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(Please study the table and decide what’s important to you, then as you read each section go back to the table and see if your questions have been answered.)
Estate Planning…now, this is a term that has a degree of exclusivity to it! How often do you use it in everyday life? How natural is it to think about dieing? Not very! Or, as many of my come-lately clients have said: ”I’ll be dead. Why should I worry about that….let the kids deal with that.” Well, I guess, it all depends on how much additional grief, pain and discord you want to avoid…because that’s what happens in vast majority of cases that are left to human imagination…and if there’s money involved and with a degree of personal animosity that unfortunately exists in many families added to it, the sky and the imagination of the legal profession (and that’s pretty endless) are the limits. So, now that you’ve bee a responsible person your entire life, take one more last step to leave a legacy to be remembered for avoiding helping all the parasites get rich off of your hard earned dollars.
Now that you’ve read this far…. in a simple and practical sense, estate planning simply means doing some work now to avoid court battles and troubles between your survivors, and, while we’re at it, minimizing the taxes to be paid. In other words, some amount of planning will help prevent family wars, ill feelings, keep lawyers and others from getting rich off of your hard earned dollars and minimize taxes. By the way, the recent congressional activities have reduced death taxes, but they’re still there. And, unless the laws change again, they return with the vengeance in 2011, i.e., the same laws as were in the effect in 2000 will govern again, which essentially means that the estate tax exemption will be reduced to $1,000,000. This is one area of law that you can expect lot of changes in as we go forward and it would be prudent to stay updated on this subject. Presently, you can exempt from the estate taxes the following amounts:
|Highest estate tax rate on the excess|
|* presently true, October 2005|
What are some of the things you should be thinking about and take care of before an illness or accident prevents you? Some of what you’re about to read may be depressing, but, if attended to now will prevent lot of pain later.