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Lexington Probate and Estate Administration Law Blog

Funeral plans you make now can help your loved ones later

The last thing that many people want to think about is how they want their funeral to be when they pass away. There are a lot of things to consider if you are going to make funeral plans for yourself.

One thing to remember as you do this is that making your plans now can help your loved one in the days after you pass away. They won't be forced to make difficult decisions. Instead, they could just rely on the plans that you make now.

Understand the collection process when a loved one dies

When your loved one dies, you think that what they own is going to come to you. One thing that you might not be prepared for is that bill collectors might come calling. It is important for you to learn about what you can do if they do contact you.

Typically, heirs don't have to pay the bills of their loved ones who have passed away. Instead, the decedent's estate is responsible for paying the debts that have amassed. This means that you don't have to pay a penny out of your own pocket.

Learn your options when someone questions an inheritance

When a loved one dies and you know that you are supposed to get an inheritance from that person, you are likely waiting on it. The point isn't the money or the stuff. Instead, it is knowing that your loved one cared enough about you to leave you something. Unfortunately, some people opt to battle over inheritances, even when the person who is receiving the inheritance is clearly supposed to get it.

We know that this is a difficult situation for you to be placed in. You don't want to have to fight your loved ones who are left on this Earth for what your dearly departed loved one left you. Sadly, you know that this is exactly what is going to happen because you already found out that they are taking the matter before the court.

FMCSA Withdraws Proposal to Increase Minimum Insurance Level for Truck Drivers

The current liability insurance minimum for commercial motor carriers is $750,000. This amount was set by Congress in 1980. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has the authority to establish a minimum at or above the level set by Congress. In November, 2014, the FMCSA published an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) that sought input from carriers, insurers, brokers, and other interested parties about the effects of raising the minimum liability insurance level. On June 2, 2017, the FMCSA announced the withdrawal of the ANPR because of insufficient feedback.

Truck Driver Training Rules Become Law

In 2012, Congress mandated the establishment of national training standard changes for the operators of commercial motor vehicles as part of a highway bill. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published a new rule on December 8, 2016. After a 5-month delay for regulatory reviews, the rule setting new national training standards has become law as of June 5, 2017. There is a 3-year compliance window. Carriers, trainers, and others will have until February, 2020 to comply with the new law. The rule applies only to Commercial Drivers' License (CDL) applicants who receive CDLs on or after February 7, 2020.

You don't want to die intestate, make your estate plan today

You have worked hard for the things that you have. You probably want to decide where your things are going to go when you die. You don't want your family members to fight over them and you don't want someone who doesn't know you to decide where things will go.

If you truly want a say in what happens after you are gone, you need to create a clear and concise estate plan right now. If you don't, you will die intestate.

Your estate plan goes far beyond handing out assets

People often focus on the will when they think of estate planning. While this is an important part of the plan, it isn't the only component to the estate plan. No matter how old you are, all adults should have an estate plan in place.

Some people ask why they need an estate plan if they don't have any assets. The answer to this question is that they need the estate plan to care for their most important asset — themselves.

Probate litigation can take up valuable time and money

After a loved one passes away, that person's estate has to be handled. We recently discussed how Kentucky is one of the worst states for inheritance taxes. This should spur you to find out what options you have that might reduce the tax burden for the estate.

We know that you might have a lot to think about right now. You have to work on ensuring that your loved one's plans are followed as intended. You also have to think about making the final arrangements and trying to determine how to move forward. All of these can be challenging undertakings.

Kentucky shown to be one of 6 states with inheritance taxes

If you're the administrator of an estate, then hopefully you're aware of the different tax obligations you are responsible for addressing before it can be closed. The federal government, for its part, imposes federal estate taxes and in 14 states throughout the country, they impose a death tax as well. Six states also impose a required inheritance tax. Kentucky is one of them.

In terms of this estate tax, it requires that the heirs of the deceased pay taxes on any property, money or other assets passed down from one generation to another. The maximum estate tax rate that an heir can be asked to pay on the federal level is 40 percent. That rate, however, is reserved for estates that maintain the highest tiered value of holdings. Among the 2.6 million Americans who died in 2013, only the equivalent of 4,700 paid that rate.

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