New & Notable Developments from

The Law Office of James A. Hyatt

This page of our website is designed to bring current news and information about us and about the important developments in areas that affect planning we do for our clients at The Law Office of James A. Hyatt.

2020 Vision – Estate Planning in a New Environment

Estate Planning documents, including Wills and Revocable Living Trusts, need to be updated from time to time given changes in a client’s personal life, asset acquirement and changes in tax laws. Although it would be nice if the documents we draft could withstand the tests of time, changes in the tax laws sometimes require us to re-evaluate the appropriateness of our client’s documents and, where necessary, make changes.

Read More

Estate Planning Implications of the SECURE Act

The SECURE Act (“Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement”) was enacted on December 20, 2019 and will significantly affect many of our clients with retirement plans, such as Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), 401(k)s and 403(b)s.

Read More

Planning For Incapacity

Estate Planning is not only about what happens if you die. It’s also about planning for what happens if you are incapacitated. That is, what happens if due to a stroke, serious injury or illness you are unable to make decisions for yourself?

Read More

Do I Still Need A Living Trust?

Most of my clients have a Revocable Living Trust as the centerpiece of their estate plan.  For many of them, a major reason they created the trust may have been the significant estate tax benefits it provided.  But as you may have heard, recent tax law changes have essentially eliminated the danger of an estate tax for more than 99% of us.  Thus, for most of my clients the Living Trust no longer provides any estate tax benefits.  So it is reasonable for folks to wonder if their Living Trust now serves any beneficial purpose and to ask:  “Do I still need a Living Trust?”

Read More

Prepare Your Heirs

So, you have succeeded in putting your estate plan together – you have your Will, Trust, Powers of Attorney, and Medical Directives in place.  The beneficiary designations for your life insurance policies and retirement accounts are in place.  You review your estate plan periodically to make sure it continues to reflect your wishes and accomplish your goals.  All the legal documents necessary to implement your estate plan are complete.  But there is one further step you can take to make things easier for your loved ones if you die – prepare them for the eventuality.

Read More

Does Your Living Trust Measure Up?

Over the past 10-20 years Living Trusts have become the estate planning vehicle of choice for many people. Such revocable trusts are frequently recommended by estate planning attorneys, financial advisers and CPAs.

Living Trusts come in all shapes and sizes – there is no “one size fits all” form that can be suitable for everyone. I am often asked by advisers and their clients to review Living Trusts that have been prepared by other lawyers (or sometimes by the clients themselves with the help of software or self-help books.) Here is a checklist of things..

Read More

The Ten Costliest Estate Planning Mistakes

Based on my 35 years of assisting clients with their estate planning and cleaning up messes left behind by those who died without having properly planned for their families, I have gathered together what I consider to be the most important lessons and advice that I can share.  My hope is that by sharing this essential information, more families can be spared the difficulties that can otherwise be avoided by proper planning.

Read More

Estate Planning For Special People: What You Need To Know About Special Needs Trusts

Parents of children with disabilities and special needs face unique challenges in providing for the day-to-day needs of their loved ones.  When their thoughts turn to the issues that would arise if the parents were no longer around, the challenges become perhaps even more daunting. Consequently, estate planning for parents of special needs children requires much thought and preparation.

Read More