If You Have an ABLE Account or Special Needs Trust Do You Need the Other?

ABLE Accounts and Special Needs Trusts serve different purposes but can be used together to give the beneficiary the most freedom and independence possible. An ABLE Account is a tool that was created by federal law (the same part of the tax code where we find 529 Education plans) to help people with disabilities save some money and be as … Read More

CARES Act: Required Minimum Distributions (“RMDs”) for 2020

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act or “CARES” Act enacted by Congress and signed into law by President Trump on March 27, 2020, aimed to provide financial relief and incentives to American families and businesses.  The highlights many people may be familiar with are: Eligible taxpayers received $1,200 checks; Forgivable loans to businesses to maintain their employees and … Read More

Summary of the SECURE Act and Retirement Savings: What You Should Know

Rolled up U.S. Money

The most significant change to estate planning law in 2019 was the passage of the SECURE Act in late December. The Act is intended to increase and encourage retirement savings. Benefits of the SECURE Act to Retirement Savings The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement, or SECURE, Act, is meant to address the fact that many Americans do not … Read More

Charitable Giving and Tax Benefits

Do you have a charity that is close to your heart? Maybe your church, your favorite animal shelter, or your alma mater. Consider including them in your estate plan and/or in lifetime gifts. If you don’t have a particular charity you want to support, but there is a cause that is important to you, like homelessness, animals, kids, education, arts, … Read More

When Should You Review Your Estate Planning Documents?

First, let’s clarify what your estate planning documents are. Of course, they include your Will and any Codicils, and perhaps your trust or trusts. But they also include any powers of attorney (both financial and health care) as well as all beneficiary designations for life insurance, retirement plans, annuities and transfer on death accounts. A thorough review of your estate … Read More

Should I Create a Trust to Avoid Probate?

Avoiding probate is a common reason for creating trusts. One thing to note is that only a funded trust will avoid probate. Meaning, only assets that have been transferred and titled in a trust will avoid probate.  When properly funded, the trust document and not a Will controls the disposition of the assets and avoids the necessity of opening a … Read More

How is a revocable trust funded? Should all assets be transferred to a revocable trust?

Trusts are funded by re-titling or transferring title by deed or assignment of individual assets to the revocable trust.  Assets may include stocks, bank accounts, real estate, timeshare interests, or business interests. Once assets are transferred into the trust, a schedule of assets should be attached to the trust document as this assists the trustee in the management of the … Read More

Ho Hum. Oh! Ho Ho Ho

The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010, also known as the Tax Relief Act of 2010, was signed by the President on December 17, 2010.   For those of us interested in estate and gift taxes, we learned right away that this Act provides significant estate and gift tax relief by increasing the federal applicable exemption … Read More

President Obama Signs Tax Bill

On Friday, December 17, President Obama signed tax legislation that extends the current income tax rates and capital gain rates for two years.  Below are the income tax rate schedules. The capital gain rate will remain 15% for long term capital gains. Single Filing Status [Tax Rate Schedule X, Internal Revenue Code section 1(c)] 10% on income between $0 and … Read More

Legislative Risk

No federal estate tax in 2010.  No step up in basis in 2010 (except for $1.3 million).  Will the Bush tax cuts expire?  No more two year GRATs?  What will happen in 2011?  Uncertainty.  Like we do not have enough of it! Are there opportunities for planning in all of this uncertainty?  Here are a few: If you have an … Read More