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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 […]
Most estate plans are missing a key ingredient. Too many estate planners do not recommend it, and it isn’t even mentioned in many estate planning discussions. One reason might be that, despite its importance, the document is not legally binding on anyone. This document can clear up a lot of issues. It can save time […]
Estate planning is not about reducing estate taxes. That always was the case, but few people realized the importance of the non-tax factors until the 2001 tax law began the phase out of the estate tax. Every estate plan, regardless of the estate’s size, needs to address certain issues. Ignore these issues, and your heirs […]