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
Federal Estate Tax
Friends, family, acquaintances, and the internet are a breeding ground for estate planning myths. These myths can lead to a failure to plan or a plan that fails. To set the record straight, we are dispelling common estate planning myths in this three part article. 3. Joint ownership, commonly called joint tenancy, is an inexpensive and easy way to avoid probate. It’s cheaper than using a fully funded revocable living trust. Myth!!! Joint ownership means that you could lose your … [Read more...] about Common Estate Planning Myths (part 2 of 3)
Whether you realize it or not, you have a beneficiary designation on your IRAs (i.e. individual retirement accounts.) It would be prudent for you to check the beneficiary designations to ensure that they are in line with your current intent, goals, and estate planning documents. Stretch out goals IRAs make great inheritances for children and grandchildren who, with proper planning, can stretch the IRA distributions out over their life expectancy. The tax deferred growth is amazing and … [Read more...] about The importance of reviewing your IRA Beneficiary Designations
You may think that charitable planning has sunk into nonexistence. The extremely large (i.e. $11.18 million in 2018 an) lifetime federal estate exemption has made many question the need for charitable planning. However, charities are pleased to announce that charitable giving remains strong in the United States. What are the common ways to participate in charitable giving? Lifetime gifts Private foundations Donor advised funds Bequests Charitable remainder trusts … [Read more...] about FAQ: Charitable Planning
If you’re like most people, you haven’t heard of qualified personal residence trusts. They are abbreviated “QPRT” for short; and, pronounced “Q – Pert.” They are irrevocable (can’t change them) split interest (you benefit and your children benefit) trusts. You benefit by living in your home rent free for a period of years. Your children benefit because federal estate taxes are eliminated and they get the house. QPRTs have a role in California planning where the high value of real estate … [Read more...] about What is a Qualified Personal Residence Trust?
A key part of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA), the new tax law passed by Congress on January 1st, that was not yet known immediately after the passage of the new law has been released by the Internal Revenue Service. The exact amount of the estate tax exclusion for 2013 has been set at $5.25 million. To understand where this figure comes from you have to go back to the end of 2010 when the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010 was … [Read more...] about Update on 2013 Estate Tax Law Changes
If you haven't already structured your estate plan to take advantage of the federal gift tax exemption, you are nearly out of time. Currently, the federal exemption allows you to pass just over $5 million in assets as gifts to others without those gifts being subjected to estate taxes. However, when December 31, 2012 arrives, the gift tax exemption will vanish and will be replaced by a $1 million exemption on January 1, 2013, unless Congress passes a new tax law. Without a new tax law, once … [Read more...] about Time Running Out on Gift Tax Exemption
Some consumers mistakenly believe that avoiding probate also avoids the federal estate tax. Both probate and the federal estate tax deal with your estate, but avoiding one doesn’t avoid the other. What is Probate? What’s the Federal Estate Tax? Probate is the legal proceeding of validating a will, if there is one, and settling an estate. Probate assets are all those assets that the decedent owned in his or her individual name, but didn’t have a beneficiary designation, a joint owner or titled … [Read more...] about Confusion About How to Avoid Probate and Estate Taxes
It comes as a surprise to some people that there can be a tax imposed on your assets after you pass away. The extent of the taxation can vary depending on where you happen to reside in the United States. When you examine the facts you find that in California we are rather fortunate in this regard. To understand these taxes you have to know the difference between an estate tax and an inheritance tax. The estate tax is imposed on the entirety of the estate before it is passed on to the heirs. … [Read more...] about Death Taxes: A Primer
A lot of people have talked about the amount of wealth that Mitt Romney has accumulated. Some people see that as a negative against him. Some see it as a positive in his favor in the Presidential campaign. This is not a political post. This is a post about how he might have used estate planning tools to help generate that wealth. In 1995, Romney created a Family Trust. It has since grown to have $100 million in assets. He's been able to do that without ever having to pay gift taxes on his on … [Read more...] about How Did the Romney Trust Grow?