Is Your Estate Worth $5 Million Or Less?

Jonathan G. Blattmachr and Georgiana J. Slade at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP, and Bridget J. Crawford at Pace University – School of Law, have written an article in the March, 2007 edition of “Estate Planning” magazine, addressing estate planning for those of us with estates under five million dollars. I have posted the full article at the same time as this posting.

Here is an abstract for the article:

“Financial concerns may preclude people of modest wealth (defined for purposes of this article as those having a net worth between $1 million and $5 million) from making significant lifetime transfers to achieve estate planning goals. Yet lifetime transfers are among the most effective ways to reduce estate taxes. Individuals of modest wealth may experience a tension between the desire to take advantage of opportunities to reduce taxes and protect assets from other claims which may arise, on the one hand, and the need to preserve an adequate base of wealth to ensure the maintenance of a current standard of living, on the other.

“The advisor to these individuals carefully should consider what estate planning steps are most appropriate and what level of transfers, if any, the individual reasonably can afford to make.

“This article details and evaluates eleven strategies that may apply to clients in the modest wealth category:

“(1) inter vivos transfers of life insurance and other non-income producing assets;

“(2) estate building and income tax sheltering with life insurance;

“(3) qualified personal residence trusts;

“(4) effective use of annual exclusions;

“(5) self-settled trusts;

“(6) potential use of the gift tax exemption and the GST exemption;

“(7) assessing income tax-free states;

“(8) using a charitable remainder trust to build wealth and generate income;

“(9) medical care and tuition payments;

“(10) limited liability entities for asset protection and tax planning; and

“(11) special care in handling interests in qualified plans, IRAs and other IRD.”

To speak with an estate planning attorney in Los Angeles, California, call Mitchell A. Port at 310.559.5259.