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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 […]
Anyone can make unlimited tax-free gifts. The strategy gets wealth out of your estate, and unlike many other gifts, you can be sure of how the money will be used. The strategy of maximizing tax-free gifts is growing in popularity, especially since the change in Congress makes it unlikely that elimination of the estate tax […]
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 […]
Recent laws are making it easier to use dynasty trusts to make wealth last for multiple generations. Not too long ago creating a dynasty trust that lasted for generations was difficult. Those of us who took Estate & Trusts in law school tried to learn the intricacies of something called the Law Against Perpetuities, complex […]
In our past discussions of estate planning, I often have emphasized that estate planning is the process of building a legacy. When people think estate planning is about money, property, and death, they tend to ignore the process. When they realize it is about values and other elements of building and living a legacy, they […]
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 […]
Without a letter of instructions and good organization, the heirs are forced to engage in the old-fashioned property and document search. Sometimes it is comical. Sometimes things get ugly. Always a lot of time and effort is wasted. Estate planners tell stories of important documents that never are found and of other documents that are […]
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 […]