Roberson Law Specilizing in Estate Planning, Probate & Trust Law

Quarterly News

Get ready to give 55% of your estate to Uncle Sam: the future of the dreaded Federal estate taxUncle Sam 
As we begin the second half of 2010, we contemplate the possibility that the Federal estate tax (FET) may be reinstated and the FET rate increased to 55% in 2011.
Few legal and financial planning professionals believed that the FET would return when President George W. Bush signed the current FET law in 2001.  However, with a partisan Congress who can't seem to agree on anything, and distractions such as the health care bill, the struggling job market, and now the oil spill, the FET may actually return. 
According to Bush's tax scale, 2011 will be the year that the FET will go from zero tax to a 55% tax for estates over $1 million.  Although $1 million sounds like a lot, keep in mind that life insurance, real estate, and retirement plan assets are included in the FET gross estate, so many Americans may suddenly qualify for this tax.   
Why would the Federal government allow this tax hike to happen in an already struggling economy?  Several reasons:  The Federal government is broke, and Congress does not want to provide tax cuts to the rich or actively pass laws to increase taxes.  Therefore, in order to re-coup some of the money shelled out for the war, the numerous bailouts, and the new health care legislation, the revenue generated from this largest tax increase in history will help replenish the "well that has run dry" in our Federal government's bank account. 
As 2010 winds down, contact us or keep a watchful eye on the news, because this is a hot topic.  Although there are ways to minimize the FET through very careful planning measures, we don't suggest that you pursue them until we know that the FET will be reinstated. 
One other thing:  Many people forget to plan to minimize or eliminate the Ohio estate tax.  Keep that in mind when reviewing your estate plan.
We invite you to contact our office now and schedule an appointment for after January 1, 2011, to review how estate taxes may or may not impact your estate.
To be continued...
Golf picture

Attention men who like to golf and women who like to be pampered (or the other way around!)

During the month of August, anyone who schedules an appointment to get a comprehensive estate plan package with wills (or trusts) that includes wills, powers of attorney, health care directives, and several other important planning forms will receive a gift card for one round of golf or a one-hour massage.  (You must mention this offer when scheduling the appointment, and there is a limit of one offer per couple.)

So you've already had all of your documents prepared, but it's been at least five years since an attorney has reviewed your documents?  Schedule an appointment to review or update your documents, and receive the same offer.  (Again, you must mention the offer when scheduling the appointment, and there is a limit of one offer per couple.)

As a reminder, we accept credit cards and offer no-interest payment plans for those experiencing financial hardship.  

Some members of the clergy and missionaries are entitled to a 50% discount (restrictions apply).
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Our mission is to  provide excellent, compassionate legal services to help people plan for the unexpected and prepare for the inevitable.

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News You Can Use
In This Issue:

  • Get ready to give 55% of your estate to Uncle Sam: the future of the dreaded Federal estate tax. 
  • What will happen to your password-protected online accounts (e.g., email, Facebook, photo storage) when you die? 
  • Attention men who like to golf and women who like to be pampered (or the other way around.)
  • Saying Goodbye to a Beloved Employee and Friend.
  • Nancy Roberson's upcoming speaking engagements.
What will happen to your password-protected online accounts (e.g., email, Facebook, photo storage) when you die?

Have you ever thought about how your representatives (agent, executor, trustee, for example) will be able to access your online accounts when you die or become disabled if your representatives do not know the passwords required to access the accounts?  Would all of your precious family photos that you so diligently downloaded to the Kodak site every month be lost forever in cyberspace?
What if you own a company that transacts the majority of its business through a password-protected email account, like Ebay or some other online vehicle, but your representatives cannot access the account upon your disability or death because your representatives do not know the password? 
If you want to access the Google account of a person who has died, Google requires 6 steps to be followed, including producing a death certificate and "letters of authority" proving that you are the bona fide estate representative.  A service representative at Google told Amy Cary, our business manager, that after Google receives all of the required data, it could take up to 30 days to get the password released to the estate representative.  Could your customers wait that long to get their product if you conduct the majority of your business online?
At Roberson Law, we make it our business to help you address issues like these.  We have seen just about every scenario imaginable when a person hasn't planned for the unexpected and prepared for the inevitable.  We urge you to write an "estate roadmap," a letter of instruction advising your representatives where to find things and who to call.  You can include in your roadmap the location of the passwords and usernames to all of your online accounts.
You need not give your roadmap to your representatives now; instead, put your roadmap in your safe deposit box or fire-resistant receptacle for easy access when needed.  If you are a client of Roberson Law, please also give us a copy of your roadmap for your file in our office.  (Nancy emailed her roadmap to her representatives the night before leaving on a trip.)
We suggest that you word process a document titled  "Passwords and Pins " in which you list the usernames and passwords, as well as any other necessary data relating to the accounts; save that document on a floppy disk, CD, flash drive, or other electronic medium; and then store a hard copy of the document and the storage medium with your estate planning documents.   By taking this simple step to document all of the information required to access your password-protected online accounts, you will be able to rest easier knowing that this is one less thing that your representatives will have to address when you die or become disabled.
Saying Goodbye to a Beloved Employee and Friend....
For the past nine years, the staff, clients, and colleagues of Roberson Law have had the privilege of working with Judy Gibson, Records Retention Manager.  Judy GibsonJudy worked diligently every day making sure that client files were in order and all papers were in their correct places.  Judy was also in charge of our "Sunshine Department" and sent CareNotes, Living with Loss Magazines, greeting cards, and other materials to clients and others every month.  While serving in that role, Judy spent several hours each week praying for and writing personal encouragement notes to grieving and ill clients.  Judy touched many lives during the nine years that she worked at Roberson Law.
Unfortunately, Judy is now in need of encouragement herself...she is experiencing some serious medical issues that have caused Judy to go on long-term disabillity.  Judy has been gone now for three months, and we miss her terribly.  If you have had contact with Judy for prayer or by receiving CareNotes, please understand the reason for Judy not keeping in touch.
We have hired someone to fill Judy's role as Records Retention Manager, but we are still trying to find someone who can take over the Sunshine Department and resume those activities.  Until that happens, we will continue to keep you and your families in our prayers during your times of hardship and grieving.  Therefore, feel free to continue to share your needs and prayer requests with us.

Nancy Roberson's Upcoming Speaking Engagements:

Wednesday, August 4, 2010, Nancy to speak for the annual SEEK Conference at Sinclair Community College.

Saturday, August 21, 2010
, Nancy will give her "Are You Prepared?" presentation with a financial advisor who is hosting this free event to the public at One Lincoln Park in Kettering.  Continental breakfast will be provided.  RSVP to 937.312.2702.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010, Nancy will speak for the "Early Stages" group of the Alzheimer's Association.  RSVP to 937.291.3332.
-Call or email Amy Cary at to book your event.  As always, we never charge a fee for our professional speaking services. 

-You may also go to our
speaking engagements page on our website for more information.
All material in this newsletter is Copyright 2010 by Nancy A. Roberson. All rights reserved.