October 2011 Archives

Changes in tax law can complicate estate planning

Are readers are already familiar with the uncertain state of estate planning beyond 2013. Currently, the federal estate tax is set to go through some changes in 2013 unless action is taken before then. That means that until 2013, individuals are not subject to federal estate tax unless their estate exceeds $5 million, or they may give up to $5 million in gifts without paying federal gift tax. That amount is $10 million for couples.

Importance of planning before incapacity or illnesses

According to the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils, over 120 million Americans do not have updated estate plans or any long-term financial plans. And while this may not be quite as much of an issue for young people, it certainly is a big issue for seniors. While nobody likes to think about and plan for death or serious illness, estate planning is best done before it is actually necessary.

Estate planning: so many reasons to do it, P.2

In our previous post, we began looking at basic reasons for adults to think about estate planning, even young unmarried adults. As we noted, this week is National Estate Planning Awareness Week, and it is as good a time as any to start thinking about getting the wheels turning about how you wish to order your estate, if you haven't done so already.

Estate planning: so many reasons to do it, P.1

Our Alpharetta readers may be interested to know that this week is National Estate Planning Awareness Week. Yes, such a thing does exist. As is probably obvious, one of the major goals of the awareness campaign is to encourage folks to begin thinking about and taking steps toward getting their estate in order. And that applies to everybody, not just seniors.

Crummey trusts avoid estate and gift tax

Reducing gift and estate taxes, while not the only goal of estate planning, is one important aspect of it. As we have mentioned before on this blog, trusts can be powerful tools for removing assets from your estate in order to decrease estate taxes, while still providing for your family.

Jobs' estate plan kept his wealth out of public eye

Apple founder Steve Jobs, known for keeping his business private, reportedly took that same approach to his estate planning. According to sources, Jobs and his wife made use of private trusts to hold their real estate, which included at least three different properties. Those properties were apparently placed in trusts back in 2009, while he was on medical leave of absence from Apple.

Advance directives decrease family confusion on health care decisions

According to a recent study conducted by researchers from Harvard University and Dartmouth Medical School, one-fifth of Medicare nursing home patients suffering from advanced Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia were placed in hospitals and nursing homes during the last few months of their lives for questionable reasons.

Estate tax portability gives spouse joint $10 million estate tax exclusion

Our Alpharetta readers may not be aware of this aspect of estate planning, but Congress passed a new law last December that allows spouses to share the estate tax exclusion amounts with one another. This new feature of tax law is often referred to as estate tax "portability."

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