Thursday, February 28, 2008

February Dubbed "Let's Review our Will Month"

I have dubbed February as "Let's Review our Will Month" and it is rapidly coming to an end. To help you and those in your network look at this critical document and determine if what the Will says continues to meet the maker's goals and needs, I have developed an Estate Plan Review Checklist.

The Estate Plan Review Checklist is a detailed checklist poses questions to help a person evaluate the suitability of their current estate plan. Some questions posed include:

* Do you have a (i) Last Will and Testament, (ii) General Durable Power of Attorney, and (iii) Health Care Power of Attorney/Health Care Proxy/Living Will? Every complete estate plan must contain at least these 3 documents.

* Have you moved since you last updated your estate planning documents? If you moved from one state to another, there may be questions of the interpretation or validity of your existing estate planning documents in your new state of residence. Generally, estate planning documents executed in one state will be valid in another state, but your new state of residence may have specific statutes or tax laws that are not addressed in your existing estate planning documents. You may want to contact an attorney in your new state of residence to advise you as to what might need to be updated.

* Do you have a separate personal property designation? This is a separate writing where you indicate who should receive specific items of your personal property such as photographs, jewelry, art work, etc. If you have one, you should review it and make sure that it is still is an expression of your wishes. If you don’t have a personal property designation, you may want to consider creating one so that specific items will go to specific people.

* Is any person receiving your personal property a minor (under 18)? If so, your estate plan should make provisions for that property to be held by the minor’s Guardian until he or she attains an appropriate age.

* Do you have any specific gifts or bequests you want to make? Any gift of a cash amount or of an asset other than personal property should be stated in your Will. If you have given away a specific asset to a person in your existing Will (i.e. your shore house), be sure that the asset still exists. Also, your Will should provide for what happens if the specific asset is sold during your lifetime.

and many more.....


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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Economic Stimulus Package now Law

Category: Tax Law and Planning

President Bush signed the new Economic Stimulus Package into law today. For an excellent and detailed summary look to CCH 2008 Tax Alert.

Some quick hallmarks:

Tax Rebates for induvidual taxpayers with incomes less than $87,000/$174,000: At least $300 to almost everyone earning a paycheck, including low-income earners. Social Security recipients and disabled veterans making too little to pay income taxes would receive $300 checks as well, as long as they have at least $3,000 in income from various sources in 2007.

Families with children would receive an additional $300 per child. The full rebate would be limited to individuals earning $75,000 or less and couples with incomes of $150,000 or less, but a partial rebate would go to individuals earning up to $87,000 and couples earning up to $174,000. The caps are higher for people with children. Illegal immigrants are disqualified.

_Business tax write-offs: So-called bonus depreciation and more generous expensing rules to spur investment.

_Housing rescue: Allow more subprime mortgage holders to refinance into federally insured loans by raising the limit on Federal Housing Administration loans from $362,790 to as high as $729,750 in expensive areas. Increase the availability of mortgages by providing a one-year boost to the cap on loans Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac can buy, from $417,000 up to $729,750 in high-cost markets.

Information Courtesy of:
Assocaited Press

The package amounts to about 1% of U.S. gross domestic product.

Taxpayers will not have to apply for the rebate; it would come automatically based on their 2007 tax return.

Economists who have analyzed the numbers say it will give the economy a much-needed boost in the middle of the year. But almost every economist agrees that the business tax breaks will have very little impact on the economy this year. See Capitol Report.

Surveys show most consumers say they'll save the tax-rebate money, or use it to pay down debts. Only a minority of consumers say they'll spend it. To be an effective short-term stimulus to the economy this year, the money would have to be spent.

Information Coutesy of:


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Friday, February 01, 2008

Estate Planning - Men v. Women (these are the jokes)

Category: Miscellaneous Musings

A totally non-serious estate planning tale, but good for a chuckle....

Estate Planning

Dan was a single guy living at home with his father and working in the family business. When he found out he was going to inherit a fortune when his sickly father died, he decided he needed a wife with which to share his fortune.

One evening at an investment meeting he spotted the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. Her natural beauty took his breath away.

"I may look like just an ordinary man," he said to her, "but in just a few years, my father will die, and I'll inherit 20 million dollars."

Impressed, the woman obtained his business card. Three days later, she became his stepmother.

Women are so much better at estate planning than men.

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