- Thursday, 10 November 2011 20:04
Rumors are circulating that the $5 million lifetime gift exemption will end on November 23 when the Congressional Super Committee makes it recommendations. If you are contemplating making a large gift, I advise doing it now rather than taking a chance by waiting later.
- Friday, 04 November 2011 20:03
In an interview with an estate planning author, the key points are to have flexible documents and that attorneys add value over the low cost of do it yourself will packages.
- Thursday, 03 November 2011 20:02
Half of the top 10 richest individuals in the US inherited their wealth. The US could be returning to a period where large fortunes were the result of trust funds or energy production.
- Wednesday, 02 November 2011 20:01
Five years after his death, the estate of James Brown remains embroiled in litigation. One of the lessons to be learned is to update estate planning documents after a re-marriage or birth of a child. His failure to do so has led to some of the litigation.
Side note: Is it really 5 years since he died? Seems like 2 or 3 years ago.
- Friday, 28 October 2011 20:00
Steve Jobs apparently used trusts to shield his post-mortem financial affairs from the public. I have always viewed privacy as an ancillary benefit of trust planning (behind estate tax reduction, delaying distributions to children, and avoiding the probate process), but in the case of Steve Jobs, who reveled in secrecy, the privacy provided by trusts is paramount.
- Tuesday, 25 October 2011 19:59
A simple slideshow that addresses estate planning issues faced by women.
- Tuesday, 25 October 2011 19:58
Another article that reflects that estate disputes are most often about personal property, not money. I recommend that clients prepare a memorandum to distribute specific items that are of sentimental value. Also, giving an item away during life is a good strategy.
- Thursday, 20 October 2011 19:56
Yes, there really is such a week. Anyone who is over 18 – whether single, married, young, old, wealthy, healthy, sick or poor – should implement estate planning documents that meet their needs and goals. This is also a good time to review current plans to make sure that it meets your current goals.
- Friday, 14 October 2011 19:55
A quick overview of estate planning issues faced by same sex couples.
- Wednesday, 12 October 2011 19:54
Money magazine provided a nice overview of estate planning last year.
- Thursday, 06 October 2011 19:53
Steve Jobs’ 2005 commencement address at Stanford has some great ruminations on life and death.
Unrelated to anything else on this blog, but worth sharing because they are from the most innovative man of our lifetimes, a list of the best Steve Jobs quotes is here.
- Monday, 03 October 2011 19:52
With changing estate tax laws and proposed caps on charitable deductions, charitable gift planning has become complicated. A brief review of the issues ishere.
- Friday, 30 September 2011 19:51
In addition to increasing the federal estate tax exemption to $5 million, the 2010 estate tax law changes also permit the surviving spouse to utilize the unused portion of the deceased spouse’s federal exemption. To enable this process, the estate of the deceased spouse must file a federal estate tax return even if the return would normally be unnecessary due to the estate being less than $5 million.
- Thursday, 29 September 2011 19:49
With a $5.0 million estate tax exemption, a trust to shelter insurance proceeds from estate taxes might not seem necessary. However, given the uncertainty about future estate taxes starting in 2013, owning insurance in an irrevocable Crummey trust makes sense for some people.
- Wednesday, 28 September 2011 19:47
This writer argues yes, unless you are very wealthy, and gives some tips on navigating the process.
- Friday, 23 September 2011 19:46
A very negative portrayal of an executor’s duties which make the task seem much more difficult than it usually is.
- Thursday, 22 September 2011 19:45
Fascinating article about how families deal with the benefits and pitfalls of large sums of inherited wealth. The story about the Norton family in Minnesota is a blueprint on how to handle it successfully and prepare children for their futures. The article also had the following tips which apply to all families:
The Stages of Wealth
Start educating your child early, and keep at it well into adulthood.
AGE 8: Each week put a small allowance — $1 to $5 in dollar bills — into an envelope and hand it to your child. Explain that it’s up to him to decide whether to buy candy or save up for, say, a skateboard. (Don’t undercut the lesson by buying the skateboard yourself.)
AGE 10-12: Invite your child to start attending regular family meetings. Discussion items: How lucky we are to be financially comfortable and what we as a family think is the purpose of our money. Should we take fancy vacations or give to charities? Make it clear your kid’s opinion matters.
AGE 12-14: Make sure your kid knows how to manage a checkbook. And at the family meetings, start making it clear where the family money came from–somebody’s hard work! Start setting future expectations: Tell your child, “You’re going to have to make your own fortune,” or “Someday this will all be yours to preserve.”
AGE 14-16: Don’t be afraid to invite your banker or financial advisor to attend family meetings. It can be easier to have a neutral third party broach delicate topics such as a prenup and how much money you plan to leave your kids.
AGE 15-20: If the message isn’t getting through, initiate steps for a “beneficiary rescue.” Shift assets from normal investment accounts and minors’ trusts into entities that you firmly control, such as family limited partnerships.
AGE 20-25: Make it clear you’d welcome your kid into the family business — as soon as he’s ready. College is a first step, and training at someone else’s company can offer perspective. Remind your child that you love him and have total confidence in his ability to make his own way into the world. He’ll thank you for it when he’s 40.
- Tuesday, 20 September 2011 19:44
Article from Sunday’s Cincinnati Enquirer about end of life decisions.
- Monday, 12 September 2011 19:42
Strategies for drafting a will that favors one child over another child(ren). I advise my clients to leave all children at least some amount (not the nominal $1), but provide that the bequest is conditioned on the child not contesting the will. If the child contests the will, he will lose his bequest.
- Thursday, 08 September 2011 19:41
An overview of rules which apply to clients who re-marry but have children from a prior marriage. There is a distinction between 401(k) plans and IRAs because ERISA rules do not apply to IRAs which make them more flexible.