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364: Death Without Taxes

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You know the old saying coined by Ben Franklin, “Nothing is certain except death and taxes”. Longevity science might eventually prove that death is not inevitable but for the time being it is. 

As for taxes? Well, I’ve spent a lot of episodes talking about tax mitigation while you live and I know for a fact that a number of you are legally not paying income tax. (HINT: REP)

But there’s another kind of punitive tax called the estate tax (aka death tax) that kicks in when you die. The death tax is sometimes also referred to as the “stupid tax” because it has been creatively dealt with by savvy estate attorneys for years. They would tell you if you died with a ton of money without this kind of planning you might have been kind of stupid.

All of this stuff might seem a bit too sophisticated for your situation if you are not in the ultra high net worth crowd. After all, doesn’t that estate tax thing kick in at $25 million if you’re a married couple? Well…for now, yes. But various tax laws are changing and that amount gets cut in half in just a couple of years. 

Do you think you are likely to have an estate of greater than $12.5 million ($6 million if single) by the time you die? If you listen to my podcast then there is a good chance the answer is yes.

In other words, don’t think that the world of irrevocable trusts and gifting does not apply to you because you aren’t worth that much today. It’s probably a pretty good idea for you to at least know your options.

Even if you believe you will never get that wealthy, there are some things that pretty much everyone should do when it comes to estate planning. These things are inexpensive and only have to be done once.

Whichever camp you fall in, this week’s episode of Wealth Formula Podcast will be of interest to you as I interview my own estate planning attorney, Joe Longo.

This topic might not sound sexy but I’m quite sure you will find this interview to be extremely useful and pragmatic. Make sure to tune in!

Joe began the LONGO LAW GROUP, LLP on the foundation of service of clients and results. He was influenced by his father, Dominic Longo, who founded Longo Toyota at a converted gas station with a 4 car inventory and eventually built it into a 22 acre facility housing the #1 selling car dealership in the world based on customer satisfaction. When most people are looking to hire a law firm its because they need something in the legal world accomplished. Its not to get overcharged and to have your attorney stop communicating with you. This firm’s philosophy is to provide the most vigorous representation, best service, ongoing communication, and at the most competitive rates. Joe has numerous Federal and State jury and bench trials under his belt, along with his sports practice that includes arbitrations, grievances, drug suspension hearings and appeals. Over the past two plus decades Joe’s practice has included Civil Litigation (business), Criminal (both State and Federal-Tax), Probate Litigation, Sports (MLB and NBA), Asset Protection, Trust and Estate planning. His clients have ranged from publicly traded, international, corporations, professional athletes, professional sports franchises, leagues, individuals, to volunteer pro bono work for indigent clients. Along the way he has taught law at Los Angeles City College, Mission College, and Pasadena City College, and is currently an Adjunct Professor at Loyola Law School. He has sat as a Judge Pro Temp in the Los Angeles Court System. He has been a Panelist on many law panels including “USC Gould School of Law— Institute on Entertainment Law and Business”, “Loyola Sports Law Institute on Collective Bargaining & Individual Contract Negotiation In Professional Sports”, and “Negotiation For Lawyers—Lessons from Baseball Salary Arbitration Cases” Joe is also the President of Paragon Sports International, LLC (www.ParagonSportsInternational.com).

Joe has attained an “AV” peer rating from Martindale Hubbell, the national directory of attorneys, indicating preeminent legal ability and the highest ethical standards. He is a member of the California Bar, the Beverly Hills Bar Association, the Los Angeles Bar Association, the Sports Lawyers Association, and The Wealth Counsel. He received his B.A. from Brown University in Rhode Island, where he was a starting Defensive Back on the Brown University Football Team in the mid 1980’s. He obtained his Law Degree from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, CA. His charitable endeavors include sitting on the Board of Ability First.