Thomas H. Sullivan
Attorney at Law
What Are the Rights of a Child Born Outside of Marriage?
Posted on: May 8th, 2021
Despite the prevailing view, children born to unmarried parents are commonplace. Historically, children in this category were treated poorly by both society and the law. In many cases, they had no right to inherit from either parent. This legal scheme eventually changed and provided means for these children to inherit from their mothers, but rarely their fathers, until the late 1960s....
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....
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 If No One Wants My Stuff?
Posted on: February 28th, 2021
A critical question to ask yourself when creating an estate plan is who will get your stuff when you pass on? While most people think about who they would like to receive the major items—homes, retirement accounts, savings—personal property such as jewelry, clothing, sports equipment, vehicles, and other possessions are often overlooked. The truth is that while some mementos and sentimental items may be very valuable to you, the people that you want to give them to at your death may not need or want them. Who, then, will get your remaining property and possessions if no one wants them?...