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Estate Planning

Selecting a Trustee

January 29, 2015

What is it? In general A trustee is a person (or institution) selected to administer a trust. A trustee’s role is to adhere to the terms of the trust document and fulfill its objectives. A trustee can be an individual (professional or nonprofessional) or a corporate trustee, such as a bank or trust company. You,…

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Lifetime (Noncharitable) Gifting

January 28, 2015

What is lifetime (noncharitable) gifting? Gifting can be a powerful estate planning tool, allowing you to transfer your wealth to others during your lifetime. Lifetime gifts have many advantages over gifts you might leave in your will (these are called bequests, legacies, or devises). You might find making lifetime gifts desirable for nontax reasons (e.g.,…

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Settling an Estate

January 20, 2015

What is settling an estate? Definition of estate When people die, they usually leave behind money and other things of value (assets). In addition, they may have auto loans, mortgages, and other outstanding debts (liabilities). Together, the assets and liabilities left by a decedent are known as the estate. Settling an estate means that someone…

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Grantor Retained Annuity Trust (GRAT)

January 2, 2015

A grantor retained annuity trust (GRAT) is an irrevocable trust into which you make a one-time transfer of property, and from which you receive a fixed amount annually for a specified number of years (the annuity period). At the end of the annuity period, the payments to you stop, and any property remaining in the…

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Estate Planning Key Numbers

December 1, 2014

You will find here some key numbers associated with estate planning, as well as the federal gift tax and estate tax rate schedules for 2014 and 2015. 2014 2015 Annual gift tax exclusion: $14,000 $14,000 Gift tax and estate tax applicable exclusion amount: $5,340,0001 + DSUEA2 $5,430,0001 + DSUEA2 Noncitizen spouse annual gift tax exclusion:…

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Upside and Downside of Using the Applicable Exclusion Amount Now

October 21, 2014

The applicable exclusion amount is the amount that can be sheltered from federal gift and estate tax by the unified credit. The basic exclusion amount is $5,340,000 (in 2014, $5,250,000 in 2013). In 2011 and later years, the unused applicable exclusion amount of a deceased spouse is portable which may make it easier for you…

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National Estate Planning Awareness Week Is October 20 to October 26, 2014

October 20, 2014

The third week in October has been designated as National Estate Planning Awareness Week. Estate planning is a vital component of every financial plan, regardless of the size of the estate. Unfortunately, it’s also an area that is commonly overlooked. This often results in wasted dollars and emotional hardship that could otherwise be minimized with…

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Trust Basics

October 17, 2014

Whether you’re seeking to manage your own assets, control how your assets are distributed after your death, or plan for incapacity, trusts can help you accomplish your estate planning goals. Their power is in their versatility–many types of trusts exist, each designed for a specific purpose. Although trust law is complex and establishing a trust…

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Beneficiary Designations Over-ride Wills

September 22, 2014

The following article by Ric Edelman published on CNBC this morning is a great reminder on the importance of keeping your beneficiary designations up to date. Please leave us your thoughts in the our comment section.

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Estate Planning and Income Tax Basis

September 16, 2014
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Income tax basis can be an important factor in deciding whether to make gifts during your lifetime or transfer property at your death. This is because the income tax basis for the person receiving the property depends on whether the transfer is by gift or at death. This, in turn, affects the amount of taxable…

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