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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 […]
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 […]
Estate planning need not be as complicated as many people make it. Sophisticated tools are needed by the very wealthy, business owners, those with children from more than one marriage, and others with special needs. For most of us, a good estate plan is fairly straightforward. We need only the basics. Most estate plans can […]
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 ? […]