Pay Attention to Your State Estate Tax Exemption

While the 2017 federal tax cut means most estates won’t be subject to the federal estate tax in 2018 and 2019, state estate tax is a different matter. Some states are not going along with the increase in the federal estate tax exemption. In 2017, Republicans in Congress and President Trump doubled the federal estate tax exemption and indexed it for inflation. In 2019, the …

4 provisions typically forgotten in an estate plan

Even if you’ve created an estate plan, are you sure you included everything you need to? There are certain provisions that people often forget to put in in a will or estate plan that can have a big impact on your family. 1. Alternate Beneficiaries One of the most important things your estate plan should include is at least one alternative beneficiary in case the …

3 steps to take once your child turns 18

If your child has reached the teenage years, you may already feel as though you are losing control of her life. This is legally true once your child reaches the age of 18 because then the state considers your child to be an adult with the legal right to govern his or her own life. Up until your child reaches 18, you are absolutely entitled to …

The best and worst states for elder protection

The older the population gets, the greater the potential for elder abuse. States have laws in place designed to combat elder abuse, but some states are doing a better job than others. The consumer finance website WalletHub researched the protections in place in all 50 states and the District of Columbia to determine which states have the best protections against elder abuse. The prevalence of …

Choosing Retirement Account Beneficiaries Requires Some Thought

While the execution of wills requires formalities like witnesses and a notary, the reality is that most property passes to heirs through other, less formal means. Many bank and investments accounts, as well as real estate, have joint owners who take ownership automatically at the death of the primary owner. Other banks and investment companies offer payable on death accounts that permit owners to name …

10 Ways the Elderly Can Avoid Financial Abuse

Increased dependency due to illness, disability or cognitive impairments can make seniors susceptible to financial abuse. Nest eggs accumulated over decades also often make seniors attractive targets for predators, whether the predator is an offshore bogus sweepstakes or a care provider who sees an opportunity to be paid more than an hourly wage. Just as sunlight makes the best disinfectant, transparency provides the strongest abuse …

Four Steps to Take Right After an Alzheimer’s Diagnosis

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, it is important to start planning immediately. There are several essential documents to help you once you become incapacitated, but if you don’t already have them in place, you need to act quickly after a diagnosis. Having dementia does not mean an individual is not mentally competent to make planning decisions. The person …

How to Handle Sibling Disputes Over a Power of Attorney

A power of attorney is one of the most important estate planning documents, but when one sibling is named in a power of attorney, there is the potential for disputes with other siblings. No matter which side you are on, it is important to know your rights and limitations. A power of attorney allows someone to appoint another person — an “attorney-in-fact” or “agent” — …

Meet Donnie Brooks

Donnie Brooks, founder of Brooks Legal Services, LLC, has been serving the Myrtle Beach and overall Grand Strand area since 2006. He started Brooks Legal Services, LLC in 2011 and has been providing clients with personalized care in matters regarding estate planning, as well as drafting wills and trusts ever since. As an undergraduate at Radford University, Donnie Brooks studied Criminal Justice. Following graduation, he …