Planning Potpourri


Executor Liability:

Contact the decedent's property and casualty insurance company and specifically have the estate added to the homeowners (renters) and personal excess liability (umbrella) policies.  This should provide protection for the property damage, personal injury and other claims.


Software "Stuff":

Organize software CDs, instructions, and other materials. Throw out the bulky box after cutting off bar code and related data. Store it all in a zip lock plastic bag labeled as to which computer the software was for and the date. Works great for cell phones, digital cameras and more. Cuts storage space dramatically, but most importantly makes it easy to find what you need when a problem arises.


Darth Vader Death Tax:

In 2004 only 18, 431 estate tax returns were filed. That was only .8% of all estates for the year. Many of those probably had surviving spouses so that there was no tax as a result of the unlimited marital deduction. The number of filers will decline as the exclusion increases. In New Jersey in 2005 only 733 federal estate tax returns were filed that owed tax (and NJ is a wealthy state). How evil is the death tax?


Credit Report Reminder:

You can get a free credit report from each of the 3 credit reporting agencies for free once per year. So every 4 months, get another report. This can be done simply and quickly on line. The errors and other issues you'll find will be surprising. You can object to errors on line.


Credit Card Security:

Don't sign the back of your credit cards. Instead write "PHOTO ID REQUIRED".


Be a Charitable Big Shot: You have a favorite charity (if you don't, go get one!) and would really like to make a long term and meaningful commitment. It's a great "feel good" to help a worthy cause, it sends a loud "thanks" to all the other volunteers you work with, and its sets a great example for children and others who look to you for guidance. How can you make a large commitment now? Buy a permanent insurance policy that the charity owns and is beneficiary of. Each year make a gift to the charity. You'll get an income tax charitable contribution deduction for the gift. The cash value will build a valuable asset for the charity. You'll have made a large gift which you can pay over time. Key: Don't reduce your annual gifts to the charity, the insurance policy should be an additional gift since the charity won't be getting current dollars it can use from the premium payments.

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