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Estate Planning Articles

Think twice before transferring your home to adult children

Your home might well be your biggest asset. Many times, parents think about giving their home to their adult children outright while the parents are still alive, or adding their names to the deed. While doing so might avoid probate when you die, it’s also likely to lead to significant gift tax consequences. And if anything happens that could affect your kids’ assets, such as a bankruptcy filing or a lawsuit, your home could suddenly be

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Where can you live to lower your estate tax?

In retirement, you might move to a different state for a wide range of reasons, such as being close to your kids and grandkids, or for a warmer climate. Another key thing to consider is the state estate tax. The federal estate tax applies to all U.S. taxpayers, whether they live in the U.S. or abroad. With the current federal estate tax annual exclusion set at $11.58 million, there are many taxpayers who wouldn’t owe an

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Pandemic downturn opens estate-planning opportunities

It’s not new news that many financial investments and bank accounts have taken a hit as a result of the global spread of coronavirus. According to most predictions, it’s likely to take some time for the markets to rally and the economy to pick up again. But there is a silver lining for some taxpayers, who might be able to take advantage of certain estate-planning strategies as a result of the economic climate. Talk to an

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Review your estate plan basics

The Covid-19 pandemic has offered a great reminder to review the elements of your estate plan. Below are some key items to consider. Set up a call with your estate planning lawyer to consider any specific details related to your own plan. Review your health care proxy and power of attorney: Be sure you are comfortable with your choices of who will make medical and financial decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do

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Contemplating Your Estate Plan During Covid-19

Get Your Affairs in Order For most of us, coronavirus and the threat it poses has made us contemplate the status of our estate plans. As thousands of people in the Commonwealth have died of COVID-19 and its complications, many thousands more are ill, and many, many thousands more face unemployment and financial hardship. There are also innumerable, lesser losses: newborn grandchildren who have yet to meet their grandparents; weddings canceled and postponed; funerals with only

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IRS settles abusive insurance schemes

The IRS recently offered settlements to a select number of taxpayers involved in what are known as “micro-captive” insurance schemes. Tax law generally allows businesses to create “captive” insurance companies to protect against certain risks. In abusive “micro-captive” structures, accountants or wealth planners convince owners of closely held entities to engage in schemes that actually lack the protections of real insurance. Under IRS Notice 2016-66, taxpayers are mandated to disclose such transactions due to their potential

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New rules for required minimum distributions

The amount of time banks and other financial institutions have to notify people with retirement accounts about new rules for taking required minimum distributions (RMDs) has been extended. Under IRS Notice 2020-06, financial institutions have until April 15 to notify certain people with retirement accounts that no RMD is due for 2020. The new rule was recently enacted under the SECURE Act, increasing the age for RMDs from 70 1/2 to 72. Before passage of the

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No tax on large gifts when exemption sunsets

Taxpayers making large gifts no longer have to worry about big taxes coming back to bite them years from now. The IRS finalized regulations confirming that gifts made under the increased lifetime exemption under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 will not be subject to tax when the exemption returns to the rates that existed before the law went into effect (slated to occur on Jan. 1, 2026). The TCJA temporarily increased the gift

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Final rules issued for ‘opportunity zones’

The Treasury Department recently issued final regulations regarding investments in so-called opportunity zones. The Qualified Opportunity Zone program, which offers tax incentives for investing in economically blighted communities, was created under the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Investment vehicles known as Opportunity Zone Funds allow investors to defer capital gains for up to 10 years, and possibly receive greater tax advantages, when they reinvest capital gains (from any investment, such as stocks, real estate or

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Avoid these mistakes when setting up a trust

When setting up a revocable trust, you need to be diligent about asset transfers, beneficiary designations and funding formulas. Failure to complete certain steps can prevent the trust from acting as you intended, creating additional cost and unintended consequences for your estate. Common issues include the following: Failure to transfer assets Setting up a trust is just the first step. You must accurately transfer assets into the trust in order for its proper function to take

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