Estate Planning 101

An overview of estate planning, including discussions about intestacy, probate, asset ownership and estate taxes.

Federal Estate and Gift Tax Rules for 2013, Including Examples

Barack_Obama_walks_through_the_West_Wing1

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…

Read more »

The Fiscal Cliff and Your Estate Planning (Part III): The Impact on You

300px-U.S_pennies

In the first post of this series, we discussed the fiscal cliff and its impact on our economy.  In the previous post, we covered the proposals most likely to be considered by Congress in the coming weeks.  In this final post of the series, we cover the impact of these proposals on you and the…

Read more »

The Fiscal Cliff and Your Estate Planning (Part II): Proposed Laws

75px-Dallin_Oaks

In Part I of this topic, we explained the fiscal cliff and how it will likely result in changes in estate and gift tax law that could affect millions of families in the coming years.  In this post, we discuss each of the main proposals regarding these taxes that seem to be under the most…

Read more »

The Fiscal Cliff and Your Estate Planning (Part I): The Basics

US_Federal_Debt_as_Percent_of_GDP_by_President

The recent election results combined with the impending “fiscal cliff” means that there will most likely be changes in tax rates in the near future. For example, we are pretty much guaranteed that the federal estate and gift tax rules will change for the 12th time in the last 13 years. In fact, chances are…

Read more »

Why Should Estate Planning Be A Priority For Me?

75px-NationalMarathonDC

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…

Read more »

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

NBI logo

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…

Read more »

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…

Read more »

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

75px-Joe_Paterno_Sideline_PSU-Illinois_2006

“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…

Read more »

What is the Federal Estate Tax? Examples Using 2012 Rates

6355404323_cf97f9c58e_s

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…

Read more »

ALERT: Gift Tax Exemptions Could Be Significantly Lowered By Next Week

The Deficit Reduction Super Committee Holds Meeting For Opening Statements

There is an increasing buzz in the estate planning community regarding the decisions the Super Committee must make by next Wednesday, November 23. As we have discussed previously, the Super Committee is made of six Democrats and six Republicans evenly split from the U.S. House and Senate.  Their task is to come up with a…

Read more »