Archive by Author

We Don’t Need No Stinking Bypass Trusts Anymore. Do We? (Part Two)

04 Apr

To preserve your estate tax lifetime exclusion, your good attorney put in your will (or your living revocable trust) a bypass trust.  Might have called it credit shelter trust, might have called it the family trust, regardless, if drafted right, it followed the internal revenue code and could receive your lifetime exclusion upon your death.  […]

The Heart of a Teacher

15 Feb

I’m teaching estate planning at St. Mary’s Law School and I have the best students.  Most are in their last semester, and although ready to graduate and receive that doctorate degree in jurisprudence, they are worried about that bar exam.  The hundreds of thousands of dollars the degree costs won’t allow them to practice law. […]

Our New Taxes

09 Feb

So we all heard that there was no estate tax in 2010, but did you know that there were no step-up in basis rules?  You see, in the years prior to 2010, when someone died and their will gave you their house, you usually got what is often called a step-up in basis.  Your basis […]

The Tax Relief…..Act of 2010

26 Jan

A blog is no place to give legal or tax advice, nor is any other medium.  When you ask your CPA or lawyer to advise you on taxes and they agree, then you’re getting tax advice.  This warning applies to everything on this website and its noted elsewhere here, but it’s worth repeating. So what […]

The Estate Tax is the Sticking Point

09 Dec

The estate tax is the sticking point.  So say the pundits this Wednesday morning, December the 8th.  The proposal accepted by President Obama, which keeps personal tax rates at their current level, sets the death (estate) tax lifetime exclusion at $5 million.  Estates passing more than that in asset value would have to pay 35% […]

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

04 Jul

Worried about getting on that plane because you don’t have a plan?  What will happen to the kids?  To the retirement plans?  The home?  You’re not alone if you have these concerns when you’re traveling on vacation.  We all worry about our mortality and capacity and how the inevitable will affect those we love. Did […]

Who gets what?

08 Jun

Think of everything you own:  life insurance policies, annuities, IRAs, 401ks, retirement plans, pensions, brokerage accounts, all the bank accounts and money markets and CDs, your home, other real estate, business interest, autos and finally, all the stuff in and around your home and on your property, furniture, computers, TVs, firearms, tools, paintings, pianos . […]

Wheels of Change

04 Mar

It was 1996, three years before I heard of Dave Ramsey.  We had 2 cars, one was paid for, and I decided I needed a truck.  Lori had just delivered our second child, fifteen months after the first.  We had my law school loans and foolish credit card debt, and we were sitting on 3 […]

A Texas Tale

01 Aug

I was on a men’s retreat a couple of months ago.  We would break out into our small group of twelve and talk about what we had just learned in the big group, what we thought.  The men’s ages ranged from twenty-something to 60-something.  We got to talking about high school and cars and and […]