When it comes to estate planning, accounting firm BDO Seidman found that most middle-market company owners relied on life insurance to pay for estate taxes that currently run as high as 55%. Too bad. Insurance is costly, and sometimes unnecessary when tax-advantaged strategies such as trusts (see "A Guide to Trusts," No. 08920903, August 1992) can be used instead.

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Which of these methods do you use to provide for the payment of estate taxes?

59% Life Insurance
14% Other
12% Corporate Redemption
7% Savings
6% Proceeds from Sale of Business
2% ESOP

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Source: "Pulse of the Middle Market," a BDO Seidman survey of 2,201 companies; 88% with annual revenues of less than $50 million, New York City, 1991