Cover image for Smart guide to estate planning
Smart guide to estate planning
Spinale, Laura, 1966-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Wiley, 1999.
Physical Description:
xviii, 217 pages ; 24 cm.
General Note:
Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
KF750.Z9 S68 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



An all-you-need-to-know introduction to ensuring that your wealth and wishes are protected and preserved for family and loved ones Smart Ways to determine what you are worth with a smart and easy step-by-step process Smart Advice on life insurance, power of attorney for health care and finances, long-term care insurance, and appointing a personal guardian for your children Smart Strategies on avoiding probate and how trusts can help you and your loved ones avoid costly legal fees and devastating estate taxes Smart Tips on what you should know when creating a will, deciding on a living will, and taking a hand in planning your funeral Quick reading and easy referencing with a comprehensive index and loads of sidebars and tables

Smart Guides take readers seriously. They satisfy even the most curious person's desire to know the essentials about any of a wide range of topics--from vitamins to mutual funds to stress relief. It's all about good reading and expert information. The choice is yours.

Author Notes

Laura Spinale has written or co-written twelve books and has served as managing editor for Forbes newspapers and as a writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer. She lives in Tampa, Florida.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. xv
1. You've Got an Estatep. 1
What's the Point of Estate Planning?p. 6
Keeping Track of Your Current Investmentsp. 7
Planning Is an Ongoing Processp. 8
Your Estate-Planning Teamp. 9
The Documents You'll Needp. 9
Lock Box versus Safe-Deposit Boxp. 12
Your Plan to Plan: Just Do It!p. 13
Sample "Leave Behind Note"p. 14
2. Charting the Coursep. 17
How to Determine Your Real Termsp. 18
Step 1 What Do You Own?p. 19
Real Estatep. 19
Bank Accountsp. 20
Personal Propertyp. 21
Stocks, Bonds, Money Market Accounts, Mutual Fundsp. 21
Insurance Policies and Pension Fundsp. 22
Vehiclesp. 22
Business Interestsp. 22
Patents, Copyrights, and Royaltiesp. 24
Step 2 What Do You Owe?p. 24
Step 3 How Do I Own It?
How Much of It Do I Own?p. 24
You Said, "I Do": Marriage and Propertyp. 25
Why It Matters Where You Live: Community Property and Common Law Statesp. 25
Community Property Statesp. 25
Common Law Statesp. 27
Taking Possession: Holding Title to Propertyp. 27
1. Joint Tenancy with the Right of Survivorshipp. 28
2. Tenancy by the Entiretyp. 28
3. Tenancy In Commonp. 29
4. Sole Ownershipp. 29
Step 4 Doing the Math: Figuring Net Value and Net Worthp. 30
The Worst Case: An Estate in the Redp. 32
Help Wanted: Hiring Estate Professionalsp. 34
Estate Plannersp. 35
Estate Lawyersp. 35
Insurance Agentsp. 36
Appraisersp. 36
Charitable Trust Executivesp. 36
Bank Trust Officersp. 36
How to Choose a Financial Plannerp. 37
Fees for Financial Planningp. 40
Questions to Ask a Financial Plannerp. 40
Budget Legal Helpp. 41
Pro Bono Programsp. 41
State and Local Bar Associationsp. 42
Nonprofit Legal Servicesp. 42
All in the Family: Bequething Your Legacyp. 42
How to Ensure That Your Legacy Won't Cause Resentmentp. 44
Talk It Outp. 44
Listen, Toop. 45
When Necessary, Hold Your Peacep. 45
If Possible, Give Equallyp. 45
Tag It!p. 46
Deciding Whether to Disinherit Someonep. 46
Providing for Your Best (Four-Legged) Friendp. 48
Storing Your Documentsp. 49
It's Your Dealp. 50
3. Death and...You Knowp. 51
Are You Likely to Be a Millionaire?p. 52
Federal Taxesp. 53
For Those of Modest Meansp. 54
Tax Typesp. 54
Unified Gift and Estate Taxp. 55
Smart Moves to Avoid the Taxp. 55
State Death Taxesp. 57
Inheritance Taxesp. 57
Legal Tax Loopholesp. 59
Take Advantage of Marital Deductionsp. 59
Equalize Your Estatesp. 60
Give It Awayp. 62
Credit for Foreign Death Taxesp. 63
Life Insurancep. 64
Special Casesp. 64
If You Have to Payp. 65
Some Final Sound Advicep. 66
4. Your Willp. 67
Why You Need a Willp. 69
Legalitiesp. 71
The Draft of the Willp. 73
The Power of the Executorp. 76
When It's Time to Change Your Willp. 77
Probate, and Why It's a Painp. 79
Why You Should Bother Reading the Rest of This Bookp. 82
5. Put Your Trust in Trustsp. 83
What Exactly Is a Trust?p. 85
A/B Trustsp. 86
How an A/B Trust Worksp. 86
Bypass Trustsp. 89
Bypass Trusts for Life Partnersp. 90
Bypass Trusts for Other Loved Onesp. 90
Living Trustsp. 91
Generation-Skipping Transfer Trustp. 92
Irrevocable Life-Insurance Trustp. 94
Charitable Trustsp. 95
Pooled Income Trustp. 95
Charitable Remainder Trustp. 96
Charitable Lead Trustp. 97
Other Trust Optionsp. 97
Disclaimer Credit-Shelter Trust Willp. 98
General Power of Appointment Trustp. 98
Qualified Terminable Interest (QTIP) Trustp. 99
Choosing a Trusteep. 99
Choosing a Friend, Relative, or Someone Known to the Familyp. 100
Choosing Your Beneficiary As Trusteep. 101
Choosing an Institutional Trusteep. 102
6. Life Insurance Is for the Livingp. 105
Life Insurance: The Basicsp. 106
Who Needs It?p. 107
Insuring the Homemakerp. 108
Insuring the Kidsp. 109
Life Insurance Typesp. 110
Term Life Insurancep. 110
Annually Renewable Termp. 111
Level-Premium Termp. 111
Cash-Value Policiesp. 111
Whole Lifep. 113
Universal Lifep. 114
Variable Lifep. 114
Survivorship Lifep. 114
How Much Do You Need?p. 114
Immediate Needsp. 115
Income Continuationp. 115
Future Expensesp. 115
The Formula for Determining Your Life-Insurance Needsp. 116
1. Figure Out Your Current: Monthly Expensesp. 116
2. Multiply These Expenses by 12 to Determine Your Annual Expensesp. 117
3. Determine Likely Future Expensesp. 117
4. Determine Monthly Revenuep. 117
5. Multiply Total Monthly Revenue by 12 to Determine Your Annual Revenuep. 118
6. Determine Your Capital Gapp. 118
7. Determine the Number of Years You'll Want to Provide Support for Your Familyp. 118
8. Multiply Your Capital Gap by the Number of Years You Want to Support Your Familyp. 119
9. Add Your Total Future Expenses (from Step 3) to Your Base Policy Amountp. 119
Private Nursing Home Insurancep. 122
A Nursing Home Insurance Caveatp. 122
Do You Need It?p. 123
A Final Wordp. 124
7. All in the Familyp. 125
Appointing a Guardianp. 126
Appointing a Personal Guardian: What the Heart Saysp. 127
Appointing a Personal Guardian: The Legalitiesp. 130
Property Guardiansp. 132
Trusts to Provide for Your Childp. 134
Uniform Transfer to Minors Act (UTMA)p. 135
Child's Trustp. 136
Family Pot Trustp. 137
Families Members with Special Concernsp. 138
Property Control Trust or the Irrevocable Protection Trustp. 138
Trusts versus Social Securityp. 139
Your Grandchildren versus Your In-Lawsp. 140
The Living Trustp. 141
The Irrevocable Protection Trustp. 141
Passing On the Family Businessp. 142
The Succession Planp. 143
On the Home Frontp. 146
8. Planning for a Changep. 149
Death and Dying: Have It Your Wayp. 150
Advance Directivesp. 150
Your Rights as a Patientp. 151
Living Willp. 151
Durable Power of Attorney for Health Carep. 153
Which to Choose?p. 155
Legalitiesp. 155
Canceling an Advance Directivep. 155
Who Holds a Copy?p. 156
Choosing Your Representativep. 157
Putting the Representation into Effectp. 159
How It Worksp. 159
Taking Care of Businessp. 160
More than Money: Ethical Willsp. 162
How to Write an Ethical Willp. 164
It's Your Funeralp. 168
Prepaid Funeral Policiesp. 168
Budget Funeral Helpp. 169
Planning Your Send-Offp. 170
Your Obituaryp. 171
Estate-Planning To-Do Listp. 172
Appendix A Last Will and Testament of Elvis A. Presleyp. 175
Appendix B Sample Draft of a Last Will and Testamentp. 189
Appendix C What to Include in a Letter of Instructionsp. 195
Appendix D Funeral of Memorial Service Plannerp. 203
Indexp. 209