Heritage recently sat down with Heritage Legacy Society member and estate planning attorney Mark James of Lancaster, Pennsylvania for advice on estate planning as well as his thoughts on why he’s chosen to remember Heritage in his own plans.

Mark JamesHeritage: Is there any advance homework a person can or should do before their first appointment with an estate planning attorney?

Mark: I give my clients a brief questionnaire to help them clarify what I call “The Three P’s of Estate Planning”: People, Property, and Plans. For “people,” you’ll need to determine who will receive the assets from your estate. It sounds simple, but there’s often more than meets the eye. I’ve had clients who had originally planned to divide assets equally among all their children, but after some prompting, realized that special safeguards should be put in place due to a problematic or spendthrift child.

Similarly, it’s helpful to take inventory of your “property” to estimate the value of your estate. Not only will it be helpful to your attorney in determining potential estate taxes, but it’s also important to know how your assets are titled, whether you own real estate in a different state, and what portion of your estate’s value is in real estate, retirement accounts, and financial assets for example. Continue Reading »

“Eliminating waste and controlling government spending is best accomplished by reducing the size and scope of government,” Heritage Foundation economist Romina Boccia argues in a new report.

She explains:

The federal government does too many things that would be done better by individuals and organizations in the private sector, or by state and local governments, or that should not be done at all. A smaller, more limited federal government would focus on providing essential public services, legal services, and a basic social safety net, and would otherwise leave individuals free to determine their own affairs to the maximum extent possible in the defense of liberty.

Congress should take the following six steps to reduce the size and scope of the federal government, Boccia writes: Continue Reading »

James Carafano speaking at Berkley

James Carafano speaks at Berekley Law School.

The University of California, Berkeley is not known for being sympathetic of conservatives, let alone supportive.

But Heritage Foundation defense expert James Carafano found an attentive audience when he visited the Berkeley Law School earlier this month to discuss his book, Wiki at War.

Carafano’s book explores how the Internet has changed the nature of warfare and diplomacy. Wikileaks, for example, demonstrates how online vandalism can frustrate our foreign policy. More recently, ISIS and other terrorist groups have used the web to collaborate and recruit.

Yucca Mountain Tunnel Boring Machine Photo: WikiCommons

The Heritage Foundation helped win a major battle this month in the fight to provide Americans with safe, clean and affordable nuclear energy. The government announced that the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository in Nevada is a safe place to permanently store America’s nuclear waste.

This solves a critical problem for the nuclear industry, Heritage’s Jack Spencer and Katie Tubb report. It “allows the nation to move forward with a long-term plan for managing nuclear waste and to restart a nuclear renaissance.” Continue Reading »

In remarks this week at The Heritage Foundation, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) defended the Tea Party and said its principles are shared by most Americans.

The modern Tea Party stands for three very basic things. Number one, we are taxed enough already. Number two, government should not spend more money than what it take in. Number three, government should live under the constitution.

This agenda, she said, is hardly extreme. “If these are the principles we stand for, I think whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, they are ones that you would agree with.”

In her 50 minute speech, Bachmann hit on several other conservative themes. Among other proposals, she called for a drastic simplification of the tax code, the termination of the Export-Import Bank, and increased border security.

The Tea Party is close to Bachmann’s heart. She was one of the first in 2010 to identify with the Tea Party’s protest against the growing size of the federal government. She also founded the House Tea Party Caucus.

The speech was one of the last of Bachmann’s congressional career. The four-term Representative and 2012 presidential candidate has elected to not seek re-election next month.

Watch the video above for her whole speech.

Do you belong to the Tea Party or support its mission? Tell us in the comments.

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