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New Estate Planning and Real Estate Regulations

April 2015

The legal landscape is constantly changing. Our responsibility as attorneys is to continuously monitor changes in our practice areas and how they impact our clients. In this edition of the newsletter, we'll share two new changes to estate planning and real estate law. Specifically, there are significant changes to the Illinois Power of Attorney for Health Care form, and, right around the corner, changes to the real estate closing process.

Do I Need a Trust?  Non-tax Issues to Consider

March 2012

Estate taxes are only one piece of the estate-planning puzzle.  There are critical non-tax issues to consider.​

Estate Planning and Taxation:  What's Included In My Taxable Estate?

April 2012

Valuing your estate as accurately as possible should be one of the first steps in the estate planning process.​

Advanced Estate Planning: Why Now?

May 2012

Regardless of what public policy changes may occur in the future, there is a significant financial benefit to be found in advanced estate planning.​

Should You Hold Your Real Estate in a Trust?

June 2012

There are many potential benefits to holding real estate in a trust.  Here are some pros and cons of the five most widely used method of holding title to your real estate.​

Your business is probably not just a job to you. This is especially true if you own your own business. You should consider the estate planning implications of passing on your business assets.

Choosing a Guardian/Business Succession Planning

July 2012

One of the most difficult estate planning decisions you must make as a parent is who you will choose to take care of your children if you can't.​

Gifts to Minors for Education

August 2012

For parents and grandparents, the beginning of the school year comes with a reminder that, regardless of the ages of the children, the costs of higher education loom large on the horizon.​

Top 5 Estate Planning Recommendations

September 2012

The lazy days of summer have given way to the hustle and bustle of the school year. All parents know that once the school year has begun, the holidays and the New Year approach all too quickly. Of course, the end of the calendar year also marks the end of the tax year, and there are steps that you should consider taking with regard to planning your estate before the 2012 tax year ends.​

  1. Everyone: Review your will.
  2. Everyone: Review life insurance policies.
  3. If your estate is under $1 million: Review retirement and long-term care plans.

Many of our newsletter topics are geared towards first-time estate planners.

Keeping a Vacation Home in the Family/Estate Planning Tune-up Time

October 2012

As the holidays approach and travel plans take shape, you may be fortunate enough to be looking forward to a journey to a vacation home.​

New Legislation: How Does it Affect You and Your Family?

January 2013

They kept us guessing right to the end, but on January 1 Congress passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (the "Act"), extending much of the estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax law. This is good news because it preserves favorable opportunities for individuals and families planning the transfer of their wealth.​

Some of the main points in the Act include:

  • The maximum exemption from federal estate, gift, and GST increased forinflation (the new exemption amount is anticipated to be $5,270,000, per donor/decedent and twice that per couple). It is likely that it will continue to increase annually. 
  • The estate, gift, and GST tax rate applicable to nonexempt transfers increased from 35% to 40%.
  • The "portability" rule, permitting a surviving spouse to inherit a deceased spouse's unused estate tax exemption. This is important because under this rule, a surviving spouse generally may use both her own exemption and decedent exemption to shelter lifetime gifts or bequests at death from federal gift or estate taxes.

Executors, Trustees, Power of Attorney, and You

February 2013

You have been named the executor, or perhaps the successor trustee. Or, you may be the acting agent for a power of attorney for health care or property. You may be asking yourself, what does that mean?  What do I have to do?​

This month is an overview of the duties related to these titles. I hope it will answer questions anyone may have who currently are acting in one of these capacities and it may assist others in choosing whom they want to name to act as part of their planning.

What is an Executor?
​An executor is the person who is responsible for settling the details of a deceased person's estate. An executor can be related to the deceased person, can be a friend or a lawyer, accountant, or other professional. The main requirement is that the person chosen as executor be at least 18 years old and have not been convicted of a felony. If you have been named the executor of someone's estate, you have been given a job of great responsibility.

Holiday Time is Family Time: Helpful Hints For Discussing Estate Planning Across the Generations

December 2014 

As the holidays approach, many families look forward to the opportunity for multiple generations to come together to share a meal and celebrate the season. This is a time to take a break from the everyday routines of school and work, to share old memories and create new ones.​

Estate Planning for New Parents: Where to begin

January 2015

New parents may have found themselves procrastinating during the past year when it came to planning for their children's futures.  Meeting with an experienced estate planning attorney can help young families overcome the emotional hurdles involved in making estate planning decisions.  One of the first decisions to make is which type of instrument to use: a will or a trust?​

"How Much Does an Estate Plan Cost?"/New Real Estate Closing Procedures In Effect

September 2015

If you, like many folks, have been thinking about creating an estate plan but haven't yet initiated one, you may have some basic logistical questions about the process.  In this newsletter, we describe our approach to the estate planning process and provide a frame of reference for what to expect an estate plan to cost.


​If you are a real estate agent, mortgage lender, or title agent, you have heard a lot about the new TILA RESPA Integrated Disclosure rule that will become effective on October 3, 2015.  The intent of the new rule is to protect consumers who borrow money to purchase a home by, among other attributes of the new rules, giving them more time prior to closing to review all of the costs associated with the loans. 

At Pierson & Strachan, we believe educating and empowering families about their planning decisions is integral to our mission. To that end, we publish a monthly newsletter pertaining to topics we believe may be of interest to clients and friends. Thank you for reading, and please forward to anyone else you thing may be interested.

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