The Best Gift You Can Leave to Your Loved Ones!

2013-06-02 17.21.59 HDR

Heather McManamy, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2013, was told her condition was terminal in 2014.  She began reflecting on what the future lives of her friends and family would be like, after she passed away, and gained national popularity as the dying mother who had written cards for many of her daughter’s future milestones.

She particularly wanted to communicate life lessons and advice to her daughter, Brianna, who was only a toddler. So McManamy decided to write greeting cards for big events in her daughter’s life, to be opened as each occasion took place.

The Wisconsin mom left over 40 different cards for events in her daughter’s life, including formal events such as birthdays and her wedding, as well as informal ones, such as advice for bad days and her first breakup.

McManamy also prepared a note for her husband to post on her Facebook page, which he did after her death in December. Her note showed her love of life and for her friends and family.

McManamy’s announcement of her death, like her greeting card notes to her daughter, left wise advice for its readers:

“From the bottom of my heart, I wish all my friends long, healthy lives and I hope you can experience the same appreciation for the gift of each day that I did. . . . Please do me a favor and take a few minutes each day to acknowledge the fragile adventure that is this crazy life. Don’t ever forget: every day matters.”

McManamy’s memoirs will be published in book form in April 2016, “Cards for Brianna: A Lifetime of Lessons and Love from a Dying Mother to Her Daughter.”

McManamy’s positive attitude and writings also serve as sage advice of something we too often forget. Preparing for and facing death openly and honestly is a gift to our loved ones because it allows us to leave behind what really matters, not just what we’ve accumulated financially, but our wisdom, our love and our leadership.

That’s why we build Family Wealth Legacy Interviews into our estate planning process, so we can ensure you leave behind what really matters. Give us a call today if you’d love to ensure you leave a legacy of love to the ones you care about most.

This article is a service of [name], Personal Family Lawyer®. One of the objectives of our law practice is to keep families out of court and out of conflict. Our lawyers can help you protect those you love using a Family Wealth Planning Session. Call our office today to schedule a time for us to sit down and identify the best strategies for you and your family.

Nalini S Mahadevan JD, MBA

nsm@mlolaw.us   314-932-7111 ( office)  314-374-8784 (mobile)

DISCLAIMER: The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements.
Information contained in this email are not legal advice and are not meant to create an attorney-client relationship.

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Do Physicians Really Need Asset Planning?

A couple consulted me about writing a will and trust for their family. The husband is a doctor and the wife is a lawyer, both in private practice. They had two young children under the age of 18 and no prior marriages. Both carried malpractice insurance for their professions and an umbrella policy. They had good cars and a residence in a nice neighborhood. They also had retirement plans and mutual funds and children in private school. They were saving for college through 529 Plans.

They wanted to protect their families and assets from lawsuits and creditors. Missouri is a great asset planning state, but the planning to protect assets should start at least four years in advance—creditors can sue to set aside the transfer. Assets can be attached if the transfer (to another person or entity or trust) occurs and the lawsuit is filed within four years of the transfer.

The best way to protect assets is to transfer the asset to a trust, other entity, or person with no recourse to the owner. However, a house jointly owned by husband and wife is not protected in the event of a divorce the property, and can be divided between the parties. The creditors of the deceased spouse can also sue to recover from the sale of the residence. Hence holding assets in joint name may not always be the answer.

The 529 plans are not subject to federal income tax and can be paid in advance up to five years depending on the plan—and are excluded from the estate of the deceased—to offer asset protection. Professional and umbrella polices may be insufficient to satisfy creditors in a lawsuit, which means that protecting other assets becomes imperative.

See you in my next blog.

Nalini S Mahadevan, JD, MBA
Immigration Attorney St. Louis, Missouri
nsm@mlolaw.us

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The information is not meant to create a client-attorney relationship. This blog is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Situations may differ based on the facts.

Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.

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CBP Allows Domestic Partnerships and Blended Families to File a Single Customs Declaration

On 12/13/2013, the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) broadened the definition of “members of a family residing in one household” to include long-term same-sex couples and other domestic relationships, a departure from the usual practice of a ‘family’ file multiple forms for each member, creating extra paperwork and a waste of processing time on entry to the US.

The rule will become effective on January 17th, 2014 after the holidays. The rule applies to both returning US citizens, US residents and international visitors who can now file a joint customs declaration for items purchased or brought from overseas.

CBP expects this process streamlining to save up to $2.8 million annually in personnel time.

New Definition of Domestic Relationships

“Domestic relationship” would be defined to include:

  • Foster children, stepchildren, half-siblings, legal wards, other dependents, and individuals with an in loco parentis or guardianship relationship with the children.
  • Two adults who are in a committed relationship including, but not limited to, long-term companions and couples in civil unions or domestic partnerships where the partners are financially interdependent, and are not married to, or a partner of, anyone else.

“Domestic relationship” excludes roommates or other cohabitants who do not meet the above definition.

“Members of a family residing in one household” will continue to include relationships of blood, adoption and marriage.

What This Change Will Mean to Travelers

For US Citizens and Residents

  • Under the new definition of domestic relationship, one combined family declaration can be presented to the CBP officer upon arrival.
  • For returning U.S. residents to be considered members of a family and group their exemption from customs duty and internal revenue tax, individuals must have lived in one household at their last permanent residence and intend to live together in one household in the U.S.
  • As with any joint declaration, verbal or written, the person making and/or signing the declaration will be held accountable for its validity.
  • If family members are U.S. residents, regulations allow them a personal duty exemption of up to $800 per individual and up to $1,600 per family.

For International Visitors

  • Under the new definition of domestic relationship, one combined family declaration can be presented to the CBP officer upon arrival.
  • For visitors to the U.S., regulations allow them certain exemptions (gifts, tobacco, personal effects, etc,), and they will be able to file a single family declaration, but they do not have the same personal duty exemption of $800 (individual) and $1,600 (members of a family) allowed to returning U.S. residents. As with any joint declaration, verbal or written, the person making and/or signing the declaration will be held accountable for its validity.

The Takeaway

Families are now redefined to include domestic partnerships, civil unions, unmarried persons living together, couples in same sex relationships and their biological, adopted and foster children. Families must reside together and continue to reside in the same home after they return to the US. There must be a financial relationship between the couple, which could mean a joint tax return or other means of sharing the financial burden of their home.

See also:
DOMA Issues After the Passage of “US v. Windsor”
USCIS releases FAQ on Immigration Benefits for Same Sex Marriages

See you in my next blog.

Nalini S Mahadevan, JD, MBA
Immigration Attorney
St. Louis, Missouri

The information is not meant to create a client-attorney relationship. This blog is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Situations may differ based on the facts.

Tara Mahadevan

Copyright 2013. All rights reserved.

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