Cover image for The complete idiot's guide to wills and estates
The complete idiot's guide to wills and estates
Maple, Stephen M.
Personal Author:
Second edition.
Publication Information:
Indianapolis, IN : Alpha, [2003]

Physical Description:
xix, 334 pages : illustrations, forms ; 23 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Assets, assets, assets -- About wills, trusts--and probate -- All in the family--and just a little beyond -- Taxes you must pay, and those maybe you don't -- Retirement, elder issues, and the broad planning picture.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
KF755 .M37 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
KF755 .M37 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
KF755 .M37 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
KF755 .M37 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
KF755 .M37 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
KF755 .M37 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
KF755 .M37 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
KF755 .M37 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
KF755 .M37 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
KF755 .M37 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
KF755 .M37 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Yours"re no idiot, of course. You know itrs"s important to get your affairs in order, and yours"re working on it. Really. But when you try to figure out how all the new tax laws affect you, you feel like yours"re headed for an early grave.... Take control of your financial life-and afterlife! Pick up The Complete Idiotrs"s Guidereg; to Wills and Estates, Second Edition, and discover how easy estate planning can be. In this newly updated and revised Complete Idiotrs"s Guidereg;, you get: --An idiot-proof introduction to recent changes in estate- planning rules and tax laws. --Practical advice on choosing whether a trust or will is better for you. --Simple strategies for navigating probate and the court system. --Information on planning for special situations such as minor children, bankruptcy, weddings, ex-spouses, grandchildren, college funds, and more!

Table of Contents

Part 1 Assets, Assets, Assetsp. 1
1 You've Got to Have a Plan, Whether Simple or Deluxep. 3
What Is an Estate?p. 4
Why Many of Us Don't Planp. 6
The Importance of Looking Aheadp. 8
Starting Nowp. 10
Putting Together Your Estate Planning Teamp. 11
2 What You've Got and How You've Got Itp. 15
Taking Inventoryp. 16
Is It Tangible, Intangible, or Real Property?p. 21
A Few Words About Condominiums, Cooperatives, and Timesharesp. 22
Papers Galore--Where Do You Keep Them?p. 26
3 Yours, Mine, and Ours: Marrieds and Propertyp. 29
Jointly Speakingp. 30
"By the Entirety"p. 31
Community Property: Not Just for Californiansp. 32
About Those Prenuptial Agreementsp. 35
4 Life Insurance: You Need It!p. 45
What Life Insurance Can Do For Youp. 45
Which Policy Is Best for You?p. 48
How Much Coverage You Need, and Where to Find Itp. 51
Who Owns the Policy? Who Is the Beneficiary?p. 52
Easy Go the Taxesp. 53
Is There Anyone Who Should Not Carry Insurance?p. 54
5 Will You Have a Pension?p. 55
Qualified Pension Plansp. 56
Vesting Requirementsp. 58
Distribution Requirementsp. 59
401(k)s, IRAs, and Other Great Ways to Savep. 61
Or Is There an Annuity in Your Future?p. 63
Building Wealth at the IRS's Expensep. 63
Early Withdrawals from Your Pension Planp. 65
Uh-Oh Department: Will Your Company Pension Be There When You Need It?p. 66
6 Got Your Own Business? Then This One's for Youp. 69
Sole Proprietorp. 70
The Buddy System: A Partnershipp. 70
Are You the Corporate Type?p. 72
The Limited Liability Companyp. 73
Even More Tax Talkp. 75
Why a Buy-Sell AgreementIs Vitalp. 76
Remember: Time Marches Onp. 77
Treating Yourself Well as the Key Employeep. 78
When You Want to Sellp. 79
Taking a Broad Viewp. 80
Part 2 About Wills, Trusts ... and Probatep. 83
7 No Will? No Good!p. 85
Dying Intestate Is About as Bad as It Soundsp. 86
Ah, Probatep. 86
How the State Determines Your Heirsp. 88
The State Specifies the Guardian, Toop. 89
The Administrator: It Could Be a Strangerp. 91
Divorce, Remarriage--and No Willp. 91
Adoptionp. 93
And Children Born out of Wedlockp. 94
8 The Basic Will, and a Few Extrasp. 95
First, Do You Know Where You Live?p. 96
The Simple Willp. 96
How to Distribute Your Worldly Goodsp. 103
How They Get It: The Residuary Devisep. 108
Hey, What About Rover?p. 109
9 A Trust and a Will (The Best of Both Worlds?)p. 111
Definition, Pleasep. 112
What a Trust Offers That a Will Does Notp. 112
Who Would Want or Need a Trust?p. 113
Who Does NOT Need a Trustp. 113
Here's the Lingop. 114
One Choice: The Testamentary Trustp. 115
Another Choice: The Living Trustp. 115
Funding the Living Trustp. 117
Retiring? How a Trust Can Simplify Your Lifep. 121
Downside to a Living Trust?p. 122
How to Select the Right Trusteep. 122
"So I Need a Trust Instead of a Will?"p. 123
10 All About Probatep. 125
Let's Bring This Court to Orderp. 125
Is It Really That Formidable?p. 126
Duties of Your Executorp. 129
Selecting an Executorp. 129
Ch-Ching: Probate Costsp. 132
How to Avoid Probatep. 134
11 Some Unique Probate Situations-Maybe Yours?p. 137
Love and Marriage(s)p. 138
Birthp. 140
... and Deathp. 141
Let's Not Forget Greedp. 142
Abandoned Spouses and Adulteryp. 144
Murder and Profit? Never!p. 144
Part 3 All in the Family--and Just a Little Beyondp. 147
12 Looking After Your Minor Childrenp. 149
A Minor Issue of Major Importancep. 150
The Guardian's Dutiesp. 151
The Trust Alternativep. 156
Giving Your Kids Cash Gifts Nowp. 158
Your Child and Your Estate: Entitlementsp. 159
13 Holy Wedlock: Sometimes a Deadlockp. 161
Spousal Rightsp. 162
The Prenup as Love Flies out the Windowp. 165
The American Way of Divorcep. 167
14 Special Planning for Special Situationsp. 171
Planning for the Disabled Child--of Any Agep. 172
Living Together/Planning Togetherp. 174
The Role of Custodial Grandparentp. 176
Eureka! We're Rich: Handling Sudden Wealthp. 176
About Bankruptcyp. 179
The Professional: Different Planning Needsp. 181
Down on the Farm: Also Special Needsp. 182
15 Family Feuds: Avoiding One over Your Estatep. 185
Challenging a Will: What'll Do Itp. 186
Poor Executionp. 189
"Messing Up" a Willp. 191
The "Don'ts" We Often "Do"p. 191
Part 4 Taxes You Must Pay, and Those Maybe You Don'tp. 197
16 The Wonderful World of Federal Estate Taxesp. 199
The Magic Number is $1,000,001 (and Rising)p. 199
Another Important Figure: $11,000p. 201
The Gross Estatep. 202
Great! Tax Deductions Allowedp. 204
How Does 41 Percent Sound?p. 207
Taxing Each Generationp. 211
17 Gifts--and Gift Taxesp. 213
How to Present a Giftp. 213
The Federal Tax Nobody Knowsp. 215
When You Aren't Taxedp. 216
A Variety of Giftsp. 217
Prior Gifts and the Unified Creditp. 220
Estate and Gift Taxes Go Hand in Handp. 221
Gift Giving from the IRS Perspectivep. 222
Deferring Gifts for Minor Childrenp. 222
18 How Charitable Donations Can Save You Moneyp. 225
Tax Savings and Philanthropyp. 225
Which Assets to Givep. 227
Getting Donations in Orderp. 228
Lots More Ways to Donatep. 229
Retirement and Beyondp. 233
19 State Taxes: When and How You Can Be Hitp. 235
Inheriting? The State Has Its Hand Outp. 235
Where Did You Say You Live?p. 236
One, Two, Three--Ways of Taxing Youp. 237
Some States Even Tax Your Giftsp. 238
Pesky State Income Taxesp. 239
A Retirement Residencep. 240
20 Income Taxes and Tax-Saving Tipsp. 243
Round Up Those Dependentsp. 243
Divorce and the Dollarp. 245
Exclusions and Deductions Worth a Lookp. 247
Estate Tax Savingsp. 250
Savings by Your Executorp. 251
21 Keeping Your Wealth Within the Familyp. 255
Charity Begins at Homep. 256
Giving Something--and Keeping Itp. 257
Life Insurancep. 259
Loans Within the Familyp. 259
Your Family as Buyersp. 260
Gifts to Minorsp. 261
Splitting It with Your Spousep. 262
Your Business for Your Benefitp. 262
Rich, and Staying That Wayp. 264
Part 5 Retirement, Elder Issues, and the Broad Planning Picturep. 267
22 Bring 'Em On: Social Security and Other Retirement Benefitsp. 269
What You Can Expect at Social Security Timep. 270
A Beneficiary Other Than the Covered Workerp. 272
Yes, You're Taxed on Benefitsp. 273
So--Will Social Security Be There for Us?p. 273
Medicare for Your Aches and Painsp. 274
Filling Those Gapsp. 276
Good Grief, Will Medicare Be There When We Need It?p. 276
Long-Term Care Insurancep. 277
Medicaid These Daysp. 278
23 Who's in Charge? Arranging for Others to Take Over If You Can'tp. 281
Guardianship, and Why You Wouldn't Want Itp. 282
A Living Will and a Health Care Power of Attorneyp. 286
Becoming an Organ Donorp. 290
Last Words, Last Rites, and Other Finalitiesp. 293
24 Life's Big and Little Surprisesp. 297
Looking Out for Aging Parentsp. 297
When There's Marriage or Divorcep. 301
If You Become Disabledp. 304
Tick-Tock: Checking Your Estate Planp. 305
25 Stage by Stage: Estate Planning Throughout Your Lifep. 307
Broadly Speakingp. 308
Single, with No Kidsp. 308
A Few Words for the Single Parentp. 309
Married with No Childrenp. 310
Married with Childrenp. 311
Retired but Not Retiringp. 312
How Far You've Come Since Chapter 1!p. 314
And in Conclusionp. 314
Glossaryp. 315
Indexp. 321