Does this Definition of Estate Planning make sense to you?: 
I want to control my property while I’m alive, take care of me and my loved ones if I become disabled, and when I die, I want to give what I have to whom I want, the way I want, and when I want, and, if I can, I want to save every tax dollar, professional fee, and court cost possible.”
For many of our clients, 401Ks, IRAs other retirement plans and/or annuities are one of the largest estate assets – how do these assets fit in to the goals embraced in this Definition if all we have is a beneficiary designation to work with?
 This month, we will explore the complex intersection of estate planning goals and retirement plan options.  Concerns to be addressed include:
• If my will or trust has one beneficiary, but my IRA has a different one, who get the plan proceeds?
• Should my 401K be titled in a trust?  Who should the beneficiary be?
• What does a good estate plan say about long term care, nursing home stays, and in home care? 
• How can my retirement plan prevent a Medicaid qualification?
• How can I make sure my young, irresponsible or incapacitated children don’t get money the wrong way at the wrong time?  What about my children’s spouses?
• Why are IRA or 401K assets called “red money”?  Don’t the taxes go away if I die (no!)   Who pays the taxes, and when?
• Am I one of the many at risk of paying unnecessary estate tax if I name a spouse as beneficiary of my IRA or 401K?
• If I name my spouse as a beneficiary, and my beneficiary dies before I do, how do I keep a court from administering my IRA or 401K?
• What is a “stretch IRA”?  Should I have one?
• When does a court manage my IRA or 401K?
• Can my IRA be subject to BOTH estate and income tax?
• How can I use the concerns above in client meeting to improve the client’s outcome just as I accomplish my own practice goals?

 Please join Accountant MICHAEL D. MURRAY and me on Thursday, October 16, 2008 at 7:30 a.m. at the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club for an informal, timely and informative discussion of: