No Estate Taxes for POD Beneficiary

Before James died without a will, and with an estate valued at about $12 million, he had designated his teenage goddaughter, Jessica, as the beneficiary on two payable on death (POD) accounts worth almost $4 million at his death. Jessica and her parents were then sued by James’s estate, which was seeking reimbursement for the federal and state estate taxes that were attributable to the POD accounts. Continue reading

Choosing an Executor for your Will

The designation of an executor for a will is one of the critical steps in effective estate planning. The executor will be the individual responsible for the administration of the estate. He or she must execute the necessary documents to submit the will for probate. Then the executor must gather all of the testator’s (person who makes the will) assets and distribute them in accordance with the terms of the will. Good recordkeeping will be essential because an accounting will have to be filed. Creditors’ claims will have to be dealt with, and estate tax returns may have to be filed. Continue reading

Business loans cannot reduce estate taxes

A section of the federal Internal Revenue Code authorizes estate tax deductions for qualifying interests in family‑owned businesses. For the deduction to apply, the value of the interest in the business held by a person at the time of his or her death must exceed 50% of the total value of the person’s adjusted gross estate. This is known as the “50% liquidity test.” Continue reading