Twenty-three years ago in the original Loving Trust, Esperti and Peterson provided readers with an easy, practical way to plan their estates using a revocable living trust with loving instructions.

In the intervening years, revocable living trusts have thrived, but still have not totally replaced will planning and probate. The uncertainty of the state and federal estate tax laws turned revocable living trusts into cumbersome, tax-heavy documents that had to take into account a vast array of “what if” planning as Congress fought over tax reform. On January 1, 2013, Congress finally removed most of the uncertainty of estate tax planning for the foreseeable future with the passage of The American Tax Payer Relief Act of 2012. It is now apparent that only a very few families will be exposed to the federal estate tax. But the tax tail shouldn’t wag the planning dog. The bottom-line real reason to plan is to take care of loved ones and favorite charitable causes with specific instructions that are personally important to families.

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