Jewish World Review August 23, 1999 /11 Elul, 5759
DEAR J.L.: The Securities and Exchange Commission can help you track down the value, if any, of these certificates. You can call the SEC at (800) SEC-0330, or visit their Web site at www.sec.gov.
DEAR BRUCE: My wife and I own some property and have saved some money. We have only one heir -- do we need a will? -- B.H., Harryman, Tenn.
DEAR B.H.: You bet your life you do! It is far more expensive to die without a will then with one. Further, since you are husband and wife, you have to make a decision whether your estate is to pass directly to the surviving spouse and then on to the heir, presumably the offspring. There is no substitute for a will, and you certainly should get one. It should be properly drawn by an attorney of your choosing.
DEAR BRUCE: My father died, leaving a life insurance policy of $335,000 with me as beneficiary. My father's total estate should be worth just under $650,000, but unfortunately, he died without a will. I have four siblings, and I want to split this estate with them. -- G.B., Montague, Mich.
DEAR G.B.: You would be advised to check with an accountant who is familiar with your income and other considerations. Having said that, the money from the insurance policy came directly to you, and any division of that money will be a taxable event. You might consider this: If your siblings are married, you may give $10,000 to each sibling and $10,000 to his or her spouse in any one year. In four years, you will have gifted the money to each of your siblings and their spouses without any tax. If one or more of them are not married, then this gifting would stretch out to eight years. Another alternative would be to claim against your lifetime estate, depending on how old you are and how much money you have. You certainly wouldn't want to jeopardize your heirs' ability to receive the bulk of your estate without paying taxes by this act of
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