Delaware residents may be aware that there have been a number of federal tax law changes in recent years that have significantly altered the way that estate planning should be approached for wealthier individuals. Between 2004 and 2015, the federal estate tax exemption rose steadily from $1.5 million to $5.43 million while federal capital gains rates have gone from 15 percent to almost 24 percent.
Many people in Delaware focus a lot more of their attention on their retirement plan than they do on their estate plan. Although few people enjoy thinking about what will happen after they die, it is important for Delaware residents to plan how their property and affairs will be handled for the sake of their children and other beneficiaries.
Delaware residents who are starting to plan on how their assets will be distributed when they die may be able to learn some lessons from the family conflicts over the estate plan of the late comedian and actor Robin Williams. Even though Williams had an estate plan that appeared to specifically provide for both his current wife and his children from a former marriage, his survivors are now arguing over certain items in the home that his wife inherited under the provisions of a trust that he had in place.
Delaware residents might benefit from understanding more about some of the fundamental steps involved in sound estate planning. Developing an estate plan allows individuals to allocate how their assets will be distributed in the event of their death. For many people, this an effective way to ensure that surviving relatives, or beneficiaries, are entitled to receive their share of the decedent's estate. Without an estate plan, control over distributing the assets may be designated to a friend, relative or probate court.
According to one survey, business owners are more likely to have outdated estate plans than updated ones. For many business owners in Delaware, estate plan revision could be a reliable way to reap the most benefits.
Delaware residents may have heard that Robin Williams' family is engaged in a legal war over his estate. Though the comedian had a current estate plan and will, his third wife and three children are battling over personal items, such as his clothing, fossil collection, graphic novels and bicycles.
With modern technology comes a new class of assets, known as digital assets. They include online properties like a person's Facebook page, an online file storage account, a blog, email accounts and other social media profiles. Unless a person includes these digital assets in a will and gives the beneficiaries access to logins and passwords, the contents of those sites that may include year's worth of photographs, video, audio and written works could be deleted upon the account holder's death.
At times, a guardianship in Delaware may have to be transferred to another state. Before this can happen, the guardian is required to petition the court in Delaware for the transfer. After a hearing is held on the petition, the court in Delaware will grant a provisional transfer as long as the court is satisfied that the transfer will also be granted in the other state.
Individuals in Delaware who are planning for the distribution of their assets after death may find it helpful to look to some recent celebrity estate planning errors. Making the appropriate arrangements based on the value of assets, communicating with family members and regularly updating the estate plan are all important.
Delaware residents who have lost the hard drive on their computer are familiar with the sinking feeling that accompanies such an experience. Questions suddenly arise about how thorough users were in their contingency planning. In a similar fashion, persons wanting to make sure they leave an organized set of financial affairs with their intended beneficiaries will need to back up their efforts with a completed and fully documented estate plan.