Physician-investors have thepower to decide how thewealth they accumulate duringtheir lifetime is divided whenthey pass away. Effective estate planningcan help provide for heirs longafter you're gone, limit your estate'sexposure to taxes, and help channelassets to people or organizations thatmean the most to you.
THE POWER OF PLANNING
The bottom line:
Failing to properly plan fordeath can mean trouble for yourheirs. For example, if you continuallyprocrastinate and never getaround to creating a will, the courtswill eventually decide how yourestate is divided. In addition, yourheirs will face financial uncertaintyand be forced to make the decisionsyou failed to make while still here.You have the abilityto straighten out the future today byplanning your estate.
Estate planning attorneys haveaccess to a number of options thatprovide investors with tax-efficientsolutions for the distribution oftheir assets. These options include awill (which names heirs and listswhat they will inherit from theestate), trusts, and tax-free gifts. Bytaking advantage of these 3 options,you can make sure that your wishesare followed after you're gone.
Be aware, however, that estatetax laws are complex and subject tochange. For example, the Tax ReliefAct of 2001 introduced manychanges to the estate tax law. Includedamong these changes is thegradual increase of the estate taxexemption (ie, the amount that maybe left to heirs free of federal transfertax) from its current $1 million in2003 to $3.5 million in 2009.
A TAX-FREE TRANSITION
Only a few weeks ago, the deathof the so-called "death tax" seemedpossible. On June 18, the House ofRepresentatives passed legislationthat would permanently abolish theestate tax. In the end, however,there was no need for a funeral. Asexpected, the Senate voted againstpermanently ending the estate tax.
But there is some good newsconcerning the estate tax. Rightnow, it's scheduled to be repealedin 2010 and then reinstated in2011. Also, Congress can alter,extend, or repeal the law at anytime. Regardless of what they do, aknowledgeable and trusted estatetax attorney can help keep yourplan current and assure you thegreatest benefits under the law.
Scott J. Kleimanis an independent
advisor with Linsco/Private
Ledger, located in Elkins
Park, Pa. All securities offered
through Linsco/Private Ledger,
member SIPC. Past performance
is no guarantee of future results.The
information presented is the opinion of
Scott Kleiman and not that of Linsco/Private
Ledger. He welcomes questions or comments
at 800-242-1760 or firstname.lastname@example.org.