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Did You Know? 5 Fun Estate Planning Facts

Estate planning can be a heavy subject. We all know we have to do it, but thinking about our own mortality is not an easy thing. Our “Guide to Legacy & Estate Planning” covers all of the gritty details – how to start with estate planning, when and how to update your estate plan, estate planning and tax considerations, charitable giving and your estate plan…and so much more.

But here’s something to ease you into it…5 off-the-wall estate planning facts you probably didn’t know:

1. The Slayer Rule

Felony murder excludes you as a beneficiary

A beneficiary of an estate is prohibited from their inheritance if the beneficiary committed murder. For example, a murderer cannot inherit from his or her parents if the he or she killed them.

2. Firearms & Your Estate


The beneficiary for firearms in your estate must have a permit and possibly undergo a background check before receiving their inheritance. If your heirs live in another state, transferring firearms across state lines can violate laws, so make sure to do your research when designating a beneficiary.

3. Endangered Animals

Federal law bars possession or trafficking of an American bald eagle, even if it’s dead. If the eagle was acquired before 1940, the owner may pass it down to family members, but still cannot sell it.

4. Scattering Remains

Wanting to scatter your ashes in a remote Hawaiian Cove, a National Park, or a beloved vacation destination? Be aware that there are restrictions on where your ashes can be scattered! At Disney theme parks, there are so many instances of park guests spreading a loved one’s ashes on a ride or elsewhere in the park that Disney has a code word for staff: “white powder alert”. An attempt to do this will likely result in ejection from the park and a visit with the local police.

5. Collectibles

There is a higher capital gains rate on selling collectibles. Instead of paying a capital gains rate (the highest is 20%), you would pay your ordinary income tax rate with a cap of 28%. Retaining collectibles until date of death could afford a “step-up” basis, which could lessen or eliminate the capital gains tax when the collectibles are eventually sold by your heirs.


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