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Legacy Planning

What Is A Revocable Living Trust?

Introduction. 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. Living trusts and estate planning involve complex issues with legal, tax, and accounting considerations. The simplified and general explanation contained in this memorandum is not meant to...

The Importance of Succession Planning

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. Think of all the areas in your life that would need someone to step in and take your place in your absence. Whom do you take care of? Whom do you...

Funding Educational Needs of Children and Grandchildren

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. However, such gifts must be made with “no strings attached,” meaning that such gifts will be used for the educational needs of the recipient only if the recipient agrees to use the gift for such purposes. Gifts such as these are frequently made to...

Gifting… An Easy and Satisfying Way to Reduce Estate Taxes

f 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. Second, gifting is an excellent way to reduce estate taxes because you are reducing the size of your taxable estate. (Just make sure you don’t give away any assets you may need later.) And third, well, we’ll wait and explain the third reason at the end. One of the easiest ways to...

Inherited Retirement Accounts: 5 Things You Need to Know

Vice President, Educational Content, WealthCounsel 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. Will my beneficiaries owe taxes on the retirement accounts I pass down to them? Probably. Assets like life insurance, real estate, vehicles and non-retirement investment accounts are not counted as income when they’re inherited. Retirement accounts, however? They’re...

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

BY Vickie Schumacher   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. Federal estate taxes must be paid if the net value of your estate when you die is more than the amount exempt at that time. Currently the federal exemption is $5 million, adjusted annually for...