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Does Your Existing Trust Split into Two Trusts at the First Death?

Fortunately, most of our clients come in every so often, at which time, we have the opportunity to review the documents and make sure everything is up to date, reflects the client’s current wishes, and that the trust and other documents are set up in a way that will most efficiently provide for administration and distribution of an estate....

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Naming a Trust as Beneficiary of Your IRA

There is considerable confusion concerning the effects of naming a trust as the beneficiary of an IRA. What is most remarkable about this subject is that it seems to me that most professionals who should know better, i.e. CPA’s, investment professionals and lawyers, have as many misconceptions and gaps in their knowledge as the general public....

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Why You Should Pay Your Charitable Gifts in One Year

For those of you who may make significant charitable gifts each year, the following may help you get more out of those gifts for income tax purposes. Let’s say you are married and you are in the 24% income tax bracket. In recent years past, you and your spouse could either itemize your deductions on schedule A of your 1040, or together you and your spouse could use the $13,000 standard deduction, which anyone can take, even if they have no itemized deductions. So each year you would calculate your Schedule A deductions and if those were more than the standard...

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Changes to the Estate and Gift Taxes

With the passage of the recent tax act, you may be wondering what your strategy for avoiding estate and gift taxes should be now. First of all, for those of us who have less than $5 million and expect to always have less than $5 million, nothing has changed. You did not have an estate tax problem before the tax bill was passed and you do not have an estate tax problem now that it is passed. What about those who are in the $5 million range, right on the cusp of being subject to estate tax at death? First, if you...

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Strategies to Consider for Year-End Tax Planning

With a sweeping tax bill having passed the House, we will now see what happens when the Senate gets its hands on it. One of the major features of the bill is a reduction of the top corporate income tax rate from 35% now to 20%. This rate only applies to “C” corporations, that is corporations that pay their own taxes, as opposed to the “S” corporation where the income tax liability is reported and paid directly by the shareholders, at the shareholders’ rates. So if you do have a C corporation, do everything you can to move income from 2017...

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How to Select the Right Probate Attorney

The probate process can be overwhelming for individuals who are grieving due to the passing of a loved one and confronted with the prospect of an unknown protracted court administration. Probate, or the court supervised administration of a decedent’s estate, whether they died with a will or without a will (testate vs. intestate) is a very formalistic and statutory governed practice. ...

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Relationship Between Estate Taxes and Gift Taxes Explained

In my prior blog several months ago, I explained in general terms the rules concerning lifetime gifting and potential gift taxes associated with such gifts. I now move on to the estate tax. The estate tax and gift tax are linked at the hip, so to understand the estate tax, it’s necessary to lay some groundwork by explaining the relationship between the estate and gift taxes. Under current law, each US citizen, (as well as resident aliens, and we are talking legal resident aliens here), has an exemption from the gift tax of $5.49 million. This means that, in addition to...

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