Tuesday, December 28, 2010

On the Radio - Joy Cardin and WPR

This morning I had the privilege of answering questions on WPR's Joy Cardin show. The topic, illness, death and taxes. We covered a wide range of topics: powers of attorneys, trusts, planning for pets, and the role of a personal representative. As a daily listener of WPR, this was a great way to end the year. You can listen to the segment here.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Morgues See Increase in Number of Unclaimed Bodies

Recently the WSJ ran an article, Area Morgues Face Increase in Unclaimed Bodies, detailing the increase in the number of unclaimed bodies stored at county morgues. Likely a product of the economy, some families choose not to claim a body and thus avoid the cost of a funeral. Also, in many situations the body is identified, but the county cannot find the relatives -- especially for immigrants with family outside of the country. Reading the article underscored a message I routinely tell my clients, being organized is key to a good estate plan.

One document you can complete to make sure your burial wishes are followed (in Wisconsin) is the Authorization for Final Disposition. It is on-line, and is free.

Tax Plan Clears the Senate

Today the US Senate voted in favor of the proposed tax plan. If approved by the House later this week, and then signed into law by the President, we will have some guidance on the estate tax.....at least for the next 2 years. As reported in the New York Times:

And it would set new estate tax parameters, including an exemption of $5 million per person, or $10 million per couple, and a maximum rate of 35 percent. All these provisions would last for two years.
It is important to note that this is the plan for the next TWO years, which does not make long term planning an easy thing to accomplish. This continues to be a developing issue that should be monitored.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Movement on the Federal Estate Tax

Word out of Washington, D.C. tonight points to a deal on the Bush Era tax cuts, and finally resolution on the federal estate tax. If the proposed plan is signed into law, were are looking at a federal exemption of $5 million per person ( of $10 million per couple). Any amount in excess of the exemption would be taxed at 35%. This is a proposal and not yet law...keep monitoring for more information.