Reports of Estate Planning's Demise Premature

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Now that the estate tax exemption has been doubled, some people are saying there is no longer a need for estate planning. However, estate plans have never been mostly about avoiding the estate tax.

For people who do not want to take the time to plan for their own estates, it might seem like 2018 has started out to be a good year. It has been so good that some people are talking about the death of estate planning itself, because the federal estate and gift tax exemptions have been doubled. They also think that there is no need to...

Secretary Leaves $8.2 Million to Charity

Secretary Leaves $8.2 Million to Charity image

Relatives of a former secretary were surprised to learn that she had quietly built up a fortune over the years and left most of it to charity.

Sylvia Bloom went to work at a small Wall Street law firm as a legal secretary when she was a young woman. She stayed with the firm for 67 years and retired at the age of 96. She passed away in 2016.

Bloom began working at the firm when it was common for secretaries to purchase investments for their employers. Lawyers would tell Bloom what they wanted to invest in. Her job was...

Estate Planning Mistakes to Avoid

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When it comes to estate planning, there are several mistakes that people can make in setting up specific legal instruments. However, most mistakes people make are far more basic.

People who are looking to plan their estates, often have a lot of questions about what they should do. However, answering those questions can be like putting the cart before the horse.

Most estate planning mistakes can be avoided, if people would ask what they should not do instead. A large percentage of messy estate administration cases in probate courts would go away, if people would do that.

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How Much to Pay for an Estate Plan

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When getting an estate plan many Americans are very price conscious. However, the cheapest way to get an estate plan might not be what is needed.

Consumers typically like to pay as little as they can for something. This is a basic notion that companies, such as Amazon and Wal-Mart, have used to become behemoths in the retail industry.

Fundamentally, consumers of legal services are not much different than price-conscious Wal-Mart shoppers. People are sometimes willing to pay more for a higher quality product. However, they are still looking to pay as little as possible.

That can be a problem...

Living Well in Retirement

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Americans can expect to live longer after retiring than previous generations. However, whether they will live better, is an open question that depends on individual choices.

At first glance, Cecilia Chiang might seem like an exception. In some ways she is. The 98-year-old woman who retired in 1991, after a long and successful career in the restaurant industry, continues to be active both in her personal life and professionally consulting for other restaurant owners.

People who can still do that at her age, are now exceptions now. However, they do not have to be that exceptional in the future, as...