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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 […]
Many people naively subvert their estate plans, creating nightmares for their heirs and bonuses for the taxman. The situation is easy to cause, but also is easy to fix. The problem is that few people realize the importance of the wording of the legal title to their assets. Yet, this simple decision, often made without […]
Federal estate taxes are shrinking for many estates. That shifts the focus of savvy estate planners to state death taxes. State death taxes now loom prominently over many estates for several reasons. Before the 2001 tax law, there was a credit against federal estates taxes for state death taxes paid. Because of the credit, the […]
Estate planning discussions often assume that a married couple is involved. We all know that frequently isn’t the case. People can be widowed, and the divorce rate among older Americans is rising. The Census Bureau reports a doubling since 1989 of the number of older couples living together without being married. A single person ? […]
Why do only 10% of family businesses reach the third generation? Perhaps one reason is that only 28% of family businesses have a succession plan. Yet, 40% to 60% of current owners say they want their businesses to stay in the family. Unfortunately, few have a plan to make that happen. Estate lawyers and financial […]
The most unexpected events can cause a will to be challenged. A carefully planned estate becomes a mess as legal fees lay waste to the family wealth and acrimony drives members apart. It doesn’t have to happen. In most cases, a will contest and related lawsuits could have been avoided with a few preventive steps. […]