Think Twice Before Adding Your Child to Your Bank Account

By Jason Palmisano

Adding a responsible adult child to mom’s bank account to give the child access to funds to pay bills and expenses for mom as she gets older seems harmless enough, right?  After all, mom really needs the help and the account will now avoid probate since the child is a joint owner of the account.   And mom did tell her child to divide the funds equally with his siblings after she passes (which, of course, the child assures her will happen). read more

New Florida Statute Permits UTMA Accounts To Age 25

familyBy Jason Palmisano

A Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA) account is a custodial account established for the benefit of a minor. The property in an UTMA account belongs to the minor but is controlled by a custodian until the UTMA account terminates.  An UTMA account created by an individual, or pursuant to the terms of a will or trust, terminates upon the minor attaining age 21.  If a decedent’s will or trust did not specifically provide for the creation of an UTMA account, one may still be established but it will terminate when the minor attains age 18. read more

Estate Planning for Non-U.S. Citizens

by Matt O’Kane and Jason Palmisano

The laws governing the U.S. estate and gift tax system are complex.  For Non-U.S. Citizens, the U.S. estate and gift tax system is more onerous and requires a much higher degree of awareness.   We recently hosted a seminar discussing several issues Non-U.S. Citizens face in transferring their asset to their loved ones and providing strategies to minimize U.S. transfer taxes, including: read more

Do you have a child or loved one with special needs?

By: Julia Frey. If you have a child or other loved one who has special needs, such as serious physical or mental disabilities, the last thing you want to do in your estate plan is to provide for outright gifts or even a discretionary trust for that individual, if he or she may be entitled to governmental benefits. You need to establish a “Special Needs Trust” so that the assets in the trust do not render that person ineligible to obtain governmental benefits. By establishing a Special Needs Trust your loved one will be able to receive governmental benefits, and still have the Special Need Trust assets available to pay for the extras (such as travel, non-covered medical services) that are not covered by the governmental benefits plans. If you fail to set up a Special Needs Trust for your loved one, all of the hard-earned assets that you have set aside for your loved one will have to be spent, before any governmental benefits are available. This is not a result that is beneficial to you or your loved one. read more