Saturday, December 7, 2013
Deborah L. Jacobs, lawyer and award-winning business journalist, has recently published the third edition of her excellent book, Estate Planning Smarts. This book, designed for a lay audience, is extremely well-written, practical, and accurate. It would make a great holiday present for almost anyone on your list!
Here is a description of the book:
There's been plenty of talk this year in Congress about the estate tax law. But don’t let all the talk obscure a basic fact of life: everyone, regardless of net worth, needs an estate plan. Estate Planning Smarts, by Deborah L. Jacobs, goes far beyond taxes to help you achieve all the goals that are the essence of estate planning.
Above all, estate planning is a way to take care of yourself and the people you love. It can minimize the hardships of your old age. If you are married or in any other committed relationship, estate planning is about leaving a financial cushion for your spouse or partner. It also includes providing funds for a child’s or a grandchild’s education, subsidizing less fortunate family members and benefiting charity. For parents of young children, estate planning is a way to make sure someone will care for them if you suddenly perish. Whatever might be happening in Washington, no one should postpone the necessary steps.
Regardless of your net worth, a good estate plan should accomplish these essential goals:
Caring for yourself by authorizing people to handle your affairs if you no longer can because of illness or disability
Specifying who gets what after you pass away
Providing for children who are minors or who have special needs.
In many estate plans, trusts play a crucial role. Although they are commonly associated with financing lavish lifestyles, they serve other key purposes. Trusts can be used to hold money for minors, forestall spendthrift family members, protect assets from former spouses or creditors, or even make provisions to care for pets that survive you.
Written for people who don’t want to leave their finances to chance, Estate Planning Smarts can help educate you before seeing financial advisers, during the estate planning process and later as your life circumstances change. An annotated Table of Contents, phrased in terms of personal or financial goals, doubles as a checklist.