Write Your Will!

Death and taxes: how to prepare for one while reducing the other.

Die Like a Pro
Even a signing mistake can weaken your will’s validity, and it only takes one greedy nephew to tie it up in court for months and lop off up to eight percent of your estate in legal fees. Skip the sites and get a flesh-and-blood attorney to draft you an airtight document.

Build Trust
According to David T. Phillips, author of Estate Planning Made Easy, leaving everything to your spouse could mean losing 25 percent of a $4 million estate to taxes. Shelter half of that in a Bypass Trust instead: Wifey gets paid, the kiddies get their tax-exempt cash.

Beyond the Grave
Unless you want your trust-fund baby living as an “artist” in a $3 million loft purchased with your retirement, set some rules. Whether it’s graduating college, getting married, or turning 30, any milestone can determine when they receive your hard-earned dough.

Live and Die
Real estate is a great investment…till taxes are due. To pay off death taxes imposed on your home or business, jack up your life insurance policy (otherwise you’ll lose the assets just to pay the IRS). Just $12,000 in payments can cover an estate-tax bill of $1 million!