Curt W. Ferguson and Samuel L. Collins, attorneys from The Estate Planning Center in Salem, were featured keynote speakers at the National Network of Estate Planning Attorneys' semi-annual conference in Orlando, Florida earlier this month.
They co-presented the legal technical address for the organization, entitled "It's Really Not About (Those) Taxes!" Ferguson writes a monthly column, called Estate Plan Edge, for Prairie Farmer.
"It is unfortunate that many people have never heard that they can protect their estate as it passes to their heirs from predators like lawsuits, divorces and family squabbles," Ferguson says.
People with larger estates have traditionally learned about these non-tax benefits of planning because they sought estate tax planning advice.
"After passage of the 'Fiscal Cliff Deal' in January and the increase in the Illinois estate tax exemption to $4 million, the average family—thinking they don't need estate planning because they think it is only to avoid estate taxes—is more likely to remain in the dark about the numerous non-tax benefits of planning," Ferguson explains.
The title of their keynote address was "Estate planning has always been about so much more than estate taxes, and that is truer today than ever." While the primary thrust of their key note address was the importance of planning for reasons other than estate tax avoidance, they also demonstrated new ways to address the rise in the income tax on capital gains.
"New tax laws have increased capital gain taxes by over 50%, from 18% to 28.8%," Collins says. "The wrong sort of estate plan…virtually every estate plan written prior to January…is likely to cause heirs to incur not only the higher tax rate, but also incur tax on gains that should never be taxable."
Collins also taught a conference workshop on efficient estate settlement. "When thinking about how you want things to work out for your family, it really is true that a 'stitch in time saves nine,'" he explains. "Proper planning not only enables a family to secure the benefits of predator protection and tax reduction, but it simultaneously reduces expenses, legal fees and stress at the time of a death. You get better results and lower costs."
Source: The Estate Planning Center