Monday, December 04, 2006

A few more or less random thoughts and notes on estate planning which are not to be regarded as legal advice or endorsement of any particular action:

  • The statutory scheme for disposal of assets, ie. dying intestate (without a will), may be an acceptable solution for some folks.
  • But, if you have minor children wills are necessary if you don't want the court appointing their guardian.
  • Probate in Washington State is not the bugaboo it is in some other states.
  • If you own property that you plan on passing by will in another state it will be subject to that state's probate scheme.
  • Term life insurance has never been more affordable even for senior citizens.
  • A common misperception is that the proceeds from life insurance policies are not part of the taxable estate at death.
  • An advantage of passing property by will is that probate imposes a statute of limitations on creditors.
  • Believe it or not, it is not unusual for otherwise rational people to forget to move property into a trust.
  • Many types of property, non-probate assets, pass outside of wills by beneficiary designation.
  • The rules on Medicaid eligibility have recently changed.
  • There are excludable assets and transfers under Medicaid analysis.
  • The federal estate tax scheme has never been so uncertain as it is now.