Tag: Estate Planning

Estate Planning Checklist for When a Spouse or Parent Passes

Jun 21, 2024

Estate Planning Death Checklist
An overview of some of the fundamental steps to take.

When you lose a spouse, partner, or parent, the grief can be overwhelming. In the midst of that grief, life goes on. There are arrangements to be made, things to be taken care of – and in recognition of this reality, here is a checklist that you may find useful at such a time. If not, estate planning is an important aspect of one’s overall financial picture. It plans for what comes next.

First, gather documents. Ask for help from other family members if you need it. Start by gathering the following. (more…)

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Basis: Carryover or Stepped-Up Cost Basis?

Jun 5, 2024

FAQs about cost basis
Answers to some frequently asked questions

Income tax basis can be an important factor in deciding whether to make gifts during your lifetime or transfer property at your death. This is because the income tax basis for the person receiving the property depends on whether the transfer is by gift or at death. This, in turn, affects the amount of taxable gain subject to income tax when the person sells the property.

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Asset Protection in Estate Planning

May 31, 2024

Estate Planning
What you need to know when protecting your assets

You’re beginning to accumulate substantial wealth, but you worry about protecting it from future potential creditors. Whether your concern is for your personal assets or your business, various tools exist to keep your property safe from tax collectors, accident victims, health-care providers, credit card issuers, business creditors, and creditors of others.

To insulate your property from such claims, you’ll have to evaluate each tool in terms of your own situation. You may decide that insurance and a Declaration of Homestead may be sufficient protection for your home because your exposure to a claim is low. For high exposure, you may want to create a business entity or an offshore trust to shield your assets. Remember, no asset protection tool is guaranteed to work, and you may have to adjust your asset protection strategies as your situation or the laws change.

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Dealing With Divorce

May 22, 2024

Divorce Torn Heart Wedding Ring
Dealing with divorce can be messy

Divorce can be a lengthy process that may strain your finances and leave you feeling out of control. But with the right preparation, you can protect your interests, take charge of your future, and save yourself time and money. You certainly never expected divorce when you cut the wedding cake; you and your spouse planned on spending the rest of your lives together. Unfortunately, the fairy tale didn’t work out, and you’re headed for a divorce. So where do you begin?

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Explaining the Basis of Inherited Real Estate

May 6, 2024

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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Buying Supplemental Health Insurance: Medigap

May 3, 2024

The in’s and out’s of medigap policies

Medicare won’t cover all of your health-care costs during retirement, so you may want to buy a supplemental medical insurance policy known as Medigap. Offered by private insurance companies, Medigap policies are designed to cover costs not paid by Original Medicare (Parts A and B), helping you fill the gaps in your Medicare coverage. You’ll pay the private insurance company a monthly premium in addition to the monthly Part B premium you pay to Medicare.

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Eliminate the Guesswork in an Estate Plan

Mar 22, 2024

Scales of Justice
Using a lawyer to create an estate plan is a key component of achieving financial wellness

Creating an estate plan is a key component of achieving financial wellness
Most people don’t spend too much time thinking about end-of-life planning on a daily basis. But you may have loved ones who will soon face those issues. While it’s not pleasant to think about, you may be the one who ends up having to sort out their affairs. In addition, there will come a time when you need to think about yourself and your own family. (more…)

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Wills: The Cornerstone of Your Estate Plan

Jan 8, 2024

male hand with pen on paper
A convenient move that could ward off probate on your accounts.

If you care about what happens to your money, home, and other property after you die, you need to do some estate planning. There are many tools you can use to achieve your estate planning goals, but a will is probably the most vital. Even if you’re young or your estate is modest, you should always have a legally valid and up-to-date will. This is especially important if you have minor children because, in many states, your will is the only legal way you can name a guardian for them. Although a will doesn’t have to be drafted by an attorney to be valid, seeking an attorney’s help can ensure that your will accomplishes what you intend.

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Charitable Giving

Dec 4, 2023

When developing your estate plan, you can do well by doing good. Leaving money to charity rewards you in many ways. It gives you a sense of personal satisfaction, and it can save you money in estate taxes.

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Life Insurance and Estate Planning

Sep 25, 2023

Free Selective Focus Photography2 Blue Egg on Nest Stock PhotoLife insurance has come a long way since the days when it was known as burial insurance and used mainly to pay for funeral expenses. Today, life insurance is a crucial part of many estate plans. You can use it to leave much-needed income to your survivors, provide for your children’s education, pay off your mortgage, and simplify the transfer of assets. Life insurance can also be used to replace wealth lost due to the expenses and taxes that may follow your death, and to make gifts to charity at relatively little cost to you.

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More Insights

Jun 24, 2024

What does a good retirement look like to you? Does it resemble the retirement that your spouse or partner has in mind? It is at least roughly similar? The Social Security Administration currently projects an average of 18 years for a retiring man and 21 years for a woman (assuming retirement at age 65). So, … Continue reading “Couples Retiring on the Same Page”

Jun 21, 2024

When you lose a spouse, partner, or parent, the grief can be overwhelming. In the midst of that grief, life goes on. There are arrangements to be made, things to be taken care of – and in recognition of this reality, here is a checklist that you may find useful at such a time. If … Continue reading “Estate Planning Checklist for When a Spouse or Parent Passes”

Jun 17, 2024

Seventy-three is an important age milestone for those in or near retirement, as it marks the time when required minimum distributions (RMDs) begin to be withdrawn annually from IRAs and employer-sponsored retirement plans (previously, the threshold was 70 ½). The milestone carries with it tax consequences that are not fixed. Rather, there are a few … Continue reading “Optimizing Required Minimum Distributions”

Jun 14, 2024

Bottom Line at the Top Line Markets reacted positively to this week’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) release. Softer inflation is good news for the Federal Reserve (Fed). Despite a good report this morning, the Fed will still likely communicate this afternoon their intentions to keep rates higher for longer in their updated Summary of Economic … Continue reading “Market Update – Reaction to Softer Inflation”

Jun 12, 2024

You’ve probably heard the saying that “cash is king,” and that truth applies whether you own a business or not. Most discussions of business and personal “financial planning” involve tomorrow’s goals, but those goals may not be realized without attention to cash flow, today. Management of available cash flow is a key in any kind … Continue reading “Cash Flow Management”

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