Thomas H. Sullivan

Attorney at Law

Latest Blog Posts

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....

Handling the Legal Affairs of a Missing Person

Posted on: March 20th, 2021
Approximately 600,000 people go missing in the United States each year. The loved ones who are left behind must carry not only heavy emotional burdens but significant practical burdens too. People who go missing often leave behind real estate and personal property, debts and ongoing bills, insurance premium payments, employment or business concerns, pets, family support obligations, and more. But if someone is missing, and it is uncertain when or if they will ever return, these practical issues must be addressed at some point to prevent them from becoming even more burdensome in the future....

Demystifying Estate Tax Returns

Posted on: March 16th, 2021
When an individual passes away, tax issues are one of the many things that must be considered. For most individuals who pass away, a final income tax return must be filed with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and state (if the particular state also taxes income) to settle any income tax liability that may exist. Much less commonly, a federal estate tax return and state estate tax returns (if the state has an estate tax or the decedent held property in a state that has an estate tax) may also be required. Federal estate tax returns are designed to ensure that the federal government can properly assess the amount of estate taxes (if any) due upon the death of a taxpayer. While these types of returns are rarely filed today, there are still a number of reasons why it may be beneficial to file such a return with the IRS, even if not necessarily required (though a state estate tax return may be needed in some states)....
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