Top Estate Planning Things to Know

January 10, 2011

Filed under: Estate Planning — Christopher J. Berry @ 8:43 pm

There was a great estate planning article I stumbled across thanks to another Michigan estate planning lawyer colleague of mine. has an informative article on the Top Things to Know regarding estate planning.

As a Michigan estate planning attorney, it is good to see some attention called to the need for estate planning.  The list of the things to know include:

  1. No matter your net worth, it’s important to have a basic estate plan in place;
  2. An estate plan has several elements;
  3. Taking inventory of your assets is a good place to start;
  4. Everybody needs a will;
  5. Trusts aren’t just for the wealth;
  6. Discussing your estate plans with your heirs may prevent disputes or confusion;
  7. The Federal Estate Tax exemption–the amount you may leave to heirs free of federal tax–changes regularly;
  8. You may leave an unlimited amount of money to your spouse tax-free, but this isn’t always the best tactic.
  9. There are two easy ways to give gifts tax-free and reduce your estate
  10. There are ways to giver charitable gifts that keep on giving.

You can read the details of this top ten list at Top things to know.

Special thanks to Michael Lictherman for calling attention to the article.

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The Estate Planning Calling

January 3, 2011

Filed under: Estate Planning — Christopher J. Berry @ 7:16 pm

As Michigan estate planning attorneys, we help our clients use, preserve, protect and transfer their wealth responsibly, to provide for themselves, their children and to perpetuate their goals, dreams and values for future generations.

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It’s Never Too Early to Plan for The Future; Your Estate Planning

January 1, 2011

Filed under: Estate Planning — Christopher J. Berry @ 2:03 am

With the new year upon us, it’s never to early (or late as the case may be) to plan for your future and your family’s future.  A very important piece of the planning is your family’s estate planning.  New Jersey estate planning lawyer Michael Manna has a great post on planning for the future on his blog, which you can read here: It’s Never Too Early to Start Planning for the Future.

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Do Estate Taxes Even Matter?

January 11, 2011

Filed under: Federal Estate Tax — Christopher J. Berry @ 9:52 pm

With all this Federal Estate Tax discussion the past few weeks, there was an interesting article in the NY Times asking if the Federal Estate Taxes even mattered?  You can read the article at Do Estate Taxes Matter?

Michigan Veterans Aid and Attendance Pension

Filed under: Elder Law,Veterans Benefits — Christopher J. Berry @ 1:36 pm

For many Michigan Veterans and their families, the Veterans Benefit known as Aid & Attendance is a confusing program to navigate with unpublished rules and limits to qualification.  However, if you can properly navigate the VA Pension program there can be a huge benefit for the Michigan Veteran and his or her family.

For this reason we created the Michigan Elder Law Center, which has a wealth of information for Michigan Veterans as well as a VA Longterm Care Booklet for veterans.

TRUIRJCA, TRA, and DSUEA | Estate Planning Alphabet Soup

Filed under: Federal Estate Tax — Christopher J. Berry @ 1:25 pm

With the new estate tax rules that have ben recently passed the estate planning world is waving goodbye to one acronym and welcoming in a few more.  Good by to EGTRRA, which was the Economic Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act that was signed into law by George W. Bush in 2001.

Now we have TRUIRJCA, TRA, and DSUEA.

TRUIRJCA stands for the Tax Relief Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act.  This is the official name of the temporary Federal Estate Tax law that for two years extends and modifies the Bush era tax cuts.

The next key acronym is TRA, which some are using as an abbreviation for TRUIRJCA.  TRA stands for Tax Relief Act.  Julie Garber who wrote a blog post TRUIRJCA, TRA, and DSUEA-New Estate Planning Acronyms You Need to Know Now, much prefers TRA over TRUIRJCA.

The last key acronym is DSUEA, which stands for Deceased Spouse’s Unused Exemption Amount.  This acronym refers to the new portability concept included in the new rules.

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