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Estate of Affairs

Don't play beneficiary roulette when it comes to your estate plan.

This story appears in the June 2004 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Is your beneficiary house in order? Selecting beneficiaries in an estate plan can save a bundle in taxes, if you do it correctly. But all too often, according to estate planning experts, taxpayers make costly mistakes.

While married individuals are allowed to leave all of their financial holdings to their spouse free of any estate tax, when the surviving spouse dies, his or her heirs could face a huge tax bill if a well-thought-out estate plan is not in place. In 2004, estates valued at more than $1.5 million are taxed at a federal rate of 48 percent.

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