Gift-giving as a means of estate planning

We have all heard the saying that it is better to give than to receive. This is especially true if you are a wealthy person who wants to minimize estate taxes. Giving away money or investment assets, whether to charities or to family members, reduces the size of your estate and therefore reduces the amount of estate and inheritance taxes that your estate will pay later.

The advantage of giving gifts during life is that you get the pleasure of seeing your loved ones enjoy the gift. It is a relatively low cost means of reducing your estate and can be as simple as writing a check. You don’t have to pay an estate planning lawyer to help you do it. However, you should get some initial guidance from an accountant or estate planning attorney on the laws covering these types of gifts so that you don’t inadvertently run up a big gift tax liability. Gift taxes are paid by the donor, not by the recipient of the gift.  [Read more…]

When do I update my Will?

When do I update my estate plan?

A: Estate planning is an ongoing process. You are likely to have more than one Will drafted in your lifetime. Your Will can be changed any time and is not considered final and irrevocable until your death. Your Will should take into account your family, your assets, your wishes, and the laws in effect at the time the Will is written. Over time, some or all of these factors may change, and the changes may indicate a need to review your estate plan.

Some of the events that may trigger a review of an existing Will are the following:  [Read more…]

Why do I need Estate Planning?

Q: Why do I need estate planning?
A: Everyone needs estate planning.  Life changes, and sometimes those changes come without warning.  We all age, and we are all subject to accidents, illnesses and possible disability.  An estate planning attorney can help you plan for those changes.

[Read more…]