Don’t Forget About Making A Portability Election

Portability allows a surviving spouse to apply a deceased spouse’s unused federal gift and estate tax exemption amount toward his or her own transfers during life or at death. For 2020, the exemption amount is $11.58 million, and the IRS just announced that that amount will increase to $11.7 million for 2021. To secure these […]

Divorcing Couples Should Understand These 4 Tax Issues

When a couple is going through a divorce, taxes are probably not foremost in their minds. But without proper planning and advice, some people find divorce to be an even more taxing experience. Several tax concerns need to be addressed to ensure that taxes are kept to a minimum and that important tax-related decisions are […]

4 Ways To Address Elderly Parents In Your Estate Plan

Typically, an estate plan includes accommodations for your spouse, children, grandchildren and even future generations. But you may overlook some older family members, such as your parents or in-laws. They may also need your financial assistance and help with their estate planning. How can you best handle the financial affairs of parents in the later […]

Put Pen To Paper: How A Letter Of Instruction Can Benefit Family Harmony

You may view your will as the centerpiece of your estate plan. But other documents can complement it. For example, if you haven’t already done so, consider writing a letter of instruction. Elements of the letter A letter of instruction is an informal document providing your loved ones with vital information about personal and financial […]

Is A Noncharitable Purpose Trust Right For You?

There are two trust types that don’t require one or more human beneficiaries: charitable trusts and noncharitable purpose (NCP) trusts. A charitable trust is the more common of the two, but an NCP trust could also be a formidable tool to help achieve your estate planning goals. Defining an NCP trust Historically, trusts were required […]

The Red Flags Are Many When Borrowing From Your Retirement Plan

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in many people borrowing from their companies’ qualified retirement plans, and the CARES Act provides some temporary rule changes to this loan type. However, given the risks and costs of borrowing from a retirement plan, it should generally be viewed as a last resort. From an estate planning angle, subtracting […]

Why It’s Important To Plan For Income Taxes As Part Of Your Estate Plan

As a result of the current estate tax exemption amount ($11.58 million in 2020), many estates no longer need to be concerned with federal estate tax. Before 2011, a much smaller amount resulted in estate plans attempting to avoid it. Now, because many estates won’t be subject to estate tax, more planning can be devoted […]

Don’t Procrastinate If You Plan To Transfer Ownership Of Your Life Insurance Policy

Generally, the proceeds of your life insurance policy are included in your taxable estate. You can remove them by transferring ownership of the policy, but there’s a catch: If you wait too long, your intentions may be defeated. Essentially, if ownership of the policy is transferred within three years of your death, the proceeds revert […]

A Health Care Power Of Attorney Is An Essential Element Of Any Estate Plan

What happens if illness, injury or age-related dementia renders you unable to make decisions or communicate your wishes regarding your health care or financial affairs? Unless your estate plan addresses these situations, your family may be forced to seek a court-appointed guardian. Health care arrangements are particularly important because your wishes won’t necessarily coincide with […]

Buy-Sell Agreements: A Smart Business Decision Also Makes Estate Planning Sense

Do you own a business with one or more individuals? Undoubtedly, your interest in the business represents a substantial part of your net worth and is likely your “pride and joy.” So it’s normal if your fondest wish is for the business to continue long after you’re gone or for you to keep it running […]