Stites on Estates

Category Archives: Blended Families

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Designing Trusts for a Surviving Spouse’s Remarriage

Posted in Blended Families, Estate Planning, Life Cycle Estate and Financial Planning, Trust Administration
In the 90s, when the Internet was new and Bill Clinton still had more tomorrows than yesterdays, the estate tax exemption was $600,000, an amount even Thomas Piketty might think was rather low. In that sort of environment, credit shelter trust planning for married couples felt almost mandatory. We live in a very different world today.… Continue Reading

Avoiding Family Fights In Estate Administration

Posted in Blended Families, Estate Administration, Estate Planning, Life Cycle Estate and Financial Planning
Estate administration can be a frustrating experience for families and their advisors, because it’s an occasion when families fight. Sometimes the fights are necessary, and unavoidable. Many other times, to a detached observer, the fights seem silly. Whether justified (or not), whether necessary (or not), conflict makes estate administration cost more (even when litigation doesn’t… Continue Reading

Should You Get a Prenuptial Agreement?

Posted in Asset Protection, Blended Families, Estate Planning, Life Cycle Estate and Financial Planning
Whether or not to get a prenuptial agreement before getting married isn’t an easy decision. The advisability of a prenup turns in large part on whether the default law that will govern the marriage if it ends by death or divorce is agreeable. If you can live with the default rules, a prenup might not… Continue Reading

Elective share statutes – hidden dangers for blended families – part 3: solutions

Posted in Asset Protection, Blended Families, Estate Planning, Retirement Planning
don and megan at dinnerWe hope this mini-series on the knotty estate planning issues presenting in the (fictional) later lives of the Drapers convinced you that blended families often face much greater risks to relationships, harmony, and the orderly flow of wealth than they might first realize. Elective share statutes are one of the main unrealized dangers. In part… Continue Reading

Elective share statutes: hidden dangers for blended families – part 2

Posted in Blended Families, Estate Planning, Retirement Planning
drapersatworkWhen a married couple doesn’t have the same beneficiaries in each of their estate plans, elective share statutes make it an unstable situation, as we began to see in part 1 — which ended with the fictional, widowed Megan Draper realizing that Don’s will had left her a lot of issues to consider. Let’s introduce… Continue Reading

Elective share statutes: hidden dangers for blended families – part 1

Posted in Blended Families, Estate Planning
donandmeganFor many decades, when the estate tax exemption was much lower, a common perception was that estate planning centered on tax planning, reduction, and avoidance. This was never quite true: estate planning was always about the interaction between families, taxes, money, and (sometimes) the family business. Nonetheless, as the “taxes” element fades a little, the… Continue Reading