In This Economy the Right Estate Plan Becomes Your Best InvestmentMay 1, 2012
All estate plans are not created equal. When I consult with readers who are experiencing estate-tax problems, they are either looking to maintain their wealth, grow their wealth, or get rid of their wealth to family and/or charity.
Regardless of the category, the economy troubles almost every reader I talk to. However, over the years, the most common concern of almost all readers is the gnawing feeling that their estate plan is just not right and it could be better, but they don’t know what to do about it. Often this is because they have a traditional estate plan (TEP)—a simple set of documents that includes a short will, with a longer trust that typically contains a a family trust and a residual trust.
While a TEP is a good start to estate planning, it never can conquer the IRS estate-tax monster. The best a TEP can do is defer the estate tax until both the husband and wife have died.
A recent e-mail from a reader (Joe) explains the problem of a TEP. Joe writes: “I would like you to review my (and his wife Mary’s) Revocable Family Trust. My Ohio lawyer thought that the documents should be reviewed by a Florida lawyer.” Joe was looking to disperse his wealth to family and/or charity, and intended to become a Florida resident.