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Estate Planning Smarts: A Practical, User-Friendly, Action-Oriented Guide Paperback – December 11, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: DJ Working Unlimited Inc.; 1st edition (December 11, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0615297544
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615297545
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #294,592 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

We regularly receive questions from readers about estate planning, a difficult topic at best. For good answers and advice, turn to a new book: Estate Planning Smarts. Written by Deborah L. Jacobs, a lawyer and journalist, it's a terrific guide for people who are just beginning to grapple with estate planning, as well as those who have (or think they have) their affairs in order. Ms. Jacobs does a deft job of handling key topics -- bequests, taxes, trusts, insurance, nest eggs, family businesses and real estate, among others in 19 concise chapters. Her to-do lists are especially valuable. ----The Wall Street Journal

This is a category killer: a book so good there s no need for anyone else to cover the same material. ----Kaye Thomas, Fairmark Press

Deborah Jacobs cuts through the clutter and misinformation that dominates estate planning literature to produce a lucid, extremely readable book. --Larry Reibstein, Executive Editor, Forbes

About the Author

As a lawyer and award-winning journalist with more than a decade of experience covering wealth transfer subjects, Deborah Jacobs writes with clarity and compassion about issues that affect us all. She is the author of Small Business Legal Smarts (Bloomberg Press), and has contributed to many national publications, including The New York Times, Bloomberg Wealth Manager, and BusinessWeek. Jacobs is a graduate of Barnard College, Columbia Law School and the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.

More About the Author

Deborah L. Jacobs is a lawyer and award-winning journalist specializing in legal topics. In her book, Estate Planning Smarts, now in the third edition, she draws on more than a decade of writing about the stressful issues that surround estate planning. Her articles for The New York Times, Bloomberg Wealth Manager, BusinessWeek and many other publications, have been widely cited and circulated by both advisers and consumers. Readers appreciate her clear, concise explanations of complex subjects and her ability to combine real-life stories with reassuring, practical advice. A senior editor at Forbes, she blogs at www.forbes.com/deborahjacobs/blog

To keep readers current between editions, Jacobs issues updates that can be downloaded from her book's Web site www.estateplanningsmarts.com and tweets at http://twitter.com/djworking.

Jacobs has been a syndicated newspaper columnist, newsletter editor and entrepreneur - she has had her own company, producing a variety of written products on legal and financial matters, for most of her career. She is the author of Small Business Legal Smarts (Bloomberg Press).

A native of New York and a graduate of Barnard College, Jacobs received her J.D. degree from Columbia Law School and her M.S. from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She lives in New York City with her husband and son.

Customer Reviews

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It is well thought out, and has very practical advice for the average person.
Tax Accountant
Would still go to a lawyer for Estate planning, but helps to read this book prior to meeting with attorney.
Yolanda Blalock
With the recession, it's more important than ever to preserve those assets for ourselves and loved ones.
Deborah J. Merritt

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Ellen S on December 13, 2009
Format: Paperback
I began to read "Estate Planning Smarts" while visiting my elderly mom in Florida, the night before our first appointment with an elder care lawyer. Believe it or not, I couldn't put it down! Who would have thought that a book on estate planning could be such a page turner!

I stayed up reading most of the night, secure in Deborah Jacob's expert and compassionate guidance through the difficult terrain of estate planning and financial management. A lawyer myself -environmental but not trusts/estates-, I was impressed by how Ms. Jacobs managed to explain a complex area of law with comprehensiveness and clarity, and her focus on easy to use checklists.

When my mom woke me up in time for our 8 am departure, she was dismayed to hear I had stayed up reading a book until well after 3 am. When we had our meeting with the new lawyer, I used much of what I had learned the night before, particularly chapter 6 on trusts. Afterwards, I showed my mom - who was thrilled with both the new lawyer and her daughter's sage input during the meeting,- Deborah Jacob's book. She was similarly wowed, but still doesn't understand why I couldn't have started reading it earlier.

I cant begin to say enough about how useful this book is for everyone from the general public to legal and financial professionals. It made me better informed for our meeting with the lawyer and gave me incredibly useful checklists that I will be using with mom's financial adviser. Awesome is the word that best describes this action-oriented book. It's a ray of sunshine and clarity, and like my mom said to me, read it as early as you can.
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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Deborah J. Merritt on December 11, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is a terrific book--the perfect guide for anyone who cares about their loved ones, financial security, or personal legacy. And who doesn't? As Jacobs explains in this highly readable book, estate plans aren't just for the rich. Many of us have more assets than we realize: a home, a retirement plan, life insurance, and family keepsakes. With the recession, it's more important than ever to preserve those assets for ourselves and loved ones.

The tax rules affecting these simple assets are more complex--and unforgiving--than most people realize. Many workers, for example, name their "estate" as the beneficiary on retirement plans. That's a mistake even my highly educated father made. Jacobs explains that this designation raises income tax bills for your heirs--even if your estate is small enough to escape the estate tax. Savvy planners name their heirs directly as beneficiaries of the retirement plan, leaving more money for the heirs and less for Uncle Sam.

"Estate Planning Smarts" is full of tips like this. And Jacobs presents her advice clearly, compassionately, and pragmatically. She guides readers through the human side of estate planning, as well as through the financial aspects. Sidebars offer interesting examples, while a detailed glossary explains puzzling terms. Jacobs even includes advice on how to find a lawyer, and she directs readers to other books, websites, and software.

This book is a treasure! Buy it and pass your own treasure on to the people and causes you love.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Gerry W. Beyer on February 18, 2010
Format: Paperback
Estate Planning Smarts eases the reader into a subject that is often difficult by focusing on an underlying purpose of estate planning: taking care of yourself and those you love. In this context, the Ms.Jacobs discusses the documents and tools that make-up an estate plan, the estate tax, and different assets and family situations that affect planning. All the while, the book uses language that both a lay person and an estate planner can understand and appreciate.

Ms. Jacobs divides the book into chapters by relevance to the reader, making it easy to find a particular topic or read the entire book without feeling overwhelmed. Each chapter is further subdivided by descriptive headings so as to give the reader a roadmap for that particular topic. Within each chapter, colored blocks set-off useful "to-do" lists, real-life examples, charts, and tables. The back of the book contains a 20-page glossary of estate planning terms and a list of resources for further understanding and action. Updated chapters to the book will be provided online at [...], insuring that the reader stays up-to-date.

Deborah Jacobs uses her prior years experience of writing in this field to create a book that really is practical, user-friendly, and action-oriented. Because the book uses an easy-to-read format, explains complex topics simply, and prompts the reader to think about and organize for effective estate planning, Estate Planning Smarts is a great book for estate planners to make available to new clients in need of a basic information.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By J. LEVIN on March 24, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Estate Planning Smarts" is a basic guide to the concepts of Estate Planning.

Please be aware of the following:

1) This book is NOT an in depth guide to the intricacies of Estate Planning.

2) I recommend that you buy four to five books to understand the concepts of Estate Planning. This would be Book One of the five books. The goal is to understand the intricacies of Estate Planning and be knowledgeable before consulting your Attorney.

3) When you become knowledgeable, from the books and on line sources you consult,
only then consult your Attorney to make certain that everything is legally correct.

Note: Once again, "Estate Planning Smarts" is only a basic book on this topic. You will for a certainty need other reference books and other resources.

Good luck to all!
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