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How do you transfer your family home into a trust?

There are many reasons that people want to create a trust and fund it with their home. Maybe you work in a risky profession and worry about the potential for a lawsuit that could leave your family vulnerable if someone comes after your personal assets. Perhaps it is part of a broader estate planning strategy to mitigate estate taxes and reduce the risk of your heirs abusing the assets you leave behind. There are many potential benefits to such a transfer.

Regardless of why you have decided to transfer your Pennsylvania home into a trust, you need to make sure that you do so properly. As with any estate planning or real estate efforts, it is almost always beneficial to seek legal counsel throughout the process to avoid making mistakes that could lead you and other people you care about financially and legally vulnerable.

Succession planning is a critical step for business owners

Many people begin their own business because they want to provide a good standard of living for their families. That motivation is why responsible adults also create an estate plan to ensure the smooth transition of their assets in the event that they become incapacitated or die.

All too often, business owners planning their estates overlook succession planning for their business as part of their comprehensive estate plan. Succession planning involves creating a legal framework for someone to take over your role and an explanation of the duties that they must fulfill.

Have you considered creating a living trust?

There are many ways to control how your property is managed and distributed upon your death. While a will is a popular estate planning tool, you may want to consider combining it with the power of a living trust.

There are many benefits of a living trust, including:

  • Avoid probate: If you only have a will, your assets are required to go through probate before reaching your heirs. With a living trust, however, the assets in the trust are not subject to probate. This allows for a more efficient transfer of property.
  • Important for incapacity planning: There is more to an estate plan that what happens upon your death. You must also have a plan for protecting yourself in the event of incapacity. With a living trust in place, your trustee can step in to manage your affairs.
  • Privacy protection: Do you have concerns about you privacy once you're gone? A will is public record, which allows anyone and everyone to review your assets and where they ended up. A living trust is not public record, thus allowing you to distribute your assets with complete privacy.
  • More control over your estate: For example, maybe you want to leave assets to a child who may have difficulty managing money early in their life. With a living trust, you can designate that they don't receive their inheritance until they reach a specific age or milestone (such as graduating college).
  • Easy to create: A living trust is more detailed than a will, but with the help of a Philadelphia estate planning attorney it's easy to create. Furthermore, with a revocable living trust, you can make adjustments as necessary in the future.

Why digital estate planning is more important than ever

Almost all of us have some form of digital footprint. This means that some of our personal data, ranging from administrative data to nostalgic memories, is stored online. We should be able to decide what happens to all of this data at the end of our lives, and in order to do this, we will need to address it on our estate plan.

There are many reasons why making a digital estate plan is so important. However, many people do not understand the full extent to which planning digital asset management can help their beneficiaries. The following are just some of the reasons why you should consider investing time in creating a digital estate plan in Pennsylvania.

When can your business sue someone else for defamation?

Building a business takes a substantial investment of both time and money. Even if you have experience in the field and connections, it can take months or even years before you have actual income from the business. Most businesses rely on a combination of word-of-mouth recommendations and brand recognition by consumers to build their client or customer base.

Unfortunately, that means that a person or organization with a chip on their shoulder could cause serious issues for your company's financial bottom line. It only takes one person spreading misinformation to damage your reputation and cost you customers. Online review systems like Yelp and social media have made it easier than ever for one person to ignite a firestorm of backlash against a business.

Your estate plan should address your needs first

When you first begin to put together your estate plan, your primary goals may have more to do with leaving something to the ones you love than caring for your own needs. Unfortunately, this can cause major problems if you don't include some important documents about your own personal preferences.

Some estate planning documents deal directly with your end-of-life choices and establishing a plan to care for your needs if you suffer a disability or long-term illness. For your own sake and for the sake of those who love you, be sure to include these documents in your plan, so that you don't waste valuable time and resources if you do suffer a serious injury.

Leaving a legacy when you don't have children

Everyone should consider the legacy they want to leave at the end of their lifetime, whether they have children or not. In fact, having no heirs to leave your estate to can mean that it is even more important to plan out your estate. This is because it can be significantly more challenging to get your affairs in order.

If you do not have children and if you live longer than your spouse, the assets that you have at the end of your life will be difficult to distribute. Additionally, you may be unsure whom you would like to leave your estate to at the end of your lifetime.

Federal government quietly pushing back against abusive bank fees

For many people, banking seems like a necessary evil. They don't relish the idea of needing to store their money outside their home or pay someone to access it, but the security and convenience of a bank account is almost necessary. While it is possible to get by without a bank account, that usually means that you have to pay a lot of money to cash checks and purchase money orders to pay bills.

The fees and costs associated with a standard bank account may seem reasonable compared with the hassle that people have to go through to avoid opening a bank account. In some cases, however, the bank actually has an abusive or inappropriate policy for fees that ends up having a negative effect on customers.

Planning for care at the end of your life should start early

No one enjoys contemplating the end of their life or health as they age. The avoidance of this unpleasant reality is one reason that people give for failing to adequately plan for their needs as they get older.

Many people put off creating an estate plan or last will for far too long, leaving themselves and their loved ones vulnerable if something unexpected happens. Another mistake that people make far too often is the decision to avoid planning for the potential of health issues as they age.

Should you use GAAP or non-GAAP reporting?

Part of owning a business is accounting for income and expenses and there is more than one way to do this. For example, you can follow Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) or choose a non-GAAP method such as cash basis accounting. The format you choose is going to affect the net income you report to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the numbers you provide to current and potential investors.

It is important that you choose an accounting method that provides a reasonable level of transparency and reports your business activity in the most accurate way possible. In other words, choosing the wrong accounting method could be misleading. Here are a few things to know about GAAP versus non-GAAP reporting so that you can choose the accounting method that fits your business.

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