Archive for October, 2010

Our worksheet will help you identify your assets and liabilities, and sort out who owns what.

Although you don’t have to pay any federal estate taxes until your taxable estate exceeds $2 million, you might be surprised by all the things the government counts in getting there. ($2 million is the threshold for 2007 and 2008. It will rise to $3.5 million in 2009. It’s scheduled to disappear in 2010, but will reappear in 2011 unless the legislation is renewed.)

In the worksheet below, the ownership column is included because how you own property is pivotal to how much of its value will be included in your estate when you die. In the “value” column, include the following:

  • The full value of property of which you are the sole owner
  • Half the value of property you own jointly with your spouse with right of survivorship
  • Your share of property owned with others
  • Half the value of community property if you live in a community-property state

Also include the value of the proceeds of an insurance policy on your life if you own the policy, your vested interest in pension and profit-sharing plans, and the value of property in revocable trusts.

Cash in checking, savings, money-market accounts    
Mutual funds    
Other investments    
Real estate    
Personal property (including furniture, cars, clothing, etc.)    
Art, antiques, collectibles    
Proceeds of life insurance policies you own on your life    
Pension and profit-sharing benefits, IRAs, etc.    
Business interests    
Money owed to you    


Loans and notes    
Consumer debt    

NET ESTATE (total assets minus total liabilities):

Adapted from Kiplinger’s Practical Guide to Your Money, by the editors of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine (Kaplan Publishing. Copyright 2005 The Kiplinger Washington Editors, Inc.) Available wherever books are sold or direct at

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