comes to estate planning, so why pick Morris Hall?  First off, estate planning and asset protection are a very complicated endeavor and you should only trust someone who focuses exclusively on those matters.  Also, MH is a proud member of The American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys (AAEPA) which provides us additional support, advanced training, tools and information that is not available to others – which means that we can better protect your assets and your loved ones.  We are one of only two firms in Arizona that belong to the AAEPA and are the only firm in New Mexico that has been granted membership.  If you have assets and loved ones that you want to protect, you are in good hands with MH.  Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!

This blog should be used for informational purposes only.  It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice.  If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.

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