'Estate & Gift Planning' Articles

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'Estate & Gift Planning'
articles explore the issues and strategies in the transfer of wealth - both in estate and gift planning. These issues deal with purposes of estate and gift planning, way to carry out transfers, how to handle wills, trusts, medical documents, and making sure your wishes are carried out. Some of the trust issues may occur under out Trusts-to-Use category, retirement planning, and other categories. So check the list of courses we continually update and in what category you'll find what you want.

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Why and How To Put Your Home or Vacation Home in a Trust
The use and disposition of property owned by a trust is determined by the trust’s document and trustee. If you own real estate, you may find putting it into a trust is best for you and your beneficiaries. Here’s how…read more

Understanding Gift Taxes Basics is Essential in Estate Planning for 2014
You transfer your wealth either by making a direct gift to someone or organization, or leaving it in your estate at death. The federal government taxes both ways of wealth transfer by gift taxes and estate taxes, respectively. So what are the basics of gift taxes?..read more

A Family Limited Liability Company Vs a Family Limited Partnership
A family limited liability company (FLLC) and a family limited partnership (FLP) are legal entities set up to help manage family assets, afford protection from creditors, and help reduce estate and gift taxes for transferring family wealth. Understanding how they benefit you is very important taxwise...read more


The Elderly And Their Children Must Talk About a Plan for the Future
Whether you have an elderly parent or you are elderly yourself, you must begin a conversation with your loved ones about how to handle the future. An initial one-on-one conversation between the elder parent and his or her child should begin the process of what needs to be considered. Here’s what to ask about …read more


2013 Estate Tax Provisions Retain A ‘Stepped-Up’ Basis at Death
Federal estate tax law now allows for the ‘stepped-up’ basis of a decedent’s property at the time of his death for the decedent’s beneficiary of that property. Previously, it looked like this provision was to be dropped, but our new Estate Tax Laws has affirmed its continuance....read more


Store Estate-Planning Documents So They Can Always Be Found
If you’ve ever misplace an important document, you know how frustrating it is. Well think how hard it is for someone else to find your documents when you can’t and when they don’t even know if such documents exist. Be sure to store them so they can and will be found....read more


Living Wills and Other Advanced Directives: Problems and Perspectives
The ‘living will’ was the first advance directive and the best known. You use a living will to describe the kind of medical treatments or life-sustaining treatments you would want – or don’t want - if you become seriously or terminally ill. But a key point here is that a living will doesn't let you select someone to make decisions for you....read more


A QTIP Trust Gives Income to a Wife but Preserves Assets for Your Children from a First Marriage
If you have children from a previous marriage that you want to leave property to, but still supply income to your current spouse while she lives, then a QTIP trust may be the way to go. It allows you to ensure your legacy to all your loved ones. Here’s how it works...read more


Prevent a Successful Challenge to Your Will after You Die
When you make a will you’re telling the state how you wish your assets to be distributed. But after you die, someone may still contest your will. So, it’s important that you construct your will so it can sustain a challenge to it. Here’s how you can accomplish that...read more

Important for Estate Planning Is How You Own Your Home
Exactly how you own your home determines who it goes to when you die. It is the deed to your home that shows your type of ownership; it’s all in its wording of ownership. Here’s the different ways you may own your home…read more

You Can Lower Your Estate Value and Generate Income by Selling to a Family Member with a Self-Cancelling Instalment Note
Wealthy retirees seek ways to lower their estate value to reduce estate tax because estate tax can take a big chunk of their estate. Also, since gift taxes are part of the estate tax, gifting it all way at once won’t avoid the estate tax. But using a self-cancelling installment note (SCIN), you can sell property to a family member and remove most of it from your estate if you die before collecting all the proceeds. Here’ how it works..read more

How Can You Change Your Revocable Trust?
Your circumstances change in time. A key advantage of a revocable trust is that you can change it without outright revoking it.  But you can’t just scratch in your changes. Only a correct legal change will keep your trust valid...read more

When Does Mental Capacity Prevent Signing Key Estate Documents?
Signing documents is associated with estate planning. Those documents carry powers and take effect when you no longer can. Wills, healthcare proxies, various powers of attorneys or trust documents are typical examples. But you must be mentally competent to sign these. But what does that mean, and when is it too late?..read more

A Family Limited Partnership Can Help You Transfer Your Wealth
Grandparents can set up a family limited partnership (FLP) to transfer their wealth to their offspring while maintaining management of that wealth. The grandparents can be the general partners of the FLP while their beneficiaries – children and grandchildren – hold their FLP shares as limited partners. A tax benefit of the FLP is that grandparents can use it to make tax free and discounted gifts to the limited partners. Here’s how it work...read more


A Few Reasons for Creating an Estate Plan
Estate planning essentially makes provision for your beneficiaries when you die. Not having made an estate plan can produce a lot of problems later when you aren’t there to fix or clarify them. It’s easy to put planning off with day-to-day cares, but don’t. Here some reasons to push you to get going...read more


Is a ‘Pour-Over Will’ Necessary If You Have a Trust?
If you die with all your assets in a trust you’ve created, then you don’t need a Pour-Over Will. Although you may intend that all your assets get into the trust before you die, some may not – perhaps for reasons beyond your control. That’s when you need a pour-over Will – to bring excluded assets into your trust...read more


Use a GRAT to Save on Gift Taxes to Your Kids

If you expect to have several million remaining in your estate, arrange to transfer some wealth while you’re living in a way that triggers little or no gift tax. You can use a grantor retained annuity trust (GRAT) to do so. A GRAT is an irrevocable trust set up for only a certain term of years and designed to transfer the appreciation on assets contributed to it with little or no gift-tax consequences...read more

Provide for Your Heirs but Let Them Live Their Own Lives
Estate planning allows you to decide how to provide for your loved ones after you die with what you’ve accumulated. And, you want to transfer your assets to those you intend efficiently. But be sure to transfer your wisdom to them and not your power over them. That’s part of estate planning, too. Here are some points to consider…read more

Having a Will or Not – What’s the Difference
It’s easy to put off making your will. Thinking about your death is depressing and, besides, you’re not sure of all that you have and what happens to it anyway. This article introduces you to just these issues...read more

Key Points to Know About a Will
No matter what ways you’ve chosen to ‘pass on’ your property, you should make a Will to show your intentions about any property that remains solely in your own name. This article addresses some key points to realize so you don’t delay making a Will...read more

What to Consider When You Make Your Will
You can pass property to specific people in a number of ways when you die. But if you’re going to use a will to pass property on, here are some basic issues to consider...read more

Understand Who Gets What under Your Will’s Wording
Writing your own Will can be tricky. That’s because you’re not practiced in thinking about all the changes in circumstance that can radically alter who gets your legacy. You may think you know where your money will go but you may be wrong. This article gives you some examples that may stimulate more thought about making your own Will...read more

Use a ‘Pour-Over Will’ for Whatever Doesn’t Get into Your Trust
A ‘pour-over’ Will pours into your trust everything you didn’t get into your trust before you died, but was meant to.  This article explains how a ‘pour-over’ Will is a good idea to have since some of your possessions may not – perhaps for reasons beyond your control – get into your trust while you’re alive. Your ‘pour-over’ Will brings those excluded assets into your trust after you die...read more

Two Ways Beneficiaries Can Contest Your Will after You Die
With your Will, you’re telling the state how you wish your assets to be distributed. But after you die, a beneficiary, or someone left out, can still contest your Will on either of two grounds. This article explains these grounds and thereby shows you how you can preserve your wishes against someone contesting your Will...read more

Recognize That Wills and Trusts Differ in Their Attributes and Implications
A Will and Trusts can both play a part in many estate plans. Both govern assets and their distribution. Often it’s best to use both to achieve what you want. This article alerts you to basics about how they differ...read more

The Meaning and Avoidance of Probate
Probate is the legal process by which assets that are titled solely in your name are transferred to your beneficiaries and spouse according to your will and your state’s law. If you have no will, then your state’s law completely determines who gets what. The process can be time consuming and expensive which are reasons to avoid probate if possible. Here’s the scoop…read more

Answers to Key Probate Questions to Help You Avoid It All
Probate is the legal process by which a court supervises transfer of legal title of property from your estate to your beneficiaries. Legal title of assets under control of Probate court is anything titled in your name as sole owner and has no other way to be transferred automatically to anyone else. Here are some helpful probate issues to help you avoid probate...read more

How to Keep Control of Your Elderly Parent’s or Spouse’s Assets
Often, an elderly parent or spouse may have always solely owned and controlled his assets for the benefit of himself or a spouse. But his sudden death or incapacity can prevent those assets from being used by the very people he wanted to help. This article explores what’s in jeopardy and how to quickly remedy the situation...read more

Prepare for Mental Incapacity in Your Estate Planning
The longer we live, the more we increase our chance for suffering dementia or other mental incapacities in our latter years.  You need to decide before hand to whom you’ll give the power to handle your affairs when that mental affliction happens – or even before you become increasingly unsure of your own judgment...read more

Create a Private Foundation as Your Legacy and Its Benefits to You and Yours
Are you interested in furthering worthy causes, reducing taxes, and imparting to your own future generations your interests and work. Do so by forming a private foundation...read more

Your Probated Estate versus Federal Estate – What’s the Difference?
One of the concerns that estate planning addresses is the problem of probate. This is your state’s legal process of settling a decedent's affairs supervised by your local probate court in your county. It’s a public, time-consuming, and often costly process...read more

What Makes Up Your Taxable Estate?
If you have many millions in your estate, estate taxes can rob a chunk of it from your beneficiaries. But this tax is imposed on your net estate value. That’s the value of your estate after you’ve taken allowable deductions from your gross estate. What makes up your gross estate is the value of all property in which you have any interest at your death plus some gift items you made within 3 years of death. This article overviews the deductions you can take...read more

The Generation Skipping Tax - A Loophole Cover of Estate and Gift Taxes
The generation-skipping (transfer) tax (GST) taxes anything you directly leave or gift to a person two or more generations below you – typically your grandchildren. Why it’s there and its 2011, 2012 taxation rates are what this article addresses...read more

Reasons Why and When You Should Have an Estate Plan
Estate planning is arranging your affairs so that you and your assets will be handled the way you’d want when you no longer can. Such planning generally anticipates our death as well as the mental and physical deterioration of old age that leaves us incapable of handling our affairs. This article overviews the concerns that estate planning addresses and the strategies used to solve them...read more

The Tools to Deal with Your Estate Planning Concerns
You can use a variety of tools to address the five major concerns of estate planning. This article overviews which tools are typically used for which concerns...read more

Get Your Four Essential Tools of Estate Planning Done Right
Estate Planning involves not only making decisions on how your assets will be distributed when you die but also making it clear how decisions should be carried out when you’re alive yet mentally incapacitated. The four essential estate planning tools that make your views clear to all are your will, a power of attorney, a living will and a health care proxy. Warnings about getting them done right...read more.

Use a Power of Attorney and a Medical Directive to Choose Someone You Trust to Act on Your Behalf
Many begin arranging their estate plans when they retire. But they should also arrange for what happens when they become unable to make decisions but are still living.Dementia and other afflictions leading to mental disabilities destroy our ability to act for ourselves – such as handling our financial and medical decisions. If you haven’t formally assigned someone to make those decisions for you, someone else will - and may not make the kind of decisions you’d like... read more

3 Medical Questions to Answer When You Can Before Others Determine Your Health Treatment When You Can't
To keep control of your own health-related decisions when you become incapacitated you must create distinct medical directives that answer how you'll be treated when incapacitated, when relying on life-sustaining equipment, and when you should be resuscitated. In the following I explain what each of these directives mean...read more

Estate Planning Is Important Even If You’re Not Rich – Here’s Why.
Those of you who aren’t wealthy, generally think that estate planning is only for the rich. But on considering a few simple questions and seeing what can happen to your wealth, you might reconsider having no estate plan. This article gives a few simple examples of why estate planning is necessary for almost everyone...read more


Estate Planning Addresses Your 5 Basic Questions in Later Life

You may have heard about estate planning. Your estate is composed of everything you own or control – and that includes yourself. But what is the ‘planning’ really about and should you be concerned getting it done? ...read more


Devices for Answering Your 5 Estate Planning Questions
Estate planning really means making arrangements for handling yourself and your assets when you become sufficiently disabled and when you die. But what does that entail? Here are suggestions for devices or strategies to use in your response to each question...read more




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