Tax Exemption Portability Crucial in Estate Planning

When people think portability, they imagine lightweight laptops and folding chairs. These items owe their existence to ingenious inventors satisfying the craving for convenient transport. With this definition in mind then, it only makes sense that an estate planning tool designed for easy “transport” of tax exemption from one person to another would be called Tax Exemption Portability. “After portability came into being on January 1, 2011, the unused estate tax exclusion amount could be “ported” to the surviving spouse for use in making gifts and sheltering his or her own estate, writes estate tax expert Lorraine F. New in her Continue Reading…

Won the lottery? Now What?

What would you do if you won the lottery for $1.5 billion? Michigan is buzzing about the universal hot topic of the moment – the historic Powerball prize. Almost everyone has a fantasy of what they would do if they won the lottery. They’d travel, buy a plane, send all the grandkids to college, donate to charity, etc. At any given moment this Tuesday, at least one person is secretly daydreaming about their life on a private island. All the imagining and conversing may be fun in the hypothetical, but what if you really truly won the lottery. There are enormous tax, Continue Reading…

Lady Bird Deed is Estate Planning Tool

A “Lady Bird Deed” is a tool of estate planning that allows the transfer of ownership of property to an heir. It’s more official title is “enhanced life estate deed.” In Michigan, by utilizing a Lady Bird Deed, property can be passed down to direct relatives without probate or “uncapping” the property tax valuation. These are standard benefits of life trusts. What makes a Lady Bird Deed unique is the transferor’s retention of the right to sell or lease the property during his or her lifetime. As Rockford, MI Lawyer Kary C. Frank’s article, “The Search for The Lady Bird Continue Reading…

Death Tax: Certain?

If nothing is certain but death and taxes, then the so-called “Death Tax” should be the gold standard for certainty.  But is it? Here’s the latest in estate tax developments. The Estate Tax is defined as, “a tax on property (cash, real estate, stock, or other assets) transferred from deceased persons to their heirs,” according to a Center on Budget and Policy Priorities article, “Myths and Realities About the Estate Tax” written by Chye-Ching Huang and Nathaniel Frentz. Repeal? Effective January 1, 2013, the estate tax was made “permanent.”  However, that doesn’t mean change is out of the question. “There’s Continue Reading…