Articles & Information

Sudden Impact: When a Spouse Unexpectedly Dies

Posted On: January 19th 2019

What if the unthinkable happens and your spouse dies unexpectedly? Would you be prepared to cope emotionally and financially? As the surviving spouse, you’ll face several tasks and challenges. First Steps First By no means complete, the following are areas that will need to be addressed: Death Certificates. One of the first things to do…

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How Incomplete Non-Grantor Trusts can Help Avoid State Income Taxes

Posted On: January 15th 2019

With the federal gift and estate tax exemption at $11.40 million for 2019, people whose estates are below the exemption amount are shifting their focus to income tax reduction. High-income taxpayers — particularly those who live in high-income-tax states — may want to consider incomplete non-grantor trusts, which make it possible to eliminate state taxes on…

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Automatic Extension Available for Making Portability Election

Posted On: January 11th 2019

Portability allows a surviving spouse to apply a deceased spouse’s unused estate tax exemption amount toward his or her own transfers during life or at death. To secure these benefits, however, the deceased spouse’s executor must have made a portability election on a timely filed estate tax return. The return is due nine months after…

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A Pre-Nup or a DAPT: Which is the Better Choice?

Posted On: January 8th 2019

If you or one of your adult children is getting married, you may be concerned about protecting your family’s assets in the event of a divorce. A prenuptial agreement can be an effective tool for overriding marital property rights and keeping assets in the family. But these agreements have disadvantages. For many families, a better…

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College-Aged Children Need a Basic Estate Plan

Posted On: January 3rd 2019

If your son or daughter currently is home from college on winter break, now is a good time to sit down and discuss a few estate planning documents he or she should have at this stage of life. Let’s take a closer look at four such documents: Health Care Power of Attorney. With a health…

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Does your Estate Include Intellectual Property?

Posted On: December 30th 2018

If you’ve invented something during your lifetime and had it patented, your estate includes intellectual property (IP). The same goes for any copyrighted works. These assets can hold substantial value, and, thus, must be addressed by your estate plan. However, bear in mind that these assets are generally treated differently than other types of property….

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The Net Investment Income Tax is Alive and Well

Posted On: December 28th 2018

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) reduced individual income tax rates, but it left the 3.8% net investment income tax (NIIT) in place. It’s important to address the NIIT in your estate plan because it can erode your earnings from interest, dividends, capital gains and other investments, leaving less for your heirs. How it…

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In an Unpredictable Estate Planning Environment, Flexibility is Key

Posted On: December 26th 2018

Last year’s tax reform legislation — the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) — made only one change to the federal gift and estate tax regime, but it was a big one. The act had the effect of more than doubling the combined gift and estate tax exemption, as well as the generation-skipping transfer (GST)…

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You’re Borrowing from Your Retirement Plan

Posted On: December 24th 2018

If you have a substantial amount of money socked away in a 401(k) or other qualified retirement plan, it may be tempting to borrow from those funds to pay college tuition, credit card bills or other expenses. Before you do, however, be sure to discuss your options with your financial advisor. Given the risks and…

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Intellectual Property Requires Careful Estate Planning

Posted On: December 21st 2018

If your estate includes forms of intellectual property (IP), such as patents and copyrights, it’s important to know how to address them in your estate plan. Although these intangible assets can have great value, in many ways they’re treated differently from other property types. 2 Estate Planning Questions For estate planning purposes, IP raises two…

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Review and Revise Your Estate Plan to Reflect Life Changes During The Past Year

Posted On: December 18th 2018

Your estate plan shouldn’t be a static document. It needs to change as your life changes. Year end is the perfect time to check whether any life events have taken place in the past 12 months or so that affect your estate plan. And the plan should be reviewed periodically anyway to ensure that it…

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Should you name a Trust as IRA Beneficiary?

Posted On: December 13th 2018

An IRA is a popular vehicle to save for retirement, and it can also be a powerful estate planning tool. Some people designate a trust as beneficiary of their IRAs, but is that a good idea? The answer: possibly. IRA Benefits The benefit of an IRA is that your contributions can grow and compound on…

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Unleash the Power of a Non-Springing Power of Attorney

Posted On: December 10th 2018

Estate planning typically focuses on what happens to your children and your assets when you die. But it’s equally important to have a plan for making critical financial and medical decisions if you’re unable to make those decisions yourself. A crucial component of this plan is the power of attorney (POA) • specifically, a non-springing…

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Consider an Intrafamily Loan to Cover Estate Taxes

Posted On: December 5th 2018

Sometimes estates that are large enough for estate taxes to be a concern are asset rich but cash poor, without the liquidity needed to pay those taxes. An intrafamily loan is one option. While a life insurance policy can be used to cover taxes and other estate expenses, a benefit of using an intrafamily loan…

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Take Caution When Including Employees in Your Estate Plan

Posted On: December 3rd 2018

If you’re the owner of a small business, you may think of your tight-knit group of employees as a family. If you wish to include them as beneficiaries in your estate plan, it’s critical to be aware of possible unintended tax consequences. Unraveling the (tax) code Generally, money or other property received by gift…

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Turn Down an Inheritance Using a Qualified Disclaimer

Posted On: November 28th 2018

If you are about to receive an inheritance from a family member, you can use a qualified disclaimer to refuse the bequest. The assets will then bypass your estate and go directly to the next beneficiary in line. It’s as if the successor beneficiary, not you, had been named as the beneficiary in the first…

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Tenancy-in-Common: A Versatile Estate Planning Tool

Posted On: November 19th 2018

If you hold significant real estate investments, tenancy-in-common (TIC) ownership can be a powerful, versatile estate planning tool. A TIC interest is an undivided fractional interest in property. The property isn’t split into separate parcels. Rather, each TIC owner has the right to use and enjoy the entire property. TIC in Action An individual…

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Your Charitable Gifts Are Unrestricted

Posted On: November 14th 2018

If philanthropy is an important part of your legacy, consider taking steps to ensure that your donations are used to fulfill your intended charitable purposes. Outright gifts can be risky, especially large donations that will benefit a charity over a long period of time. Even if a charity is financially sound when you make a…

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A Hybrid DAPT Offers the Best of Both Worlds

Posted On: November 10th 2018

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act reduces or eliminates federal gift and estate taxes for most people (at least until 2026). One benefit of this change is that it allows you to focus your estate planning efforts on asset protection and other wealth-preservation strategies, rather than tax minimization. If you’re concerned about personal liability, you…

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Put Pen to Paper

Posted On: November 8th 2018

A letter of instruction and a mission statement add clarity to an estate plan If you’ve ever experienced the death of a loved one, you know what an upsetting and sometimes confusing time the aftermath can be. Legally binding documents, such as a will or living trust, spell out your final wishes. But including a…

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Estate Tax Relief for Family Businesses – Sec. 6166

Posted On: November 2nd 2018

Now that the gift, estate and generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax exemptions have more than doubled to an inflation-adjusted $11.18 million for 2018 ($22.36 million for married couples), fewer people are subject to transfer taxes than ever before. But these taxes continue to place a burden on families with significant amounts of wealth tied up in…

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Educate Your Children on Wealth Management

Posted On: October 24th 2018

If you’ve worked a lifetime to build a large estate, you undoubtedly would like to leave a lasting legacy to your children and future generations. Educating your children about saving, investing and other money management skills can help keep your legacy alive. Teaching techniques There’s no one right way to teach your children about money….

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For Unmarried Couples: Estate Planning is Indispensable

Posted On: October 18th 2018

When married couples neglect to prepare an estate plan, state intestacy laws step in to help provide financial security for the surviving spouse. It may not be the plan they would have designed, but at least it offers some measure of financial security. Unmarried couples, however, have no such backup plan. Unless they carefully spell…

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2 Ways to Transfer a Family Business

Posted On: October 12th 2018

For many people, a family-owned business is their primary source of wealth, so it’s critical to plan carefully for the transition of ownership from one generation to the next. The best approach depends on your particular circumstances. If your net worth is well within the estate tax exemption ($11.18 million for 2018), for example, you might…

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Retiring abroad? Review your estate plan before making the move

Posted On: October 9th 2018

If you dream of spending your golden years in a tropical paradise, a culture-rich European city or another foreign locale, it’s important to understand the potential tax and estate planning implications. If you don’t, you could be hit with some unpleasant surprises. Avoiding the pitfalls If you’re a citizen of the United States, U.S. taxes…

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Estate Planning Solutions For Members Of The “Sandwich Generation”

Posted On: October 8th 2018

Are you familiar with the term “sandwich generation”? If you’re currently caring for your children and your elderly parents, all the while trying to save for retirement, consider yourself a member. As a member of the sandwich generation, it’s critical that you be sure your estate plan reflects your current situation. A Balancing Act…

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You’re Getting Divorced

Posted On: October 5th 2018

If you’re divorcing, it’s important to review your estate plan as early as possible, for two reasons: First, you may wish to revise your plan immediately to prevent your spouse from inheriting or gaining control over your assets if you die or become incapacitated before the divorce is final. Second, although a divorce judgment or…

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New Pass-Through Deduction Creates Estate Planning Opportunities

Posted On: October 2nd 2018

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), enacted late last year, is best known for slashing income tax rates paid by C corporations and temporarily reducing individual rates. It also created a new 20% deduction for certain entities, effective through 2025, to help them compete with lower-taxed corporations. The deduction — which is available to…

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Thinking About A Roth IRA Conversion?

Posted On: September 27th 2018

Now May Be The Ideal Time Roth IRAs offer significant financial and estate planning benefits. If you have a substantial balance in a traditional IRA and are considering converting it to a Roth IRA, there may be no better time than now. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), enacted late last year, reduces individual…

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Is a Significant Portion of Your Wealth Concentrated in a Single Stock?

Posted On: September 17th 2018

Estate planning and investment risk management go hand in hand. After all, an estate plan is effective only if you have some wealth to transfer to the next generation. One of the best ways to reduce your investment risk is to diversify your holdings. But it’s not unusual for affluent people to end up with…

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