Estate Planning

April 15, 2007   Estate Planning

New Law Creates Exciting Planning Opportunities

The purpose of this newsletter is to inform you of changes in the law and to provide planning information and general financial news. These newsletters also give me a chance to share new techniques to enhance your planning, as well as to help you to stay current with tactics designed to maximize the effectiveness of your plan. I hope you will read each newsletter carefully to keep up to date on these important topics. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about this or any matters relating to your planning.The new Pension Protection Act of 2006 (signed into law last Fall) creates significant planning opportunities for those who understand it. This newsletter focuses on two key provisions: (1) non-spousal rollovers from a qualified plan to an inherited IRA and (2) charita...
January 15, 2008   Estate Planning

Planning for Pets

For many pet owners, pets are members of the family. These individuals often say that if something happens to them, they are more concerned with what will happen to their pets than to their children or spouse.This issue of The Wealth Advisor examines the issues surrounding caring for pets after the disability or death of the pet's owner. Given the feelings of many individuals towards their pets, and the costs of care and longevity of some types of pets, planning in this area can be of critical importance. This is particularly true given our mobile society and that the laws of a different county or state may impact you and your pets or the pets of parents and other loved ones.What Will Happen to the Pets When the Owner Becomes Disabled or Passes Away? Most pet owners do not want their p...
April 15, 2008   Estate Planning

Planning for the Zero Percent Tax Bracket

There was a recent change in the tax law that you might not be familiar with - yet it may entitle you to significant tax savings. Beginning January 1, 2008 and continuing through December 31, 2010 (unless extended by Congress), a zero tax rate may apply to long-term capital gain and dividend income that would otherwise be subject to the lowest federal income tax rates, 10% and 15%.The new zero tax rate creates the opportunity for eligible individuals to sell certain appreciated assets at no tax cost. By working with you to ensure that you take advantage of this new opportunity, if available, we can help you pay less tax and preserve more of your wealth.The Zero Tax Rate There are two questions we must ask to determine whether a taxpayer is eligible for the new zero tax rate.Is the taxpayer...
July 11, 2008   Estate Planning

Mediation: The Hottest New Specialty in Trusts & Estates

By Irina Shea, Esq.
Our clients have traditionally come to us needing many services: designing new estate plans, carry­ing out estate administrations, setting up business and charitable structures and so on. As estate planners we thrive on helping families achieve their family and financial goals with our careful advice and expert writ­ings. It is enormously satisfying to guide a family through a process where they finally organize their affairs, imple­ment tax savings and protections for their dependents and achieve peace of mind about the future. As attorneys we are well compensated for our guidance both financially and spiritually. In order to continue to serve our clients well, we must evolve and adapt to current trends and one of the biggest wealth transfer trends will be managing family con...
July 17, 2008   Estate Planning

How to Protect Qualified Accounts from Creditors, Predators, Youth, and Inexperience

By Larry Hartley, Esq., CELA
The Problem – and the Opportunity   On a regular basis, estate planning attorneys encounter clients who have successfully ac­cumulated large amounts in qualified retirement plans. These qualified monies may be sitting in individual retirement accounts (IRA’s), or they may be held in company pension plans such as 401(k)’s. In most cases, the intent was to provide the owner with a secure retire­ment. Partly as a result of the tax-deferred growth within such accounts, many have grown over the years to become a significant asset in the client’s portfolio. When a client has successfully amassed other wealth, he or she may be in the enviable position of no longer needing the money in qualified accounts for support, and is often loathe to take even the requir...
July 18, 2008   Estate Planning

Grantor-Retained Annuity Trust Planning

By Marianne Coulton, Esq. & Ryland Mahathey, MBA, LL.M., Esq.
The primary benefit of a Grantor Retained Annu­ity Trust (“GRAT”) is to “freeze” the value of a property transferred to the trust, typically busi­ness interests, securities, or real estate, so that the future appreciation on such property will pass estate tax-free to the Grantor’s beneficiaries. This strategy can significantly reduce future estate tax li­ability.   The IRC Section 7520 rate, which is published monthly by the IRS, is used to determine the present value of an annuity, life estate, or remainder interest. A GRAT is par­ticularly effective when the Section 7520 rate applicable to the GRAT is low. This is because a GRAT is successful when the earnings and appreciation on the property placed in the GRAT outperforms the Section 75...
October 15, 2008   Estate Planning

New FDIC Rules: Are You Protected?

With the rash of bank failures, you may wonder whether - and to what extent - the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) will protect your bank accounts. Fortunately, new rules from the FDIC clarify how you can ensure maximum FDIC insurance coverage. You may need to modify your planning slightly to take advantage of these new rules.FDIC The FDIC is an independent federal agency that ensures the availability of deposited funds after a bank failure. Created in 1933 after a run on banks left many account owners penniless, the FDIC promotes public confidence and stability in the nation's banking system by insuring your deposits at any FDIC-insured institution.Planning Tip: FDIC-insured institutions include most banks and savings associations located in the United States. It does not...
January 4, 2009   Estate Planning

Are you Missing an Opportunity to Help a Veteran?

By Valerie L. Peterson, J.D.
According to the Armed Forces Veterans Homes Foundation, there are currently more than 9.2 million veterans aged 65 or older living in the United States. Many of these veterans lack the financial resources necessary to sustain them in their final stages of life.   The good news is there is financial help for many of these veterans. There are pension benefits available to wartime veterans or their surviving spouses who are either disabled, or over age 65, and who have low income and assets. Maximum pension benefits range from $661 per month for a surviving spouse, $985 for an unmarried veteran, and up to $1,291 per month for a married veteran.   For those wa...
January 9, 2009   Estate Planning

The Need for a Pour Over Will and the Search for Rich Aunt Mabel

By Bruce G. Kaufmann, J.D.
If  your practice is like mine, some clients will wonder, “Why do I need a Pour Over Will if I have a Revocable Living Trust?” The answer of course is that you may not need the Pour Over Will if you properly fund the Trust. If you transfer all your assets into the trust then the Pour Over Will is not necessary. But often an asset gets left out of the trust either intentionally, accidentally or incidentally. Some recommend that the automobile be intentionally placed in a separate trust or left in the individual’s name if all other assets are in the trust. Since the automobile is often involved in expensive accidents the thought is that if it is left out of the trust then it will be&n...
January 15, 2009   Estate Planning

Planning You Should Consider Now

These are difficult times. The "experts" now acknowledge that we are in a recession - and that we have been so for some time. Consumer confidence is low. As a result many of us are concerned, wondering what planning we should do now, if any.For the vast majority of Americans, planning is not discretionary. These individuals continue to have - or perhaps for the first time have - personal concerns that they need to address now because these concerns are unrelated to the economy. In fact, some of these concerns may even be made worse by our current economic situation.In addition, for anyone who may be subject to federal or state estate tax in the future, unusual circumstances have created a "perfect planning storm" that will not last long. This newsletter addresses some o...
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