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Author Archives: Valerie W. Epstein

Charitable Contributions Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, President Donald Trump’s keystone tax reform law, was a dramatic reshaping of the tax landscape for nearly all Americans. One of the biggest changes was an increase in the standard deduction to $12,000 for individuals and $24,000 for couples. This increase, coupled with eliminations of some itemized […]

Using Your Estate Plan to Provide for Your Partner If You Are Not Married

When you die without a will, trust or other estate plan, your assets generally will be distributed to your closest family members as prescribed by law, including a surviving spouse. But what if you’re one of the many people who have lived in committed relationships but for various reasons have not tied the knot? For […]

Highlights of Estate Planning Goals and Objectives

When most people think about estate planning, the first issue that pops into their mind is taxation. After all, you don’t want to work your entire life and amass a small fortune, only to see the federal and state tax authorities come in and carve out half of that for themselves, rather than it going […]

How You Can Limit Your Probate Estate in Tennessee

The probate process can be both complex and costly. You can minimize the assets that must go through probate by taking advantage of nonprobate transfers, which shift assets so that they are not part of your probate estate at the time of your passing. There are several strategies that you can use for different types […]

Red Flags to Look for When Buying a Home

Buying a home is often the largest investment of a person’s life. With mortgage rates relatively low and the housing market strong, you may soon find yourself looking for potential properties. But the house of your dreams could turn into a nightmare if you fail to consider defects that can’t easily or inexpensively be remediated. […]

What Happens if You Die Without a Will in Tennessee?

Many people have a bury-your-head-in-the-sand strategy for dealing with estate planning, because making a will makes them face their mortality, which is difficult for most of us.  In 2016, only 44 percent of Americans reported having a will, according to a Gallup poll. In 2005, 49 percent reported having a will, so even more people […]

Why You Shouldn’t Prepare Your Own Last Will and Testament

While the laws of both Tennessee and Georgia allow residents to make their own wills, without the advice or direction of an attorney, there are downsides to doing that in either state.  A will is a legal document with many wide-ranging implications for your estate and your heirs, so it is important that this document […]

What Is the Probate Process in Tennessee?

Probate is the process in which a will is validated, allowing a decedent’s estate to pass to named beneficiaries or heirs. It involves several steps, including notice to certain people and entities and the final payment of debts. This process can be complex depending on the size or nature of the estate. It can also […]

Why Do You Need a Digital Estate Plan?

A digital estate plan accounts for digital assets that may not be factored into other parts of your plan. With a digital estate plan, you can make arrangements for what you want to happen to these unique assets at the time of your death. Laws regarding wills and probate are often very slow to change, […]

How the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act May Affect Your Estate Plan

In 2018, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) was passed by Congress, greatly overhauling the U.S. tax system. If you have not made changes to your estate plan for several years, it may be time to consult with an estate planning lawyer to learn how the new tax scheme affects your plan. These are […]

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