Disclaimers: When Rejecting an Inheritance is Actually Beneficial

February 1, 2012
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For 2012 only, anyone who dies with less than $5.12 million will not owe any federal estate tax.  This protection is presently set to decrease to $1 million on January 1, 2013.  While few believe that lawmakers won’t increase this amount before the end of the year, anything is still possible.  Read more...

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

January 26, 2012
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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

January 5, 2012
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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

December 21, 2011
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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”

November 28, 2011
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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ALERT: Gift Tax Exemptions Could Be Significantly Lowered By Next Week

November 15, 2011
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…

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Last Month in Estate Planning (October 2011)

November 7, 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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