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Estate Planning Pitfall: You own property outside your revocable trust

The primary purpose of a revocable trust — also known as a “living trust” or “inter vivos trust” — is to avoid probate. But, for those who are not diligent about transferring assets to the trust, that purpose may be defeated....more

8/12/2014

How will the GST tax affect your estate plan?

A new grandparent often considers making a gift to the newest member of the family. However, before taking action, it’s important to understand how the generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax may affect an estate plan. The GST...more

8/11/2014 - Beneficiaries Estate Tax Estate-Tax Exemption Generation-Skipping Transfer Inter Vivos Gifts Tax Planning

Protecting your real estate assets

When preparing an estate plan, asset protection for real estate is particularly challenging, because it’s the only asset that can’t be moved. Gifting it is one option, but this leaves the property exposed to creditors. This...more

8/8/2014 - Asset Protection Business Assets Homestead Exemption Limited Liability Companies Limited Partnerships Primary Residence Qualified Personal Residence Trust Real Estate Investments Real Estate Transfers

Unintended consequences: After divorce, review your estate plan to avoid surprises

The recently divorced have likely had their fill of legal documents and proceedings, but it’s important that they review their estate plan as soon as possible to ensure they’re protected against unintended consequences. This...more

8/6/2014 - Beneficiaries Divorce Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts QTIP Trusts

Insight on Estate Planning - August/September 2014

In This Issue: - Unintended consequences: After divorce, review your estate plan to avoid surprises - Protecting your real estate assets - How will the GST tax affect your estate plan? - Estate...more

8/4/2014 - Community Property Divorce GST Homestead Exemption Inter Vivos Gifts Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts Marital Assets Property Owners Property Ownership QTIP Trusts Real Estate Investments Tax Planning

Estate Planning Pitfall: You don’t have a buy-sell agreement for your business

Without a well-designed, properly funded buy-sell agreement, an owner’s death can have a negative effect on the surviving owners. A buy-sell agreement requires (or permits) the company or the remaining owners to buy the...more

6/6/2014 - Buy-Sell Agreements Estate Planning Estate Tax

When is the optimal time to begin receiving Social Security?

When to begin receiving Social Security benefits depends on each person’s individual circumstances. This article shows how to determine a breakeven point — the age at which the dollar value of more (but smaller) payments...more

6/5/2014 - Retirement Social Security Social Security Benefits

International estate planning 101

Many traditional estate planning strategies are based on the assumption that everyone involved is a U.S. citizen. But for those couples with a noncitizen spouse, special rules apply that require additional planning. This...more

6/4/2014 - Estate Planning Estate Tax

Adapting to the times: Estate planning focus shifts to income taxes

As the gift and estate tax exemption has significantly increased, and the estate tax rate decreased, individual income tax and capital gains tax rates have increased. This means that those who expect to have little or no...more

6/3/2014 - Estate Planning Estate Tax Income Taxes

Insight on Estate Planning - June/July 2014

In This Issue: - Adapting to the times: Estate planning focus shifts to income taxes - International estate planning 101 - When is the optimal time to begin receiving Social Security? - Estate...more

6/2/2014 - Estate Planning Estate Tax Popular

Estate Planning Pitfall: Your documents are hard to find

No matter how much time is invested in designing an estate plan, one’s efforts will be for naught if his or her family can’t find essential documents in case of death or incapacitation. This article offers several tips for...more

4/9/2014 - Estate Planning

A family bank professionalizes intrafamily lending

Too often, people lend money to family members with little planning and regard for potential unintended consequences. But a “family bank” can enhance the benefits of intrafamily loans, while minimizing the risks. A family...more

4/8/2014 - Banks Lending

ABCs of HSAs: Learn 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 is an HSA a...more

4/7/2014 - Estate Planning Healthcare HSA

Boosting your estate planning power: How to “supercharge” a credit shelter trust

While high estate tax exemption amounts combined with portability of exemptions between spouses has reduced the effectiveness of credit shelter trusts in some cases, they continue to offer significant benefits, particularly...more

4/4/2014 - Estate Planning

Insight on Estate Planning - April/May 2014

In This Issue: - Boosting your estate planning power: How to “supercharge” a credit shelter trust - ABCs of HSAs: Learn how an HSA can benefit your estate plan - A family bank professionalizes intrafamily...more

4/3/2014 - Estate Planning HSA

Estate Planning Pitfall - You’ve chosen your executor hastily

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...more

1/31/2014 - Estate Planning Executors

Power of attorney abuse: What can you 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 planning tool. But it’s susceptible to abuse by scam artists, dishonest caretakers or...more

1/30/2014 - Fraud Power of Attorney Scams

Thanks, Grandma and Grandpa! 3 estate-planning-friendly strategies to pay for a grandchild’s college education

It’s no secret that the cost of a college education continues to soar. But this article offers three options to help one’s grandchildren deal with this burden while saving gift and estate taxes: direct tuition payments to the...more

1/29/2014 - Estate Planning Financial Aid Gift Tax Grantor Trusts GST Paying For College Trusts Tuition

The BDIT A: trust with a twist

The beneficiary defective inheritor’s trust (BDIT) is a powerful estate planning tool that allows enjoyment of the benefits of a traditional trust without giving up control over the property. BDITs are particularly effective...more

1/28/2014 - Estate Planning Trusts

Insight on Estate Planning - February/March 2014

In This Issue: - The BDIT: A trust with a twist - Thanks, Grandma and Grandpa! 3 estate-planning-friendly strategies to pay for a grandchild’s college education - Power of attorney abuse: What can you do...more

1/27/2014 - Estate Planning Estate Tax Inheritance Inheritance Tax Trusts

Insight on Estate Planning - Year End 2013: Estate Planning Pitfall: Your estate plan leaves specific assets to specific heirs

Planning an estate around specific assets is risky and, in most cases, should be avoided. If specific assets — such as homes, cars or stock — are left to specific people, they may end up being disinherited. This article...more

11/26/2013 - Estate Planning Heirs Life Insurance Mutual Funds

Insight on Estate Planning - Year End 2013: Provide for family members with special needs using an SNT

A special (or “supplemental”) needs trust (SNT) allows one to enhance a family member’s quality of life without jeopardizing his or her eligibility for government benefits, such as Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income....more

11/25/2013 - Estate Planning Special Education

Insight on Estate Planning - Year End 2013: Can portability help preserve retirement benefits?

The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA) made the estate tax exemption “portability” feature permanent. This allows a surviving spouse to take advantage of a deceased spouse’s unused federal gift and estate tax...more

11/22/2013 - American Taxpayer Relief Act Estate Planning Estate Tax Generation-Skipping Transfer IRA Portability Retirement Plan Tax Deferral

Insight on Estate Planning - Year End 2013: State death taxes can be hazardous to your estate

Now that the federal gift and estate tax exemption is permanently set, many people are feeling more relaxed about the need for estate planning. But it’s important not to overlook state death taxes. Without planning, these...more

11/21/2013 - Estate Planning Estate Tax

Insight on Estate Planning - Year End 2013

In This Issue: - State death taxes can be hazardous to your estate - Can portability help preserve retirement benefits? - Provide for family members with special needs using an SNT - Estate...more

11/20/2013 - American Taxpayer Relief Act Estate Planning Estate Tax Gift Tax Portability Retirement Plan Special Needs Trust

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