February 2013 Archives

How should I approach estate planning after the fiscal cliff deal? P.2

In our last post, we began looking at some of the ways the recent fiscal cliff deal has changed the face of estate planning. In this second part, we'd like to offer some suggestions for specific strategies folks might wants to consider when engaging in estate planning this year.

How should I approach estate planning after the fiscal cliff deal? P.1

The recent fiscal cliff deal was a big deal in the estate planning world. In addition to setting the federal estate tax exemption amount permanently at $5.25 million-to be adjusted annually for inflation-the recent fiscal cliff deal also moved the federal estate tax rate from 35 percent to 40 percent. Married couples may pass on $10.5 million free of estate tax, and spousal portability permits a surviving spouse to use any remaining portion of their deceased spouse's federal estate tax exemption amount.

Include your digital assets in estate planning

As more and more people acquire digital assets the need to protect these assets is one of the fastest growing areas of estate planning. These include email, Facebook, and Twitter accounts, as well as personal web pages and other online property. Of course, the most valuable digital assets for most people will be their bank and financial accounts. Nowadays more people are receiving only electronics statements, which can make it difficult for one's executor and heirs to locate all your assets and manage them at your death.

Why having a bank serve as trustee may be necessary for some families

Battles over control of trusts and estate are not reserved to families where billion dollar fortunes are at stake. Even families with modest wealth can experience legal complications. Perhaps this is why the choice of whom to select as executor or trustee is a very important aspect of good estate planning. When somebody is chosen who is not right for the job, trust funds may become spent in legal fees and court battles, making for less to go around at distribution.

Trust amendments are anything but DIY

Many positives have come about as a result of Americans' increased involvement in estate planning and the necessary preparation for what happens to their wealth, property, and business(es) after they have passed away. Trusts, an incredibly useful means of keeping future generations' assets secure have become increasingly common, and many families have benefitted from parents' heightened familiarity with them.

Want to write someone out of the will? It's not always easy

Many people think that the act of writing someone out of their will is a sort of cruel betrayal, and perhaps a sign of a disharmonious family. But that's not always the case. People in Georgia disinherit their relatives for a variety of reasons. Some may feel as though one child needs more financial help than another, and so they choose to channel their assets to where they are most needed. Others may have had no relationship with one of their family members, and so wish to ensure that their assets are not given to a child or sibling that they never knew.

Georgia residents not saving enough money

In some not so happy news, Georgia has been listed last among states with concerns to the overall financial security of its residents. It has been estimated by the Corporation for Enterprise Development, a think tank from the nation's capitol, that 56 percent of the state's residents do not have adequate savings to cover financial emergencies or to save for the future.

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