Articles & Information

What happens if your spouse fails to designate you as beneficiary of his or her IRA?

Posted On: APRIL 2021

One advantage of inheriting an IRA from your spouse is that you are entitled to transfer the funds to a spousal rollover IRA. The rollover IRA is treated as your own IRA for tax purposes, which means you need not begin taking required minimum distributions (RMDs) until you reach age 72. This differs from an IRA inherited from someone other than a spouse, when the entire IRA balance must be withdrawn within 10 years of the original owner’s death. (Note that different rules apply to IRAs inherited before January 1, 2020.)

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Keep it all in the family: Transferring your vacation home

Posted On: APRIL 2021

If your family owns a vacation home, you know what a relaxing refuge it can be. This is especially true these days due to the limited travel options you may have because of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. However, without a solid plan and ground rules that all family members agree to, conflict and tension may result in a ruined vacation — or worse yet, selling the home.

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A revocable living trust works only if you properly fund it

Posted On: MARCH 2021

A revocable living trust is often used to complement a will. For instance, you might transfer specific securities to the trust. Notably, these assets generally don’t have to go through the probate process, which can be time-consuming and expensive.

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Do you need to file a gift tax return?

Posted On: MARCH 2021

It’s tax-filing season and you’re likely focused on your income or business tax returns. But don’t forget about another type of return. In 2020, if you made substantial gifts of wealth to family members you may have to file a gift tax return.

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Dissecting the contents of a will

Posted On: MARCH 2021

For many people, the first thing they think of when they hear the words “estate plan” is a will. And for good reason, as it’s the cornerstone of any estate plan. But do you know what provisions should be included in a will and what are best to leave out? The answers to those questions may not be obvious.

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Creating an education legacy using a family education trust

Posted On: MARCH 2021

For many people, an important goal of estate planning is to leave a legacy for their children, grandchildren and future generations. And what better way to do that than to help provide for their educational needs? A 529 plan can be a highly effective tool for funding tuition and other educational expenses on a tax-advantaged basis. But when the plan’s owner (typically a parent or grandparent) dies, there’s no guarantee that subsequent owners will continue to use it to fulfill the original owner’s vision.

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Take control of your charitable donations using restrictions

Posted On: MARCH 2021

Did you know that you can put restrictions on charitable donations you make through your estate? If you want the peace of mind that your donations are used to fulfill your intended charitable purposes, you’ll need to take the steps to add restrictions.

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Not disclosing all of your assets helps no one

Posted On: FEBRUARY 2021

People sometimes keep assets hidden without letting their families know about their location or even that they exist. Similarly, they may have life insurance policies no one knows about. Using a fictional example, here’s why full disclosure of your assets to your family is recommended.

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Now or later: When is the right time to transfer your wealth?

Posted On: FEBRUARY 2021

To gift or not to gift? It’s a deceptively complex question. The temporary doubling of the federal gift and estate tax exemption — to an inflation-adjusted $11.7 million in 2021 — is viewed by some people as a “use it or lose it” proposition. In other words, you should make gifts now to take advantage of the exemption before it sunsets at the end of 2025 (or sooner if lawmakers decide to reduce it earlier).

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Reduce gift and estate tax exposure by making direct payments of tuition and medical expenses

Posted On: JANUARY 2021

Now that the gift and estate tax exemption has risen to $11.7 million for 2021, you may be less concerned about these taxes. But if you have children or grandchildren in college or with medical expenses, you may want to take advantage of the exemption for direct payments of tuition and medical expenses. It can provide a valuable opportunity to reduce your potential gift and estate tax exposure down the road.

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4 questions single parents should ask about their estate plans

Posted On: JANUARY 2021

Did you know that the United States has the highest rate of children living in single parent households? According to the Pew Research Center, nearly a quarter (23%) of U.S. children under the age of 18 live with one parent. This is more than three times the share (7%) of children from around the world who do so. If your household falls into this category, ensure your estate plan properly accounts for your children.

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A SPA trust can improve the flexibility of your estate plan

Posted On: DECEMBER 2020

We live in uncertain times. There’s uncertainty about the economy as well as the possibility of tax increases to address the rising federal debt. For example, there’s renewed interest in proposals that would slash the historically high gift and estate tax exemption. In light of this uncertainty, it’s a good idea to consider estate planning tools that offer asset protection as well as flexibility to adjust your plans to changing circumstances. One such tool is the special power of appointment (SPA) trust.

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Valuation in the age of COVID-19

Posted On: DECEMBER 2020

Valuation and estate planning go hand-in-hand. After all, the tax implications of various estate planning strategies depend on the value of your assets at the time they’re transferred.

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Appointing a guardian for your children can be a difficult task

Posted On: DECEMBER 2020

It’s often said that a main reason people put off creating an estate plan is because of the difficulty in choosing a guardian for their children. However, that decision is one of the most important estate planning decisions you must make.

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You don’t have a will

Posted On: DECEMBER 2020

The need for a will as a key component of your estate plan may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised by the number of people — even affluent individuals — who don’t have one. A reason for this may be a common misconception that a revocable trust — sometimes called a “living trust” — obviates the need for a will.

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Make your legacy last by educating your children about wealth management

Posted On: DECEMBER 31st 2020

If you’ve worked 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.

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Estate Planning And Maximizing Modern Technology For Seniors

Senior Living Options, Knowing When Is The Right Time And Getting Prepared.

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Does your estate plan clearly communicate your wishes?

Posted On: DECEMBER 23rd 2020

Precise language is critical in wills, trusts and other estate planning documents. A lack of clarity may be an invitation to litigation. An example of this is the dispute that arose after Tom Petty’s death between his widow and his two daughters from a previous marriage. (The two parties have since resolved their differences and dismissed all litigation matters.)

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