Creating a comprehensive estate plan is one of the most important things you will do during your lifetime. When done properly, your estate plan will ensure that your loved ones are well provided for in the event of your untimely death as well as distribute your assets pursuant to your wishes. If not executed properly, it can wreak havoc with your finances and fail to provide the protection for your loved ones that it was intended to do. Given the importance of your estate plan, the first step in … [Read more...] about Choosing an Estate Planning Attorney
Advanced Estate Planning
If you have been fortunate enough to be in a position during your lifetime to donate to charitable causes, then you may wish to continue doing so long after your death. Just as you make plans to provide for your family members and loved ones after your death, you can include charitable giving in your estate plan as well. A thorough consultation with an experienced and qualified estate planning attorney is, of course, necessary in order to incorporate your charity into your estate plan; however, … [Read more...] about Estate Planning and Charitable Giving — Key Points
The most significant action of Congress in 2019 relating to retirement and estate planning was the late December passage of the “Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019”, commonly known as the “Secure Act”. It was signed into law shortly thereafter and is effective January 1, 2020, for most purposes. In this and future newsletters, we will look into the provisions of the Secure Act and also some strategies to maximize benefits and minimize problems created by this … [Read more...] about CONGRESS PASSES THE SECURE ACT: HOW DOES IT AFFECT YOU?
If you own a small business, make sure you include your interest in the business in your estate plan. Even if you plan to leave all your interest in the business to a family member, failing to structure the transfer of your interest in the business in the right way could subject the value of the interest to estate or gift taxes. With proper planning, you may be able to minimize or eliminate estate or gift taxes by using one of the numerous business succession options. Sale of Your Business: … [Read more...] about Estate Planning: Essential for Small Business Owners
What are the tax implications of an inheriting an IRA? The answer depends on several factors: Is it a traditional IRA or a Roth IRA? The funds in a traditional IRA have never been taxed and will be taxed as they are withdrawn. Roth IRAs contain post-tax dollars and are not again taxed upon their withdrawal. Is the beneficiary of the IRA a spouse, a non-spouse person, or a charity? When the beneficiary of an IRA is the spouse of the IRA owner, the spouse will have a number of … [Read more...] about Ins and Outs of Inheriting an IRA
A trust creates a special relationship between people and property that the trust owns. The person who created the trust, called the trustor, transfers ownership of his or her property to the trust as the new owner. Trustors are also sometimes referred to as settlors and trust makers. The trustor also states who shall receive the benefit of that property, a person known as a beneficiary, and who shall manage the property for the trust, known as the trustee. But can a trustor also be a … [Read more...] about Trustors, Trustees and Beneficiaries – The Same Person?
We have previously wrote about the long-awaited arrival in California of the so-called ABLE accounts. Formally, known as an Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) account, they are a low-cost, easy-to-access plan established by federal law that began rolling out in 2016 and is now available in California. Modeled after the so-called “529 accounts”, an educational savings program offered by individual states, ABLE accounts let children or adults with disabilities incurred before age 26 … [Read more...] about An Update On ABLE Accounts
Trusts are often an important tool used in the creation of an estate plan given the versatility and variety offered by a trust. At their core, all trusts are the same. You, as the trustor, must name at least one beneficiary, appoint a trustee to manage trust assets and designate assets that you will use to fund the trust. Beyond the basics, trust can be as complicated, or as simple, as your needs require. The first decision you must make is whether to create a revocable or an irrevocable … [Read more...] about Trusts — Irrevocable Versus Revocable
In every estate plan we prepare in our office, we include an Advance Health Care Directive (AHCD) and a form that authorizes disclosure of medical information to designated individuals you have appointed to positions in your estate plan. This latter form is done to comply with the so-called HIPAA law. An advance health care directive is a legal document you use to provide guidance about what types of treatments you may want to receive in case of a future, unknown medical emergency. It also … [Read more...] about What is a POLST and Do I Need One?
Typically, charitable lead trusts and charitable remainder trusts are implemented when your estate exceeds the federal estate tax exemption. This qualifies both charitable trusts as “advanced” estate planning tools. Besides lessening or totally avoiding the federal estate tax, there are income tax, capital gains tax, and charitable intent benefits as well. Simply put, the charitable lead trust provides an income stream to your favorite public charity for a period of years (up to 20) or … [Read more...] about Let’s Talk About Charitable Trusts