Articles & Information

Your Estate Plan Includes A Formula Funding Clause

Posted On: July 11th 2018

The estate tax exemption is higher than it’s ever been, thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), which temporarily doubled the exemption to an inflation-adjusted $10 million ($20 million for married couples who design their estate plans properly). This year, the exemption amount is $11.18 million ($22.36 million for married couples). If you’re…

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Leave Your Mark: The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Enhances the Power of a Dynasty Trust

Posted On: July 9th 2018

If a prime objective of your estate plan is to leave a lasting legacy, a dynasty trust may be the right estate planningdynastynsfer (GST) tax exemption amount established by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, a dynasty trust is more appealing than ever. GST Tax and Dynasty Trusts A dynasty trust allows substantial amounts…

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Expanded 529 Plans Offer Unique Estate Planning Benefits

Posted On: July 7th 2018

If you’re putting aside money for college or other educational expenses, consider a tax-advantaged 529 savings plan. Also known as “college savings plans,” 529 plans were expanded by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) to cover elementary and secondary school expenses as well. And while these plans are best known as an educational funding…

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Avoiding The Kiddie Tax Is More Important Than Ever

Posted On: July 5th 2018

The “kiddie tax” was added to the tax code in 1986 to discourage parents from shifting income to their children in order to reduce the family’s tax liability. It effectively eliminated the benefits of income-shifting by taxing all but a small portion of a child’s unearned income at the parents’ marginal tax rate. Under the…

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A SLAT Offers Estate Planning Benefits And Acts As A Financial Backup Plan

Posted On: June 26th 2018

The most effective estate planning strategies often involve the use of irrevocable trusts. But what if you’re uncomfortable placing your assets beyond your control? What happens if your financial fortunes take a turn for the worse after you’ve irrevocably transferred a sizable portion of your wealth? If your marriage is strong, a spousal lifetime access…

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Fortify Your Estate Plan Against Undue Influence Claims

Posted On: June 21st 2018

Of course, you expect the declarations in your will to be carried out, as required by law. Usually, that’s exactly what happens with wills. However, it’s possible your will could be contested and your true intentions defeated if someone is found to have exerted “undue influence” over your decisions. Undue Influence Defined Undue influence…

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The Pros and Cons of a SCIN

Posted On: June 19th 2018

Many estate planning techniques are intended to minimize or even eliminate gift and estate taxes when transferring assets to family members. Sometimes, the most powerful techniques also have a significant drawback: mortality risk. For example, you may have to outlive the term of a trust to realize its tax benefits. A self-canceling installment note (SCIN)…

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Naming a Minor as Beneficiary of a Life Insurance Policy or Retirement Plan Can Lead to Unintended Outcomes

Posted On: June 5th 2018

A common estate planning mistake is to designate a minor as beneficiary — or contingent beneficiary — of a life insurance policy or retirement plan. While making your young child the beneficiary of such assets may seem like an excellent way to provide for him or her in the case of your untimely death, doing…

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Use The Proper Tools To Fix A Broken Trust

Posted On: June 1st 2018

An irrevocable trust has long been a key component of many estate plans. But what if it no longer serves your purposes? Is it too late to change it? Depending on applicable state law, you may have options to fix a “broken” trust. How Trusts Break There are several reasons a trust can break,…

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If Charitable Giving Is Part Of Your Estate Plan, Consider A Donor-Advised Fund

Posted On: May 23rd 2018

Do you make sizable gifts to charitable causes? If you’re fortunate enough to afford it, you can realize personal rewards from your generosity and may be able to claim a deduction on your tax return. But once you turn over the money or assets, you generally have no further say on how they’re used. You…

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