Answers in Estate Planning

If the only two certainties in life are death and taxes, then estate planning should be a high priority for every family.
6 votes
Herman...David & James have provided some great points. To add to their comments, I recommend reviewing and or updating your estate plan at least every 3 years or whenever a significant life changing event occurs (e.g., getting married, a divorce, ...(more)
3 votes
No you cannot avoid it if you meet the threshold of the current estate tax legislation in effect when you die. Remember the estate tax has been repealed and re-instated 3 times. It has been changed numerous time. There are stategies which you can put ...(more)
2 votes
Blair and James are right on the Mark. Let me add a gentle reminder that when Life Insurance is owned by an individual, the proceeds are included in the owners taxable estate. A strategy that is relatively easy to implement would be to transfer the ownership ...(more)
2 votes
Hi Adlai, Thomas provided some excellent information. Here are a few other items to add to it: If you have an FHA loan, generally you cannot drop PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance) for five years. If you refinance to a non-FHA loan, then the PMI requirements ...(more)
2 votes
Thomas Jensen Level 16
Contact your lender. Generally (since I don't know your sitaution I can only speak in general terms), the lender will cancel your PMI if you are current on your payments and otherwise not considered a high risk loan.
5 votes
Hello Ryder. Great question. A Charitable Remainder Trust is a tax advantaged way of leaving funds to a charity at your death. You irrevocably place money into this trust, the trust makes lifetime income payments to you from the principal, and when you ...(more)
2 votes
Herman, I recommend you review your trustee list beneficiaries at least every three years. In addition to those minor changes, a call into your estate planner that often should be made just to have them check and ensure your provisions are up to date. ...(more)
2 votes
Herman - The answer to this question depends very much upon your particular circumstances. You will want to ensure that your advance directive and medical power of attorney are in compliance with the current laws of your state, so keeping an eye or ...(more)
1 vote
The suggestion to read "Estate Planning Smarts" is not meant to replace competent advice. It is meant as a starting point for an individual that admittedly has no foundation at all, and wants to gain some understanding. The book is written in plain ...(more)
4 votes
I respect Victors views but disagree. Reading an entire book on estate planning takes too much time and may still leave you perplexed. Instead, find an estate attorney that you trust. A referral is a good way to do that. Nothing beats specialized advice ...(more)
1 vote
Vicky, this is a very big question. The first reasons you must have clear in your own mind are why you think you need a trust fund - what are you trying to accomplish that you cannot without a trust? What you would plan to fund it with? Who would be ...(more)
10 votes
Blair duQuesnay Level 14
The estate tax is a tax on money inherited by anyone other than the deceased's spouse at the time of death. Currently the federal estate tax applies only to amounts over $5,000,000. The 2011 estate tax rate is 35%, alhtough it is has been as high as 55% ...(more)
5 votes
Estate taxes are imposed by the federal government on the total assets or estate of U.S. citizens and residents when they die. For this reason, the term "death tax" has been coined to describe estate taxes in a pointed way. Currently in the United States ...(more)
2 votes
Good question, Vicky. The first question you should ask yourself is what are you trying to achieve by creating a trust? Are you trying to provide for your children in the event that you and your spouse should pass away before they come of age? Do you ...(more)
4 votes
First of all, I'm not a lawyer, and you should certainly meet with an estate planning attorney. That being said, a will, living will, health care proxy and durable power of attorney are all different estate planning documents. And a trust can either be ...(more)
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