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Estate Planning Archives

Poor estate planning leaves much of Gandolfini's assets to IRS

Poor estate planning could defeat good intentions and actually leave more problems than assets to beneficiaries if estate plan tax implications have not been carefully managed. The recent death of actor James Gandolfini serves to highlight the pitfalls a person could face without a clear understanding of all the tax implications of an estate plan and how to choose the best methods for the distribution of property and assets.

Special needs trusts can help your children in the future

Estate planning is an important step everyone should take to make sure their wishes are known and their assets are handled accordingly upon their death. For parents who have a child with special needs, estate planning is an essential tool that should be used to help care for your child.

Buffett, Gates might be onto something with wealth distribution

Many people in Michigan know that Bill Gates and Warren Buffett -- the billionaires behind Microsoft and Berkshire Hathaway, respectively -- have pledged to give most of their fortunes to charitable causes, rather than thier children. While this is a magnanimous gesture on their part, is it practical for people other than the ultra-wealthy to do something similar with their estate planning?

Estate planning for unmarried couples can be crucially important

Even though no one likes to think about planning for their death, it's still a vital part of life. Living wills, trusts and health proxies are all important items to have in place. However, in most states, challenges arise for couples who are not married, when it comes to making end of life arrangements.

Nowadays, assets aren't simply things you can hold in your hand

When people in Oakland County think about estate planning, more than likely, what comes to mind are physical assets: real estate -- including the family home -- cars, and household goods. Additionally, retirement accounts or stock portfolios are considered to be assets, and while you can't exactly hold the contents of your 401(k) in your hand, you could theoretically sell it and convert it to cash, which you could then literally put in your pocket.

Tips on how to ride the estate tax roller coaster

The season for changing estate tax exemptions is upon us. Only four months ago, a so-called "permanent" exemption was created for estates of $5 million or less. However, because there was nothing in the national budget proposal that said Congress couldn't change the exemption in the future, the "permanent" limit isn't all that permanent.

Andy Griffith home, not preserved in will, to be demolished

When you have significant assets and the desire to preserve a legacy, you sometimes need a few brainstorming sessions to cover all of the bases. It is also important for Oakland County residents to draft estate planning documents to ensure that your wishes are carried out; otherwise, unexpected decisions may cast asunder the plans that you assumed would come true.

Estate planning also includes preparing for life before death

When we talk about estate planning, the focus is often on how your assets and property will be distributed after you die. But Michigan residents should realize that it's also important to consider your needs as you become elderly or in need of significant -- and costly -- health care.

Planning the distribution of assets to stepchildren

An estate plan involves the use of legal instruments such as wills and trusts to distribute the assets of an estate. Many families are blended from more than one biological family, so estate planning often involves stepchildren. Readers in Oakland and Mccomb counties will want to learn more about planning an estate for stepchildren.

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