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Wills and Trusts Kit For Dummies

ISBN: 978-0-470-28371-4
384 pages
August 2008
Wills and Trusts Kit For Dummies (0470283718) cover image


Navigate probate, tax issues, and state laws

Create an estate plan and protect your family's interests

Need a will, but have no idea where to start? This friendly guide shows youhow to prepare a legal will or trust — either on your own or with professional help — and ensure that your wishes are honored. You'll handle everything from planning your bequests and writing and signing a will to selecting a trust and drafting your durable power of attorney.

Discover how to:

  • Provide for your children

  • Hire and work with professionals

  • Minimize tax liabilities

  • Amend or revoke a will or trust

  • Avoid common estate planning mistakes

Note: CD-ROM/DVD and other supplementary materials are not included as part of eBook file.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Part I: Getting Started with Your Will or Trust 7

Chapter 1: Ensuring That Your Last Wishes Are Honored 9

Chapter 2: Making Crucial Decisions 25

Chapter 3: Gathering Pertinent Information 39

Chapter 4: Planning Your Bequests 49

Chapter 5: Providing for Your Children and Dependents 67

Chapter 6: Dipping into Your Pocket: The Tax Man (and Others) 75

Part II: Everything You Need to Know about Wills 93

Chapter 7: Writing and Signing a Will 95

Chapter 8: Navigating the Land Mines 111

Chapter 9: When You Already Have a Will 127

Chapter 10: Estate Administration: What Happens in Probate Court 137

Part III: Trust Me! How Trusts Work 149

Chapter 11: The Anatomy of a Trust 151

Chapter 12: Dead or Alive: Picking Your Trust 163

Chapter 13: When You Already Have a Trust 183

Part IV: Carrying Out the Intent of Your Will and Trust 193

Chapter 14: Planning for Your Incapacity 195

Chapter 15: Those Cushy Retirement Funds 217

Chapter 16: Life Insurance: Making Sure It Doesn’t Backfire 229

Chapter 17: Your Castle: How It’s Owned Makes a Huge Difference 241

Part V: The Part of Tens 257

Chapter 18: Ten Common Will Mistakes 259

Chapter 19: Ten Reasons to Have a Trust 267

Chapter 20: Ten Tax Traps to Avoid When Planning Your Estate 273

Part VI: Appendixes 281

Appendix A: State Signing Requirements 283

Appendix B: State Inheritance Taxes 307

Appendix C: Estate Planning Questionnaire 311

Appendix D: About the CD 333

Index 337

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Author Information

Aaron Larson is an attorney practicing law in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he lives with his wife and daughter. After graduating from the University of Michigan Law School, Aaron started practice as a quintessential small town lawyer, providing legal services that included estate planning, probate, and guardianship services. He subsequently worked for the Institute of Continuing Legal Education in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he developed professional education programs for lawyers in areas including estate planning, litigation, and family law. His present legal practice focuses on civil appeals. He operates the ExpertLaw Web site (www.expertlaw.com), offering free legal information and assistance to consumers, as well as resources for legal professionals.
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