Don’t be misled by the fancy term “Estate Planning” – having such a plan applies to anyone, rich or poor. Estate Planning is a legal way of taking care of yourself during your life time and planning for those who will be left behind, here and now. It is better to have such a plan than to lose whatever you have worked for, however small, by paying federal estate taxes and court probate fees.
Fremont Main Library ushered in the New Year with a series of free estate planning programs with Atashi Rang Law Firm, headquartered on Spear Street in San Francisco, with offices throughout the Bay Area.
The first in the series entitled the “Estate Tax Repeal Myth” took place on January 10th. This was a very timely discussion of the new law in which Atashi Rang compared the effect of federal estate tax year by year, and confirmed the new tax law which was passed by President Obama on December 17th.
Forbes Magazine provided some pros and cons on the new tax law with
several articles by Hani Sarji during December. These articles summarize the new federal estate Tax law, comparing the years 2010 and 2011.
Obama Brings Back the Estate Tax: 35% Tax Rate, $5 Million Exemption
Dec. 17 2010 – 7:43 pm
By HANI SARJI
“On December 17, 2010, President Obama signed H.R. 4853, the Middle Class Tax Relief Act of 2010, into law. This legislation extends the Bush-era Tax Cuts and it brings back the federal estate tax for two years at tax rate of 35% and with an exemption of $5 million. The exemption and rate would be in effect for two years. “
Obama Estate Tax Deal Would Chill Estate Planning
Dec. 7 2010 – 2:42 pm
By HANI SARJI
“Under current law, if Congress reaches no agreement, the estate tax is scheduled to come back in 2011 at a top rate of 55% (60% in some cases) and an exemption of a mere $1 million for individuals.”
How the New Tax Law affects your estate plan?
If this law had not taken shape, how would that have affected your estate? The new tax law is actually of benefit to a majority of taxpayers, especially in the Bay Area where house prices have risen the most in the last decade. Take, for example, a senior who has limited income but has lived in a house since the 70’s which is now worth over a million dollars. Let us also assume the senior would like to pass the property on to the children or grandchildren. If the house should now be 1.2 million or if the senior also had life insurance, the death tax on the property or combined estate would have 1 million passed tax free but the heirs would have to come up with cash of 55% of any inheritance over 1 million. For 1.2 million this would mean coming up with at least $110,000 of tax money. Since most people may not have this kind of cash, it would mean either selling the house or confiscating most of the life insurance (if there was one to begin with).
Why Should You Have an Estate Plan?
You will have to go through Probate Court on an inheritance over 100,000 if there is no plan, with a Will or without a Will. This is very costly.
Atashi Rang lists a number of foundational documents which need to go into such an Estate Plan:
- A Pour Over Will
- A Living Trust
- Durable Power of Attorney
- Advance Health Care Directive
- Guardian Instructions for Minor Children
Take advantage of these free seminars to learn what needs to be done to have such a plan, and to check up on any plan you already have in place.
Learn how to protect your assets during your lifetime in the event of incapacity and take care of you loved ones after you are gone.
Upcoming Sessions: 7-8:30 p.m. Fremont Main Library. All sessions are free, no reservations are required:
- January 24 The Effect of Gift Tax on Your Estate
- January 31 The Parents Planning Portfolio
- February 7 Basic Estate Planning Principles
- February 14 The Pros and Cons of Having a Revocable Living Trust
- March 15 Transferring Property from One Generation to the Next
Significantly, the end of the new estate tax would be in January 2013. Remember also 2012 is an election year – the myth may again be repealed.
See Janet Novack’s recommendations:
Paul Caron has compiled an excellent list of resources on the new law: President Obama Signs Tax Package Into Law, TaxProf Blog, Dec. 17, 2010
REMEMBER, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE RICH TO PLAN YOUR LIFE AND TO PROVIDE FOR YOUR LOVED ONES !