Anyone who takes financial planning seriously knows that you must adjust to ever-changing market conditions. This adaptivity is something to apply to estate planning as well. If you go forward feeling as though you have everything in place because you executed an estate plan in the past without paying attention to relevant changes that come down the pike you could be taking some big risks. One of the things that should set off the alarm that motivates you to make an appointment to speak with … [Read more...] about Estate Planning: Be Alert as Circumstances Change
While most people are aware of the fact that there is a Federal estate tax in place you may not know about the gift tax. Yes, there is a federal levy that is imposed on asset transfers of a significant nature while you are still alive. There is an annual exemption of $13,000 per gift recipient. Any gifts that you give exceeding this amount of money to one person during a particular year become taxable. It is possible to utilize a portion of your unified gift/estate tax exemption when you are … [Read more...] about Must You Include Gifts When Filing Income Tax Return?
There are certain life events that people can go through that will trigger an estate plan update. Getting remarried is one of them. Of course one thing that you are probably going to want to do will be to include your new spouse in your estate plan. But you have to ask yourself exactly how you want to go about doing it, especially if you have children from a previous marriage. The possibility of entering into a prenuptial agreement is something that you should certainly consider. When you … [Read more...] about Getting Remarried? Action is Required
If you want to transfer assets to your loved ones while you are still alive these transfers are potentially subject to the federal gift tax. This tax is unified with the estate tax and there is a $5.12 million unified exclusion at the time of this writing in 2012. (It is scheduled to be reduced to $1 million in 2013.) What this means is that gifts that you give during your life using this exclusion will reduce the exclusion amount that is left when your estate is being transferred to your … [Read more...] about Gift Tax Not Imposed in Some Instances
An irrevocable life insurance trust can be a very useful tax efficiency tool for people who have valuable life insurance policies. If you simply make someone the beneficiary of a policy that you own as an individual he or she will receive the proceeds free of income tax. However, these proceeds will be considered to be a part of your estate for estate tax purposes. Given the fact that the maximum rate of the estate tax is 35% this year and 55% in 2013 you certainly want to do whatever it takes … [Read more...] about Three-Year Wait for ILITs
You have to be very careful about buying into homespun notions that people who are in-the-know would never even remotely consider. With this in mind let's take a look at the unintended consequences that can come about if you decide to add someone to your bank account or accounts thinking that this is a way to transfer assets. First of all, the minute that you add someone to a joint account this person has just as much access and ownership as you do. So you better be extremely certain that this … [Read more...] about Joint Accounts Can Bring Unintended Consequences
When you are looking for good solid information about products and services one of the tried-and-true resources that you probably tap into is Consumer Reports magazine. This publication has always been a great tool to utilize before making purchases or engaging service providers. Now that we live in the digital age you can of course visit their website for information as well. If you have ever looked into the subject previously you undoubtedly have come across estate planning attorneys who … [Read more...] about Consumer Reports Magazine Examines DIY Wills
Inheritance planning attorneys generally find that people can come to terms with their own mortality, but as parents and grandparents we develop a firmly embedded sense of responsibility to our families. The thought of no longer being around to provide help in whatever way it may be needed can be the most difficult thing to get past when you are contemplating the inevitable. This can be especially troubling if you have someone that you love that would seem to be capable of burning through his … [Read more...] about Keeping That Safety Net in Place
People sometimes make broad assumptions based on misconceptions, and this can enter into the realm of estate planning. The above is one of the reasons why it is not a good idea to buy into do-it-yourself estate planning notions. There are websites that offer downloads and worksheets with which you can create legal documents such as last wills and revocable living trusts. As the highly respected magazine Consumer Reports has stated recently documents created using these tools are flawed, and … [Read more...] about Do Living Trusts Protect Assets?
Individuals who reside here in the Low Country who are in a position to leave a lasting legacy must develop a solid working relationship with a seasoned and savvy South Carolina estate planning attorney. The fact of the matter is that things are always changing, and when you are in possession of significant financial resources you can be exposed to considerable damages if you go any length of time without making the appropriate adjustments. What types of changes are we referring to here? For … [Read more...] about Ongoing Adjustments Essential for High Net Worth Families