With the estate tax making a comeback next year, people with taxable estates are once again looking for ways to minimize- or even avoid – their estate tax bill. You’re taxed on the value of assets you have in your “gross estate” at the time of your death, so the way to reduce your tax bill is to reduce the size of your gross estate. Here are the methods for doing that: Spend, Spend, Spend. Spending your assets is the obvious choice, and it’s also likely the least attractive. While spending … [Read more...] about How to Avoid Estate Taxes
Probate is the court-administered process for distributing your property to your heirs when you pass away. But, did you know that not all property has to go through the probate process? Generally, property that is titled solely in your name at the time of your death – and that no one else has any contractual right to receive – has to go through probate. Property that’s not in your name, or that’s in your name and someone else’s, does not have to go through probate. Knowing what property does … [Read more...] about Not All Property Is Subject To Probate
We all know that the estate tax has been repealed for the year 2010 – and that it’s scheduled to come back, in some form, starting on January 1, 2010. But did you know that, along with the estate tax repeal came a change in the income tax rules that apply to inherited property? The change applies for this year only, and here’s how it works: When you inherit property, the IRS assigns a value to the property, called the “basis”. If you sell the property in the future, the amount of your gain … [Read more...] about Inheriting? This Year, It Could Be Pricey
It’s the last thing many of us expected to be doing, and yet as our population ages, more and more of us find ourselves as the primary caregivers for our elderly parents, often before our own kids have even left the nest. While most of us are happy to take care of our parents, the job can be grueling and exhausting and –let’s face it – thankless. Here are a few tips on how to cope. Don’t forget to take care of yourself. Of course, it’s important to get enough sleep. It’s also essential to … [Read more...] about Caring For an Elderly Parent: How to Cope
Most people have at least a basic idea of what probate is – it’s the court process through which certain property is transferred to your heirs and beneficiaries after you pass away. But, did you know that your estate might be subject to probate in more than one state? The process is called ancillary probate, and it applies if you pass away owning property in another state that’s titled in your name, and that’s not subject to anyone else’s contractual rights. For instance, if, at the time of … [Read more...] about Ancillary Probate: The Basics
Of all the investment tools in our country, annuities are one of the most often misunderstood. And because there are different types of annuities – fixed vs. variable for example – the confusion grows even more. But before you shy away from an annuity, know this: there are many benefits to this type of investing vehicle. Let’s look at some of the more common misconceptions about the fixed annuity. Fixed annuities are not a good investment if you are close to retirement. On the contrary, … [Read more...] about Understanding Fixed Annuities
Today’s society is all about “doing it yourself”, from building your own backyard deck to writing your own Will. And while many of these projects are great to try on your own, estate planning isn’t one of them. Estate planning can be very complex, and for this reason you will want to hire an expert attorney to help you with the process. Someone that is experienced in estate planning can help you through the process so that your estate plan is solid, and will actually do what it is suppose to do … [Read more...] about The Do It Yourself Estate Plan: Why It’s a Bad Idea
After the death of a loved one, the last thing you want to be forced to devote time and energy to is figuring out how to navigate the maze of probate. The term ‘probate’ refers to a legal process that is used to divide or dissolve a deceased person’s property and assets (or ‘estate’) when there are questions about its legal standing. In addition to being frustrating and confusing, the process of probate can be a needless drain on finances at a time when a family’s resources are stretched to the … [Read more...] about Simple Steps to Avoid Probate: Payable-On-Death Accounts
Among all the types of legal proceedings, the process of dissolving and distributing an individual’s estate after his or her death – commonly known as ‘probate’ – has developed a reputation for being particularly unpleasant, and with good reason. Although the process has been established by lawmakers with the best of intentions – namely, to create an equitable distribution of property and to ensure that the deceased’s wishes are being carried out, insofar as it is possible, in the estate … [Read more...] about Understanding Estate Planning Law: What is the Uniform Probate Code?
A guardian of a minor is an individual named by parents or by the court to take legal custody of a minor or their property or both. Normally, this is a task the parents face while drafting a will as part of their estate plan. But in the event of an emergency, who will care for the children? Many parents assume a family member or close friend will step up to the plate, and they often do – but what legal standing does this person have? Not much, and if parents are temporarily incapacitated, … [Read more...] about Short Term Guardianship: Who Will Care for the Children?