For families with a special needs dependent child or adult, few things in life are “normal” or “routine.” And when it comes to estate planning for these families, the rule stays the same.
For those of you who have been following the news, you have probably noticed the jockeying that has been going on between the democrats and the republicans as each party makes their final push to pass their year-end legislative agendas. While this political posturing many times leads to legislative gridlock to the point where no meaningful legislation from either side of the aisle gets passed, this December may prove to be different.
Lately, the unknown future of the federal estate tax has taken the spotlight on the stage of estate planning issues. Will the government let the existing estate tax exemption phase out, thus making the exemption available only to those estates worth $1.5M or less?
For many people, the bulk of their estates often times consist of their interests in real property. Whether it be a primary home, a vacation cottage, or an investment property, a great many people own real estate of some sort or another. And for many of those people, that real estate is located in a state different from the one in which they live.
The term “community property” is one of those terms that, although thrown around quite a bit in common, everyday conversation, has a very specific legal meaning. It is, as lawyers say, a “term of art.” For most common conversations, the term simply refers to those things that are owned jointly by a husband and wife as a result of their marriage.
Many people think that estate planning is a one-time thing. Nothing could be further from the truth. For most people, their financial, social, familial and health related issues, challenges, concerns change dramatically between the ages of 30 and 60. What was a sound estate plan in your 30’s may not be sophisticated enough for you 50’s.
In case you did not know, the federal estate tax disappeared in 2010. That means that the estate of anyone who passes away this year will pass to that person’s heirs tax free. While that is a wonderful thing for the accumulated wealth of those fortunate enough to pass away this year, the rest of us face an uncertain future regarding the federal estate tax laws.
Under the current law, the federal estate tax will rise from the ashes on January 1, 2011. Only $1 million will be exempt from a 55% tax, meaning that many more families need to start planning.