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Thursday, March 12, 2020

Protecting Your Will From Legal Challenges


Protecting your will from legal challenges

You’ve probably seen it in the movies or on TV hundreds of times: A close-knit family gathers for the reading of the will of a wealthy patriarch or matriarch. When the terms are revealed, someone benefits at the expense of someone else, causing a ruckus. It may even come to blows. This “bad blood” continues to boil between estranged family members who won’t even speak to one another.

Unfortunately, a comparable scenario can play out in real life as well if you don’t make proper provisions.
Read more . . .


Thursday, March 12, 2020

When to Elect the Alternate Valuation Date


When to elect the alternate valuation date

The stock market goes up, the stock market goes down. Just consider recent history. In 2018, stocks took one of their worst beatings since the Great Depression, with the Dow Jones Industrials Average (DJIA) falling 5.6% for the year and the S&P 500 down 6.2%.
Read more . . .


Thursday, March 12, 2020

Do You Know When an FBAR Must be Filed?


Do you know when an FBAR must be filed?

If you have a financial interest in, or signature authority over, foreign financial accounts with an aggregate value exceeding $10,000 at any time during the calendar year, you must file FinCEN Form 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR). The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and the IRS have been stepping up enforcement of foreign account reporting requirements. Thus, it’s important to closely follow compliance rules to avoid penalty.

Foreign financial accounts defined

Financial accounts include bank accounts, securities and brokerage accounts, and other accounts maintained with a financial institution or “other person performing the services of a financial institution.” They also include mutual funds, insurance and annuity funds with cash values, commodity futures or options accounts, and certain retirement accounts.
Read more . . .


Friday, February 28, 2020

A WIN-WIN PROPOSITION


A WIN-WIN PROPOSITION

A charitable remainder trusts benefits you and your favorite charity

Are you a multitasker? If so, you may appreciate an estate planning technique that can convert assets into a stream of lifetime income, provide a current tax deduction and leave the remainder to one of your favorite charities — all in one fell swoop. It’s the aptly-named charitable remainder trust (CRT).

CRTs have been around for decades, and they remain a viable estate planning strategy in the wake of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) and other recent tax legislation.

A CRT in action

For starters, you may set up one of two CRT types (see the sidebar “2 Types of CRTs” at x) and fund it with assets you own. The trust then pays out income to the designated beneficiary or beneficiaries — for example, the trust creator or a spouse — for life or a term of 20 years or less.
Read more . . .


Friday, February 28, 2020

A CRUMMEY TRUST MAY SOUND PRETTY GOOD


A Crummey Trust May Sound Pretty Good

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) has reduced estate tax concerns for many families, but estate tax liability remains a concern for some. Notably, you may implement strategies in the wake of the TCJA that are designed to reduce future exposure to federal and state estate taxes.

One such option, a Crummey trust, remains a viable option. Despite its odd-sounding name, derived from the landmark case authorizing its use, the results are anything but crummy.

“Present interest” vs.
Read more . . .


Friday, February 28, 2020

A Second Walk Down the Aisle


A SECOND WALK DOWN THE AISLE CAN COMPLICATE ESTATE PLANNING

An estate planning rule of thumb is to review (and, if necessary, revise) your estate plan in light of major life events. Such events include a marriage, birth of a child and a divorce. A second marriage also calls for an estate plan review. You’ll want to provide for your current spouse but not inadvertently benefit your former spouse. And if you have children from each marriage, juggling their interests can be a challenge.
Read more . . .


Monday, December 23, 2019

Intentionally Defective Grantor Trust


IDGT: This trust is supposed to “fail”

Trusts come in all shapes and sizes. However, from an income tax perspective, there are basically two types of trusts that are funded with assets: grantor trusts and nongrantor trusts. As the name implies, the earnings of a grantor trust are taxed directly to the grantor — the person establishing the trust — while a nongrantor trust entity pays the tax owed on the trust’s earnings.

So you might be surprised to learn about a variation that’s purposely designed to fail the grantor trust rules and result in income being taxed to the grantor. Appropriately enough, it’s called the “intentionally defective grantor trust” (IDGT).
Read more . . .


Monday, December 23, 2019

You Haven't Addressed Pets in your Estate Plan???


275 words

Estate Planning Pitfall

You haven’t addressed pets in your estate plan.....
Read more . . .


Monday, December 23, 2019

7 Deadly Estate Planning Sins


7 Deadly Estate Planning Sins

According to literature, the "seven deadly sins" are lust, gluttony, greed, laziness, wrath, envy and pride. Although individuals may be guilty of these from time to time, other types of “sins” can be fatal to an estate plan if you’re not careful. Here are seven transgressions to avoid.

Sin #1: You don’t create an estate plan. The first estate planning sin is the most basic.
Read more . . .


Monday, September 9, 2019

WHAT'S NEW WITH THE KIDDIE TAX?


WHAT'S NEW WITH THE KIDDIE TAX?

One of the outcomes of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is that children with unearned income may find themselves in a higher tax bracket than their parents. Under the “kiddie tax,” as it’s sometimes referred to, a child’s unearned income is taxed according to the tax brackets for trusts and estates, under which the highest tax rates kick in at far lower income levels. The result is children may now be subject to higher tax rates than their parents. The good news is that there are strategies that allow for family income shifting.

Origins of the kiddie tax

Transferring investments and other income-producing assets to your children can be an effective estate-planning technique.
Read more . . .


Monday, September 9, 2019

PUT PEN TO PAPER


PUT PEN TO PAPER

How a letter of instruction can benefit family harmony

Your will is the centerpiece of your estate plan. Typically, it’s the most important document used in estate planning and is created before any other. In addition, you should have your will periodically reviewed and updated as needed. But you can still rely on other documents to complement your will. For example, if you haven’t already done so, consider writing a “letter of instructions” to accompany your will.
Read more . . .


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