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Most discussions of estate planning, including in this newsletter, focus on discrete topics and strategies. Once in a while, especially early in the year, it is good idea to step back and look at the broader picture. There are concepts and strategies common to every estate plan and estate owner. Use these concepts and strategies […]
Few events disrupt an estate plan and family harmony more than a will contest or other challenge to the plan. The specific challenges might not be predictable, because they often are triggered more by emotions than finances. But the risk of a contest almost always is present, and estate owners should know that they can […]
A power of attorney is an essential part of an estate plan. You know that from past visits. The POA ensures that someone can manage your estate when you are unable to. Bills can be paid; investments can be managed; and other actions can be taken. Having a document called a power of attorney does […]
The marital deduction is perhaps the best-known estate tax reducer. It also is among the most misused planning devices. While powerful, the mari-tal deduction also can trigger higher taxes or other headaches. The marital deduction is straightforward. The estate executor totals the value of all assets owned by the deceased to arrive at the gross […]
What is your legacy plan? Most people are familiar with estate plans. The goals of the estate plan are to ensure that assets are transferred to the people you want in the most efficient manner, that is with the smallest burden in taxes and other expenses. The standard estate plan includes a will, a financial […]
Many people know why making gifts is part of most estate plans. Yet, they hesitate to make the gifts, because they see potential pitfalls. They fear that the gifts might be spent unwisely or wasted. The donee could squander the assets on gambling, substance abuse, or other activities. Or the wealth could be well-managed for […]
The marital deduction is key to most estate plans of married couples. It can wipe out the entire estate tax liability. But misuse of the marital deduction can create a larger long-term tax bill or cause non-tax problems. Let’s look at how to use the marital deduction and avoid misusing it. The estate tax is […]
The law of unintended consequences has struck again. Because of it, some standard estate planning tools need to be reworked, and existing plans might need some revisions in the next few years. Congress decided Americans’ medical privacy needed more protection, so in 1996 it passed the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, known as HIPAA. […]