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Legacy Planning

10 Types of Trusts: A Quick Look

Posted on: July 18th, 2016
Considering the myriad of trusts available, creating an estate plan that works can seem daunting. However, that’s what we, as estate planning attorneys, do every day. We know the laws and will design a plan which addresses your specific situation. Here’s a look at the basics of ten common trusts to provide a general understanding. There will not be a quiz at the end. All you need to do when we meet is to share your goals and insights into your family and financial situation, and we will design a plan that best supports your situation. ...

4 Tips for Avoiding a Will or Trust Contest

Posted on: January 14th, 2016
A will or trust contest can derail your final wishes, rapidly deplete your estate, and tear your loved ones apart. But with proper planning, you can help your family avoid a potentially disastrous will or trust contest. ...

Heads Up: These States Will Usher in Changes to Their Death Taxes in 2016

Posted on: January 4th, 2016
In 2016, there are still 19 U.S. jurisdictions that collect a death tax at the state level: Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee (repealed this year), Vermont, and Washington. Even if you don’t live in one of these states, the state estate tax may affect you in the future since many people move from time to time. It may affect your beneficiaries, because they may live or move to one of these states. The following states will see changes to their state death taxes in 2016:...

What’s Hot in Estate Planning Right Now May Surprise You

Posted on: November 2nd, 2015
Estate planning has truly evolved over the past 20 years. Gone is the uncertainty about federal estate taxes and the absolute requirement for married couples to use complex trusts to minimize these taxes. But also gone is planning for the “traditional” family. In fact, today estate planning is more complicated than ever before....

National Estate Planning Awareness Week

Posted on: October 29th, 2015
In 2008 the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils (NAEPC), in conjunction with Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) and 49 of his colleagues, helped pass a law which declared the third week in October “National Estate Planning Awareness Week.” ...

2016 Estate and Gift Tax Predictions

Posted on: October 29th, 2015
Under current law the federal estate tax, gift tax, and generation-skipping transfer tax exemptions have become unified and are indexed for inflation on an annual basis. Since 2011, the exemption and tax rate have changed as follows:...

Gifting... An Easy and Satisfying Way to Reduce Estate Taxes

Posted on: April 10th, 2015
If you have a sizeable estate, you may want to consider giving some of your assets now to the people or organizations who will receive them after you die. Why? First, it can be very satisfying to see the results of your gifts -- something you can't do if you hold onto everything until you die....

Should I Put My Life Insurance Policies In My Living Trust?

Posted on: April 10th, 2015
Generally speaking, all titles and beneficiary designations should be changed to your living trust. But there are some exceptions, including IRAs and retirement plan benefits, and your attorney will be able to advise you about them. Regarding life insurance policies, it will depend mostly on the size of your estate—and if it will be subject to estate taxes after you die....

Understanding Who Should Be Beneficiary of Your IRA

Posted on: April 10th, 2015
How would you like to turn your modest tax-deferred account into millions for your family? Depending on whom you name as beneficiary, you can keep this money growing tax-deferred for not only your and your spouse’s lifetimes, but also for your children’s or grandchildren’s lifetimes. That can turn even a modest inheritance into millions....

Inherited Retirement Accounts: 5 Things You Need to Know

Posted on: April 10th, 2015
Almost everyone has some kind of retirement account—whether a 401(k), IRA or pension—so proper estate planning for these funds is essential. From tax treatment to beneficiary designations, Matthew T. McClintock, J.D., VP of Education with WealthCounsel, answers your questions....

Inherited IRAs No Longer Protected From Creditors

Posted on: April 10th, 2015
In a major decision, the Supreme Court ruled this past June that inherited IRAs are not considered protected retirement funds—and are thus subject to creditors’ claims if the beneficiary files for bankruptcy. ...

The Importance of Succession Planning

Posted on: April 10th, 2015
Many people think the purpose of estate planning is to make sure your assets and belongings will go to the people and organizations you want to have them after you die, with as little delay and costs (fees and taxes) as possible. And that is a correct purpose. But good estate planning goes beyond this—it plans for someone to take your place (a successor) when you are no longer able to perform your responsibilities due to death or incapacity....

Three Estate Planning Items Everyone Needs

Posted on: April 10th, 2015
Many people mistakenly believe that estate planning is only necessary for the wealthy. In reality, a basic estate plan is essential for everyone, regardless of income or net worth, because we all want to minimize confusion, unnecessary costs, and stress for loved ones after a death....

Estate and Distribution Planning For Retirement Benefits: A Planner’s Guide

Posted on: April 10th, 2015
1. Threshold Question. Whether life expectancy payout for issue is a desirable goal. If not, then payout is within 5 years, if before RBD (or if after RBD, then over participant’s life expectancy). 2. If Life Expectancy Payout for Issue Is a Desirable Goal. Separate into “inherited IRA” before December 31 of the year after participant’s death. Otherwise, the age of the eldest child is utilized for payout....

Funding Educational Needs of Children and Grandchildren

Posted on: April 10th, 2015
This memorandum summarizes several potential methods for funding the educational needs of others. Outright Gifts. Every individual can give up to $14,000 annually to any one or more persons without any gift or estate tax consequences. This is called the “annual exclusion from gift taxation.” Accordingly, money can be funneled to children or grandchildren for educational purposes by making outright gifts to the individual over a period of years....

Charitable Giving Strategies

Posted on: April 10th, 2015
Despite the recent downturn in the economy, it appears that members of community continue to be generous to their favorite causes. It is only by and through the use of donations that many charitable and other not-for-profit organizations are able to continue to provide services for and in support of the local community....

What Is A Revocable Living Trust?

Posted on: April 10th, 2015
Living trusts are sometimes promoted as a panacea for all estate, tax, and financial planning problems. But the living trust is only one of a number of options which may be used to achieve a person’s estate planning goals. The purpose of this pamphlet is to provide an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of a living trust and to suggest some appropriate uses of the living trust....

What’s the Difference Between Wills and Living Trusts?

Posted on: April 10th, 2015
Both Wills and Trusts are devices which you can use to provide for the distribution of your estate upon your death. Deciding whether a Will or a Trust best fits your needs depends on your circumstances. A living Trust is a popular alternative to the traditional Will, but you should weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each before deciding on one form or the other....

Leonard A. Hagen, J.D., LL.M.
Sound Estate Planning, PLLC
152 3rd Ave. South, Ste. 107
Edmonds, WA 98020
Phone: (425) 967-7287
len@soundestateplanning.com

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