Scriber Law Group, LLC.

Category: Blog

If a Close Relative Hasn’t Accepted Your Marriage, Should You Leave Them Anything? (The Cranky Uncle Problem)

“Friends,” Tennessee Williams famously noted, “are God’s way of apologizing to us for our families.” We’ve all got that cranky uncle. In fact, our stories are so similar–the leather recliner, the favored drink, the phlegmatic jeremiads about “these kids today”–it sometimes feels as if we all share the same one. But for an increasing number LGBTQ families planning their estates, the cranky uncle has become something of a problem: What do we do about those survivors whose sense of “family values” mean they don’t value our families? Without careful planning, your assets could well fall into the hands of people… Read More

When Love Wins (But Doesn’t Last)

Love won–but the law still lags behind, and it presents a unique set of challenges to those gay couples who’ve decided to end their marriages. Divorce is hard enough for anyone to consider, but the plain fact is that anyone who has gone through a divorce really must give some thought to their estate planning. This is more true, not less, for LGBTQ families, because Georgia law still hasn’t quite settled for non-traditional families. Just last year, the state legislature approved a bill that would have allowed some companies to “opt out” of serving LGBTQ families on religious grounds. The… Read More

Farmers’ Biggest Estate Planning Mistakes

Farmers know their profession entails a lot more than making a living; it's also about passing on a way of life; a family legacy, if you will.    Unfortunately, too often farmers fail to keep their estate plan up to date, and in doing so they place their legacy at serious risk. An outdated or inadequate estate plan can sometimes put their property, which is often the key to their legacy, up for sale, resulting many times in the property being converted to a non-agricultural use, effectively cutting your family's legacy off at the knees. If you're lucky, your heirs may… Read More

There’s Nothing Half-baked About a Crummey Trust

According to a recent case in U.S. Tax Court, there is nothing wrong with using what are referred to as Crummey trusts as part of their estate plan, no matter what the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) says. See, a Crummey trust is a device used to huge tax-free transfers of large sums of money (In this case, as much as $1.6 million) without it affecting lifetime gift-tax exemptions. They were named Crummey because that was the name of the Methodist minister who was the plaintiff in the 1968 case that established them. In the recent case, Mikel v. Commissioner, the… Read More

Same-Sex Married Couples Life Insurance Strategies

Sometime this year, the Supreme Court could very well change the whole same-sex marriage game, and rule that marriage equality is the law of the land. By then, it will have been about two years since they struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, which opened the door, and pretty much forced states to accept all married couples equally. Other court rulings have opened up marriage in a total of 37 states, to the point that, according to recent figures, same-sex marriage is no longer just an oddity; the number of same sex couples who are officially hitched is approaching… Read More

The Importance of Family Meetings to Estate Planning

One thing we in the estate planning business are always trying to do is to get families to speak to each other. Regardless of the issue, whether it's trusts or the will or end-of-life care, the entire family will be affected, so they should all have input into the process. For example, when you're talking to some parents about setting up trusts for their children, there's a good chance they'll be worried about an issue or two, but they won't want to bother the children about their decision.   Or worse, they may be excited about what they plan to… Read More

Talking to Aging Parents About Their Estate

Now that you've gotten your aging parents to talk about what they want to be done at the end of their life comes the hard part; talking about what they want to do toward the end, before they die but if they become incapacitated or ill, it's time to move that discussion in another direction. Again, it's really difficult to get some older people to talk about this stuff, but the discussion is only half over; in addition to talking to them about end of life care, it's time to talk to them about what happens after their life is… Read More

Talking to Aging Parents About End of Life Issues

Most people truly love their parents, in part because they've done so much for us over many years. They took care of us when we were kids. They often helped us get through our first few years of adulthood, helped us get into our first house, and they even help us with the kids once in a while. It's a really good idea to thank our parents for everything they do for us, to be sure, but how do we do that? One possible way if to take care of them when they need it in their golden years. But… Read More

Same-Sex Spouses Shouldn’t Rely on Default Rules

Sometime between now and the end of its current term, the U.S. Supreme Court will make a ruling that could change  everything for millions of same-sex married couples nationwide, as well as thousands of couples waiting hopefully in Georgia and other red states, because they will rule on whether the Constitution requires states to allow and acknowledge  same-sex marriages.   When it comes to estate planning, however, it largely shouldn't matter. While many same-sex couples seem to be waiting for the ruling to make things easier and make an estate plan less necessary, the fact is, every couple, regardless of their… Read More

Spring Cleaning Your Estate Plan

Spring has finally “sprung” and spring cleaning fever is upon most of us. But have you ever considered doing a "spring cleaning of your estate plan documents? Spring is a great time of year to take a look at the documents in your and make sure they're all up to date and reflect your intentions with regard to your estate and the individuals you intend to receive your generosity.   It's also a great time to take a look at what you have and make any shifts with regard to your estate. You probably just worked on your taxes, so… Read More