February 2012 Archives

Grantor trusts: another effective tax minimization tool

In our last post, we took a look at Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts and their effectiveness as a vehicle for reducing estate and gift taxes. Unfortunately, this planning technique and a number of others may soon be rendered much less useful if president Obama's recent budget proposal passes into law.

Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts: an effective tax minimization tool

One of the many estate planning tools available, a Grantor Retained Annuity Trust (GRAT) is a trust to which assets are transferred for a retained annuity, which is a periodic return of the assets with interest. In a GRAT, this return lasts as long as the trust's duration. These estate planning tools can allow for significant asset transfers to family and other loved ones with minimal or no gift tax consequences.

File an estate tax return to take advantage of portability

One of the great provisions under current tax law is that, in addition to the historically high gift and estate tax exemption amount of $5 million per person, spouses have the opportunity to take advantage of any unused portion of their deceased spouse's exemption amount.

Estate planning mistakes which increase tax liability, P.2

In our previous post, we began looking at five common ways people's estate plans mistakenly leave money to the IRS. The combination of income, estate, capital gains, and gift taxes can take a substantial sum out of an estate. With some proper planning, though, these mistakes can be avoided.

Estate planning mistakes which increase tax liability, P.1

A recent article out of Vending Times took up the important topic of how to avoid passing your wealth on to the IRS. This is a particularly important issue for those who are wealthy, as they have a greater risk of losing their wealth to various forms of taxation. The topic is worth considering even for less wealthy readers who want to maximize their tax savings.

UW Wisconsin study says surgeons are wary of advance directives

A recent study by a University of Wisconsin Madison surgical professor suggests that advance directives, or "living wills," may impede the work of surgeons, even causing some to refuse treatment of those with advance directives preventing the use of extraordinary measures.

Probate sale may result without will or other disposition of property

A recent Fox Business article took a look at probate sales and their relative merits from the perspective of a buyer. As far as real estate transactions go, homes sold through a probate sale are often lower priced compared to other homes. There may be some drawbacks to these transactions, though.

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