If you ask the average American citizen how he or she feels about paying taxes most will tell you that that they don't mind carrying their share of the burden. There are certain essential services that we all partake in, and everyone utilizes the infrastructure and it has to be maintained. However, when you lay out money for any reason you want to feel as though you are not being taken advantage of or treated unfairly, and this is why many people have a lot of difficulty embracing the estate … [Read more...] about Estate Planning & Legacy Trusts
As we start to settle into 2011 the details of the new tax legislation that was passed into law in the middle of December are starting to become more clear. To look back at the path that we took to get to this point, the estate tax was repealed for 2010 but was scheduled to reappear in 2011.Though a permanent repeal would've been welcome in many quarters, it wasn't the return of the tax that captured people's attention as much as the scheduled parameters of the tax. From 2006 through 2008 the … [Read more...] about Estate Tax Exclusion Portability Included In New Tax Law
With a new year upon us it is time evaluate the things that we revisit annually and start to schedule some appointments. As estate planning attorneys we would like to think that our clients are all very proactive about scheduling estate plan reviews, but unfortunately this is not always the case. It is human nature to put off the things that "can wait," and when it comes to your estate you certainly hope that the triggering event is not approaching any time soon. Many people tend to think that … [Read more...] about New Year, New Laws: Time To Review Your Estate Plan
When you evaluate the responsibilities that you have, you generally set your priorities and act accordingly. There are some matters that you take care of once and revisit very rarely if at all (like the the wedding of your daughter...hopefully). And then there are others that you are going to have to tend to on an ongoing basis, and the management of most financial matters is going to fall into this category. But what about estate planning? Where does it fit into the scheme of things? There was … [Read more...] about Where Does Estate Planning Fit?
When you are planning your estate that shadow you see over your shoulder is the estate tax and its 55% top rate looming, so one of the primary goals is to do what you can to avoid this harsh federal levy. One way that you can transfer assets to your heirs free of the estate tax is through the giving of gifts, and when you do this you also gain the tax advantage of reducing the overall value of your estate. The government is well aware of the fact that you could give your heirs their inheritances … [Read more...] about Making The Most Of Your Inheritance Planning
Though it could be suggested that you should have an estate plan in place as soon as you become an adult in the eyes of the law, as long as you are single and sans significant assets you can probably put it on the back burner. But once loved ones are depending on your income to maintain their standing of living an estate plan does become essential. This is true when you get married and your spouse is relying on you, and it becomes doubly important when you have children. If you and your husband … [Read more...] about Your Estate & Young Children
We live in an era when divorces have become commonplace, and most people who get divorced remarry at some point, and as we all know there are those who get married and divorced multiple times. These remarriages create blended families, and when you are in a blended family situation you need to pay close attention to your estate plan. It should first be noted that any time your marital status changes you should sit down with your estate planning lawyer and discuss the adjustments that are … [Read more...] about QTIPs, Premarital Agreements, & Estate Planning
According to Jungian psychology the human mind attaches significance to symbols, and this assertion has certainly been embraced by Madison Avenue over the years. When you see a simple logo any number of messages can unfold in your consciousness, and this extends to people as well. Celebrities can become iconic figures, and what they represent can sometimes transcend their true identities as people who just happen to hold high profile positions. When people watch a scenario play itself out … [Read more...] about Timing Your Retirement
The basic goals of estate planning are to efficiently pass your assets along to your heirs and keep them intact in the process, and estate planning attorneys implement a number of different financial instruments to accomplish these objectives. One of these that can be very effective under certain circumstances is the grantor retained annuity trust, often shortened to the acronym GRAT. The GRAT accomplishes two different things if it is used successfully: it removes appreciable assets from your … [Read more...] about Should You Use A GRAT?
The estate tax is scheduled to come back with a top rate of 55% in 2011, and over the years this rate has fluctuated but it is generally somewhere in the vicinity of 50%. Many people question the fairness of a tax that sucks up half of the wealth that you have accumulated throughout your lifetime, especially considering the fact that you paid plenty of other taxes along the way. Because this tax is so devastating to the value of your assets, estate planning attorneys recommend strategies that … [Read more...] about A Look At Generation Skipping Trusts