Estate planning can be approached in two different ways. You can stay in the present without any particular legacy plan and resolve to leave behind anything that may be left after your passing. The alternative is more intentional and comprehensive. Some people have specific legacy goals, and they want to make sure that they protect the well-being of their loved ones every step of the way. If you fall in the latter category, life insurance can be quite useful, and we will take a look at the … [Read more...] about Life Insurance Can Be a Useful Part of Your Estate Plan
There can be some confusion when it comes to the taxes that can be levied on inheritances. You may have heard the terms “estate tax” and “inheritance tax” utilized, and they can leave you scratching your head. Are these two different taxes, or are the terms used interchangeably? Do they refer to income taxes on inheritances? These are good questions, and we will provide clarifications in this post. Income Taxes Life insurance policy proceeds and an inheritance that you receive through the … [Read more...] about Is There an Inheritance Tax and an Estate Tax?
Livings trusts and testamentary trusts are two of the tools in the estate planning toolkit. In this post, we will take a look at the reasons why these trusts are used and explain the major difference between them. Living Trusts A living trust is a trust that goes into effect as soon as you sign it, so it becomes active while you are still alive. The revocable living trust is the most common type of living trust, and this type of trust is a very good alternative to a simple will for a number of … [Read more...] about Living Trust vs. Testamentary Trust: What’s the Difference?
As we approach the end of the year, it’s a good time to think about updating your plan. This includes your entire plan, including beneficiary designations. Beneficiary designations may control a large part of your assets and it’s important to be sure your plan is coordinated to consider these. Read on to learn more. … [Read more...] about Updating Your Plan: Beneficiary Designations
As we approach the end of the year, it’s a good time to think about updating your plan. This includes your entire plan, including your primary vehicle, such as a trust or will. Read on to learn more. … [Read more...] about Updating Your Plan: Your Trust or Will
As we approach the end of the year, it’s a good time to think about updating your plan. This includes your entire plan, including Powers of Attorney. Powers of Attorney are part of even the simplest estate plan. A Power of Attorney allows your Agent to act for you. There are Powers of Attorney for financial matters and also those for health care. It’s important to consider whether you need to update either of these powers. Read on to learn more. … [Read more...] about Updating Your Plan: Powers of Attorney
Normally, you must itemize your deductions in order to benefit from them. In 2020, the standard deduction amount is $12,400 for individuals and $24,800 for married couples filing jointly. But this year, you can get a charitable deduction even if you don’t itemize. Read on to learn more. … [Read more...] about It’s Better to Give, Especially This Year
A lot of people think that estate planning boils down to the creation of a simple will. This is actually a shortsighted perspective, and in fact, a trust can be a better choice than a will in many instances. We will look at the trust versus will question in another post, but in this one, we will highlight some important estate planning details that often are overlooked. Instructions for the Administrator You should put yourself into the position of the executor or trustee when you are … [Read more...] about Don’t Overlook These Estate Plan Details
There are those that think that the executor of a will can independently distribute assets according to the wishes of the testator. They just read the will to the people that are named in the document and go about their business. You may have seen something like this on a television show, but it is not the way it works in reality. The will would be admitted to probate, and the Surrogate’s Court would provide supervision during the administration process. Probate serves a purpose, because … [Read more...] about What Is Probate and Why Do People Avoid It?
In many ways, the tax laws that pertain to postmortem asset transfers are favorable to inheritors. You do not have to report an inheritance on your income tax returns, and if you inherit appreciated assets, you get a step-up in basis. For capital gains purposes, you would not be responsible for appreciation that accumulated during the life of the decedent. There is the end of the tax story for most people, but high net worth individuals have some other taxes that can have a very significant … [Read more...] about Can You Give Gifts to Avoid Estate Taxes?