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?
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
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
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)
What is tax avoidance? It is the employment of lawful tactics to legally avoid or lower taxes. This includes various estate planning strategies, legitimate charitable deductions and charitable trusts or foundations, accelerating tax deductions, deferring income, and creating legal entities, to name a few. What is tax evasion? It is any plan to reduce taxes through illegal means. The IRS often refers to them as abusive tax shelters. There is a long history of hucksters and grifters who … [Read more...] about Don’t Cross Over the Line Between Tax Avoidance and Tax Evasion
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?
We regularly get inquiries from our clients who are recipients of an inheritance. An ever increasing asset that is being inherited is a retirement account such as an IRA. Special considerations must be attended to when inheriting an IRA because of their special characteristics. In this blog, we'll discuss some of these considerations. Don’t automatically request to cash in the IRA. The income tax repercussions could be great and there are better options. If you opt for a lump sum … [Read more...] about Tips When Inheriting IRAs
The term asset protection is heard a lot in planning circles. However, it has no definitive definition and its role depends on the context in which it is used. One aspect of asset protection is to protect the owner of those assets. Sometimes it refers to protecting those assets from possible seizure after a finding of liability, e.g., in a lawsuit. Other times it refers to legally minimizing or avoiding (not evading) certain tax liabilities such as the estate and gift taxes. Still other … [Read more...] about Basics of Asset Protection – Part 1 of 4 Parts
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