Since 2012, when Congress passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act, “portability” has been the heart of many estate plans for married couples. Portability allows a surviving spouse to use the deceased spouse’s unused estate tax exclusion (currently $5.49 million). A common estate planning goal of a married couple is to take full advantage of both spouses’ estate tax exclusions. Typically, this is done by funding a Family Trust (also sometimes called a Credit Shelter Trust or B Trust) at the death of the first-to-die with the exclusion amount and leaving the rest to one’s spouse (outright or in trust).
We provide you with tips and wisdom to help individuals understand and create roadmaps for the distribution and preservation of assets and why wealth planning is so crucial.
What is an ABLE account? An ABLE account is a tax advantaged savings account for individuals with disabilities, which can be used for disability-related expenses on behalf of the designated beneficiary. Although contributions are not tax-deductible, these accounts have several benefits, including: Non-taxed income, One account per beneficiary, Investment strategy can be changed twice yearly, ABLE accounts do not affect SSI, Medicaid or other public benefits. Regulations on these accounts will be written by the Treasury Department in 2015.
With the close of the summer quickly approaching, kids going back to school, and life going back to “normal,” we thought it might be a good time to go back to the basics and discuss why EVERYONE needs an estate plan. While the reasons a person or family needs an estate plan are vast and varied, it is a FACT that everyone needs an estate plan - period. Now, don’t get us wrong, your estate plan may look nothing like the old Last Will and Testament you read of your grandmothers, but that is because today estate planning can be specifically tailored to your goals, the specific assets you need to plan for, and the circumstances surrounding your world.
As we progress throughout our lives, we seek meaning in our family, social, religious and work relationships. “The future must be seen in terms of what a person can do to contribute something, to make something better, to make it go where he believes with all his being it ought to go.” - Frederick R. Kappel. When we do succeed in finding religious, charitable or social meaning in our lives, one avenue of honoring this can be to make a financial gift to an organization or institution which develops, reflects, or embodies this meaning in our lives.
Whether you are an expert in probate and have dealt with it on multiple occasions or a rookie, we can all agree on one thing: probate kind of sucks and should be and can be avoided. Let’s start with the basics: What is probate? Probate is a Court-guided process whereby a deceased individual’s financial affairs are wrapped up and the Court determines who the proper beneficiaries are of the deceased individual’s estate. The words “court-guided process” should automatically lead you to the accurate assumption that probate can be expensive both in time and money.