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March 2012 Archives

Domestic Asset Protection Trusts: an uncertain asset protection vehicle

As we have pointed out before on this blog, asset protection planning is a discipline that often goes along with estate planning and which involves a number of techniques that have the goal of protecting one's assets from claims of creditors, though without engaging in concealment or tax evasion. The goals of asset protection often overlap with those of estate planning, and so it is important to consider them together.

Winehouse's lack of will a reminder of the importance of estate planning

Our Bergen County readers may remember the news which came last July of the death of English singer and songwriter Amy Winehouse, who tragically died of alcohol poisoning. According to recently released probate records, Winehouse had about 4.6 million in U.S. dollars to her name, after taxes. Winehouse, it has been revealed, died without a will, and consequently her entire estate will be going to her parents.

Whitney Houston will contains several surprising features

The recent death of Whitney Houston has been an occasion for the music industry to mourn one of its greatest talents. For estate planners, it has been an occasion to learn from mistakes she and her attorneys made in her own estate plan.

Techniques high-powered executives use to avoid taxes

A recent Forbes article explored the various tactics used by wealthy men and women, particularly those with high-growth investments, to minimize tax liability. As our New Jersey readers know, avoiding estate and gift tax liability is an important aspect of estate planning, particularly since New Jersey is among the states that tax wealth transfers the most.

Aging parents, blended families present challenges, uncertainties for estate planning, P.2

In our last post, we began looking at the increasing problem of caring for elderly parents, and how this can financially affect the adult children who care for them, as well what those children can expect for an inheritance. As we've noted, adult children are often caught between a feeling of duty or a debt of gratitude to care for an aging parent and a desire to receive a handsome inheritance.

Aging parents, blended families present challenges, uncertainties for estate planning, P.1

Estate planning is sometimes a relatively simple process. In other cases it can be downright complicated. The complication may come from managing a variety of complex assets, but it can also come from complication in the family itself.

Estate planners can help noncitizens minimize estate, gift tax

Minimizing estate and gifts taxes is an issue which is on the minds of a lot of those with estate plans. And minimizing estate and gift taxes is a central goal of estate planning attorneys, who employ a number of tools and approaches to get the job done.

Testamentary trusts can help keep inheritance in family

As some of our readers have experienced firsthand, divorce can have an impact on how one approaches estate planning. Conversely, the way one constructs one's estate plan can impact divorce. One of the ways it can do this is in the area of property distribution. For example, the way one leaves wealth to children can impact how property division is determined in the event a child gets divorced.

Grantor retained annuity trusts can minimize estate, gift taxes

In our last post, we took a look at the Intentionally Defective Grantor Trust as a technique for minimizing estate and gift taxes. Another technique, also trust-based, is the Grantor Retained Annuity Trust (GRAT). GRATs can allow those who establish them to transfer a significant number of assets with minimal or no estate and gift tax.

Grantor trusts can help minimize estate, gift tax

Trusts can be a very valuable tool in estate planning, particularly with respect to estate and gift tax minimization. Various types of trusts can be established for this purpose, though the setup one chooses should be based on the particulars of their financial and family situation, as well as their goals.