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Holidays

Thanksgiving

By | Holidays | No Comments

On October 3, 1789, President George Washington named Thursday, November 26, 1789 an official holiday of “sincere and humble thanks.” In the midst of the Civil War in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation in which he declared the fourth Thursday of every November to be a day of Thanksgiving.

“I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

For many Americans, Thanksgiving is a day devoted to eating, watching football, eating, shopping, and if there’s still room – eating some more. Although traditional meals and activities like football may be the first things people remember about this holiday, Thanksgiving and all its precursors were based on the principle of gratitude. Whether it was being grateful for a harvest or for the end of a war, or for the relief of a city under siege or for freedom, the underlying purpose was an expression of thankfulness.

As we celebrate this Thanksgiving, let us express gratitude for the family and friends we hold most dear. Let us take a step back from the festivities and food, and reflect upon our freedoms and the sacrifices made to secure that freedom. Let us be grateful for the bounties of life that we enjoy and endeavor to impart some of our substance to those less fortunate.  Simply put – let us all be thankful!

Happy Thanksgiving from Morris Hall, PLLC.

Wishing You and Yours the Best of Holidays

By | Holidays | No Comments

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More than at any other time of year, the holidays bring our friends and families together to share with one another the joys of the season.  Past memories are shared and new ones created.  While we realize conversations might not discuss estate planning, it is at these times that planning ahead becomes clearer.  Our family, friends and the legacies that we leave behind, are the basic reasons most of us have created an estate plan.

 

Most families don’t get regular opportunities to meet together, especially as the family grows and each of your children now have their own children.  Take this special time together to discuss the future and ensure your legacy is carried on according to your wishes.  And, above all, make sure to express your love, appreciation and hopes for them.  Those are the memories that they will cherish forever.

 

Happy holidays to you and yours, from the entire Morris Hall family!

Thanksgiving

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

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On October 3, 1789, President George Washington named Thursday, November 26, 1789 an official holiday of “sincere and humble thanks.” In the midst of the Civil War in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation in which he declared the fourth Thursday of every November to be a day of Thanksgiving.

“I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

For many Americans, Thanksgiving is a day devoted to eating, watching football, eating, shopping, and if there’s still room – eating some more. Although traditional meals and activities like football may be the first things people remember about this holiday, Thanksgiving and all its precursors were based on the principle of gratitude. Whether it was being grateful for a harvest or for the end of a war, or for the relief of a city under siege or for freedom, the underlying purpose was an expression of thankfulness.

As we celebrate this Thanksgiving, let us express gratitude for the family and friends we hold most dear. Let us take a step back from the festivities and food, and reflect upon our freedoms and the sacrifices made to secure that freedom. Let us be grateful for the bounties of life that we enjoy and endeavor to impart some of our substance to those less fortunate.  Simply put – let us all be thankful!

Happy Thanksgiving from Morris Hall, PLLC.

Independence Day – We are Free

By | Historical Events, Holidays, Other | No Comments

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Each July 4th, Independence Day, reminds us of America’s history.  I recently read an article regarding the lives of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.  What the article made clear is the sacrifice made by each and every one of the signers.

 

Five of the signers were captured by the British as traitors and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army, and another had two sons that were captured. Nine of the fifty-six died from wounds and hardships of the Revolutionary War.  They had signed and pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor so that a great country can be formed.

What kind of men were they? Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants. Nine were farmers and large plantation owners. They were men of means, well-educated, but they still signed the Declaration of Independence knowing that they could pay the ultimate price; the penalty would be death if the British found and captured them.

Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the sea by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts and he died in rags. Thomas McKean was so hunted by the British that he was forced to constantly move his family. He served in Congress without pay and kept his family in hiding. His possessions were taken from him and poverty was his reward. The homes of many of them were vandalized and soldiers looted their property.

Throughout this time, many tragedies took place in the lives of each individual who signed the Declaration of Independence. It is time to enjoy and understand the real meaning of the 4th of July holiday and thank those Patriots for their actions and the price they paid. Remember, freedom is never free and will never be free. Thanks to those early Patriots, as well as today’s Patriots now fighting to help us all keep our freedoms.

Because of the years I spent in the military, I have a very strong feeling about protecting our freedoms.  Our forefathers created the greatest form of government that has ever existed, and granted all of us our freedoms under the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.  Today, the understanding of what is required to keep us free is not as clear as it once was to our forefathers.  We must continue to honor those who sacrifice for us, so we can continue to live in this free country.

As you are eating your hotdogs and apple pie, and enjoying a spectacular fireworks display, I hope you take a moment and understand the meaning of the day and reflect on what sacrifices many have given through the years. We are free.  Let us give thanks.

dan-morrisContributed by Morris Hall, PLLC Phoenix Estate Planning Attorney and Senior Partner, Dan R. Morris.

At Morris Hall, PLLC 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, Sedona, 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.

 

Make your New Year List

By | Estate Planning, Holidays | No Comments

As we know, the holiday season is a great time to come together as families and enjoy each other’s company. Many times the conversations that get brewing around the dinner table or the fireplace can be quite varied. Some families use this special time together to bring up the topic of simple estate planning, as they try to encourage adult children, parents, cousins, nieces, nephews, etc. about getting their own affairs in order.

Obviously, the holiday time is drawing to a close and the New Year is well upon us, however, it’s never too late to share the importance of estate planning with other family members, close friends, or neighbors that you care about. To help start the discussion, you can remind your loved one that anyone over the age of eighteen needs simple planning to avoid their family’s unnecessary expense and delay caused by a living probate.

Encouraging those you care about to add to their New Year’s resolution’s list the goal of discussing their individual estate plan with an estate planning attorney is a priceless gift that you will have given them. Unfortunately, as we know with all goals, some goals take longer to achieve than other goals. However, by introducing the discussion of estate planning with your loved one, you will have paved at least a baby step in the right direction for them.

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.

Kick Off 2015 on the Right Foot

By | Estate Planning, Holidays | No Comments

Part of the annual holiday tradition is to make resolutions for the coming year – things that you want to accomplish or habits that you want to break. A few weeks ago I shared a a message that it was not too late to finish strong in 2014 by checking off “Create a Will” or “Make an Estate Plan” from your 2014 resolution list.

For this message I encourage you, if you have the New Year's Resolution to put your affairs in order with an estate plan, to kick off 2015 on the right foot. Now is the time to complete this important New Year’s Resolution!  Make sure 2015 is not like all of the prior years, when those resolutions seemed so achievable, yet were somehow left unfulfilled.

Now is the time and we can help all of you who made “Create a Will” or “Make an Estate Plan” as your 2015 resolution.  Our attorneys focus their entire practice on estate planning.  We are not distracted by other areas of the law, so we can make sure you will get the best plan possible.

But for us to be able to help you accomplish your resolution, you have to take that step and give us a call, and make your appointment.  Kick off 2015 on the right foot and make this a banner year; a year that you can look back and proudly proclaim, “Yes! I accomplished my New Year’s Resolution.”

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

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.

Updates & Improvements to Estate Planning for 2015:

By | Attorney David Eastman, Estate Planning, Estate taxes, Holidays, Other | No Comments

As we are about to ring in a new year it is out with the old and in with the new and so it is with estate planning. There have been significant changes in estate planning in the last few years that affect how we do estate planning for the future. The following are some of the recent developments that have necessitated revisions to existing estate plans:

United States Supreme Court ruling regarding IRA’s- June 2014

For the longest time it was understood that retirement accounts that were passed on to the next generation were protected assets from creditors. In a unanimous decision in June of this year the Supreme Court of the United States declared that when a retirement account is passed on to the next generation the account loses its asset protection. Considering retirement accounts can make up a large portion of one’s estate and the primary goal of most people who create estate plans is to ensure something is passed on to their loved ones to help them achieve their goals, it is now more important than ever to make sure your estate plan is up to date and consists of a Living Trust that can protect these valuable assets from future creditors.

Double Step-up in Tax Basis:

With most living trusts, when a spouse dies, the trust will split into two new trusts called an A/B trust. This is done for many reasons including- minimization of taxes, creditor protection and divorce protection for the surviving spouse. The downside to these trusts has always been that when the surviving spouse dies only half of the assets- those in the A trust- will receive a step up in tax basis, thus eliminating any capital gains taxes in the A trust. The B trust did not get a step up in tax basis upon the survivor’s death. This made it so that any capital gains that accrued in the B trust from the time of the first spouse’s death to the second spouse’s death were due when the assets were liquidated upon the second spouse’s death. We now have new and improved language in all of our trusts that allows the kids/loved ones to receive a full step up in tax basis in both the A and B trust when the surviving spouse dies. This eliminates any and all capital gains taxes when the second spouse dies and allows us to continue to enjoy all of the wonderful benefits of an A/B trust without the downside that used to go along with them.

Beneficiary Trusts:

Often the number one goal for most clients is to ensure that their hard earned assets are going to go to whom they want, when they want and how they want with the least amount of expense and delay and the greatest amount of privacy. With new improvements to living trusts we are able to ensure that those hard earned assets are going to be protected for those that you love.  We can leave the estate in a vehicle known as a beneficiary trust for the loved one, which will allow the estate to be protected long after you are gone.

Taxes:

The estate tax exemption amount for 2015 is going to increase to $5.43 million per person from $5.34 million. The annual gift tax exclusion amount is staying put where it is currently at -$14,000 per year per person.

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.

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.

With Your Loved Ones This Season

By | Holidays | No Comments

More than at any other time of year, the holidays bring our friends and families together to share with one another the joys of the season.  While estate planning may not be the most popular topic, and people tend to avoid conversations referring to “when I die,” having the family gathered together makes this a perfect time to make your wishes clear.

 

We recommend taking some time with your family members gathered around you this week to talk honestly about your wishes for your estate and your hopes for their futures.  Tell your loved ones how much they mean to you.  Express to them the legacy that you hope to leave behind and the ways in which you would like them to continue that legacy.  Express your desires for your treatment and care as you age and how you would like important matters handled.  Tell them where the important documents reside.  Make certain they know where your Living Trust is kept and that they should contact MH after your death to ensure all matters are handled correctly.  Inform them of what you would like them to do with your various accounts and assets.  Make sure they know that you have a list with access information for all your accounts in your safe or safety deposit box – and how to access those.  If there are special items you wish certain beneficiaries to have, now is the time to make sure they know what to expect.

 

Most families don’t get regular opportunities to meet together, especially as the family grows and each of your children now have their own children.  Take this special time together to discuss the future and ensure your legacy is carried on according to your wishes.  And, above all, make sure to express your love, appreciation and hopes for them.  Those are the memories that they will cherish forever.

 

Happy holidays to you and yours!

 

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.