Articles & Information

Thinking about a Roth IRA conversion? Now may be the ideal time

Posted On: July 11th 2019

Roth IRAs offer significant estate planning and financial benefits. If you have a substantial balance in a traditional IRA and are considering converting it to a Roth IRA, there may be no better time than now. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) reduced individual income tax rates through 2025…

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4 negative outcomes of jointly owning property with a family member

Posted On: June 27th 2019

A common estate planning mistake that people make is to own property jointly with an adult child or other family member. True, adding a loved one to the title of your home, bank account or other property can be a simple technique for leaving property to that person without the need for probate…

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A divorce necessitates an estate plan review

Posted On: June 20th 2019

If you’re divorcing, it’s important to review your estate plan as early as possible, for two reasons: First, you may wish to revise your plan immediately to prevent your spouse from inheriting or gaining control over your assets if you die or become incapacitated before the divorce is final. Second,…

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Ease itemized deduction limitations using a nongrantor trust

Posted On: June 13th 2019

The record-high exemption amount currently in effect means that fewer families are affected by gift and estate taxes. As a result, the estate planning focus for many people has shifted from transfer taxes to income taxes. A nongrantor trust can be an effective option to reduce income taxes,…

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You have options when addressing life insurance in your estate plan

Posted On: June 6th 2019

Life insurance has long provided a source of liquidity to pay estate taxes and other expenses. But, with the estate tax exemption currently set at an inflation-adjusted $10 million ($11.40 million for 2019), estate taxes are no longer a concern for many families. Nonetheless, life insurance offers many benefits for nontaxable estates…

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Estate Planning for Single Parents Requires Special Considerations

Posted On: May 15th 2019

Here’s a fast fact: The percentage of U.S. children who live with an unmarried parent has jumped from 13% in 1968 to 32% in 2017, according to Pew Research Center’s most recent poll. While estate planning for single parents is similar to estate planning for families with two parents, when only one parent is involved,…

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Make health care decisions while you’re healthy

Posted On: May 9th 2019

Estate planning isn’t just about what happens to your assets after you die. It’s also about protecting yourself and your loved ones. This includes having a plan for making critical medical decisions in the event you’re unable to make them yourself. And, as with other aspects of your estate plan, the time to act is now, while you’re healthy…

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Add Spendthrift Language to a Trust to Safeguard Assets

Posted On: May 7th 2019

Protecting assets from creditors is a critical aspect of estate planning, but you need to think about more than just your own creditors: You also need to consider your heirs’ creditors. Adding spendthrift language to a trust benefiting your heirs can help safeguard assets. Spendthrift language explained Despite its name, the purpose of a spendthrift…

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Does your estate plan include a formula funding clause?

Posted On: May 2nd 2019

The gift and 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 $11.4 million ($22.8 million for married couples)…

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College Financing May be an Integral Part of Your Estate Plan

Posted On: April 29th 2019

The staggering cost of college makes it critical for families to plan carefully for this major expense, and in many cases, grandparents want to play a role. As you examine the many financing options for your grandchildren, be sure to consider their impact on your estate plan. Make Direct Payments A simple, but effective,…

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Donating to Charity? Watch out for New Appraisal Regulations…

Posted On: April 24th 2019

If you make substantial non-cash gifts to charity, it’s important to familiarize yourself with new requirements for qualified appraisals. A qualified appraisal must accompany non-cash gifts over $5,000 (with certain exceptions), including groups of similar items whose total value exceeds $5,000 (even if donated to separate recipients). Recently, the IRS finalized 10-year-old proposed regulations regarding…

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Stay True to your Family with a Total Return Uni-Trust

Posted On: April 21st 2019

Even in the strongest families, conflicting interests between income and remainder beneficiaries can create tension and turn the trustee’s job into a delicate balancing act. By aligning your beneficiaries’ interests, a total return uni-trust (TRU) can relieve this tension and allow your trustee to concentrate on developing the most effective investment strategy. A Difficult Job…

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The HSA: A Healthy Supplement to Your Savings Regimen

Posted On: April 17th 2019

Longer life expectancies and rising health care costs make saving for retirement more important than ever before. A Health Savings Account (HSA) can be a powerful tool for financing health care expenses while supplementing your other retirement savings vehicles. And it offers estate planning benefits to boot. An HSA in Action Similar to a traditional…

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You have Assets in Payable-on-Death Accounts

Posted On: April 14th 2019

Payable-on-death (POD) accounts provide a quick, simple and inexpensive way to transfer assets outside of probate. They can be used for bank accounts, certificates of deposit or even brokerage accounts. Setting one up is as easy as providing the bank with a signed POD beneficiary designation form. When you die, your beneficiaries just need to…

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Life Insurance can be a Powerful Estate Planning Tool for Nontaxable Estates

Posted On: April 9th 2019

For years, life insurance has played a critical role in estate planning, providing a source of liquidity to pay estate taxes and other expenses. Today, the gift and estate tax exemption has climbed to $11.4 million, so estate taxes are no longer a concern for the vast majority of families. But even for nontaxable estates, life…

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If art donations are part of your estate plan, consider these four tips

Posted On: April 4th 2019

Charitable giving is a key part of estate planning for many people. If you have a collection of valuable art and are charitably minded, consider donating one or more pieces to receive tax deductions. Generally, it’s advantageous to donate appreciated property to avoid capital gains taxes…

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Companion Piece: Create a “Road Map” for your Estate Plan

Posted On: April 4th 2019

No matter how much effort you’ve invested in designing your estate plan, your will, trusts and other official documents may not be enough. Consider creating a “road map” — an informal letter or other document that guides your family in understanding and executing your plan and ensuring that your wishes are carried out. Navigating Your…

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Properly Funding your Revocable Trust is the Key to Unlocking its Benefits

Posted On: April 1st 2019

If your estate plan includes a revocable trust — also known as a “living” trust — it’s critical to ensure that the trust is properly funded. Revocable trusts offer significant benefits, including asset management (in the event you become incapacitated) and probate avoidance. But these benefits aren’t available if you don’t fund the trust. Funding…

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