Below a brief glance at what you’ll find in The Estate Planner September/October 2014.
The true cost of giving:  Charitable donations in a no-estate-tax environment
As higher exemptions result in fewer people being subject to estate taxes, some might be concerned that this will hurt charities. Reduce the tax bite, the theory goes, and charitable giving will decline. In fact, the opposite is usually true. People who are charitably inclined generally don’t consider the cost of giving. It’s more common to determine the after-tax amount they wish their heirs to receive and leave the excess, if any, to charity. Accordingly, lower gift and estate taxes may increase interest in charitable remainder trusts (CRTs). This article looks at the details, while a sidebar discusses the flexibility that a nonqualified CRT can offer.
Could an exchange help cover LTC insurance costs?
Long-term care insurance policies can be expensive — particularly if bought at retirement age. But this article explains that using a total or partial tax-free exchange of an existing life insurance policy or annuity contract can help deal with the expense. A tax-free exchange allows one to defer taxable gain and, to the extent the gain is absorbed by LTC insurance premiums, eliminate it permanently.
Family meetings help ensure estate planning success
Unless an estate plan — and the principles behind it — is communicated to one’s family and to executors, trustees, guardians and agents, the plan is at risk. Holding family meetings can help ensure that representatives understand and accept their responsibilities and that loved ones understand the reasons that the donor is distributing the wealth in his or her chosen manner. This article describes whom to invite to such a meeting and what to discuss.
Estate Planning Red Flag:  Your will leaves everything to your life partner
There are many benefits to marriage, including some significant estate planning advantages. Nevertheless, for a variety of reasons, many couples — both opposite-sex and same-sex — choose not to marry. It’s common for unmarried partners to leave all or most of their wealth to each other in their wills. But this can result in a significant estate tax liability. This article notes a couple of techniques that unmarried partners can use to reduce their estate tax bills.