Thomas H. Sullivan
Attorney at Law
Latest Blog Posts
Setting Your Trustee Up for Success
Posted on: June 8th, 2020
For many people, a revocable living trust is a valuable tool to ensure that their finances are well managed during periods of incapacity and that their loved ones are financially secure upon their passing. However, signing the trust agreement doesn’t end the estate planning process: To work properly, the trust needs to be funded....
How to Handle Savings Bonds in Estate Planning
Posted on: June 3rd, 2020
A savings bond is defined as “a debt security issued by the U.S. Department of the Treasury to help pay for the U.S. government’s borrowing needs.” In effect, when you buy a savings bond, you are loaning the U.S. government money which is repaid with interest after a fixed period of time....
Get a Jump Start on the Estate Planning Process
Posted on: May 27th, 2020
Time seems to be the one thing we just can’t get enough of. This is especially true if you are one of our nurses or frontline healthcare workers. You work tirelessly caring for others and may not have a lot of free time to work on your estate planning. If you are able to answer the following questions or at least think them through, you can get a jump start on the estate planning process today. ...
Administering a Hoarder's Estate
Posted on: May 23rd, 2020
Hoarding is more than just being a bit messy (or buying a six-month supply of toilet paper): It is actually a mental disorder causing some people to have difficulty discarding items, regardless of their value, and to experience severe distress even at the thought of it. If you have been named as the personal representative of a relative’s estate and discover that the deceased person’s home is packed, floor to ceiling, with collections, clothing, old mail, books, and papers, what should you do?...
State Estate and Inheritance Taxes
Posted on: May 17th, 2020
The federal gift and estate tax exclusion is currently very high—$11.58 million for an individual and $23.16 million for a married couple in 2020. As a result, only very wealthy people currently need to be concerned that their estates will be taxable at the federal level, at least until 2026, when the increased exclusion amount is scheduled to return to the $5 million (adjusted for inflation) exclusion in place before the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. But even if you are not among those who currently need to plan to avoid federal estate tax liability, some states have their own estate tax and a few have an inheritance tax (there is no federal inheritance tax). Only one state—Maryland—has both an estate and inheritance tax. State exclusion amounts are typically much lower than the federal estate tax exclusion, so it is important to make sure that your estate planning takes this potential tax liability into account....
Special Estate Planning Considerations for Art and Other Collections
Posted on: May 15th, 2020
Many people have collections about which they are quite passionate: The collections may be very valuable, for example, art collections, coins, stamps, or designer handbags, or they may have more sentimental than monetary value, such as political bumper stickers, postcards, or rocks. Regardless of its dollar value, if you have a collection, it should be included in your estate plan. You should make arrangements in advance to ensure that the collection is handled in the way you want, and if it is worth a lot of money, that its value is maximized. The following are a few steps you should take to ensure your wishes for your collection are followed:...