Estate Planning

Estate Planning Articles

2010, a Tax Odyssey

A summary of the changes in the estate tax, gift tax, generation-skipping transfer tax, step-up in basis, and recommended gifting strategies over the next eight years. Featuring a chart that highlights all the changes through 2010. (Published in Vital Times, July 2002. Updated January 2005 and April 2008.)

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5 Asset Protection Planning Mistakes That Can Annihilate Your Business And Personal Finances!

The honest unvarnished truth is that the vast majority of business owners and individuals fail to take simple precautions to protect and preserve their personal and business wealth.

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The ABC´s of Michael Jackson´s Will

A detailed outline of the major declarations contained in, and an objective analysis of Michael Jackson´s Will. Written by Alan G. Orlowsky, President of Orlowsky & Wilson, Ltd. in Lincolnshire, Illinois.

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A Checklist for Life’s Only Certainty

When a loved one is dying, you may be too distraught to think rationally about that person´s financial and legal affairs. But someone will need to take care of those matters, to protect your loved one´s estate and prevent matters from falling into neglect or chaos. Hopefully you won’t need this checklist soon, but keep it in a safe place – you will need it someday. (Published in Vital Times, October 2002)

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Baby Boomers: Do Your Parents Have an Estate Plan?

Help protect your parents from the ravages of estate taxes, fraudulent investments, and unscrupulous creditors; and preserve their wealth for the sake of future generations. (Published in Vital Times, January 6, 2005. Updated April 2008)

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Charitable Donation Strategies

Benefit your favorite charities and enjoy generous tax advantages, using such tools as charitable remainder trusts, donor-advised funds, and charitable foundations. (Published in Vital Times, September 2001. Updated September 2002 and April 2008)

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Common Avoidable Estate Planning Mistakes That Can Have Devastating Consequences!

Frankly I am often stunned by the endless mistakes smart folks, just like you, make in planning their estates…or failing to plan, as the case may be.

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Do You Need Long-term Care Insurance?

If you’re worth less than $3 million and are still in pretty good health, the answer may be yes. (Published in Personal Finance, March 13, 2002)

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Do-It-Yourself Estate Planning

Alan Orlowsky reviews several books, software products, and websites that help you create wills, living trusts, powers of attorney and more. (Published in Pioneer Press newspapers, December 2003)

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Estate Planning for Blended Families

The blending of two families, often involving sets of children from previous marriages, can create complex challenges. (Published in Pioneer Press, December 1999; and Prime Times, January 2000. Updated April 2008.)

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Federal Tax Rates On Income, Dividends and Capital Gains through 2011

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Five Common (and Costly) Estate Planning Mistakes

How you can avoid making them, and save yourself a fortune. (Published in Vital Times, December 2001)

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Four Fatal Estate Planning Omissions

Many people believe that as soon as their estate planning documents are signed, witnessed, and notarized, their estate plan is final. They often overlook important post-document-signing tasks. Omitting these tasks can undo an otherwise brilliant plan. (Published in Personal Finance, April 24, 2002)

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Four Steps to Smart Estate Planning

Smart planning involves preparing key documents such as a will, trusts, and powers of attorney; giving gifts and making charitable donations; and buying adequate life insurance. (Published in Prime Times, November 1999. Updated September 2002 and April 2008)

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How to Be the Best Trustee

Serving as a successor trustee involves numerous responsibilities. Upon the death of the primary trustee, your job would be to manage the trust assets, distribute funds to the beneficiaries, and file annual reports and tax returns, among other duties. Before you accept the honor, read this article. (Published in Personal Finance, December 13, 2000)

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How to Inherit a Fortune

If you receive a large bequest or gift, you will have to address issues of income tax, disposing of real estate, estate planning, investing, discretionary spending, charitable donations, privacy, etc. (Published in Personal Finance, 9/12/01. Updated June 2005 and April 2008.)

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Inheritance Wars

Five steps you can take now to protect your estate from disgruntled heirs. (Published in Vital Times, March 2003)

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Just Let Go!

The biggest obstacle to smart estate planning is the fear of losing control of your wealth. But a good estate plan can make you feel more secure, not less. (Published in Pioneer Press newspapers, October 21, 2004. Updated April 2008.)

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No-Contest Provisions in Wills and Trusts

If you anticipate a frivolous and/or false challenge to the validity of your will by an heir who feels slighted, you may want to add a no-contest provision that essentially cuts off anyone who contests the document. But beware – it’s not for everyone. Includes a sidebar on legal grounds for contesting a will or trust. (Published in Personal Finance, 1/8/03)

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Only You Can Prevent Feuds Between Your Children

By taking three simple precautions now, you can prevent – or at least minimize – feuding between your adult children over their inheritance when you die. (Published in Vital Times, November 11, 2004 and updated April 2008)

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Protect And Preserve Your Financial Plan With Smart Estate Planning

Investing in today’s confusing and volatile financial markets, with a myriad of financial products to choose from and numerous arcane rules and regulations to cope with, often involves the help of an experienced financial planner.

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Provide For Your Grandchildren and Pay Less Tax

Leave assets to your grandchildren without paying estate tax twice. (Published in Vital Times, October 2000. Updated September 2002 and April 2008.)

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The Estate Plan Syndrome

Many people don’t want to contemplate their own death, some fear giving up control of their finances, and others avoid estate planning because of strained family relationships. This article, coauthored by a psychologist, suggests ways to overcome those obstacles. (Published in Insight on Estate Planning, October 2000)

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The Tax Relief Act of 2001

The federal estate tax will “phase out” over the next nine years, but then will return, unless Congress changes its mind. (Published in Personal Finance, July 11, 2001; and in The Big Picture newsletter, November 2001. Updated April 2008)

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What to Do if Your Parent or Spouse is Incompetent

Taking over a loved one’s finances can be tricky. In the worst case scenario, you must go to court to have your parent declared legally disabled. But there are a few steps you can take to avoid legal action. (Published in Pioneer Press, May 2000; and Vital Times, April 2001; also discussed on CLTV’s program “Your Money,” February 8, 2002)

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When to Review Your Estate Plan

Your circumstances change, and so should your estate plan. Review your plan after certain landmark events, including a catastrophic illness, the death of a spouse, your marriage or divorce, the birth of a grandchild, etc. (Published in Pioneer Press newspapers, 3/15/01)

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