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Estate Planning Attorneys Will Keep Busy After 2012 Election Results

Good morning America.  President Obama has won another four-year term as President of the United States! So what might that mean for the estate and gift tax laws?  While the President certainly surprised most everyone in December 2010 by temporarily raising the exemption equivalent of the unified credit to $5,000,000 and lowering the transfer tax rates to 35%, those hoping for the estate tax to disappear should probably not look for another similar surprise. The probability is now greater that we’ll have lower exemption amounts (as low as $1,000,000) and higher transfer tax rates (as high as 55%).  Let me be clear,...

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Top 10 Reasons Not To Do Estate Planning

Estate Planning is something everyone should implement yet so many do nothing until it is too late. So, we put together this Top 10 list as a parody to lighten the mood and hopefully open your eyes to the importance of proper estate planning. My spouse doesn’t need any direction or help in what to do or whom to call in the event of my death; if anything happens to me he/she will have no trouble figuring it out at that time. I plan on living forever, anyway. I don’t have any assets to speak of, just a house, a...

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Grant Named Top Estate Planning Lawyer in Southern Nevada

Attorney David Grant was recently named as one of Southern Nevada’s “Top Lawyers” for Estate Planning by Desert Companion Magazine in its October 2012 issue.  Click here to read this issue online (see pages 69-88).  Mr. Grant is one of the partners at the Law Firm of Grant Morris Dodds, a law firm specializing in the areas of Trusts, Probate, Guardianship, and Asset Protection. According to the magazine’s masthead, “Desert Companion is the premier city magazine that celebrates the pursuits, passions and aspirations of Southern Nevadans.  With award-winning lifestyle journalism and design, Desert Companion does more than inform and entertain.  [It]...

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Estate Planning Horror Stories: Lessons Learned

(Republished from Vegas PBS Source Magazine; October, 2103) For many, the thought of Halloween conjures up frightful images of haunted attractions, horror films, and gruesome costumes.  While these things might scare small children and pets, most folks would see them as entertaining, amusing, or even trivial.  For those seeking a truly horrifying experience for themselves and their loved ones, there’s nothing entertaining, amusing, or trivial about a poorly planned estate. As an estate planning and probate attorney I have witnessed some of the most horrifying of events.  I’ve seen accidental disinheritances, excessive taxes paid, costly probate litigation, the collapse of small businesses,...

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Probate: What to Expect…

As a probate professional, the questions I most often hear from potential clients are: What is probate?  How complicated is it?  Can I do it myself?  How much does it cost?  And, how long will it take?  Here are a few short answers to these very important questions. What is probate? Probate means to prove a Last Will and Testament, or generally carry out the administration of a decedent’s estate with some level of court oversight wherein title to assets in the decedent’s name is transferred to beneficiaries of the estate, after the payment of debts and expenses. There is a common misconception...

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So you have an offshore trust—now what?

At Grant Morris Dodds, we are certainly not experts on the banking system; nevertheless, here are my thoughts on offshore banking, investment, and currency exposure. The US dollar is, as we know, the reserve currency of the world–for now. So it is probably in the best interest of most people in the world, except those who are hoping for economic collapse and anarchy, that the dollar remain viable and continue to be the reserve currency. Certainly our enemies, China, Russia, and certain Mid-East countries would welcome a dollar collapse, regardless of the impact on their citizens because it would give them an opportunity...

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Fundamentals of Guardianship in Nevada

In our legal practice, we are often asked basic questions about guardianship in Nevada.  Here are some answers to these fundamental guardianship questions: Are issues relating to persons who lack capacity dealt with in a special Court or as part of the general Court system?  In Nevada issues of competency or lack of capacity are addressed in the District Court, which is the court of general jurisdiction where the incapacitated individual resides.  Depending on the population of the county of residence, the District Court may have a Family Court Division.  Additionally, such family courts may have a specific Guardianship Court wherein...

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Go for the Gold – Taxation of Olympic Prizes

[caption id="attachment_1024" align="alignleft" width="272"] Olympic Medals[/caption] The Weekly Standard recently posted an article on the tax liability associated with earning Olympic medals. As reported in the article, "Americans who win bronze will pay a $2 tax on the medal itself. But the bronze comes with a modest prize—$10,000 as an honorarium for devoting your entire life to being the third best athlete on the planet in your chosen discipline. And the IRS will take $3,500 of that, thank you very much. There are also prizes that accompany each medal: $25,000 for gold, $15,000 for silver, and $10,000 for bronze.  Silver medalists will owe $5,385.  You...

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The American Flag

  A visitor from Holland was chatting with his American friend and was jokingly explaining about the red, white and blue in the Netherlands flag. "Our flag symbolizes our taxes," he said.  "We get red when we talk about them, white when we get our tax bill, and blue after we pay them." "That's the same with us," the American said, "only we see stars, too." Sadly this resonates today more than the original-thirteen-colonies explanation....

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Windsor v. U.S.: Married Same-Sex Couples Can Take Advantage of Marital Deduction for Estate Tax

The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York has ruled that legally married same-sex couples can take advantage of the estate tax marital deduction. Windsor v. U.S., 109 AFTR 2d 2012-870 (DC N.Y. 6/6/2012). In this case, the taxpayer’s claim was essentially that the definition of marriage under the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) violated the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution. The court found the DOMA definition unconstitutional under the “rational basis” standard of review which requires that laws have a rational basis for any of their classifications. The court determined that the rationale of protecting...

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