Where Not to Die in 2012

“Most of the states are still in pretty poor shape, and if the economy doesn’t improve you might see more action by state legislatures seeking other sources of revenue,” says James Walschlager, an analyst with tax publisher CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business. Here is the good, the bad, and the ugly about State death taxes.

The Perils of Joint Tenancy

While joint tenancy is not necessarily to be avoided at all times and at all costs, it is very important to understand its ramifications. He (or she) who puts other people on title to assets for probate avoidance/estate planning purposes may be making a huge mistake. Joint tenancy costs very little at the front end, but it exposes your back end to some very unpleasant possibilities.

The Doomsday Prophet Profits

Notorious doomsday prophet Harold Camping, whose past predictions of the end of the world proved overblown, is now absolutely certain that the world will end on October 21, 2011. Don’t be surprised if you are reading this on or after October 22, 2011, but don’t get lulled into thinking that estate planning is one of those things you can put off indefinitely.

It is National Estate Planning Awareness Week

It’s probably fair to say that “National Estate Planning Awareness Week” is an invention of estate planning professionals who would like to promote their businesses. On the other hand, that does not mean that estate planning awareness is a bad thing. In fact, most people fail to take simple steps that could make their lives, and the lives of their loved ones, much easier when inevitable bad things occur, like a death in the family or the incapacity of a loved one. One of those steps is the creation of a revocable living trust.