Tag Archives: Anker Hymes Schreiber

IRS Raises Limit on Tax-Free Transfers

Estate Planning Woodland HillsAs many estate planners anticipated, The Internal Revenue Service has raised the limit on tax-free transfers during life or at death.  Beginning in 2015 that amount, known as the basic exclusion, will increase to $5.43 million per person, up from $5.34 million this year.  This announcement, in Revenue Procedure 2014-61, indicates there will be no change in the annual exclusion, allowing you to give $14,000 in cash or other assets each year to as many individuals as you want without using the basic exclusion. The annual exclusion gifts don’t count towards the lifetime gift exemption. Another tactic is to fund a Continue reading

How to Protect your Digital Assets (Part 3)

Digital AssetsContinuing from our Blog series on Digital Assets, here are a couple ways you can protect you and your family:

Identify your digital assets
You can break them down into broad categories (email, domain, storage, finances, banking, stocks, bonds, securities, taxes, retirement, insurance, credit cards, debts, utilities, businesses, social, media, loyalty and other) and for each asset identify the username, password, account number and any other identifying information necessary to access the asset.

There are many sites to store this information or you can store it to a tangible media source (such as a DVD, portable hard drive or flash drive) or Continue reading

The Care and Preservation of Your Digital Assets (Part 1)

Digital AssetsHow many of you get “paper” bank statements?  How many you write “paper” checks to pay your monthly bills?  How many of you pay your bills through automatically scheduled payments?  How many of you store and save your personal information on your computers and on third party sites? And what happens to this information if you are no longer around?  Can your family get access to it?

According to a 2011 Census more than three-quarters of all Americans owned a computer.  That number increased to nearly 90% of all Americans who had a bachelor’s degree or higher.  Today, the vast majority of the population owns a computer and with it, what are now referred to as “digital assets”.

A digital asset has been defined as “information created, generated, sent, communicated, received or stored by electronic means on a digital device or system that delivers digital information.”  In common parlance, digital assets include personal information contained in:

  • Online accounts with financial institutions (e.g. banks or credit card companies)
  • Social media accounts such as Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, where a third party allows the account holder to store personal information
  • Online accounts with forums such as Amazon, eBay or Craigslist, that not only allow users to buy and sell but facilitate such transactions with on-line currency accounts such as Paypal.
  • Reward programs, such as frequent flyer miles or reward points.

Click here for Part 2 of “The Care and Preservation of Your Digital Assets”, where we will be discussing examples of digital asset disasters. If you have specific questions regarding your digital assets, you can contact our Estate Planning Attorney in Woodland Hills, Ca today.

Caring For Your Companion: The Importance of Protecting Your Pet

Picture of ChihuahuaPets receiving an inheritance!  It may sound extreme, but planning for your pet’s future is not about money, it is about security for both of you.  Just as responsible parents plan in advance to appoint a guardian to care for their children, responsible pet owners need to plan in advance for their pets.  If you are a pet owner, you should have two plans in place:

1) If you are unable to properly care for your pet due to an illness or other incapacity
2) If you are unable to properly care for your pet due to your death.

According to ASPCA, approximately 62% of households in the United States have at least one pet.  Yet, only 17% of pet owners have taken legal steps for their pet’s protection.  There are some very easy and cost-effective options which you can take advantage of now.  Don’t delay, your pets are counting on you!

Option 1 (Every pet owner must do this):

Carry a Pet Identification Card with you at all times.  This can either be a physical card that you carry in your wallet or purse, or additional information contained in your I.C.E. (In case of Emergency) contact on your cell phone.  The information on the Pet Identification Card should include:

a) a picture of your pet
b) the pet’s name
c) the location of the pet
d) any special needs of your pet
e) who to contact to take care of the pet.   This card can advise a police officer or other emergency personnel that you have a pet that also needs assistance.

Continue reading