Tax Guru – Ker$tetter Letter

Helping real people win the tax game.

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 685 other subscribers
  • Blog Stats

    • 313,378 hits
  • Posts By Day

    January 2023
    M T W T F S S
  • Subscribe

  • Special Pages

Archive for the ‘Estates’ Category

Estate Planning Mistakes

Posted by taxguru on June 10, 2018

It’s not just income tax laws that are constantly changing and requiring strategic modifications.  Estate planning is also a moving target that requires constant course corrections, especially with the recent big tax law changes.  

Just as I have always considered it extremely dangerous for people to attempt to prepare their own tax returns, it is at least ten times riskier to try to handle estate planning without the assistance of an experienced estate attorney.  The books and software that are available at places such as Nolo Press are great for learning about the estate planning process and preparing for your meeting with the attorney who will be doing the actual paperwork, but trying to do everything on your own is insane.

I came across this excellent Kiplinger article by New Jersey CFP Eric Reich, on the Jewish World Review website

10 Surprising (or Surprisingly Common) Estate Planning Mistakes

I have seen examples of many of the scenarios mentioned in this very informative article.  I could even add some to this list, which I will do when I have more time.

Posted in Estates | Comments Off on Estate Planning Mistakes

Posted by taxguru on October 19, 2013

While there are a lot of benefits to having a living (aka Revocable) trust for estate transfers, there are times when it may be overkill, as described in this article.
                   Why you don’t need a living trust


Incomprehensible sums – Another look at how our spendaholic rulers in DC have made a billion dollars seem like pennies, now that most of their plans involve trillions of dollars that they steal from the private sector.



When Tracking Obamacare Costs, IRS Needs to Follow its Own Rules – The double standard IRS has always operated under, where they don’t have to properly account for the money they handle, but they expect us little people to do a perfect job or pay the price.


Questions into IRS scandal still get no answers – A short recap of where the investigation into IRS crimes has gone.


Most powerful White House Obamacare official at center of IRS scandal – Another female IRS employee, Jeanne Lambrew, involved in harassing opponents of the BHO regime is being rewarded with even more power over our lives.


Posted in Estates | Comments Off on

It’s not about the money…

Posted by taxguru on September 6, 2012

A recent report from the Tax Foundation about the Estate (aka Death) Tax is receiving some publicity for the small amount of actual tax dollars at stake, as well as the fact that it costs more to enforce the laws than the tax generates. 

In a sane world, this would motivate our rulers to dispense with the Death Tax as too inefficient.  That misses the real reason behind the Estate Tax.

As I have been explaining for decades, two of the main planks of Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto are Heavy Progressive Income Tax and Abolition of all rights of inheritance.  Both of these concepts are part of the DemonRat agenda, which is itself almost indistinguishable from Marx’s. 

However, the real world experience is that neither one of these concepts generates more money for the government.  Higher marginal tax rates actually result in less economic activity and less overall tax revenue, while lower rates encourage people to work more, with much higher revenues to the Treasury as a result. 

So why would the Dims be against higher government revenues?  It’s found in the first plank of the Communist Manifesto, Abolition of Private Property.  Their overall goal is to reduce the amount of wealth in private hands.  They would rather confiscate 90% of everyone’s income and have less government money than only take 15% with higher government revenues, because the latter would leave 85% of the income in private hands. 

The same goes for the Estate Tax.  They welcome any chance to reduce the amount of wealth in private ownership and couldn’t care less if it costs the government two dollars for every dollar they can confiscate from private owners.  Communism has never been a logical system, nor can it ever be, even in the hands of our supposed messiah, Barrack Hussein Obama, and his gang of Fellow Travelers.


From Blog Pix



Posted in Commies, DeathTax, Estates | Comments Off on It’s not about the money…

Posted by taxguru on July 20, 2012

Don’t Die in 2013: Confiscatory 55% Death Tax Set to Take Effect –  The IRS grave-robbing vultures are drooling over this.


Posted in DeathTax, Estates | Comments Off on

Estate Planning Organizer

Posted by taxguru on December 27, 2011

Here is a very handy free 56 page pdf estate planning organizer courtesy of Rob Lambert.  It’s similar in coverage to the currently out of print “What You Need To Know About Me” book that I wrote about several years ago.


Posted in Estates | Comments Off on Estate Planning Organizer

Ridiculous definition of “Patriot”

Posted by taxguru on December 13, 2011

Patriot leaves the U.S. Treasury his $2m estate to help pay down the national debt (only $14,999,998m to go…) 

While this guy may have been a complete idiot to think that his estate would do anything to reduce the deficit, the key point here is that it was his choice to make this gift to the Federal government. That is quite different from those who want to make it mandatory that the government grave robbers plunder the hard earned wealth from families, aka Marxists. 

It is also an idiotic definition of the term “Patriot” because those of us who believe in the power of capitalism and private property would think it more patriotic to keep as much wealth as possible in the private sector, where it can be put to much better economic use than it would be by giving it to the corrupt morons in DC to flush down their toilets. 


Posted in Estates | Comments Off on Ridiculous definition of “Patriot”

2010 Estate Tax Returns

Posted by taxguru on September 13, 2011

It’s an understatement to say that the entire issue of estate tax returns for people who passed away in 2010 is a confusing mess.  IRS is even more confused and behind than anyone, so they just issued this news release.

IRS Offers Filing and Penalty Relief for 2010 Estates; Basis Form Now Due Jan. 17; Extension to March Available for Estate Tax Returns

Form 8939, to reflect carryover basis info, isn’t even available yet; but it’s now due to IRS by 1/17/2012 instead of the previously announced deadline of 11/15/2011.

Form 706 and its instructions were finally published last week, on 9/8/2011.

IRS Notice 2011–76 has more details.

Luckily, the estate tax for 2010 decedents only applies to estates of over $5,000,000, so it won’t affect most people, including our clients who passed away last year.


TaxCoach Software: Are you giving your clients what they really want?


Posted in Estates | Comments Off on 2010 Estate Tax Returns

Aggressive estate planning…

Posted by taxguru on August 13, 2010

Posted in comix, Estates | Comments Off on Aggressive estate planning…

Tax saving deaths?

Posted by taxguru on July 21, 2010

The Deadly Impact of the Death Tax – Will the zero percent death tax for 2010 result in more deaths of wealthy people?

What Does the Death Tax Teach Us About Obama’s Tax Agenda? – That he’s consistent with his faithfulness to his guiding principles in the Communist Manifesto.

Posted in comix, Estates | Comments Off on Tax saving deaths?

Exclusion from Gift & Estate Taxes

Posted by taxguru on November 21, 2009


Subject: Estate Tax Exclusion

Mr. Kerstetter,
I found your writeup on estate and gift taxes via google search, and then I read your blog with great interest.
Thank you for publlishing it.
You have this text on your page:

If you do give any one person more than the $13,000 during a single calendar year, you must file a 709 and either pay gift tax or use part of your lifetime exclusion.  When you pass away, the amount of exclusion that will be available on your estate tax return (706) will be whatever the exclusion is at that time reduced by the gifts you reported on 709s during your lifetime, where you opted to offset them with part of your lifetime exclusion.  If you never used any of the credit by keeping your gifts below the annual limits, the full amount of the credit will be available to your estate

My wife and I have six children, so we’re trying to get some intelligent estate planning done. The lifetime exclusion I understand is now $3.5M.  Is this $3.5M total for the estate, or $3.5M for each heir?
Thanks for your help.



I have a chart of the annual estate tax exclusions on my website.  

For people passing away in 2009, there is an exclusion of $3.5 million of net estate value per decedent.

The lifetime exclusion on gifts is set at one million dollars.

You should be working with an estate planning professional because there are a lot of changes on the horizon; so you want to make sure any plan you set up is flexible enough to be able to handle the changes.

Good luck.

Kerry Kerstetter



Posted in Estates, Gifting | Comments Off on Exclusion from Gift & Estate Taxes