Tennessee eliminated its “death tax” in 2016.  This is great news for Tennessee residents.  However, if you own property such as a vacation home in another state, you may owe “death taxes” in that estate when you die.  The following 18 states still impose a death tax:

District of Columbia
New Jersey
New York
Rhode Island

If you own property in one of these states, proper planning may reduce or eliminate the potential death tax.  You can also avoid the need to probate your Will in that state by transferring your property to a revocable trust or a business entity such as an LLC.

I have received several inquiries about steps that can be taken to protect assets when your spouse or parent continues to drive when they should not be driving.

The obvious answer is to try to persuade the person to give up the car keys. It helps if you can offer a plan for providing transportation assistance. When the person refuses to stop driving, there are some steps that can be taken to protect assets.

I advised one woman to change the ownership of the car from joint ownership to her husband. If her husband has a wreck, this should decrease the chance that her assets will be endangered. Incidentally, you should also change the title for your child’s car when your child turns age 18.

Another couple decided to transfer their assets to two separate asset protection trusts, one for the husband and one for the wife. In addition to providing asset protection, these trusts will operate as a probate avoidance mechanism, similar to a revocable trust.

For years, my durable general power of attorney form has authorized the agent to transfer the principal’s assets to a revocable trust established by the agent for the principal’s benefit. I have now expanded this power to provide the agent with the ability to transfer assets to an asset protection trust established by the agent for the principal’s benefit.

Incapacitated persons seldom attempt to drive. However, I know of situations in which persons with dementia have assaulted other persons. If assets have been transferred to an asset protection trust prior to the assault, the assets should be protected from any monetary judgment resulting from the assault.