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Legacy Planning

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

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). 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. If there are non-individual beneficiaries (e.g., charitable recipients, then you must pay all non-individuals their entire share to preserve life expectancy payouts for individual beneficiaries...

What’s the Difference Between Wills and Living Trusts?

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.   Will Living Trust Probate Subject to probate proceedings Out-of-state property requires probate proceedings in that state, as well. Provides court supervision for handling beneficiary challenges and creditor disputes....

Charitable Giving Strategies

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.   In addition to enabling your favorite organizations to continue their good works, charitable giving can be an important part of your overall income tax and estate planning strategy. While you should consult with your attorney and financial or tax advisor to better...

Three Estate Planning Items Everyone Needs

By Matthew T. McClintock, J.D. Vice President, Education, WealthCounsel 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. As discussed in a recent Yahoo! Finance article featuring WealthCounsel, estate planning can be a difficult topic for many families to address, but it’s a necessary one. Without proper preparation and documentation, assets—like houses,...

Inherited IRAs No Longer Protected From Creditors

By Matthew T. McClintock, J.D.Vice President, Educational Content, WealthCounsel 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. In the case of Clark v. Rameker, Heidi Heffron-Clark argued that a $300,000 IRA she inherited from her mother in 2001 qualified as a protected retirement account. As such, she contended, the account was exempt from the claims of creditors after Heffron-Clark and her husband filed for bankruptcy in 2010....

Understanding Who Should Be Beneficiary of Your IRA

How To Turn A Modest Tax-Deferred Account Into Millions For Your Family 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. Don’t I have to use this money for my retirement? When you reach a certain age, usually April 1 after you are 701/2, Uncle Sam says you must start taking some money out. (This is called...