Plan Your Estate

Plan Your Estate

by Denis Clifford

Paperback(Eleventh Edition)

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Plan Your Estate by Denis Clifford

Plan Your Estate covers everything from the basics of wills and living trusts to sophisticated tax-saving strategies. The authors give you straightforward, plain-English explanations of every significant estate-planning option available, so you can make the best decisions for you and those you love.

The book covers:
*federal estate and gift taxes
*trusts used to control property left to beneficiaries
*charitable remainder trusts
*durable powers of attorney
*living wills
*funerals and burials

Completely updated, the 7th edition discusses new state estate tax rules, the new "disclaimer trust" for couples who aren't sure whether they need an AB trust, educational saving plans for kids, transfer-on-death deeds to avoid probate for real estate – and much more. Good for all states except Louisiana.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781413317206
Publisher: NOLO
Publication date: 05/04/2012
Edition description: Eleventh Edition
Pages: 528
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Denis Clifford, a graduate of Columbia Law School, where he was an editor of The LawReview, is a lawyer who specializes in estate planning. He is the author of many Nolo titles, including Quick and LegalWill Book,Make Your Own Living Trust and Plan Your Estate andcoauthor of A Legal Guide for Lesbian and Gay Couples. He has been interviewed by such major media as TheNew York Times,Los Angeles Times , and Money Magazine.

Read an Excerpt

Personal Concerns and Estate Planning

Underlying the creation of any estate plan are profound human concerns: a primal urge for order and the desire to pass on property to loved ones. A good estate plan is an accurate reflection of your deepest personal wishes. Although much of this book is about mechanics, methods and documents, it's important to remember that no matter how well you deal with legal devices, your estate plan won't succeed unless you take human concerns into account, too.

We make no claim to being experts on the psyche. Indeed, we are wary of "experts" (or anyone) who claim precise understanding of something as complex and mysterious as human beings. Happily, you don't need an expert to cope with the human realities that can come up in your estate planning. You do need common sense and candor about the strengths, weaknesses and genuine needs of close family members, and perhaps friends as well. Legal aspects of estate planning are significant, of course (that's why we're here), but should never interfere with what you know in your heart needs to be done.

Many people face no serious personal problems in their estate planning. They know who they want to leave their property to. They do not foresee any possibility of conflict between their beneficiaries, nor threat of a lawsuit by someone claiming they were illegally denied their inheritance. On the human level, these people can, happily, focus on the satisfactions they expect their gifts to bring.

Other people's situations are not so clear and straightforward. They must deal with more difficult human dynamics, such as possibilities of family conflicts, or dividing property unequally between children, or providing care for minor children, or handling complexities arising from second or subsequent marriages.

Table of Contents

Introduction: How to Use This Book
AHow This Book Works3
BWill You Need Professional Help?4
COther Nolo Resources5
Part ISetting Your Goals
1Selecting Your Estate Planning Goals
Part ISetting Your Goals2
Part IILaying the Groundwork2
Part IIIChildren4
Part IVWills4
Part VProbate and How to Avoid It5
Part VIUnderstanding Estate and Gift Taxes6
Part VIIReducing or Eliminating Estate Taxes8
Part VIIIImposing Controls Over Property9
Part IXTaking Care of Personal Issues9
Part XFamily Business Estate Planning11
Part XIGoing Further11
Part XIISample Estate Plans11
2Personal Concerns and Estate Planning
AAvoiding Conflict2
BLeaving Unequal Amounts of Property to Children5
CProviding Care for Minor Children7
DSubsequent Marriages8
ELong-Term Care for a Child With Special Needs10
FConcerns of Unmarried Couples11
GWorries About the Effect of Inheriting Money12
HDisinheriting People, Including Children13
ICommunicating Your Decisions to Family and Friends14
Part IILaying the Groundwork
3Special Property Ownership Rules for Married People
AWhat You Need to Know3
BMarital Property in Community Property States5
CMarital Property in Common Law States8
DMoving to a Different State10
4Inventorying Your Property
AInstructions for the Property Inventory Worksheet2
BYour Property Worksheet10
5Your Beneficiaries
ATypes of Beneficiaries3
BPrimary Beneficiaries3
CLife Estate Beneficiaries and Final Beneficiaries6
DAlternate Beneficiaries6
EResiduary Beneficiaries7
FGifts Shared by More Than One Beneficiary7
GEstablishing a Survivorship Period8
HExplanations and Commentary Accompanying Gifts8
JSimultaneous Death10
KProperty You Give Away by Will or Trust That You No Longer Own at Your Death11
Part IIIChildren
ANaming Someone to Take Custody of Your Minor Children2
BNaming an Adult to Manage Your Child's Property5
CHow Your Children's Property Should Be Managed6
DTax Saving Educational Investment Plans14
ENaming Children as Beneficiaries of Life Insurance15
FLeaving Property to Children Who Are Not Your Own16
Part IVWills
AA Will as the Centerpiece of Your Estate Plan2
BA Backup Will With a Comprehensive Estate Plan2
CWhat Makes a Will Legal?4
DTypes of Wills5
EWhat Property Cannot Be Transferred by Will?8
FExplanatory Letters Accompanying Your Will9
GCan My Will Be Successfully Challenged?10
HKeeping Your Will Up to Date10
Part VProbate and How to Avoid It
8Probate and Why You Want to Avoid It
AWhat Is Probate?2
BProbate Fees3
CAvoiding Probate4
DWhen You May Want Probate8
EDebts, Taxes, and Probate Avoidance8
FProbate Reform9
9Living Trusts
ADoes Everyone Need a Living Trust?2
BLiving Trusts Explained4
CMajor Decisions in Creating a Living Trust8
DCreating a Valid Living Trust13
EKeeping Your Living Trust Up to Date16
10Joint Tenancy and Tenancy by the Entirety
AWhat Is Joint Tenancy?2
BJoint Tenancy Bank Accounts3
CJoint Tenancy Safe Deposit Boxes4
DTenancy by the Entirety5
EJoint Tenancy in Community Property States5
FTax Concerns Affecting Joint Tenancy7
GDrawbacks of Joint Tenancy12
HWhen Joint Tenancy Makes Sense13
ICreating a Joint Tenancy for Property With Documents of Title15
JCreating Joint Tenancy for Personal Property Without Documents of Title16
11Pay-on-Death Designations
AChoosing Beneficiaries2
BPay-on-Death Bank Accounts3
CNaming a Pay-on-Death Beneficiary for Government Securities5
DNaming a Beneficiary for Stocks and Bonds5
ECar Registration6
FTransfer of Death Deeds for Real Estate6
12Life Insurance
ADo You Need Life Insurance?2
BTypes of Life Insurance5
CLife Insurance and Probate10
DChoosing Life Insurance Beneficiaries10
EReducing Estate Tax by Transferring Ownership of Life Insurance Policies11
13Retirement Benefits
ASocial Security2
BIndividual Retirement Plans3
DWhen You Retire7
EChoosing Beneficiaries for Your Retirement Plans8
FUsing Disclaimers for Retirement Accounts11
GProbate and Taxes11
14State Law Exemptions From Normal Probate
AWill Your Estate Qualify?2
BUsing These Rules to Plan3
CSummary of State Law Exceptions to Normal Probate3
DCalifornia Exemptions From Normal Probate7
ENew York Exemptions From Normal Probate9
FTexas Exemptions From Normal Probate10
GFlorida Exemptions From Normal Probate10
Part VIUnderstanding Estate and Gift Taxes
15Estate Taxes
AFederal Estate Tax Exemptions2
BThe Big Picture: Estate and Gift Taxes4
CWill Your Estate Have to Pay Taxes?6
DCalculating and Paying Estate Taxes9
EReducing Federal Estate Taxes13
FThe Federal Income Tax Basis of Inherited Property14
GState Inheritance and Estate Taxes17
16Gifts and Gift Taxes
AThe Federal Gift Tax: An Overview2
BWhat Is a Goft?4
CHow Federal Gift Tax Works7
DUsing Gifts to Reduce Estate Taxes9
EWhen Not to Give Property Away: Tax Basis Rules15
FUsing Gifts to Reduce Income Taxes16
Part VIIReducing or Eliminating Estate Taxes
17An Overview of Ongoing Trusts
ATrusts to Reduce Estate Tax2
BOngoing Trusts Used to Control Property3
COngoing Trusts and Avoiding Probate4
DWhat Ongoing Trusts Can't Do5
EWhen Ongoing Trusts Begin and End5
FThe Trustee6
GTaxation of Ongoing Trusts11
18Estate Tax-Saving Bypass Trusts
AOverview of Bypass Trusts2
BIRS Restrictions on Bypass Trusts4
CAB Trusts: Bypass Trusts for Married Couples6
DBypass Trusts for Unmarried People18
19Other Estate Tax-Saving Marital Trusts
AQTIP Trusts2
BTrusts for Noncitizen Spouses: QDOTs13
CMarital Deduction Trusts15
20Charitable Trusts
AAn Overview of Charitable Trusts2
BThe Income Tax Deduction4
CA Closer Look at Charitable Remainder Trusts7
DA Closer Look at Charitable Lead Trusts12
ETypes of Charitable Trusts: A Comparison15
21Other Estate Tax-Saving Trusts
AGeneration-Skipping Trusts (GSTT Trusts)2
BIrrevocable Life Insurance Trusts8
CGrantor-Retained Interest Trusts: GRATs, GRUTs, and GRITs10
22Disclaimers: After-Death Estate Tax Planning
AAdvantages of Disclaimers2
BCouples and Disclaimers4
CIRS Rules for Disclaimers5
DDisclaimers and Living Trusts8
23Combining Estate Tax-Saving Trusts
ACombining Two Estate Tax-Saving Trusts2
BCombining a Charitable Trust With Other Estate Tax-Saving Trusts4
CCombining Three Different Estate Tax-Saving Trusts5
DUsing Ongoing Trusts and Gift-Giving to Reduce Estate Tax6
Part VIIIImposing Controls Over Property
24Property Control Trusts for Second or Subsequent Marriages
AEvaluating Your Situation2
BHow a Marital Property Control Trust Works3
CRestricting the Surviving Spouse's Rights Over Trust Property5
DThe Role of the Trustee6
ESavings on Estate Taxes8
FWorking With a Lawyer9
25Trusts and Other Devices for Imposing Controls Over Property
AEducational Trusts3
BTrusts for People With Special Needs4
CSpendthrift Trusts6
DSprinkling Trusts7
ETrusts to Manage Your Own Property9
FPowers of Appointment10
GCombining a Property Control Trust With Estate Tax-Saving Trusts12
Part IXTaking Care of Personal Issues
26Incapacity: Making Medical and Financial Decisions
AMedical Decisions2
BFinancial Decisions9
CGuardianships and Conservatorships12
27Body and Organ Donation, Funerals and Burials
AMaking Your Own Choices2
BLeaving Written Instructions3
CDonating Your Body or Organs4
DDeath Notices4
EServices and Ceremonies Following a Death5
Part XFamily Business Estate Planning
28Family Business Estate Planning
AOperation of the Business2
BReducing Estate Taxes5
CAvoiding Probate of a Family Business9
Part XIGoing Further
29Using Lawyers
AHiring a Lawyer2
BDoing Your Own Research6
30After You Complete Your Estate Plan
AStoring Your Estate Planning Documents2
BRevising Your Estate Plan3
31After a Death Occurs
BProbate-Avoidance Living Trusts2
COngoing Trusts for Estate Tax Savings or Property Management4
DPreparing and Filing Tax Returns5
ETrustee's Reports to Beneficiaries6
FCollecting the Proceeds of a Life Insurance Policy6
GObtaining Title to Joint Tenancy Property7
Part XIISample Estate Plans
32Some Estate Plans
AA Prosperous Couple in Their 60s and 70s2
BA Wealthy Couple in Their 70s2
CA Single Man in His 60s3
DA Younger Couple4
EA Widow in Her 80s5
FA Couple in Their 60s, in a Second Marriage6
GAn Unmarried Couple in Their 40s7
AppendixState Inheritance Tax Rules

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"Among my favorite resources for explaining trust and other aspects of estate planning...." -- Eric Tyson, syndicated columnist and author of Personal Finance for Dummies

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