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Thanksgiving Update 2022

Updated: Jan 4, 2023

Hello everyone, I hope this update finds you doing well. I wanted to touch base as Thanksgiving is nearly upon us and Christmas is right around the corner. I want to mention that I will be on vacation Thanksgiving week and again November 30th through December 5th. I'll still be available by phone and email during that time for emergencies, but please be aware that I may be slow to respond during that time. In light of my vacation, I find that the end of the year comes and goes in a blur so I wanted to check in on a couple items that have come to my attention recently. 1. Apple Legacy Contact - For those of you who own an iPhone and want to be able to leave your loved ones access to your personal data and photos, check out this article about how to do it. Otherwise, some of those memories might be locked up in your phone forever. 2. Need to Contest a Medical Bill? Many of my Successor Trustee and Executor clients come to me asking about medical bills that seem outrageous during a decedent's last month or even week of life. The bills are confusing and often incorrect in my experience and I tell almost all of my clients to call customer service about a write down of these invoices. Here's a quick readon how to go about contesting a medical bill that you think is inflated or incorrect. 3. Feeling Generous? Lastly, with Christmas coming up in less than 2 months, some of you might be feeling generous. But, I want to advise against making gifts of real estate without contacting a professional first. It's not uncommon for clients (or potential clients) to contact me about deeding a property or a portion of a property to a child. While this can be done, it's almost universally a bad idea from a tax perspective and should be thought out carefully. Please be aware that a gift of this nature transfers your "basis" in the property to the donee. So, if you bought the property for $100,000 and it's gifted to another person, then the donee will have to pay capital gains on any net sale amount over this $100,000 basis. (This could have been avoided if you distributed the property through your Trust whereupon the property receives a "stepped-up basis" upon your death to fair market value). Secondly, there's a property tax headache that should be considered. Will the transfer allow for the donee to keep your current property tax basis in the property? Or will the transfer result in an immediate reassessment of the property to fair market value which could increase the property taxes substantially? Again, every situation has its own unique circumstances, but don't be Santa and gift an interest with a simple deed transfer unless you've checked in with your attorney and/or CPA first. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season and don't hesitate to check in with any questions that come up regarding your own estate planning. Take care, Jason Ebert

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