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Same Sex Marriage Update August 2013

On June 26, 2013, in United States v. Windsor, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. Section 3 of DOMA defined the terms “marriage” as a union between a man and a woman and “spouse” as a person of the opposite sex...

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Hidden Pitfalls of Joint Ownership

It is not uncommon for an elder parent to add an adult child’s name to his or her checking or savings account, or to any other asset, thereby making the child a joint owner. While this is often done for convenience purposes, it can have serious, unexpected and undesirable consequences. Since the child legally owns...

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Your Responsibilities as Agent Under a Power of Attorney

We have, from time to time, addressed the importance of creating a power of attorney in our quarterly newsletter “A Step Ahead.” Through a power of attorney the “principal” authorizes an “agent” to manage property and make financial and business decisions on behalf of the principal. When an agent accepts his or her appointment, a...

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The Importance of Reviewing Beneficiary Designations

Having a well drafted last will and testament and/or trust is only the first step to comprehensive estate planning. A proper estate plan is not the result of a singular event. It is an ongoing process, affected by life events, relationships, births and deaths and changes in assets. To be truly effective, an estate plan...

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Hidden Pitfalls of Naming a Minor as an IRA Beneficiary

Naming someone as the beneficiary of your IRA or other retirement account can be a wonderful way to provide for a loved one after you have passed away. Often, the people we name as beneficiaries of our IRA accounts are our children and/or grandchildren. This is a powerful planning tool for the named beneficiary as...

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Spring Cleaning 2013

Tax season is over! Spring has sprung! It’s time to “review and renew.” Each spring, we at Berwitz & DiTata LLP encourage our clients, friends and “would be” friends to focus on estate planning, refresh those resolutions and stop procrastinating. We call it our annual “Review and Renew” program. If you have never created an...

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The Benefits of 529 College Savings Plans in Estate and Tax Planning

The price of higher education, college and graduate school, is astronomical. Many families try to start saving when the child is young. 529 College Savings Plans provide an effective strategy to save for future costs during the child’s formative years while affording tax and other benefits. Here’s How It Works: A 529 plan can be...