Estate planning

Concepts included on this site dealing with federal estate tax issues may not be the most acceptable or best solutions to your situation. You should consult your attorney for advice on your particular situation.

On June 7, 2001, the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act was signed by President Bush, bringing many changes over the next decade. Effective January 1, 2002, federal estate taxes will be steadily reduced and eventually abolished in 2010. Without further congressional action, however, the law as it existed in 2001 comes back into effect for 2011 and thereafter.

Estate Planning involves developing a "plan" that will accomplish the goals and objectives of an estate owner while living and at death. These goals and objectives could include:
  • Providing cash payment of estate expenses including federal estate tax.
  • Providing income to family members after the estate owner's death.
  • Providing for the disposition of a business at death.
  • Distributing assets to family members and other heirs with the least amount of shrinkage possible.
It is an ongoing process that involves the creation, conservation, and distribution of property. The "plan" could be as simple as having a will or could require the use of life insurance, trusts, business continuation plans, or charitable arrangements.