Estate Planning Basics

By definition, estate planning is a process designed to help you manage and preserve your assets while you are alive, and to conserve and control their distribution after your death according to your goals and objectives. But what estate planning means to you specifically depends on who you are. Your age, health, wealth, lifestyle, life stage, goals, and many other factors determine your particular estate planning needs.

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Advanced Estate Planning Concepts for Women

Statistically speaking, women live longer than men; if you’re married, that means that the odds are that you’re going to outlive your husband. That’s significant for a couple of reasons. First, it means that if your husband dies before you, you’ll likely inherit his estate. More importantly, though, it means that to a large extent, you’ll probably have the last word about the final disposition of all of the assets you’ve accumulated during your marriage. But advanced estate planning isn’t just for women who are or were married. You’ll want to consider whether these concepts and strategies apply to your specific circumstances.

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Estate Planning Key Numbers

You will find here some key numbers associated with estate planning, as well as the federal gift tax and estate tax rate schedules for 2012 and 2013 on the tables below.

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Should You Make Large Gifts in 2012?

Currently, the exemptions for federal gift tax, estate tax, and generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax are at historic highs, and the gift, estate, and GST tax rates are at historic lows. But, in 2013, the exemptions are scheduled to substantially decrease, and the tax rates are scheduled to substantially increase.

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Portability of Basic Exclusion Amount between Spouses

Transfers of property during life or at death are generally subject to federal gift or estate taxes. Each taxpayer has an applicable exclusion amount, which is the amount of property that can be sheltered from federal gift and estate taxes by the unified credit.

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