Blog Archives

Estate Planning – Changing as We Age (Part 4)

            Last week I was telling you why the New Jersey probate process can be easy but the tax waiver system designed to protect the State’s ability to collect estate and inheritance tax can tie up your money for years.  That’s because the law requires financial institutions to freeze ½ of your account until the […]

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Estate Planning – Changing as We Age (Part 3)

            Last week I was talking about what we call senior estate planning and something called a tax waiver.  New Jersey probate – the process of administering an estate after someone dies – is easy in some respects but not so easy in others.             Let’s go back to Jack and Diane.  Upon Jack or […]

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Estate Planning – Changing as We Age (Part 2)

            Last week we were talking about how estate planning and what’s in your legal documents need to change as you age.  Our hypothetical couple, Jack and Diane, have reached their 60’s.  The focus of their plan needs to shift to what we call senior estate planning.             One of the big issues that Jack […]

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Are We in Danger of Losing the Step Up in Basis (Part 2)

     Last week we were discussing potential changes to the tax laws proposed by President Obama that would eliminate the step up in basis.  Obama claims the target is wealthy Americans but the change could have a much bigger impact on average middle class citizens.      That’s because with the federal estate tax […]

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How to Lower New Jersey’s Estate Tax

            New Jersey has one of the worst, if not the absolute worst, estate taxes in the country.  It is one of two states that has an estate tax and an inheritance tax.  Over the past 15 years the federal estate tax exemption, that amount that is exempt from federal […]

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The Bank Told Me I Need a Tax Waiver

George called me because his father had recently died.  He told me that his mother was having difficulty accessing all of Dad’s accounts.  “The bank where he has most of his accounts wants a tax waiver,” George told me. I asked a few more questions.  Dad had a few accounts at that financial institution totaling […]

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Estate Planning Lessons from a Mob Boss (Part 2)

Last week we were discussing Soprano’s actor and New Jersey native James Gandolfini, more specifically his will and estate plan which has been the subject of much comment .  Some experts have said he created an estate tax mess for his family.  Is that really true? The answer is maybe, maybe not.  While his will […]

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Estate Planning Lessons from a Mob Boss

Estate planning is not a favorite subject for most.  Who wants to think about what happens if I die?  But, when the rich and famous die, such as Soprano’s actor, James Gandolfini did earlier this summer, it becomes a hot topic, at least for a short while.   Gandolfini’s estate is estimated to be worth […]

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When Might a Gift of $13,000 Per Year Still Be Subject to Tax?

Mary‘s dad lived a long life, passing away at 80.  He left a 1.5 million dollar estate.  In an effort to minimize estate taxes he had started a gifting program amongst his 3 children and 9 grandchildren, which had reduced his estate by almost $500,000 in the last 3 years of his life.  Because he […]

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Finally a New Estate Tax Law – But What Does it Mean?

Unlike last year, when Congress tried to pass a law preventing the no estate tax in 2010 scenario, this year it did manage to pass a law extending the Bush era tax cuts that went into effect in 2002 but were set to expire on December 31, 2010.  So what does that mean for next […]

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