The Clock is Ticking on the Gift Tax Exemption

American families only have until midnight of December 31, 2012 to pass along assets amounting up to $5.12 million without fear of being taxed by Uncle Sam. Couples can give a combined gift of up to $10 million to their children – tax free.  For wealthy families, this is a golden opportunity that should not be

2017-02-23T01:57:42+00:00 February 12th, 2012|Tags: , , , , , , |

How to Leave a Fair Will

Creating a will that gives uneven shares to adult children often leads to bitter questions, disappointment, and ultimately, disharmony in the family. The reasons for giving one child more (or less) money in a will may not be as clear cut to the children as it was for their parents. A recent article posted on

2017-02-23T01:57:05+00:00 February 12th, 2012|Tags: , , , , , , |

Dying with Dignity

Everyone dies; even doctors. One difference between doctors and the rest of us is that doctors, despite knowing all their options and being in the best position to obtain virtually any kind of medical care they require, often prefer to receive little treatment in the end. A recent Wall Street Journal article titled, Why Doctors Die

2017-02-23T01:55:38+00:00 February 6th, 2012|Tags: , , , , |

A Nonfinancial Estate Planning Checklist

Amidst the end of year rush to make the most of the gift tax exemption before it expires, a recent Wall Street Journal article reminds us that the focus should not be on wealth alone. The article lists 10 nonfinancial areas to address.  Here are six of my favorites: 1. What, if any, concerns do the

Act Now — Gift Tax Exemption

The article Is It Time to Panic About the Gift Tax Yet? by Kelly Greene was posted on the November 16, 2011 online edition of the Wall Street Journal. It advises people to act now in order to take advantage of the $5 million lifetime gift-tax exemption before Congress amends the limit again. The article also includes

2011-11-30T00:10:03+00:00 November 30th, 2011|Tags: , , , , , |

Leaving a Legacy

The article Heiring Grievances was posted by Ruth Mantell on December 12 on the online edition of The Wall Street Journal. It encourages parents with multiple heirs to think about the emotional legacy they will leave behind when making decisions about inheritances. It notes two key considerations during the planning process – how parents want to

2017-02-23T01:54:33+00:00 February 26th, 2011|Tags: , , , , , , |

How to Handle an Inheritance Windfall

The challenges and consequences of inheritance Leaving money or assets to beneficiaries such as your children is a wonderful gift.  It's important to plan that gift thoughtfully so that the gift can be used as you intend without causing needless conflict between your beneficiaries or lost opportunities for beneficiaries who aren't ready to handle the assets.

2017-02-23T01:50:41+00:00 February 24th, 2011|Tags: , , , , |

Advance Health Care Directives

One important component to a living trust - centered estate plan is an advanced health care directive (formerly known as "living wills").  This 2010 article from the Los Angeles Times cites a study that says that over the past 15 years or so, the number of people with health care directives has risen from 20% to

The Missing Link in Your Estate Plan

This article from the Wall Street Journal and Smart Money magazine briefly discusses the benefits of creating a Letter of Last Instruction.  This is a document that you would prepare along with your estate plan to give your children or other loved ones guidance on how to help if you pass away or become incapacitated.  The

2017-02-23T01:51:11+00:00 February 20th, 2011|Tags: , , , , |