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NWA Hope for the Future Symposium

When?  June 25th, from 7:30 4:00 Where?  The Schiemding Center in Springdale Hope for the future provides education and resources so that all Arkansas affected by Alzheimer s are able to live with comfort and dignity until a cure is found.   This symposium provides families, loved ones and professional caregivers with a general overview of Alzheimer s disease and its progression; tools, knowledge and techniques to enrich caregiving; and information about community resources available.    If you are able to attend, please stop by our booth and say HELLO!
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What are the fees for a trust in Arkansas?

Trusts can be a very beneficial part of your estate planning. Trusts can be used for much more than just probate avoidance.  Living trusts allow you to protect the property you want to leave to your heirs, while planning to reduce estate taxes at the same time.  A trust can also be helpful in preparing for the possibility of incapacity or avoiding will contests or other disputes.  When considering whether to incorporate trusts into their estate plans, clients often ask about the annual fees for a trust in Arkansas.  The fees will depend on various factors. Compensation of trustees Trustees are entitled to compensation for their services.  How much they are entitled to, and how much they will actually charge depends on the type of trustee and the state where the estate is being probated.  Typically, relatives and close friends who have agreed to serve as your trustee do not charge a fee.  On the other hand, if your trustee is a financial institution, for instance, there will be
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The Difference Between Prepaid Funerals and Funeral Trusts

A common question asked by individuals who receives public benefits that are based on limited resources and incomes, such as Medicaid, is whether they are allowed to own a burial space and have a burial reserve.  The good news is, these assets are not countable, so they will not disqualify you for public benefits.  Now, being familiar with the differences between prepaid funerals and funeral trusts, will help you determine which option is best for you and your family. What is a burial reserve? A burial reserve is simply funds or resources put aside to cover burial or funeral expenses.  Again, a burial reserve is not counted by Medicaid in determining eligibility for benefits.  A burial reserve can take many forms.  The most common are pre-paid funerals and irrevocable funeral trusts. A burial reserve will typically cover a burial space (conventional grave site, a mausoleum, urn or other repository) and any other arrangements that need to be made, such as funeral costs. How does
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Why Small Businesses Need an Estate Plan

Estate planning can protect assets from taxes, control how your assets will be distributed and much more.  Everyone can benefit from a proper estate plan, no matter your wealth or status.  This is also true for small businesses and family-owned businesses.  Understanding why small businesses need an estate plan will help you in making decisions on how to organize your business and plan for succession of that business. Estate tax consequences for sole proprietorships If you are a sole proprietor, you know that your business assets are considered your assets, as the owner.  Therefore, when you die, your business assets will be lumped together with your personal assets, even if those assets are owned in the name of your business.  If you owned non-liquid assets, such as property, vehicles or machinery, the fair market value of these assets will be included with your personal assets for federal estate tax purposes. Estate tax consequences for an S-Corporation It is very common for
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Who Can Put Money Into an IRA?

IRA contributions are critical, of course, because without them, there would be no funds for retirement.  There are certain rules, as well as limitations, that apply to IRA contributions, depending on the type of IRA you have.  Determining who can put money into an IRA also depends on the type of IRA you have. The definition of an IRA contribution A “contribution” is simply the money that is placed into the IRA account.  In reality, an IRA is just a special type of savings account.  Contributions to an IRA can only be made in cash.  There are specific conditions that need to be met before contributions can be made.  There are also annual limits on the amount of contributions that can be made, which are based on the type of IRA at issue. Contributions to Traditional IRAs Anyone can make a contribution to a traditional IRA, as long as either you or your spouse receives taxable income and you are under 70 ½ years of age. You cannot make contributions to a traditional IRA if yo
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The Fight for the Family Farm

Estate planning covers more than just drafting a will and selecting an executor.  Estate planning encompasses planning for death, as well as disability, incapacity, retirement and business succession.  A family business, particularly a family farm, requires very distinct planning methods for proper succession.  There are unique tax and property issues that often arise with farms.  More importantly, the emotional attachment that comes with a family farm usually leads to disputes, and at times, a fight for the family farm. What causes a family to fight over the farm? There can be a variety of legal issues that result in litigation over family-owned farmland.  However, the emotional component is more likely to lead to litigation, especially following the death of the matriarch or patriarch of the family. While most farms that have operated in the family for many generations, will continue to be passed down, the reality is not all family members desire to be involved.  In some case
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Traditional or Roth IRA?

Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) are common financial instruments used in retirement planning. They allow you to prepare for your future retirement. There are different kinds of retirement accounts, with different requirements and different advantages. That is why it is useful to have at least a basic understanding of the differences between two of the most common types of IRAs.  That way, you can be better prepared to decide: traditional or Roth IRA. What is an Individual Retirement Account or IRA? An Individual Retirement Account (IRA) is simply a tax-deferred savings plan. An IRA must be created under the specific rules required by the Internal Revenue Service. Some IRAs are purchased by individuals and some are sponsored by employers. Both Traditional and Roth IRAs are set up by the individual. Each type of IRA has specific income limitations, tax implications and rules governing the withdrawal of funds. Income Limitations of Traditional and Roth IRAs IRAs have detailed elig
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When to Change Beneficiaries

When making decisions about your estate plan, you base those decisions on the information you have at that time, including who you want to be your beneficiaries after your death.  But, as things change in our lives, our estate plans need to change, too.  Knowing when to change beneficiaries can make estate planning more efficient, and ensure that when the time comes, your loved ones will actually receive what you intended. Estate planning has a purpose Estate planning is an important step to take if you want to make sure your loved ones are provided for, in case of your death or disability.  Proper estate planning gives you the ability to take charge of your family’s future and spare them the expense and delay of managing your affairs after your death or upon your incapacity.  Incapacity planning allows you to plan for your finances, as well as your medical treatment, in the event you are unable to do so yourself.  Estate planning may allow your family to avoid the expensive an
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What to Do When Your Spouse Dies in Arkansas

What To Do When Your Spouse Dies in Arkansas from Deborah Sexton Knowing what to do when your spouse dies can, at the very least, give you some peace of mind. Learn more about estate planning in Arkansas in this presentation.
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Do I Need to Have Pet Insurance?

You include life insurance in your estate planning, so why not include pet insurance in your pet plan?  There are many ways create your pet plan, including trusts or pet care agreements.  In addition to those tools, you can also incorporate pet insurance into your plan.  Pet insurance can be a very practical and useful way to plan for your pet’s future care.  Just be sure to consider how pet insurance may affect other elements of your estate plan. What is pet insurance? Pet insurance was created to defray the cost of veterinary care.  It is much like health insurance for us.  Veterinary care expenses have begun to soar over the years, and many pet owners are either unwilling or unable to pay such high prices for pet care.  For a monthly premium, anywhere from $10 to $90 depending on the type of policy, a pet insurer will pay portions of your veterinary bills.  There are various factors that affect the amount of the premium, including your pet’s breed and age.  The main go
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What is a NQDC?

If you have heard the acronym NQDC, when discussing retirement plans, you may be wondering what is a NQDC and should you have one.  It stands for Nonqualified Deferred Compensation plan, and it is one type of employer-sponsored retirement plan.  As with other types of retirement plans, a NQDC has its own advantages. What makes this compensation plan different? The Nonqualified Deferred Compensation plan is established and governed by Section 409A of the Internal Revenue Code, which applies to compensation that employees earn in one year, but that is paid in a future year.  This is why it is referred to as deferred compensation.  However, it is different from deferred compensation in the form of elective deferrals to qualified plans, like a 401(k) plan. What are the benefits of a Nonqualified Deferred Compensation plan? You may be hoping that the money you have saved through your employer’s qualified retirement plan will be sufficient to sustain your standard of living when you r
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Will My Income Taxes Change if I Create a Trust?

Most estate plans should include a trust.  But before you create a trust, it is good to understand how that trust may affect your individual income taxes.  There are different types of trusts, and each has its own tax consequences.  Typically, the nature and extent of those consequences depends on who is responsible for paying the taxes on the income from the trust.  So, if you are wondering: “will my income taxes change if I create a trust?” It depends. What is a Grantor trust? A trust is classified as a “grantor” trust if the grantor retains power over various aspects of the trust.  The “grantor” is the individual who established the trust, either by grant or gift.  As the grantor of a grantor trust, you will continue to pay the income taxes on any trust assets.  This is because, for tax purposes, a grantor trust is considered a “disregarded entity.”  That means the taxable income or deductions earned by the trust will be included on the grantor’s tax retur
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Estate Planning for Childless Couples

This is an article from The Law Firm of Evan H. Farr, P.C. in Fairfax Virginia that we thought others may find helpful. When many people think of estate planning, they assume that a person’s heirs are his or her children. But what happens when a couple has no children? Do they need to plan too? The answer is yes. At the very least, they should answer two questions: who will inherit their property, and who should handle their affairs if they become incapacitated? As an example, assume a childless couple without estate planning documents in place is in a car accident that immediately kills one of them while the other survives for a short time. In most cases, the second-to-die spouse’s family will inherit 100% of their common estate, while the first-to-die spouse’s family is essentially disinherited. And, if there aren’t any relatives on that side of the marriage, the state takes it all. This is probably not what the couple would have intended. This problem can be alleviated by p
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13th Annual Summer Salsa – Friday, June 19th, 7-11pm at the Fayetteville Town Center

The 13th Annual Summer Salsa is THE casual, summer-chic event of the season.  Come out and enjoy festive food and beverages, live music, dancing, silent auction and a fun photo booth.  The Second Annual NWA Salsa Tasting Competition will be in full swing.  Be sure to cast a vote for your favorite!  http://ow.ly/NT0cK
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Funding a Trust with Out of State Property

Creating a living trust is only the first step to securing your future and the future of your loved ones.  Once the trust has been established, the next step is to fund the trust.  What does that mean, exactly?  It simply means transferring assets into the name of the trust so you can enjoy the protections and other benefits provided by a trust.  How you go about funding your trust depends on the type of property you have chosen to include. For instance, funding a trust with out of state property requires a different process than the property you own in the state where you reside. What does “funding” a trust involve? After the trust document has been executed, it is time to fund (or transfer) your assets into the trust account.  There are basically three different ways to accomplish this, depending on the type of property.  They include: changing the title or ownership in the property to the name of the trust, assigning ownership rights to the trust, or making the trust the
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Including HIPAA Authorizations in Incapacity Planning

Most of us are somewhat familiar with HIPAA, as nearly all health care providers require their patients to sign a HIPAA acknowledgement form stating they are aware of the HIPAA privacy regulations.  Although you sign the form, do really know the purpose of those privacy regulations and what they mean in terms of your estate plan?  Your estate planning attorney can explain in detail why including HIPAA authorizations in incapacity planning is important. What exactly is HIPAA? The acronym HIPAA stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.  This piece of legislation was passed in 1996. Under the law and its regulations, which were passed in 2003, health care providers risk being assessed very serious penalties and sanctions for releasing any “Protected Health Information,” or unauthorized medical information typically contained in medical records.  For this reason, the majority of health care providers are very cautious when releasing medical records to anyone
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Testamentary Transfers or Lifetime Transfers

The term “transfer,” in estate planning, means giving your property interest away to someone else.  The most common example is giving a gift.  Transfers of property interests can occur either during your lifetime, or after your death. What is the difference between testamentary and lifetime transfers? A “testamentary” transfer refers to the distribution of a deceased person s estate, in the method specified in the will.  On the other hand, a lifetime or “inter vivos” transfer means a transfer or gift made during one s lifetime. Federal estate and gift taxes The federal government imposes both estate taxes and gift taxes on transfers that total over $5.43 million, the rates of which are the same.  However, usually with a lifetime transfer you can transfer more assets with less tax consequences.  By making gifts of certain property that will appreciate or produce income, during your lifetime, you can remove that particular property from your estate, which can lower your
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Using POD and TOD Accounts in Estate Planning

Many clients are concerned with avoiding probate, whether it’s because of the expense or the time delays that probate causes.  It is not very difficult to avoid probate, if you take just a few steps to make sure your property will pass on to your heirs without going through the courts.  One of the easiest ways to accomplish this is by designating your beneficiaries for certain types of accounts.  Using POD and TOD accounts in estate planning is simple. Why should I avoid probate? Many people try to avoid probate as much as possible because the process can be very time-consuming and, depending on the nature of your estate, the process can also be very complicated.  The entire probate proceeding, from beginning to end, can take months or even years to conclude. Having a will can shorten that time because the administrator and heirs are identified in the will and the court will not have to make those determinations. Nevertheless, the process is still lengthy, as there are so many t
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How Can Same-Sex Partners Make Medical Decisions for One Another?

Most heterosexual married couples take for granted the rights and privileges they enjoy in the United States.  They have come to expect that, as spouses, they will be allowed to visit each other in the hospital, and to make decisions regarding medical care whenever necessary.  These rights and privileges are not available to every same-sex couple, especially those who do not live in the states that have legalized gay marriage.  If same-sex partners make medical decisions for each other, they will be able to enjoy the same sense of comfort as heterosexual couples, when medical issues arise. Establishing the power to make medical decisions for your partner There is no doubt that the LGBT community will continue to face legal challenges, as the views of same-sex relationships continue to change and evolve in each state and the country.  State and federal laws dictate who has the authority to make health care decisions for someone else, if they become unable to do so themselves. The m
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Special Needs Planning During a Divorce

As much as all married couples hope it doesn’t happen, divorce is a reality for many.  According to the American Journal of Sociology, Arkansas ranked second in the United States among states with the highest divorce rates last year,  while nearly 20% of children in Arkansas, age 0-17, have special needs.  The issues that arise during a divorce are often complicated, yet special needs planning during a divorce tend to make these issues even more difficult.  The expertise of experienced special needs planning attorneys is a must. Lifetime Child Support Payments One major difference in divorce proceedings where a special needs child is involved, is the fact that child support awards may not end when that child becomes an adult.  The dispute regarding child support may not be over, either.  It is not uncommon for the non-custodial parent to seek a modification of the child support award once the child has reached the age of majority.  This is true with special needs children as
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When Should You Update a Retirement Plan?

If you are hoping to retire comfortably, you will certainly need more than a 401k and your Social Security benefits.  It is nearly impossible for most of us to be adequately prepared for retirement, depending solely on government benefits.  After your retirement plan has been created, the planning is not really over.  It is also important to update a retirement plan to ensure that all of your changing needs will be met. When to update a retirement plan? The best way to stay updated is to review your retirement plan once a year, to ensure that your needs and wishes have not changed.  However, if a major change occurs at any point during your lifetime, you should review your retirement plan again.  For instance, whenever there is a significant change in your financial situation, good or bad, you should review your retirement plan.  Any substantial purchase of property, especially real estate, will likely require revisions, as well. Another example of a significant event that typ
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Families in Turmoil over Alzheimer’s Care–Glen Campbell

This is an article from The Law Firm of Evan H. Farr, P.C. in Fairfax Virginia that we thought others may find helpful Glen Campbell with his wife, Kim, and his daughter, Ashley (from examiner.com). Imagine this scenario: You have a loved one who has dementia and needs more care than you can provide. Your family members don’t agree on what to do, and your loved one can no longer express an opinion. Court proceedings follow, and a family that was once united is now at odds. Unfortunately, this happens way too often, and is currently occurring in the family of country icon, Glen Campbell. Glen Campbell, 78, has been married four times and has eight children. He is famous for his country music, as a television host, and occasional actor. He is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and has won multiple Grammy awards. In June 2011, Campbell made an announcement to his fans that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer s disease. In the early stages of his Alzheimer s, Campbell wen
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When to Start Retirement Planning

No matter your age, if you are working, it’s time to start retirement planning now.  You must have a plan, because retirement does not happen all on its own.  When to start retirement planning can be tricky, though.  All of the critical information you will need to complete your retirement plan may not be available to you. So, what should you do? Planning versus saving You can start certain aspects of your retirement planning early.  The first step is to start saving for retirement, and that can start at any time.  But, understand that saving and planning are two separate things.  Start saving as soon as possible because, the sooner you start saving, the more you will have saved by the time you retire.  Creating your actual retirement plan, however, should be done a little farther down the line. Start your early planning around age 35 Most people start their actual retirement planning around their mid-thirties.  The initial planning at this stage does not have to be extremel
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What Happens to My Pet if I Have No Pet Plan?

Whether your pet has been in your family for years, or if you just added a new friend to the family, pets play an important role in the lives of their family members.  So, it is vital that you consider, and plan for, the future care of your pet.  In the event you become incapacitated, or you die and your pet has survived you, there needs to be a plan for your pet’s care.  In order to create the best pet plan, you should understand the consequences that come with having no pet plan established before your death or incapacity. Where does my pet go if I die? If you have not created a pet plan, where your pet ends up depends, in part, on whether you have a will or not.  Under the law, a pet is simply considered to be personal property.  This means, your pet will become part of your estate along with all of your other assets.  If you have a will, your pet will end up with either the person who your pet is given to under your will or the person you have named as your “residuary be
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Free Report: Alternatives to Nursing Homes in Arkansas

A nursing home, or skilled nursing facility, provides necessary care for seniors who are suffering from severe or debilitating physical and mental illnesses. Topics covered in this whitepaper include: Relocating to a Less Expensive Area Adult Daycare, in Conjunction With In-Home Care, Is Another Option Lower Costs of Adult Daycare Free or Low-Cost Companion Care Assited Living Programs are a Good Option Advantages of Assisted Living Facilities Over Nursing Homes Sharing the Responsibility of Caregiver among Family and Friends Moving in with a Relative or Friend Click here to read the whole article or download the PDF.
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