Frequently Asked Questions

Q:  I'm not wealthy enough to have to worry about inheritance tax -- especially with Congress having recently raised the limits.
A: Estate planning is not just about tax minimization.  The focus today is more on protection from creditors, guardianship, elderly years asset management and more.  See the examples elsewhere at

Q:  Legal services can be costly.  What is the expense?
A:  Most estate planning is in the neighborhood of a few thousand dollars or less.  Many times a moderate expense today can save a much larger liability in from the future -- especially if beneficiaries argue over ambiguities.  See the Althoff Law price schedule for additional detail.

Q: What is a Trust, and is it something to be concerned about?
A: A Trust is a separate financial entity over which you have control that has many advantages as a place to preserve your wealth.  Trusts form the basis of most modern estate planning and enable you to pass more of your money to heirs, protect your assets, and provide for the future generation. 

Q: There a lot of complicated words in this business.  Where can I go for some explanations?
A:   Margaret Althoff specializes in clear easy to understand -- visual and numeric when appropriate -- explanations.  To get you started, a dozen definitions are published in this web.

Q:  I heard Congress just passed new Tax Legislation in December 2010. What changed?
A:   The exclusion was raised to $5M for 2011 and 2012 and the tax bracket was kept at 35%.  Unless Congress actions again, the maximum rate in 2013 raises to 55% with an exclusion of just $1M.  A  more detailed explanation is available.


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