Nothing is certain except death and taxes—and the headaches that result when the two intersect. Rarely do people die with their finances neatly tied up, and one of the frequent issues that arises is the matter of the deceased person’s (decedent’s) last income tax refund.
If a person dies being owed an income tax refund (as thousands of people do every year), what happens to the money? Obviously, the decedent cannot cash a check made out to him or her. A refund in the sole name of the decedent is an asset of the decedent’s estate. Eventually, it will be distributed to the decedent’s heirs or beneficiaries (assuming there is money left in the estate after all legitimate debts are paid). But what happens in the meantime? And what if the tax refund is from a tax return jointly filed with a… Read More
Despite the rise of corporate farms in the United States, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that 97% of farms in this country are family-owned, and 88% of all U.S. farms are small family farms. Research suggests that most family farmers—about 80%—intend to pass their farm down to the next generation. A study out of Iowa State University indicated that half of farmers did not have an estate plan, and nearly three-quarters had not chosen a successor to take over the family farm business.
Family farmers are not alone in the tendency to put off estate planning, but that delay can have a disastrous outcome: by some estimates, fewer than a third of family farms continue into the second-generation, and only about 12% continue into the third. Lack of planning is often a primary reason.
You may imagine your children working side by side on the family farm, continuing to build the legacy you left them. Even if this rosy vision materializes, it won’t do so organically. With most businesses, including fam… Read More
Imagine if, at the moment of your death, a large portion of your assets just...vanished. Or that those assets continued to exist, but your loved ones couldn’t find them, access them, or maybe didn’t even know about them. The fruits of your labors, your careful investments, forever locked away from the people you meant to have them.
If that sounds like a nightmare scenario, you should know that it has already happened to some owners of cryptocurrency who died without creating an estate plan for their digital assets. Cryptocurrency is a type of digital asset. The best known type of cryptocurrency is Bitcoin, but there are others, such as LiteCoin and Ripple.
According to the BBC, research estimates that as of early 2020, up to 3.8 million Bitcoin, with a value of about $30 billion, has been lost. Much of the loss is due to owners of the cryptocurrency dying without giving heirs a way to access these digital assets.
Essentially, cryptocurrency is a digital form of currency—digital cash, if you will—that e… Read More