For a thorough desk reference on the various aspects of estate planning and succession planning, this is an excellent choice. Lucid writing combined with chapters on a wide variety of topics including ILITs, generation-skipping transfer tax, lifetime gift exemption, and living wills, as well as chapters on business valuations, buy-sell agreements and their funding, and family limited partnerships will get the process going in most situations. Personal aspects of estate planning are not neglected, as living will s and disposition of personal effects are also covered.

Each chapter covers its subject in depth. The chapter on family-owned business deductions, for instance, has material on everything from initial qualifying rules and the 50% test to ownership and qualified heir tests and recapture rules. The chapter on plit dollar life insurance covers different types of split dollar arrangements, financing arrangements, and tax consequences, among other subjects. If you need information on supplemental needs trusts, you’ll find material on safeguarding the trust, sources of funding, and some of the concerns that should be considered when choosing a trustee.

Scenarios of hypothetical families and their estate planning issues make individual situations clearer, and offer examples of how various strategies can work to good advantage or cause problems for the family if not corrected. Advantages and disadvantages of strategies are spelled out clearly, so that the planner or client can make decisions or understand why a given action was taken.

Obviously a one-volume book is not an exhaustive source of all possible strategies, but this book is thorough and offers a comprehensive look at the common and not-sp-common problems inherent in estate planning and business succession plans. Appendices of tax tables under the current tax law and copies of all the tax forms and their instructions add to its usefulness.