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Get Up To Speed On Estate Planning

It’s not enough to plan to plan ahead to further your career, to pay for your children’s college education, and to secure a comfortable retirement. You should also be thinking about the time when you will no longer be on this earth. Estate planning is a crucial part of an in-depth financial blueprint. It enables you to prepare for the distribution of your possessions while minimizing taxes owed to federal and state governments.

Of course, no one ever said it would be easy. Estate tax rules are extremely complex and have taken several unusual twists and turns in recent years. Thankfully, due to recent tax legislation, you may be able to shelter most or all of your assets from federal estate tax. Nevertheless, your plan should be flexible enough to accommodate any future changes in the estate and gift tax laws.

And estate taxes are only part of the equation. Estate planning covers a multitude of issues. Typically, a will can serve as the foundation, but trusts or other entities may be needed to supplement the will. An estate plan also can also provide contingencies in case you’re incapacitated and unable to handle your financial affairs.

How well versed are your in estate planning? Take this quiz to find out.

1) What is the maximum federal estate tax exclusion in 2017?

a) $1 million
b) $3.5 million
c) $5.49 million
d) Zero

2) What is the maximum lifetime gift tax exemption in 2017?

a) $1 million
b) $3.5 million
c) $5.49 million
d) Zero

3) What is the top federal estate tax rate in 2017?

a) 40%
b) 45%
c) 55%
d) Zero

4) A ___ is the legal document that can best authorize another person to act on your behalf concerning your personal affairs.

a) Will
b) Trust
c) Power of attorney
d) Buy-sell agreement

5) A ___ is the legal document that can best provide a value of a business for estate tax purposes while providing liquidity at death.

a) Will
b) Trust
c) Power of attorney
d) Buy-sell agreement

6) If a married couple with children owns property with a joint right of survivorship and one spouse dies, the property:

a) Automatically passes to the surviving spouse.
b) Automatically passes to the children.
c) Is divided equally between the surviving spouse and children.
d) Is divided during probate.

7) Property that passes from a grandparent to a grandchild:

a) Is always free of federal estate tax.
b) Is never free of federal estate tax.
c) May be subject to a generation-skipping tax.
d) May be subject to a special income tax.

Answers: 1-c; 2-c; 3-a; 4-c; 5-d; 6-a; 7-c