What Really Went Wrong with Michael Jackson’s Estate?

posted: August 21, 2009

Without getting into the specific provisions of Michael Jackson’s Will (because that is an entirely other story), the biggest mistake (in my opinion) was that Michael Jackson trusted the wrong people.  Both his attorneys and his financial advisors failed him in advising him and guiding him.  With all the money and assets that he had, […]

What is a Gift Tax Annual Exclusion?

posted: August 20, 2009

The Gift Tax annual exclusion in 2009 is $13,000.  This allows an individual to gift up to $13,000 of cash property per year to each child (or any other person), free of any gift tax.  If you are married, you can gift $26,000 per year, per person tax-free.  This could be from your property, your […]

What is a Credit Shelter Trust?

posted: August 19, 2009

This is probably the most popular type of arrangement for married couples with substantial estates.  It provides that at the death of the first spouse, his/her estate will be split into two parts.  One part, equal to the estate tax exemption amount ($3,500,000 in 2009) would go into a Trust so it would not be […]

So You Think Your Estate is a “Small” Estate?

posted: August 18, 2009

You may not think you have a “small” estate after knowing the following. Assets that are included in determining the value of your Estate may surprise you.  Your gross estate for Federal estate tax purposes is a broad concept.  It is not limited to probate property or by state tax exemptions.  It includes all your […]

It is a No Brainer!

posted: August 17, 2009

I wanted to comment on a phone call I received the other day.  I received a call from a married mom with two minor children.   Both parents work full time and drive to and from work.  She and her husband currently did not have any Estate Planning in place.  They both had life insurance policies […]

Benefits for Surviving Spouse

posted: August 11, 2009

If you are a surviving spouse and need some assistance on where to start and what to do regarding claiming spousal benefits, you may want to consider visiting http://www.aarp.org/family/lifeafterloss/articles/final_details_claiming_benefits.html and reading the article “Final Details: Claiming Benefits” compiled by AARP.  It is a good start and should help alleviate a few obstacles or at the […]

Why Choose an Attorney over “Do it Yourself” Estate Plan?

posted: August 9, 2009

We are all looking to save money where we can.  We cut back on the car wash – we wash our own cars now. We cut back on going to the movies – we rent more now.  We save on gas – we make more stops in the same trip.  Doing all these things will […]

Do YOU need an Estate Plan?

posted: August 7, 2009

Ask yourself these few questions: 1.  I have made appropriate legal arrangements to appoint the person or persons I want to make my personal, health care and financial decisions should I ever become disabled. 2.  I have made appropriate legal arrangements to appoint the person or persons I want to raise my minor children to […]

Surprise…a tax increase!

posted: July 25, 2009

Some surprises are great, like a surprise birthday party.  Some surprises are not so great, like a tax increase. It would seem to me that in this economy, that the North Carolina Democrats would perhaps rethink if not postpone any increase in taxes. In all honesty, are any of us really surprised? On June 22, […]

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