How to Plan and Settle Estates

How to Plan and Settle Estates

by Edmund Fleming


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This up-to-date, thorough, and authoritative guide clearly explains all of the complexities of planning and administering an estate. From wills, trusts, and powers of attorney to health-care directives and probate, everything you need to know is presented in an accessible, friendly style. This indispensable tool provides readers with:

• A step-by-step planning process
• In-depth coverage of Federal tax issues
• Helpful checklists
• Real-life examples
• An extensive glossary of terms
• Sample forms and documents

How to Plan and Settle Estates is an invaluable resource for protecting loved ones, saving time and money, and reducing stress for anyone setting up or handling an estate.

Allworth Press, an imprint of Skyhorse Publishing, publishes a broad range of books on the visual and performing arts, with emphasis on the business of art. Our titles cover subjects such as graphic design, theater, branding, fine art, photography, interior design, writing, acting, film, how to start careers, business and legal forms, business practices, and more. While we don't aspire to publish a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are deeply committed to quality books that help creative professionals succeed and thrive. We often publish in areas overlooked by other publishers and welcome the author whose expertise can help our audience of readers.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781621533948
Publisher: Allworth
Publication date: 02/04/2014
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Edmund T. Fleming is a certified public accountant and attorney in private practice. He specializes in real estate, estate planning, and probate cases. A member of the Chicago Bar Association’s Estate Planning and Probate Committees, he served as chief of the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board’s audit and compliance section. Earlier in his career, he spent ten years as an auditor for the Internal Revenue Service. He lives in Downers Grove, Illinois.

Table of Contents

The American Tax Relief Act of 2012 xiii

Foreword xv

Key to Sources Cited xvii

Chapter 1 How to Plan and Settle Estates 1

Who Needs Estate Planning?

Chapter 2 The Planning Process 5

Points to Consider

Step 1 Identify Your Property

Step 2 Establish Objectives

Step 3 Select Your Advisors

Step 4 Draft and Implement a Plan

Step 5 Review Your Estate Plan

Chapter 3 Wills 31

Points to Consider

General Overview of Wills

Revocation and Revival

Partial Invalidity of a Will

Simultaneous Death


Will Provisions

Executor's Duties

Checklist for Wills

Chapter 4 Trusts 43

Points to Consider

General Overview of Trusts

Trust Agreements

Abusive Trust Arrangements

Trustee's Duties

Estate-Planning Trusts

Land Trusts

Checklist for Trusts

Chapter 5 Living Trusts 59

Points to Consider

General Overview of Living Trusts

Transferring Property to a Living Trust

Advantages of a Living Trust

Disadvantages of a Living Trust

Checklist for Living Trusts

Chapter 6 Power of Attorney 67

Points to Consider

General Powers of Attorney

Durable Powers of Attorney for Property

Checklist for Durable Powers of Attorney for Property

Health-Care Power of Attorney

Checklist for Health-Care Power of Attorney

Chapter 7 Information for Executors and Administrators 73

Points to Consider


Advantages to Going through Probate

Disadvantages to Going through Probate

Checklist for Executors

The Accountant

Checklist for Accountants

Checklist for Attorneys (Independent Administration)

Chapter 8 Federal Income Tax Issues 89

Points to Consider

Primary Residences

Individual Retirement Accounts


Distribution from Employer Retirement Plans

Decedent Tax Forms

Income and Deductions in Respect of a Decedent

Chapter 9 Federal Estate Tax Planning 103

Points to Consider

Techniques to Decrease Estate Taxes

Chapter 10 Federal Estate and Gift Tax 117

Points to Consider

Generation-Skipping Transfers

Filing Form 706: United States Estate (and Generation Skipping Transfer) Tax Return

Chapter 11 Gift Taxes 139

Points to Consider

Gift-Tax Return Filing Requirements

Gift-Tax Return Filing Date

Exclusions from the Gift Tax

Present, Terminable, and Future Interests in Property

Tax Basis of Gifts

Reporting Requirements

Stock Options

Split-Dollar Life Insurance Arrangements

Chapter 12 Marital Status, Health, and Your Estate 147

Marriage and Divorce

Nursing Homes


A Glossary 155

B Common Estate Acronyms 171

C Maximum Federal Estate and Gift Tax Exclusions and Rates 173

D Information Sources 175

E Sample Durable Power of Attorney for Property 179

F Sample Statutory Short-Form Power of Attorney for Health Care 191

G Sample Living Will 199

H Personal Information Checklist 201

I Administration Checklist 213

J Sample Small Estate Affidavit 219

K Sample Last Will and Testament 223

L Sample Living Trust Agreement 231

M State Estate and Inheritance Tax Schedule 243

Index 245

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