Thomas H. Sullivan

Attorney at Law

Defining Fair Market Value

Posted on: May 2nd, 2021
When reading through a will or trust agreement, you may see language that grants a right to an individual to purchase certain property from the estate or trust at “fair market value.” At first glance, this phrase may seem a perfectly reasonable method of setting a suitable purchase price for a property to be sold at a later date. But a recent court case out of Virginia teaches an important lesson to those who have a will or a trust that relies solely on the term “fair market value” to set a future price of property....

Options for Establishing and Transferring Your IRA to a Loved One

Posted on: April 26th, 2021
Now, more than ever before, Americans are using a variety of tax-deferred accounts such as 401(k)s and IRAs to save for retirement. And while the laws are currently designed so that people must start withdrawing the money when they retire, it is not uncommon for many of these accounts to still have significant value at the owner’s death. As a result, a huge amount of accumulated wealth is just waiting to be passed on to loved ones over the next few decades as retirement account owners age and die. Many people are unaware that there are numerous options for transferring these types of accounts to their loved ones. For purposes of this article, we will use “IRA” to refer to a retirement account because many people end up rolling over their 401(k) and other similar retirement accounts into an IRA to obtain greater investment options....

The Estate Planning Tool Kit for Unmarried Partners

Posted on: April 18th, 2021
Estate planning is essential for everyone, but it is especially important if you and your partner are in a long-term committed relationship and are not married. Unless you plan properly, your partner will not receive any of your money or property when you pass away and will be unable to care for you when you most need it. Instead of your partner, your family members will be in charge of your financial and medical decisions and will receive your money and property upon your death. To ensure that you give money, property, and decision-making authority to those you want to have them, your estate planning tool kit must be properly stocked. In particular there are seven important documents you should consider when discussing your plans with an experienced estate planning attorney....

Planning Considerations for Unmarried Partners

Posted on: April 12th, 2021
When it comes to protecting your unmarried partner, there are several options to consider. Depending on the value of your money and property, your desired level of protection from your partner’s creditors, and other factors unique to your situation, one or more of these strategies may be beneficial. A word of caution: regardless of what methods you use, you must work with an experienced estate planning attorney. While do-it-yourself options may be cheaper, they can sometimes create more problems than they solve, and the problems can be expensive to remedy....

All in the Family: Understanding Common Legal Terms

Posted on: April 8th, 2021
While watching a movie or reading a book about wealthy individuals and their families, you may have come across terms such as “heir,” “descendant,” and “next of kin.” Though made-for-Hollywood storylines use these terms interchangeably, words describing familial relationships have distinct definitions. Using the correct terms is critical in wills, trusts, and other legal documents because words have significant implications. The wrong word can lead the courts to incorrectly interpret your documents and therefore cause an unintended result. Here are a few commonly confused words, their proper meanings, and some usage scenarios....

What to Know If Your Deceased Loved One Owned Firearms

Posted on: March 27th, 2021
According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), from 1986 through 2018, tens of millions of firearms were both manufactured in and imported into the United States. Where are those guns today? They are most likely filling gun safes, closets, nightstands, and desk drawers in homes all across this country. Regardless of whether you think that is a good thing, the fact remains that firearm ownership is very common in America. When you are handling a deceased loved one’s final affairs, you must consider the chance that your loved one owned one or more firearms at the time of death....
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