Have you Properly Substantiated your 2018 Charitable Gifts?

Donating to charity is a key estate planning strategy for many people. It reduces the size of your taxable estate and it can help you leave a lasting legacy with organizations you care about. The benefit of making such gifts during life rather than at death is that you may be eligible for an income… Read More



No, It’s Not Unusual to Include Your Pet in Your Estate Plan…

An unexpected outcome of the recent death of designer Karl Lagerfeld is that the topic of estate planning for pets has been highlighted. Lagerfeld’s beloved cat, Choupette, played a major role in his brand. The feline was the subject of a coffee table book and has a large Instagram following. Before his death, Lagerfeld publicly… Read More



Using Non-Grantor Trusts to Bypass SALT Deduction Limit

If you reside in a high-tax state, you may want to consider using non-grantor trusts to soften the blow of the new $10,000 federal limit on state and local tax (SALT) deductions. The limit, which was added by last year’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), can significantly reduce itemized deductions if your state income… Read More



You’ve Made Non-Deductible Contributions to your IRA

If, like many people, your traditional IRA holds a mixture of deductible (after-tax) and nondeductible (pretax) contributions, it’s critical to track your contributions carefully to avoid double taxation of distributions. Why? Because the IRS treats distributions as a blend of pretax and after-tax dollars. If you treat distributions as fully taxable, you’ll end up overpaying…. Read More



Do you Need to File Gift Tax Returns?

Avoid these Common Mistakes For 2019, the lifetime gift and estate tax exemption has reached a whopping $11.40 million ($22.80 million for married couples). As a result, few people will be subject to federal gift taxes. If your wealth is well within the exemption amount, does that mean there’s no need to file gift tax… Read More



Hastily Choosing an Executor can Lead to Problems After your Death

Choosing the right executor — sometimes known as a “personal representative” — is critical to the smooth administration of an estate. Yet many people treat this decision as an afterthought. Given an executor’s many responsibilities and complex tasks, it pays to put some thought into the selection. Job Description An executor’s duties may include: •… Read More



Have you had your Annual Estate Plan Checkup?

An annual estate plan checkup is critical to the health of your estate plan. Because various exclusion, exemption and deduction amounts are adjusted for inflation, they can change from year to year, impacting your plan. 2019 vs. 2018 amounts Here are a few key figures for 2018 and 2019: Lifetime gift and estate tax exemption… Read More



Sudden Impact: When a Spouse Unexpectedly Dies

What if the unthinkable happens and your spouse dies unexpectedly? Would you be prepared to cope emotionally and financially? As the surviving spouse, you’ll face several tasks and challenges. First Steps First By no means complete, the following are areas that will need to be addressed: Death Certificates. One of the first things to do… Read More



How Incomplete Non-Grantor Trusts can Help Avoid State Income Taxes

With the federal gift and estate tax exemption at $11.40 million for 2019, people whose estates are below the exemption amount are shifting their focus to income tax reduction. High-income taxpayers — particularly those who live in high-income-tax states — may want to consider incomplete non-grantor trusts, which make it possible to eliminate state taxes on… Read More