Basic Strategies

These are descriptions and discussions of foundational tools and ancillary documents that should be part of most estate plans.

Federal Estate and Gift Tax Rules for 2013, Including Examples

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By passing the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (“ATRA”), President Obama and Congress have agreed on a first step towards solving our fiscal cliff problem.  While neither Democrats or Republicans seem overly “happy” with the new law, their compromise has created a level of stability in federal transfer taxes unseen in well over a…

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Interview: Young Adult With Digital Assets But No Will

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It has been said that young adults without significant assets do not need a will.  In response, I present an interview with my friend “F”. F is in her mid-20s.  She has full-time employment and also runs a side photography business.  She is single and childless, but she has a serious boyfriend.  Her divorced parents…

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Why Should Estate Planning Be A Priority For Me?

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Excuse me; may I interrupt your self-imposed blog posting hiatus? Sure, what’s up? You once said that every adult needs an estate plan.  Isn’t that a bunch of hooey?  I mean, if you go to a financial planner, you hear “everyone needs a financial plan.”  If you go to an insurance salesman, you hear that…

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Follow-Up Answers to “Revocable Living Trusts in a Nutshell” Webinar

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Online Presentation This past Monday, I gave a 90-minute webinar entitled “Revocable Living Trusts in a Nutshell”.  It was sponsored by the good folks at the National Business Institute (“NBI”) and simulcast by West Legal Ed Center.  The course was geared toward a national audience and is approved for Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credit in…

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What is the Federal Gift Tax? The Rules for 2012 (And Beyond?)

Photo credit = "Taxes" by 401kcalculator.org via flickr

Image by 401kcalculator.org via flickr. Let’s discuss federal gift taxation for 2012. Our government has been fairly active lately initiating proposals for gift taxes in 2013 and beyond. For example, earlier this month, President Obama proposed the application of the gift tax rules that were in place in 2009. Since this would result in a…

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Maybe Joe Paterno’s House Transfer Wasn’t So Dumb After All

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“You see my husband as a saint, so he must be right in everything he says and does.  And then you see him as a devil, and everything he says and does must be wrong.  Well, my husband is neither a saint nor a devil.  He’s just a human being and he makes mistakes.”  Read…

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Consider Digital Estate Planning Services

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NOTE:  I am proud to announce that my post below also appears in the January 2012 edition of the WealthCounsel Quarterly Newsletter, linked here.  While written mainly for estate planning practitioners, this overview is also hopefully helpful to anyone with any digital assets.  Enjoy, and Happy New Year!  Read more...

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What is the Federal Estate Tax? Examples Using 2012 Rates

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Everyone Has an Estate For purposes of understanding the federal estate tax, we must first examine the definition of “estate” provided by the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. “Estate” Includes Property Owned at Death Contrary to what seems to be popular belief, every person has an “estate”, whether it’s worth $1 or $100 billion. An individual’s…

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Lending Money to Family – Don’t Forget About “Imputed Income”

IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman Addresses The AICPA Annual Conference

Let’s say you want to lend a significant amount of money to your child, another family member or even a friend.  To further help, you decide that you want to make the loan without interest (or at a below-market rate).  Bully for you – you should be commended for your support and assistance to your…

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Last Month in Estate Planning (October 2011)

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The following is a summary of popular topics discussed in estate planning blogs and articles last month. Federal Estate and Gift Tax Updates The IRS announced that for 2012, the federal estate tax exclusion will increase to $5,120,000 (it was $5 million in 2011).  As Julie Garber of about.com notes, this means that the lifetime…

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