Tag: Estate Planning

Charitable Lead Trusts

Jun 24, 2020

Charitable Lead Trusts
How they work, how they may help you reduce taxes.

Are you concerned about the inheritance taxes your heirs may have to pay? Then you may want to consider creating charitable lead trusts. (more…)

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Explaining the Basis of Inherited Real Estate

Jun 22, 2020

Giving house away
What is cost basis? Stepped-up basis? How does the home sale tax exclusion work?

At some point in our lives, we may inherit a home or another form of real property. In such instances, we need to understand some of the jargon involving inherited real estate. What does “cost basis” mean? What is a “step-up?” What is the home sale tax exclusion, and  what kind of tax break does it offer? (more…)

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SECURE ACT Lesser Known Provisions

Feb 20, 2020

SECURE stack of binders and papers
What Younger Investors need to know

The SECURE Act passed into law in late 2019 and changed several aspects of retirement investing. These modifications included modifying the ability to stretch an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) and changing the age when IRA holders must start taking requirement minimum distributions to 72-years-old.1,2 (more…)

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Ways to Fund Special Needs Trusts

Jan 27, 2020

Trust Wooden Blocks on Table
A Look at the Different Options & Strategies.

If you have a child with special needs, special needs trusts may be a financial priority. There are many crucial goods and services that Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income might not pay for. It may be used to address those financial challenges. Most importantly, a special needs trust may help provide for your disabled child in case you’re no longer able to care for them.

In planning for one, one of the most pressing questions is: when it comes to funding the trust, what are the options?

(more…)

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Talking to Your Heirs About Your Estate Plan

Oct 14, 2019

People working at a table
They should not be left ill-informed or unaware.

Talking about “the end” is not the easiest thing to do, and this is one reason why some people never adequately plan for the transfer of their wealth. Those who do create estate plans with help from financial and legal professionals sometimes leave their heirs out of the conversation. (more…)

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Why You Might Want to Create a Donor-Advised Fund

Oct 11, 2019

Hands holding a heart
A DAF can be a great way to give, with potentially great tax breaks.

Do you regularly donate to charities and other non-profit organizations? Then you may want to open a donor-advised fund.

Donor-advised funds are becoming popular. It is easy to see why. They offer potential tax perks, and in some instances, a chance to grow money set aside for charitable gifting. (more…)

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The Importance of TOD & JTWROS Designations

Sep 30, 2019

female teen hand with chalk on blackboard
A convenient move that could ward off probate on your accounts.

TOD, JTWROS – what do these obscure acronyms signify? They are shorthand for transfer on death and joint tenancy with right of survivorship – two designations that permit automatic transfer of bank or investment accounts from a deceased spouse to a surviving spouse.

This automatic transfer of assets reflects a legal tenet called the right of survivorship –the idea that the surviving partner should be the default beneficiary of the account. In some states, a TOD or JTWROS beneficiary designation is even allowed for real property. (more…)

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An Executor Checklist

Sep 25, 2019

Checklist
The steps you may need to take to fulfill a major responsibility.

If you are an executor to an estate, you must carry out your duties responsibly. Fulfilling these duties is not only a measure of your ability, but a measure of your character.You can approach these tasks methodically. In fact, it is probably best if you do. Here are the common steps required of executors, before and after the death of a testator.

What should you do now, before having to assume the role of executor? The most important thing you can do is to communicate with him or her. Ask where the will and other foundational estate planning documents are, so you can locate them when the time comes. See if they want an elaborate funeral, a simple service, or no service at all – and yes, ask whether burial or cremation is preferred. Ask for the contact info of the key financial, insurance, tax, and legal professionals connected to the testator’s financial situation, plus contact info for business partners, creative collaborators, and any relatives you may not know well. (more…)

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Put it in a Letter

Aug 14, 2019

Paper and pen
Express your wishes.

Actor Lee Marvin once said, “As soon as people see my face on a movie screen, they [know] two things: first, I’m not going to get the girl, and second, I’ll get a cheap funeral before the picture is over.”

Most people don’t spend too much time thinking about their own funeral, and yet, many of us have a vision about our memorial service or the handling of our remains. A letter of instruction can help you accomplish that goal.

A letter of instruction is not a legal document; it’s a letter written by you that provides additional, more personal information regarding your estate. It can be addressed to whomever you choose, but typically, letters of instruction are directed to the executor, family members, or beneficiaries. (more…)

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Will You Avoid These Estate Planning Mistakes?

Jul 17, 2019

Confused Child
Too many wealthy households commit these common blunders.

Many people plan their estates diligently, with input from legal, tax, and financial professionals. Others plan earnestly but make mistakes that can potentially affect both the transfer and destiny of family wealth. Here are some common and not-so-common errors to avoid. (more…)

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More Insights

Jul 10, 2020

With the economy and financial markets flashing mixed signals, it’s no wonder that lawmakers are deadlocked on whether to pass a Phase 4 of the CARES Act.

Jul 8, 2020

As states cautiously begin the process of relaxing their COVID-19 restrictions, some are wondering, “Why is the stock market doing so well when the economy is doing so poorly?” Ever heard of economic indicators?

Jul 6, 2020

Your car insurance premium is based on more than your driving history. The amount you pay for auto insurance is determined by a complicated algorithm that takes many factors into consideration. Your driving history is just one variable used to calculate your rate. Read on to learn more about what auto insurance carriers look at … Continue reading “What Determines Car Insurance Rates?”

Jul 3, 2020

As Americans adjust their spending habits in a rapidly changing economy, they are building cash reserves at an unprecedented rate. The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported on May 29th that the personal savings rate hit a historic 33% in April. To put that into perspective, it’s the highest number since the Bureau started tracking personal … Continue reading “An Unprecedented Rush to Cash”

Jul 1, 2020

The Fourth of July holiday will be very different this year. Although it’s a time to enjoy family and friends, and maybe even watch some fireworks, social distancing and a new wave of COVID-19 cases also may take a seat at the picnic table. We all continue to believe our doctors and medical community will … Continue reading “Fourth of July Optimism”

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