Pay Attention to Your State Estate Tax Exemption

While the 2017 federal tax cut means most estates won’t be subject to the federal estate tax in 2018 and 2019, state estate tax is a different matter. Some states are not going along with the increase in the federal estate tax exemption. In 2017, Republicans in Congress and President Trump doubled the federal estate tax exemption and indexed it for inflation. In 2019, the …

4 provisions typically forgotten in an estate plan

Even if you’ve created an estate plan, are you sure you included everything you need to? There are certain provisions that people often forget to put in in a will or estate plan that can have a big impact on your family. 1. Alternate Beneficiaries One of the most important things your estate plan should include is at least one alternative beneficiary in case the …

The best and worst states for elder protection

The older the population gets, the greater the potential for elder abuse. States have laws in place designed to combat elder abuse, but some states are doing a better job than others. The consumer finance website WalletHub researched the protections in place in all 50 states and the District of Columbia to determine which states have the best protections against elder abuse. The prevalence of …

Estate Planning and retirement considerations for late in life parents.

Older parents are becoming more common, driven in part by changing cultural mores and advances in infertility treatment. Comedian and author Steve Martin had his first child at age 67. Singer Billy Joel just welcomed his third daughter. Janet Jackson had a child at age 50. But later-in-life parents have some special estate planning and retirement considerations. The first consideration is to make sure you …

Use your will to dictate how you pay your debts

The main purpose of a will is to direct where your assets will go after you die, but it can also be used to instruct your heirs how to pay your debts. While generally, heirs cannot inherit debt, debt can reduce what they receive. Spelling out how debt should be paid can help your heirs. If someone dies with outstanding debt, the executor is responsible …

Choosing Retirement Account Beneficiaries Requires Some Thought

While the execution of wills requires formalities like witnesses and a notary, the reality is that most property passes to heirs through other, less formal means. Many bank and investments accounts, as well as real estate, have joint owners who take ownership automatically at the death of the primary owner. Other banks and investment companies offer payable on death accounts that permit owners to name …

Living Wills: what are they?

A living will is a document that establishes your wishes as to what happens regarding your end of life treatment. We call it a declaration of natural death in South Carolina. This document gives the client the ability to make their own decision regarding the end of life treatment. It takes the burden of that decision making off of the client’s family. As many people …

5 Things to Know to Reduce Your Tax on Capital Gains

Although it is often said that nothing is certain except death and taxes, the one tax you may be able to avoid or minimize most through planning is the tax on capital gains. Here's what you need to know to do such planning: What is capital gain? Capital gain is the difference between the “basis” in property — usually real estate or stocks, but also …

How to Handle Sibling Disputes Over a Power of Attorney

A power of attorney is one of the most important estate planning documents, but when one sibling is named in a power of attorney, there is the potential for disputes with other siblings. No matter which side you are on, it is important to know your rights and limitations. A power of attorney allows someone to appoint another person — an “attorney-in-fact” or “agent” — …

Gift taxes and you!

The IRS has announced that the gift tax exclusion has been raised for 2018. A person can gift an annual exclusion of $15,000 without any gift tax consequences. Which means that you and your spouse could gift a child a total of $30,000 without any gift taxes. The lifetime limit was raised to 11,180,000. Double that for a married couple. This is the amount you …