Recently I attended the Fall Summit of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys. Legal experts from around the country presented valuable information on many topics that are common concerns for our clients. Some areas discussed, that I found extremely valuable, were:
The Federal Estate Tax Portability Law: This law allows a surviving spouse to elect to use the deceased spouse’s unused Federal estate and gift tax exemption. The planning can be valuable for families with a large estate to pass over $10,000,000 Federal estate and gift tax free.
The Defense of Marriage Act (commonly referred to as DOMA): This recent decision by the Supreme Court which overturned DOMA has a positive effect on estate planning for same sex married couples.
Testamentary Capacity and Undue Influence was presented by two professionals in the field of legal competency, Dr. Daniel Martell and Bruce Ross. They pointed out ways to minimize challenges to an estate plan when determining mental capacity of a client. In addition, an attorney that challenged Hugett Clark’s last will and testament provided an in depth discussion of the case.
The topic of hoarding was delivered by Cory Chalmer, the host of the television show “Hoarding” and the owner of Steri-Clean, LLC. He talked about the challenges families and attorneys may face when working with a loved one or settling an estate with these issues of excessive accumulation.
Lastly, Attorneys Dennis Sandoval and Steve Hartnett, the master minds of the legal education department of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, , reviewed case studies on estate planning using the Federal Portability Law as well as offered legal strategies on protecting assets from nursing home expenses.
In conclusion, the time spent with my colleagues and the opportunity to learn new planning methods to assist my clients with their estate planning choices was invaluable. Being a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys is an important facet of my practice and the Sinclair Prosser Gasior firm.
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