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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 […]
Many owners of substantial IRAs hope their IRAs become nest eggs for their children or grandchildren. Their estate plans include strategies that let the IRAs, when inherited, compound for as long as possible – perhaps decades. That means selecting the right beneficiaries, and being sure the beneficiaries are well-advised about their options. Unfortunately, beneficiaries often […]
Trusts no longer are just for the very wealthy. Many families use trusts for a variety of reasons. Unfortunately, trusts often can result in significant problems for loved ones long after the trust creator is gone. Problems include excess costs, poor investments, low payouts, and unresponsiveness to the family’s needs. In many states, beneficiaries are […]
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 […]
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 […]
Managing the equity in appreciated homes and second homes has become a pleasant and unexpected challenge for many. Especially on the coasts, residential real estate values soared the last five years. Suddenly owners, especially long-time owners, have properties that are more valuable than they imagined. For many families, real estate wealth exceeds the value of […]
There’s a revolution taking place in trusts used for estate planning, and just in time. Trust use is soaring. Trusts are used frequently by middle class people, not only by the ultra-wealthy. The centuries-old law of trusts is changing in many states. Many of the alterations provide more protection and flexibility for estate owners. But […]
Don’t wait until the end of the year to plan gifts to family members. Annual gifts are an important part of many estate plans, but most people don’t handle gifts the best way. Planning gifts now will increase the amount of wealth that is transferred tax-free to your heirs. The goals of gift-giving are to […]