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Financial Conversations with Fitz #6 - Common Mistakes in Estate Planning - 1/13/2009

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What a wintry mix…..I think Mother Nature has proven to us that we do live in Iowa.  I give up…..Might as well enjoy it and stay inside.   Did you see the moon this weekend???   The closest it is going to be this year.   It was really neat on Saturday and Sunday evening.

We are in between two Women Land & Legacy meeting today.  Women Land and Legacy is where a group of women have a speaker and do interactive discussion groups to come up with questions.  We had a great one in Lake Mills sponsored by WGO and Worth on Thursday evening with 65 people there to listen to Roger McEowen for ISU presenting ‘Common Estate Planning Mistakes’.  Women Land & Legacy is a group of women that line up topics and discussion to help them organize and manage in today’s economic world.  We have a Cerro Gordo Women Land & Legacy this Thursday evening with Jim Stanton covering an Estate Topic also.  Roger pointed out how important it is that we review our estate plan on a routine basis.  In between we need to look at it also when there are law changes, which is frequently the last couple of years.  A few  of the points he made was to be sure to know ‘how our property is held’, don’t make it too complex, be sure to check beneficiary on non probate property, balance ownership when estate gets to a certain size,  and be sure to have your will updated and accessible.  It is OK to keep one in the bank box, but be sure you keep one at Home where someone knows where it is.  If a family member passes away on Friday evening, sometimes the bank box isn’t available until Monday morning.  If you get involved in trusts be sure they are properly set up and funded.  A good example of law changes is during the next three years.  We have different rules for 2009, ($3.5 million exemption), 2010 there is no estate tax, and then in 2011 we go back to only a $1 million exemption.  We hope the legislature makes the changes that we need, but do keep track of them.  In fact this week Obama and his planners recommend keeping it at the 2009 level permantly.  You can read a lot more about Roger McEowen material on www.calt.iastate.edu.   He is the head of the Center for Agricultural law and Taxation for Iowa State.  So be sure to review where you and your family stand today.  With 600 acres of land at today’s price you estate could be worth at least $2.7 million.  Stop in to visit with us today.  TSB does manage estate assets with their Trust Department.  

A quick reminder that effective January 9th the CBOT and CME have merged.  One report form and site.

Remember that you should deal with people in community banks and organizations.  When you work with them, you know that you will also see them sitting with them at ball games, church or community events.