Excerpt from The Arc Alliance: (click for entire article)
If Congress and the President do not reach an agreement in 2012 to extend or modify the existing Federal Estate Tax Threshold of 5 million dollars per person and 10 million dollars per couple, the threshold will reduce to 1 million dollars per person on January 1, 2013. In light of recent Washington gridlock and the fact that most life insurance and retirement plans are included in the Federal Estate Tax calculations, 2012 is a critical year to review your Estate Plan and to adopt relatively easy strategies to address the potential serious consequences of this situation. A list of the critical documents to review and consider is set forth below. Will- The document which directs the disposition of property not held in joint names or which pass by a beneficiary designation. The Will identifies the individuals charged with administering your estate, provides a financial structure and guardianship for minor children, and seeks to avoid unnecessary federal and state death taxes. Trusts – The mechanism by which property is held for the benefit of designated individuals. Several types of Trusts may be used in typical estate plans.