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Living Will References

ABA's Advanced Directive Toolkit
U.S. Living Will Registry
Five Wishes


The New Food Pyramid


Investor Home

From Philip Greenspun:

Unless you think the government is doing such a great job building a new and better Iraq that you want to pitch in even more, you may wish to consider ways of avoiding estate tax. Only the first $2 million of an estate is currently exempt from taxes, scheduled to rise to $3.5 million 2009, be unlimited in 2010, and come back down to $1 million in 2011. Some states collect their own estate taxes (see for a list). The total tax burden on an estate can be more than 50 percent.

The standard tools that rich families use to preserve their wealth down through the centuries include the following:

  • give money to a grandchild instead of a child; by skipping a generation, the government gets only half as many opportunities to collect estate tax (reduce estate tax by 50 percent)
  • take money that you were going to give to someone upon your death and, instead, buy a huge life insurance policy with it; when you die they collect the proceeds of the insurance policy tax-free (reduce estate taxes by 100 percent)
  • various trusts to hold insurance proceeds and other money so that young and/or irresponsible inheritors don't burn through the money too fast (doesn't really save tax, but lets you control people from beyond the grave)
  • charitable foundations and organizations that are supposed to work for the public benefit, but in fact provide jobs and luxurious vacations ("board meetings") for members of your family for decades to come; the Enron executives were into these. Supposedly it is illegal and the family foundation ought to recruit employees on the open market, but in practice people are able to say "the only person we could find to review grant applications at our family foundation was our cousin Margaret at $100,000 per year" (reduce estate taxes by 100 percent)
A good lawyer can put together a package with a Will, a single trust, and maybe an insurance policy, for about $2,000. Even at big firms, some of the more honest lawyers will do this work for a fixed fee.

Treasury Office of Debt
Savings Bonds

Previous Local Links

These used to be on my homepage, but are not currently relevant, though they may be again...


Annapolis Commissary
Anne Arundel County Library
Graul's Annapolis
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Sandi's Flower Shop
US Naval Academy