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 …

Use your will to dictate how you pay your debts

The main purpose of a will is to direct where your assets will go after you die, but it can also be used to instruct your heirs how to pay your debts. While generally, heirs cannot inherit debt, debt can reduce what they receive. Spelling out how debt should be paid can help your heirs. If someone dies with outstanding debt, the executor is responsible …

Is it better to use a joint ownership or a trust to pass down a house?

I have clients that always say they are going to add their child to title to their house to avoid probate. Its true when leaving a home to your children, you can avoid probate by using either joint ownership or a revocable trust, but which is the better method? If you add your child as a joint tenant on your house, you will each have an equal ownership …

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 …

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 …

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 …