College Financing May be an Integral Part of Your Estate Plan

  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,… Read More

Donating to Charity? Watch out for New Appraisal Regulations…

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… Read More

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

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… Read More

The HSA: A Healthy Supplement to Your Savings Regimen

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… Read More

You have Assets in Payable-on-Death Accounts

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… Read More

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

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… Read More

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

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… Read More

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

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… Read More

What you Need to Know About Filing Gift and Estate Tax Returns…

Have you made substantial gifts of wealth to family members? Or are you the executor of the estate of a loved one who died recently? If so, you need to know whether you must file a gift or estate tax return. Filing a Gift Tax Return Generally, a federal gift tax return (Form 709) is… Read More