Estate Planning Briefs

Estate Planning Briefs


Leave a philanthropic legacy with a charitable remainder trust

Let’s say you’re charitably inclined but have concerns about maintaining a sufficient amount of income to meet your current needs. The good news is that there’s a trust for that: a charitable remainder trust (CRT). This type of trust allows … Read More »

October 10th

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on Leave a philanthropic legacy with a charitable remainder trust


The Crummey trust: Still relevant after all these years

Traditionally, trusts used in estate planning contain “Crummey” withdrawal powers to ensure that contributions qualify for the annual gift tax exclusion. Today, the exclusion allows you to give up to $15,000 per year ($30,000 for married couples) to any number … Read More »

September 19th

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on The Crummey trust: Still relevant after all these years


When it comes to asset protection, a hybrid DAPT offers the best of both worlds

A primary estate planning goal for most people is to hold on to as much of their wealth as possible to pass on to their children and other loved ones. To achieve this, you must limit estate tax liability and … Read More »

September 12th

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on When it comes to asset protection, a hybrid DAPT offers the best of both worlds


Control how your charitable gifts are used by adding restrictions

If philanthropy is an important part of your estate planning legacy, consider taking steps to ensure that your donations are used to fulfill your intended charitable purposes. Outright gifts can be risky, especially large donations that will benefit a charity … Read More »

September 5th

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Take intrafamily lending to the next level by establishing a family bank

One of the primary goals of estate planning is to put in writing how you want your wealth distributed to loved ones after your death. But what if you’d like to use that wealth to help a family member in … Read More »

August 29th

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on Take intrafamily lending to the next level by establishing a family bank


Expanded 529 plans offer unique estate planning benefits

If you’re putting aside money for college or other educational expenses, consider a tax-advantaged 529 savings plan. Also known as “college savings plans,” 529 plans were expanded by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) to cover elementary and secondary … Read More »

August 23rd

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A poorly worded apportionment clause can upend an estate plan

Federal estate tax liability is no longer an issue for many families, now that the gift and estate tax exemption stands at $11.4 million for 2019. But there are still affluent individuals whose estates may be subject to hefty estate … Read More »

August 15th

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on A poorly worded apportionment clause can upend an estate plan


Understanding the contents of a will

You probably don’t have to be told about the need for a will. But do you know what provisions should be included and what’s best to leave out? The answers to those questions depend on your situation and may depend … Read More »

August 8th

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on Understanding the contents of a will


What’s the difference between the two types of power of attorney?

When drafting your estate plan, you and your attorney must account for what happens to your children and your assets after you die. But your plan must also spell out your wishes for making financial and medical decisions if you’re … Read More »

August 1st

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on What’s the difference between the two types of power of attorney?


Naming a trustee may be one of the most important decisions of your life

When it comes to estate planning, trusts are appealing for many reasons. They can enable you to hold and transfer assets for beneficiaries, avoid probate and reduce estate tax exposure. But they can be complicated to set up. One of … Read More »

July 25th

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A buy-sell agreement can provide the liquidity to cover estate taxes

If you own an interest in a closely held business, it’s critical to have a well-designed, properly funded buy-sell agreement. Without one, an owner’s death can have a negative effect on the surviving owners.

If one of your co-owners dies, for … Read More »

July 19th

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on A buy-sell agreement can provide the liquidity to cover estate taxes


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

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 … Read More »

July 11th

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4 negative outcomes of jointly owning property with a family member

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 … Read More »

June 27th

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A divorce necessitates an estate plan review

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 … Read More »

June 20th

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Ease itemized deduction limitations using a nongrantor trust

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 … Read More »

June 13th

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You have options when addressing life insurance in your estate plan

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 … Read More »

June 6th

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on You have options when addressing life insurance in your estate plan


Charitable lead trusts offer philanthropic and family benefits

Affluent families who wish to give to charity while minimizing gift and estate taxes should consider a charitable lead trust (CLT). These trusts are most effective in a low-interest-rate environment, so conditions for taking advantage of a CLT … Read More »

May 30th

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on Charitable lead trusts offer philanthropic and family benefits


Leave your mark with a dynasty trust

If a prime objective of your estate plan is to leave a lasting legacy, a dynasty trust may be the right estate planning vehicle for you. And, thanks to the substantially increased generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax exemption amount established by … Read More »

May 23rd

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Beware if your estate plan leaves specific assets to specific heirs

Planning your estate around specific assets is risky and, in most cases, should be avoided. If you leave specific assets — such as homes, cars or stock — to specific people, you may inadvertently disinherit them.

Illustrating … Read More »

May 16th

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Make health care decisions while you’re healthy

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 … Read More »

May 9th

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on Make health care decisions while you’re healthy


Does your estate plan include a formula funding clause?

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). … Read More »

May 2nd

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on Does your estate plan include a formula funding clause?


Estate planning for single parents requires special considerations

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 … Read More »

April 26th

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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 … Read More »

April 18th

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Add spendthrift language to a trust to safeguard assets

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 … Read More »

April 11th

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

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 … Read More »

April 4th

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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) … Read More »

March 28th

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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 … Read More »

March 21st

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on Life insurance can be a powerful estate planning tool for nontaxable estates


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 … Read More »

March 15th

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Moving a trust over state lines can offer tax savings and other benefits

People who live in states with high income taxes sometimes relocate to a state with a more favorable tax climate. A similar strategy can be available for trusts. If a trust is subject to high state income taxes, you may … Read More »

March 7th

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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 … Read More »

February 25th

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on Have you properly substantiated your 2018 charitable gifts?


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 … Read More »

February 14th

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on What you need to know about filing gift and estate tax returns


Building an on-off switch into your estate plan

The right estate planning strategy for you likely is the one that will produce the greatest tax savings for your family. Unfortunately, there can be tension between strategies that save estate tax and ones that save income tax. This is … Read More »

February 7th

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on Building an on-off switch into your estate plan


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 … Read More »

January 24th

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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 … Read More »

January 17th

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If you’re driven to transfer a vehicle’s ownership to a trust, know the risks

A revocable trust — often referred to as a “living trust” — can help ensure smooth management of your assets during life and avoid probate at death. And you may know that the trust isn’t effective unless you “fund” it … Read More »

January 3rd

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on If you’re driven to transfer a vehicle’s ownership to a trust, know the risks


Estate planning lite: College-aged children need a basic estate plan

If your son or daughter currently is home from college on winter break, now is a good time to sit down and discuss a few estate planning documents he or she should have at this stage of life. Let’s take … Read More »

December 27th

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on Estate planning lite: College-aged children need a basic estate plan


Automatic extension available for making portability election

Portability allows a surviving spouse to apply a deceased spouse’s unused estate tax exemption amount toward his or her own transfers during life or at death. To secure these benefits, however, the deceased spouse’s executor must have made a portability … Read More »

December 20th

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A prenup or a DAPT: Which is the better choice?

If you or one of your adult children is getting married, you may be concerned about protecting your family’s assets in the event of a divorce. A prenuptial agreement can be an effective tool for overriding marital property rights and … Read More »

December 14th

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on A prenup or a DAPT: Which is the better choice?


How incomplete nongrantor 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 … Read More »

December 6th

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Consider an intrafamily loan to cover estate taxes

Sometimes estates that are large enough for estate taxes to be a concern are asset rich but cash poor, without the liquidity needed to pay those taxes. An intrafamily loan is one option. While a life insurance policy can be … Read More »

November 29th

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Unleash the power of a nonspringing power of attorney

Estate planning typically focuses on what happens to your children and your assets when you die. But it’s equally important to have a plan for making critical financial and medical decisions if you’re unable to make those decisions yourself. A … Read More »

November 26th

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Should you name a trust as IRA beneficiary?

An IRA is a popular vehicle to save for retirement, and it can also be a powerful estate planning tool. Some people designate a trust as beneficiary of their IRAs, but is that a good idea? The answer: possibly.

IRA benefits

The … Read More »

November 15th

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Intellectual property requires careful estate planning

If your estate includes forms of intellectual property (IP), such as patents and copyrights, it’s important to know how to address them in your estate plan. Although these intangible assets can have great value, in many ways they’re treated differently … Read More »

November 1st

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Take caution when including employees in your estate plan

If you’re the owner of a small business, you may think of your tight-knit group of employees as a family. If you wish to include them as beneficiaries in your estate plan, it’s critical to be aware of possible unintended … Read More »

October 25th

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Tenancy-in-common: A versatile estate planning tool

If you hold significant real estate investments, tenancy-in-common (TIC) ownership can be a powerful, versatile estate planning tool. A TIC interest is an undivided fractional interest in property. The property isn’t split into separate parcels. Rather, each TIC owner has … Read More »

October 18th

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Turn down an inheritance using a qualified disclaimer

If you are about to receive an inheritance from a family member, you can use a qualified disclaimer to refuse the bequest. The assets will then bypass your estate and go directly to the next beneficiary in line. It’s as … Read More »

October 11th

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Educate your children on wealth management

If you’ve worked a lifetime to build a large estate, you undoubtedly would like to leave a lasting legacy to your children and future generations. Educating your children about saving, investing and other money management skills can help keep your … Read More »

October 4th

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Retiring abroad? Review your estate plan before making the move

If you dream of spending your golden years in a tropical paradise, a culture-rich European city or another foreign locale, it’s important to understand the potential tax and estate planning implications. If you don’t, you could be hit with some … Read More »

September 27th

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on Retiring abroad? Review your estate plan before making the move


Two ways to transfer a family business

For many people, a family-owned business is their primary source of wealth, so it’s critical to plan carefully for the transition of ownership from one generation to the next.

The best approach depends on your particular circumstances. If your net worth … Read More »

September 20th

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on Two ways to transfer a family business


For unmarried couples, estate planning is indispensable

When married couples neglect to prepare an estate plan, state intestacy laws step in to help provide financial security for the surviving spouse. It may not be the plan they would have designed, but at least it offers some measure … Read More »

September 13th

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on For unmarried couples, estate planning is indispensable


Is a significant portion of your wealth concentrated in a single stock?

Estate planning and investment risk management go hand in hand. After all, an estate plan is effective only if you have some wealth to transfer to the next generation. One of the best ways to reduce your investment risk is … Read More »

September 6th

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on Is a significant portion of your wealth concentrated in a single stock?


At your own risk: The pitfalls of DIY estate planning

There’s no law that says you can’t prepare your own estate plan. And with an abundance of online services that automate the creation of wills and other documents, it’s easy to do. But unless your estate is small and your … Read More »

August 23rd

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on At your own risk: The pitfalls of DIY estate planning


Addressing long-term care costs with a tax-qualified LTC insurance policy

No matter how diligently you prepare, your estate plan can quickly be derailed if you or a loved one requires long-term home health care or an extended stay at a nursing home or assisted living facility.

The annual cost of long-term … Read More »

August 16th

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on Addressing long-term care costs with a tax-qualified LTC insurance policy


Protect your peace of mind with a trust protector

Irrevocable trusts can allow for the smooth, tax-advantaged transfer of wealth to family members. But there’s a drawback: When you set up an irrevocable trust, you must relinquish control of the assets placed in it. What you can control is … Read More »

August 9th

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Provide for family members with special needs using an SNT

If you have a child or other family member with a disabling condition that requires long-term care or prevents (or will prevent) him or her from being able to support him- or herself, consider establishing a special needs trust (SNT). … Read More »

August 6th

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Have you made your burial wishes clear?

It may be difficult to consider, but funeral arrangements are a critical component of your estate plan. Failure to clearly communicate your wishes regarding the disposition of your remains can lead to tension, disputes and even litigation among your family … Read More »

July 26th

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Double duty giving with charitable gift annuities

If you’re charitably inclined, you may wish to consider a charitable gift annuity. It can combine the benefits of an immediate income tax deduction and a lifetime income stream. Furthermore, it allows you to support a favorite charity and reduce … Read More »

July 19th

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21st century estate planning accounts for digital assets

Even though you can’t physically touch digital assets, they’re just as important to include in your estate plan as your material assets. Digital assets may include online bank and brokerage accounts, digital photo galleries, and even email and social media … Read More »

July 12th

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Basis consistency rules may come into play if you’re administering an estate or inheriting property

When it comes to tax law changes and estate planning, the substantial increases to the gift and estate tax exemptions under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act are getting the most attention these days. But a tax law change enacted … Read More »

July 5th

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on Basis consistency rules may come into play if you’re administering an estate or inheriting property


The BDIT: A trust with a twist

The beneficiary defective inheritor’s trust (BDIT) allows you to enjoy the benefits of a traditional trust without giving up control over your property. BDITs can hold a variety of assets, but they’re particularly effective for assets that have significant appreciation … Read More »

June 28th

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A SLAT offers estate planning benefits and acts as a financial backup plan

The most effective estate planning strategies often involve the use of irrevocable trusts. But what if you’re uncomfortable placing your assets beyond your control? What happens if your financial fortunes take a turn for the worse after you’ve irrevocably transferred … Read More »


Fortify your estate plan against undue influence claims

Of course, you expect the declarations in your will to be carried out, as required by law. Usually, that’s exactly what happens with wills. However, it’s possible your will could be contested and your true intentions defeated if someone is … Read More »


The pros and cons of a SCIN

Many estate planning techniques are intended to minimize or even eliminate gift and estate taxes when transferring assets to family members. Sometimes, the most powerful techniques also have a significant drawback: mortality risk. For example, you may have to outlive … Read More »


Naming a minor as beneficiary of a life insurance policy or retirement plan can lead to unintended outcomes

A common estate planning mistake is to designate a minor as beneficiary — or contingent beneficiary — of a life insurance policy or retirement plan. While making your young child the beneficiary of such assets may seem like an excellent … Read More »


Use the proper tools to fix a broken trust

An irrevocable trust has long been a key component of many estate plans. But what if it no longer serves your purposes? Is it too late to change it? Depending on applicable state law, you may have options to fix … Read More »


If charitable giving is part of your estate plan, consider a donor-advised fund

Do you make sizable gifts to charitable causes? If you’re fortunate enough to afford it, you can realize personal rewards from your generosity and may be able to claim a deduction on your tax return. But once you turn over … Read More »


Your original will: Does your family know where to locate it?

In a world that’s increasingly paperless, you’re likely becoming accustomed to conducting a variety of transactions digitally. But when it comes to your last will and testament, only an original, signed document will do.

A photocopy isn’t good enough

Many people mistakenly … Read More »


Provide for your spouse, then your kids, with a QTIP trust

If you want to preserve as much wealth as possible for your children, but you leave property to your spouse outright, there’s no guarantee your objective will be met. This may be a concern if your spouse has poor money … Read More »


Beware IRD if you’ve received an inheritance

Most people are genuinely appreciative of inheritances. But sometimes it may be too good to be true. While inherited property is typically tax-free to the recipient, this isn’t the case with an asset that’s considered income in respect of a … Read More »


4 estate planning techniques for blended families

Today, it’s not unusual for a family to include children from prior marriages. These “blended” families can create estate planning complications that may lead to challenges in the courts after your death.

Fortunately, you can reduce the chances of family squabbles … Read More »


What estate planning strategies are available for non-U.S. citizens?

Non-U.S. citizens in the United States face some estate planning challenges when it comes to taxes. If you’re a U.S. resident, but not a citizen, the IRS treats you similarly to a U.S. citizen, with a few exceptions. But if … Read More »


A total return unitrust can help maintain family harmony

A traditional trust can sometimes create a conflict between the lifetime and remainder beneficiaries. For example, investment strategies that provide growth that benefits remainder beneficiaries can leave lifetime beneficiaries with little or no annual payouts. This makes it more difficult … Read More »


Apply for a waiver if you’ve missed the 60-day IRA rollover deadline

IRAs and employer-sponsored plans such as 401(k)s are powerful retirement savings tools, but they also provide valuable estate planning benefits. If you hold a traditional IRA for life, for example, your children or other heirs can stretch out distributions over … Read More »


Don’t overlook securities laws when planning your estate

For a variety of estate planning and asset management purposes, many affluent families hold their assets in trusts, family investment vehicles or charitable foundations. If assets held in this manner include interests in hedge funds, private equity funds or other … Read More »


Power of attorney abuse: What you can do about it

A financial power of attorney — sometimes called a “power of attorney for property” or a “general power of attorney” — can be a valuable estate planning tool. The main disadvantage is that it’s susceptible to abuse by scam artists, … Read More »


Keeping a trust a secret could violate state law

If your estate plan includes one or more trusts, you may have a good reason for wanting to keep them a secret. For example, you may be concerned that, if your children or other beneficiaries knew about the trust, they … Read More »


5 estate planning tips for the sandwich generation

The “sandwich generation” accounts for a large segment of the population. These are people who find themselves caring for both their children and their parents at the same time. In some cases, this includes providing parents with financial support. As … Read More »


A joint home purchase can ease estate tax liability

If you’re planning on buying a home that you one day wish to pass on to your adult children, a joint purchase can reduce estate tax liability, provided the children have sufficient funds to finance their portion of the purchase. … Read More »


Follow IRS rules to ensure you receive your charitable tax deductions

If reducing your taxable estate is an important estate planning goal, making lifetime charitable donations can help achieve that goal and benefit your favorite organizations. In addition, by making donations during your lifetime, rather than at death, you can claim … Read More »


Only certain trusts can own S corporation stock

S corporations must comply with several strict requirements or risk losing their tax-advantaged status. Among other things, they can have no more than 100 shareholders, can have no more than one class of stock and are permitted to have only … Read More »


If you made gifts last year, you may (or may not) need to file a gift tax return

Gifting assets to loved ones is one of the simplest ways of reducing your taxable estate. However, what may not be as simple is determining whether you need to file a gift tax return (Form 709). With the April 17 … 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. It’s been particularly valuable for business owners, whose families might not have the liquid assets they … Read More »


Have you taken state estate taxes into account?

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has doubled the federal gift and estate tax exemption, with inflation-adjustments projected to raise it to $11.18 million for 2018. This means federal estate taxes are a concern for fewer families, at least in the … Read More »


Tax Cuts and Jobs Act expands appeal of 529 plans in estate planning

It’s common for grandparents to want to help ensure their grandchildren will get a high quality education. And, along the same lines, they also want the peace of mind that their wealth will be preserved for their children and grandchildren … Read More »


Preserve wealth for yourself and your heirs using asset protection strategies

There are many techniques you can use to protect your assets, from giving them to loved ones to placing them in offshore trusts. It’s important to understand that asset protection isn’t about evading legitimate debts, hiding assets or defrauding creditors. … Read More »


Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: Key provisions affecting estate planning

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) is a sweeping revision of the tax code that alters federal law affecting individuals, businesses and estates. Focusing specifically on estate tax law, the TCJA doesn’t repeal the federal gift and … Read More »


Properly planning for incapacity requires specific estate planning strategies

Most estate plans focus on what happens after you die. But without arrangements for what will happen in the event you become mentally incapacitated, your plan is incomplete. If an accident, illness or other circumstances render you unable to make … Read More »


Appointing the right trustee for your living trust provides peace of mind

A living trust is a cornerstone of many estate plans. During your life, you can serve as the trustee and manage the assets just as you would if you owned them outright. However, you must choose a trustee to oversee … Read More »


Address your pet in your estate plan using a pet trust

If you’re an animal lover, a pet is a member of the family — sometimes even more so than flesh-and-blood. So you want to ensure that your beloved pet is cared for after you’re gone. One way to do so … Read More »


Who should be the guardian of your minor children?

If you have minor children, arguably the most important estate planning decision you have to make is choosing a guardian for them should the unthinkable occur. It’s critical to put much thought into this decision to ensure your children would … Read More »


Tax reform and estate planning: What’s on the table

As Congress and President Trump pursue their stated goal of passing sweeping new tax legislation before the end of the year, many taxpayers are wondering how such legislation will affect them. One area of particular interest is estate planning; specifically, … Read More »


Make the holidays bright for you and your loved ones with annual exclusion gifts

As the holiday season quickly approaches, gift giving will be top of mind. While gifts of electronics, toys and clothes are nice, making tax-free gifts of cash using your annual exclusion is beneficial for both you and your family.

Even in … Read More »


Update your estate plan to reflect your second marriage

If you’re in a second marriage or planning another trip down the aisle, it’s vital to review and revise (if necessary) your estate plan. You probably want to provide for your current spouse and not inadvertently benefit your former spouse. … Read More »


The write stuff: A letter of instructions

When you draft an estate plan, the centerpiece is your will or living trust. Such a document determines who gets what, where, when and how, as well as tying up the loose ends of your estate. A valid will or … Read More »


A charitable remainder trust can provide a multitude of benefits

If you’re charitably inclined but concerned about having sufficient income to meet your needs, a charitable remainder trust (CRT) may be the answer. A CRT allows you to support a favorite charity while potentially boosting your cash flow, shrinking the … Read More »


A dynasty trust keeps on giving long into the future

With a properly executed estate plan, your wealth can be enjoyed by your children and even their children. But did you know that by using a dynasty trust you can extend the estate tax benefits for several generations, and perhaps … Read More »


Who should own your life insurance policy?

If you own life insurance policies at your death, the proceeds will be included in your taxable estate. Ownership is usually determined by several factors, including who has the right to name the beneficiaries of the proceeds. The way around … Read More »


A Crummey trust can preserve the annual gift tax exclusion

Traditionally, taxpayers have looked for ways to make the most of the $14,000 annual gift tax exclusion, and using a Crummey trust is one way to do that. But with the federal gift and estate tax exemption currently at an … Read More »


Tax law uncertainty requires an estate plan that can roll with the changes

Events of the last decade have taught us that taxes are anything but certain. Case in point: Congress is mulling abolishing gift and estate taxes as part of tax reform. So how can people who hope to still have long … Read More »


ABCs of HSAs: How an HSA can benefit your estate plan

One health care arrangement that has been soaring in popularity in recent years has been the pairing of a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) with a Health Savings Account (HSA). The good news is that not only does an HSA provide … Read More »


Charitable giving pièce de résistance: Artwork donations

Charitable giving is a key part of estate planning for many people. If you’re among them and own valuable works of art, they may be ideal candidates for charitable donations during your life.

Generally, it’s advantageous to donate appreciated property because, … Read More »


Tax basis planning worth a look if estate taxes aren’t a threat

For many people today, income tax planning offers far greater tax-saving opportunities than gift and estate tax planning. A record-high gift and estate tax exemption — currently $5.49 million ($10.98 million for married couples) — means that fewer people are subject to … Read More »


Estate tax relief for family businesses is available … in the form of a deferral

If a substantial portion of your wealth is tied up in a family or closely held business, you may be concerned that your estate will lack sufficient liquid assets to pay federal estate taxes. If that’s the case, your heirs … Read More »


Have you properly funded your revocable trust?

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) … Read More »


Powers of attorney: Springing vs. nonspringing

Estate planning typically focuses on what happens to your assets when you die. But it’s equally important (some might say more important) to have a plan for making critical financial and medical decisions if you’re unable to make those decisions … Read More »


Beware the GST tax when transferring assets to grandchildren

As you plan your estate, don’t overlook the generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax. Despite a generous $5.49 million GST tax exemption, complexities surrounding its allocation can create several tax traps for the unwary.

GST basics

The GST tax is a flat, 40% tax on … Read More »


Use a noncharitable purpose trust to achieve a variety of goals

Generally, trusts must have one or more human beneficiaries, but there’s an exception for certain “purpose” trusts. One type of purpose trust that you may be familiar with is the charitable trust. But don’t overlook the noncharitable purpose (NCP) trust … Read More »


Don’t overlook tax apportionment when planning your estate

If you expect your estate to have a significant estate tax liability at your death, be sure to include a well-thought-out tax apportionment clause in your will or revocable trust. An apportionment clause specifies how the estate tax burden will … Read More »


The stretch IRA: A simple yet powerful estate planning tool

The IRA’s value as a retirement planning tool is well known: IRA assets compound on a tax-deferred (or, in the case of a Roth IRA, tax-free) basis, which can help build a more substantial nest egg. But if you don’t … Read More »


ABLE accounts can benefit loved ones with special needs

For families with disabled loved ones who are potentially eligible for means-tested government benefits such as Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), estate planning can be a challenge. On the one hand, you want to provide the most comfortable life … Read More »


IRS simplifies procedure for obtaining extension to make portability election

Last month, the IRS issued a Revenue Procedure that allows certain estates to make a late portability election without first filing a ruling request. Portability is a tax law provision that permits a surviving spouse to take advantage of the … Read More »


Are you familiar with fraudulent transfer laws?

A primary goal of your estate plan is to transfer wealth to your family according to your wishes and at the lowest possible tax cost. However, if you have creditors, be aware of fraudulent transfer laws. In a nutshell, if … Read More »


Leaving specific assets to specific heirs is an estate planning no-no

Planning your estate around specific assets is risky and, in most cases, should be avoided. If you leave specific assets — such as a home, a car or stock — to specific people, you could end up inadvertently disinheriting someone.

Unintended … Read More »


Is now the time for a charitable lead trust?

Families who wish to give to charity while minimizing gift and estate taxes should consider a charitable lead trust (CLT). These trusts are most effective in a low-interest-rate environment, so conditions for taking advantage of a CLT currently are favorable. … Read More »


Videotaping your will signing may not produce the desired outcome

Some people make video recordings of their will signings in an effort to create evidence that they possess the requisite testamentary capacity. For some, this strategy may help stave off a will contest. But in most cases, the risk that … Read More »


Are your retirement savings secure from creditors?

A primary goal of estate planning is asset protection. After all, no matter how well your estate plan is designed, it won’t do much good if you wind up with no wealth to share with your family.

If you have significant … Read More »


A family bank professionalizes intrafamily lending

If you’re interested in lending money to your children or other family members, consider establishing a “family bank.” These entities enhance the benefits of intrafamily loans, while minimizing unintended consequences.

Upsides and downsides of intrafamily lending

Lending can be an effective way … Read More »


It’s a matter of principle — and trust — when using a principle trust

For many, an important estate planning goal is to encourage their children or other heirs to lead responsible, productive lives. One tool for achieving this goal is a principle trust.

By providing your trustee with guiding values and principles (rather than … Read More »


Prepaid funeral plans may not provide peace of mind

The cost of a funeral has increased steadily during the past two decades. In fact, once all funeral-related costs are factored in, the typical traditional funeral service will cost an average family $8,000 to $10,000.

To relieve their families of the burden … Read More »


Worried about challenges to your estate plan? Make it no contest

Estate planning is all about protecting your family and ensuring that your wealth is distributed according to your wishes. So the idea that someone might challenge your estate plan can be disconcerting. One strategy for protecting your plan is to … Read More »


Asset valuations and your estate plan go hand in hand

If your estate plan calls for making noncash gifts in trust or outright to beneficiaries, you need to know the values of those gifts and disclose them to the IRS on a gift tax return. For substantial gifts of noncash … Read More »


Life insurance and an estate plan may not always mix well

A life insurance policy can be an important part of an estate plan. The tax benefits are twofold: The policy can provide a source of wealth for your family income-tax-free, and it can supply funds to pay estate taxes and … Read More »


Acquaint yourself with the Roth IRA as an estate planning tool

A Roth IRA can be a valuable estate planning tool, offering the opportunity for tax-free growth as long as it exists and requiring no distributions during your life, thus allowing you to pass on a greater amount of wealth to … Read More »


Be aware of the ins and outs of holding joint title to property

Owning assets jointly with one or more children or other heirs is a common estate planning “shortcut.” But like many shortcuts, it can produce unintended — and costly — consequences.

Advantages
There are two potential advantages to joint ownership: convenience and probate … Read More »


Will your favorite charity accept your donation?

If your estate plan includes charitable donations, be sure to discuss any planned gifts with the intended recipients before you finalize your plan. This is particularly important for donations that place restrictions on the charity’s use of the gift, as … Read More »


Direct tuition payments benefit your grandchild and your estate plan

Grandparents often want to play a role in financing their grandchildren’s education. If you’re one of them, it’s important to consider the impact that different financing options will have on your estate plan.

Make direct tuition payments
A simple but effective technique … Read More »


Divorce necessitates an estate plan review

There are few events that can completely upend a person’s life more than divorce. Of course, there’s the emotional toll on you and your family to contend with, but you also have to consider the divorce’s impact on your estate … Read More »


Keep family matters out of the public eye by avoiding probate

Although probate can be time consuming and expensive, perhaps its biggest downside is that it’s public — anyone who’s interested can find out what assets you owned and how they’re being distributed after your death. The public nature of probate … Read More »


Make health care decisions while you’re healthy

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 … Read More »


Use an ILIT as a wealth preserver

If you’re concerned about your family’s financial well-being after you’re gone, life insurance can provide peace of mind. Going a step further and setting up an irrevocable life insurance trust (ILIT) to hold the policy offers additional estate planning benefits.

Asset … Read More »


2016 charitable deductions: Substantiate them or lose them

Sharing your wealth with a favorite charity can benefit those in need and reduce your taxable estate. In addition, your donations can ease your income tax liability. But you must meet IRS substantiation requirements. If you fail to do so, … Read More »


5 questions single parents should ask about their estate plans

In many respects, estate planning for single parents of minor children is similar to estate planning for families with two parents. Single parents want to provide for their children’s care and financial needs after they’re gone. But when only one … Read More »


2 postmortem estate planning strategies for married couples

It’s crucial to review and update your estate plan in light of significant life changes or new tax laws. It’s equally important to be aware of strategies that can be implemented after your death to achieve your estate planning goals. … Read More »


Should you set up trusts in a more “trust-friendly” state?

While it’s natural to set up trusts in the state where you live, you may be losing out on significant benefits available in more “trust-friendly” states. For example, some states:

Don’t tax trust income,
Authorize domestic asset protection trusts, which provide added … Read More »


Family matters: Stepchildren and your estate plan

If you have unadopted stepchildren, estate planning is critical to ensure that your property is distributed the way you desire. Stepchildren generally don’t have any inheritance rights with respect to their parents’ new spouses unless the spouse legally adopts them. … Read More »

December 8th

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on Family matters: Stepchildren and your estate plan


Relocating into or out of a community property state requires extra estate planning

When a married couple lives in a community property state, the money earned and property acquired by either spouse during their marriage generally belongs to the “community.”

This means that each spouse has an undivided one-half interest in the property (regardless … Read More »

December 1st

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on Relocating into or out of a community property state requires extra estate planning


Should you keep your trust a secret?

When planning their estates, many people agonize over the negative impact their wealth might have on their children. To address these concerns, some people establish quiet trusts, also known as silent trusts. In other words, they leave significant sums in … Read More »

November 23rd

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on Should you keep your trust a secret?


Family mission statements promote a harmonious estate plan

Typically, much of the estate planning process focuses on money. But the most successful estate plans are founded on relationships. Building and preserving family wealth isn’t an end in itself. Rather, it’s a tool for promoting shared family values or … Read More »

November 17th

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on Family mission statements promote a harmonious estate plan


The wrong life insurance beneficiary can wreak havoc with your estate plan

Life insurance can be a powerful financial and estate planning tool, but its benefits may be reduced or even eliminated if you designate the wrong beneficiary or fail to change beneficiaries when your circumstances change.

Here are common pitfalls to avoid:

Naming … Read More »

November 10th

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on The wrong life insurance beneficiary can wreak havoc with your estate plan


Have you addressed elderly parents in your estate plan?

Your estate plan likely accommodates your spouse, children and grandchildren. But have you overlooked your parents? How can you best handle their financial affairs in the later stages of life? You may want to incorporate their needs into your own … Read More »

November 3rd

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on Have you addressed elderly parents in your estate plan?


Transfer a family business in a tax-smart way

Is a family-owned business your primary source of wealth? If so, it’s critical to plan carefully for the transition of ownership from one generation to the next. The best approach depends on your particular circumstances.

If your net worth is well … Read More »

October 27th

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on Transfer a family business in a tax-smart way


Private foundations aren’t only for the rich and famous

If creating a family legacy of charitable giving is important to you, a private foundation might be the right estate planning vehicle. And this option isn’t just for billionaires. You may be able to effectively establish a foundation with an … Read More »

October 20th

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on Private foundations aren’t only for the rich and famous


Grantor and Crummey trusts can be good options to fund a grandchild’s education

Do you wish to play an active role in funding your grandchildren’s college educations? As you examine the financing options, don’t forget about their impact on your estate plan. Two trust types to consider are grantor and Crummey trusts.

Grantor trusts

A … Read More »

October 14th

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on Grantor and Crummey trusts can be good options to fund a grandchild’s education


Prenups and estate plans: Make sure they work together

If you’re getting married, estate planning likely is the last thing you want to think about. But if you and your future spouse plan to sign a prenuptial agreement (commonly referred to as simply a “prenup”), it’s a good idea … Read More »

October 6th

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on Prenups and estate plans: Make sure they work together


Have you provided for the removal of a trustee in your estate plan?

When drafting an estate plan, it’s critical to select the right trustee to carry out your wishes and protect your beneficiaries. It’s also important to establish procedures for removing a trustee in the event that circumstances change.

Failing to do so … Read More »

September 29th

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on Have you provided for the removal of a trustee in your estate plan?


Estate planning benefits of FLPs may be in danger

For many years, family limited partnerships (FLPs) have been a popular estate planning tool, in part due to their tax benefits. Specifically, they can allow you to transfer assets to your children (and other family members) at discounted values for … Read More »

September 22nd

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on Estate planning benefits of FLPs may be in danger


Getting started on your estate plan: Inventory and value assets; estimate tax liability

If you’ve decided it’s time to create your estate plan, congratulations! A good place to begin is to work with us to determine what your estate is worth and whether you need to worry about estate taxes.

What is your estate … Read More »

September 15th

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on Getting started on your estate plan: Inventory and value assets; estimate tax liability


Vacation home should keep families together, not tear them apart

A shared family vacation home can be a great place for family bonding. And a little estate planning can go a long way toward avoiding conflict and keeping the home in the family.

Who owns it and how?

All family members must … Read More »

September 8th

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on Vacation home should keep families together, not tear them apart


Could a tax-free exchange help cover LTC insurance costs?

No estate plan is complete without considering long-term care (LTC) expenses and how to pay for them. LTC insurance is an option, but these policies can be expensive. One solution is to use a total or partial tax-free exchange of … Read More »

September 1st

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on Could a tax-free exchange help cover LTC insurance costs?


Giving real estate to charity is rewarding, but beware of tax traps

Did you know that the estate of director John Hughes donated the family’s Illinois mansion to a nonprofit hospital? After allowing another charity to use the home for a fundraising event, the hospital sold the home and used the proceeds … Read More »

August 25th

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on Giving real estate to charity is rewarding, but beware of tax traps


Take care of a loved one who has special needs with an SNT

Special needs trusts (SNTs), also called “supplemental needs trusts,” benefit children or other family members with a disability that requires extended-term care or that prevents them from being able to support themselves. This trust type can provide peace of mind … Read More »

August 18th

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on Take care of a loved one who has special needs with an SNT


Tread carefully if you and your spouse have similar trusts

When spouses have similar irrevocable trusts for each other’s benefit, they can be subject to the “reciprocal trust” doctrine. It prohibits tax avoidance through trusts that 1) are interrelated, and 2) place both grantors in the same economic position as … Read More »

August 11th

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on Tread carefully if you and your spouse have similar trusts


Review your powers of attorney at least every 5 years

Powers of attorney are critical components of an effective estate plan. After you’ve executed powers of attorney, it’s important to review them periodically — at least every five years and preferably more frequently — and consider executing new ones.

2 types

A … Read More »

August 4th

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on Review your powers of attorney at least every 5 years


Direct payments of tuition and medical expenses can reduce future estate tax exposure

With the gift and estate tax exemption at $5.45 million in 2016, you may be less concerned about these taxes. But if you don’t take advantage of making tax-free direct payments of tuition and medical expenses, you’re missing a valuable … Read More »

July 28th

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on Direct payments of tuition and medical expenses can reduce future estate tax exposure


The tax and estate planning pitfalls of retiring overseas

Have you dreamed of spending your golden years in a tropical paradise or a culture-rich European city? If so, it’s important to understand the potential tax and estate planning implications so there are no surprises. These include:

Double taxation. If you’re … Read More »

July 21st

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on The tax and estate planning pitfalls of retiring overseas


Estate tax deferral offers relief to some business owners

If a substantial portion of your wealth is tied up in a family or closely held business, you may be concerned that your estate will lack sufficient liquid assets to pay estate taxes. In such cases, heirs may be forced … Read More »

July 20th

Business Briefs, Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on Estate tax deferral offers relief to some business owners


Follow all rules when transferring assets to an irrevocable trust

Irrevocable trusts can provide a variety of benefits, including gift and estate tax savings, creditor protection, and the ability to control how assets are distributed. To preserve these benefits, however, it’s critical to respect all trust formalities.

Case in point
Here’s an … Read More »

July 15th

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on Follow all rules when transferring assets to an irrevocable trust


3 benefits of donor-advised fund giving

Charitable giving through donor-advised funds (DAFs) has grown in popularity in recent years. Generally, creating a DAF requires no more than completing a short application and making an initial contribution as low as $10,000 to a sponsoring organization, such as … Read More »

July 7th

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on 3 benefits of donor-advised fund giving


Are your children prepared to handle your wealth?

If you’ve built up a large estate and are eager to share your wealth with your children, you may be concerned about their ability to handle it. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help ensure they won’t blow … Read More »

July 1st

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on Are your children prepared to handle your wealth?


Couples with a noncitizen spouse play by different estate planning rules

Many traditional estate planning strategies are based on the assumption that everyone involved is a U.S. citizen. But if you or your spouse is a noncitizen, special rules apply that require additional planning.

General rules
If you’re a U.S. resident, but not … Read More »

June 23rd

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on Couples with a noncitizen spouse play by different estate planning rules


Sweat the small stuff: Don’t forget to address personal items in your estate plan

It’s natural that your estate planning efforts focus on big-ticket items, such as real estate, business interests, retirement assets and brokerage accounts. But don’t ignore the “small stuff,” like artwork, jewelry, furniture, antiques, clothing and collectibles. These items may not … Read More »

June 16th

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on Sweat the small stuff: Don’t forget to address personal items in your estate plan


Making an intrafamily loan “bona fide” to avoid gift tax

The simplest way to provide financial assistance to a child or other family member is to get out your checkbook and make a gift. But if you’re concerned about gift taxes, a loan may be preferable. Intrafamily loans must be … Read More »

June 9th

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on Making an intrafamily loan “bona fide” to avoid gift tax


Life insurance remains 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, estate taxes are no longer a concern for many families because the estate tax exemption … Read More »

June 2nd

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on Life insurance remains a powerful estate planning tool for nontaxable estates


Giving back: How to help your parents fund LTC and associated medical costs

If you have aging parents who aren’t as financially well off as you are, one of your estate planning goals may be to help fund their long-term care (LTC) and associated medical expenses. The annual cost of LTC—which may include … Read More »

May 26th

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on Giving back: How to help your parents fund LTC and associated medical costs


Properly fund your living trust to shield assets from probate

Many people set up a revocable, or “living,” trust to shield assets from probate and take advantage of other benefits. For the trust to work, you must transfer assets to it that would otherwise go through probate — a process … Read More »

May 19th

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on Properly fund your living trust to shield assets from probate


Is a charitable IRA rollover right for you?

If you’re charitably inclined, age 70½ or older and have a significant balance in an IRA, a charitable IRA rollover—formally called a “qualified charitable distribution”—permits you to annually make up to $100,000 in tax-free IRA distributions to qualified charities. Charitable … Read More »

May 12th

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on Is a charitable IRA rollover right for you?


529 plans: Saving for college is also good for your estate plan

A 529 plan is a tax-advantaged and flexible education-savings tool. In addition to generous contribution limits and tax-free withdrawals for college expenses, these plans provide unique estate planning benefits for parents and grandparents.

On the plus side . . .
First, even … Read More »

May 5th

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on 529 plans: Saving for college is also good for your estate plan


QTIP trusts may be the estate planning solution for second marriages

If you’re in a second marriage, or planning another trip down the aisle, estate planning can be complicated, especially if you have children from a previous marriage and your net worth is large enough that estate taxes are a concern. … Read More »

April 28th

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on QTIP trusts may be the estate planning solution for second marriages


The tax dangers of providing for employees in your estate plan

If you’re an employer, you may think of your employees as family. But if you plan to provide for employees in your estate plan, watch out for unintended tax consequences.

IRS rules
Generally, money or other property received by gift or inheritance … Read More »

April 21st

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on The tax dangers of providing for employees in your estate plan


4 tools for addressing incapacity in your estate plan

Estate planning is often associated with death. But it’s just as important for your plan to address incapacity associated with illness, injury, advanced age or other circumstances.

Unless you specify how financial and health care decisions will be made in the … Read More »

April 14th

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on 4 tools for addressing incapacity in your estate plan


Ensure your high-cash-value life insurance policy fully benefits your loved ones

If you own a life insurance policy that has built up a sizable cash value, be aware that the death benefit will be included in your taxable estate. Depending on the size of the policy and the applicable estate tax … Read More »

April 7th

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on Ensure your high-cash-value life insurance policy fully benefits your loved ones


Pension payouts: What’s the best option?

Estate planning and retirement planning go hand in hand. After all, the more wealth you set aside for retirement, the more you’ll have left to provide for your family after your death. One tough decision that retirees face is choosing … Read More »

March 31st

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on Pension payouts: What’s the best option?


How to protect assets from creditors when naming a beneficiary as trustee

A properly designed trust helps safeguard assets against claims by a beneficiary’s creditors as well as the beneficiary’s own mismanagement. Generally, the less control a beneficiary has over trust assets, the more protection the trust offers against creditors.

To that end, … Read More »

March 24th

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on How to protect assets from creditors when naming a beneficiary as trustee


Achieve greater charitable giving flexibility with a nonqualified CRT

As the federal gift and estate tax exemption continues to climb, the number of people subject to estate taxes is shrinking. For those with charitable giving goals, this may increase interest in charitable remainder trusts (CRTs). A lifetime CRT, for … Read More »

March 17th

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on Achieve greater charitable giving flexibility with a nonqualified CRT


A critical decision: Naming the guardian of your minor children

If you have minor children, perhaps the most important element of your estate plan doesn’t involve your assets. Rather, it involves who will be your children’s guardian.

Questions to consider
When evaluating potential guardians, ask these questions:

Do they want to serve as … Read More »

March 10th

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on A critical decision: Naming the guardian of your minor children


Greater estate planning options available to same-sex married couples

Last year’s landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision making same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states affects estate planning for many same-sex married couples.

Now, like opposite-sex married couples, same-sex married couples may be able to take advantage of gift and estate … Read More »

March 3rd

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on Greater estate planning options available to same-sex married couples


Moving your trust over the state line may produce tax savings

If trusts make up a big portion of your estate plan, and they’re subject to high state income taxes, you can change their residence, or “situs,” to a state with lower (or no) income taxes.

What’s the tax impact?
Only irrevocable nongrantor … Read More »

February 25th

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on Moving your trust over the state line may produce tax savings


Do you need to file a gift tax return?

It’s tax-filing season, and the April 18 deadline to file a 2015 gift tax return is fast approaching. But do you need to file a return? The rules surrounding gift tax returns can be confusing, so let’s review some general … Read More »

February 18th

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on Do you need to file a gift tax return?


Think twice before naming a minor as a beneficiary

A common estate planning mistake is to designate a minor as beneficiary—or contingent beneficiary—of a life insurance policy or retirement plan. Insurance companies and financial institutions won’t pay large sums of money directly to a minor. Instead, they’ll require costly … Read More »

February 11th

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on Think twice before naming a minor as a beneficiary


A helping hand: Addressing your parents in your estate plan

The “sandwich generation” is a large segment of the population. These are people who find themselves caring for both their children and their parents at the same time. As a result, estate planning—which traditionally focuses on providing for one’s children—has … Read More »

February 4th

Estate Planning Briefs. Comments Off on A helping hand: Addressing your parents in your estate plan