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Year-End Strategies for Reducing Income You or Your Trustee Can Use Now

With the end of the year approaching fast, now is the time to consider ways to reduce your 2014 income tax bill. In this issue you will learn: How charitable trust-based planning can be used to reduce your taxable income. If you are the Trustee or beneficiary of an irrevocable, non-grantor trust (such as a Read More

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Parental Warning: If You Own Your Property this Way, You May Accidentally Disinherit Your Own Children

While there are several forms of joint ownership, the one most people use (and the one considered in this discussion) is called “Joint Ownership with Right of Survivorship.” When one owner dies, the jointly owned asset automatically, by operation of law, transfers to the surviving owner.    Joint ownership is a very common way for married Read More

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Yes, Your Family Needs Asset Protection Planning

If you’re like most people, when you hear “estate planning” or “asset protection planning,” you think of someone like JR Ewing of the 1978 show Dallas, Bill Gates, or the Kennedys.WARNING:  Common Misconception A very common misconception is only wealthy families and people in high-risk professions need asset protection planning.  But in reality, anyone can be Read More

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How to Protect Inherited IRAs After the Clark v. Rameker Decision

In a landmark, unanimous 9-0 decision handed down on June 12, 2014, the United States Supreme Court held that inherited IRAs are not “retirement funds” within the meaning of federal bankruptcy law. This means they are therefore available to satisfy creditors’ claims.  (See Clark, et ux v. Rameker, 573 U.S. ______ (2014)) The Court reached Read More

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Warning: What You Don’t Know About Income Tax Basis Could Hit Your Bottom Line

Income tax basis may not be the most exciting topic to read about.  However, it is a critically important topic to anyone who owns significant assets. Gaining an understanding of the basics of basis is a way to avoid costly mistakes.The Real Meaning of Basis According to IRS Tax Topic 703, your basis “is generally Read More

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Who Needs an Estate Plan?

If you’re reading this, you need an estate plan.  Why?  The short answer is “Everyone, age 18 and older needs an estate plan.” It doesn’t matter if you are old or young, if you have built up considerable wealth or if you are just entering adulthood —you need a written plan to keep you in Read More

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How to Stop Worrying About Running Out of Money in Retirement

Many retirees today worry about having enough money for their retirement. Of special concern is if there will be enough money to provide for the surviving spouse. This is called “shortfall risk,” and it is a valid concern. People are living longer and health care costs continue rising, especially long-term care which many seniors will Read More

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How to Minimize the (Voluntary) Federal Estate Tax with Portability

Surprising to most people, the federal estate tax is a voluntary tax.  Estate planning attorneys used to say, “You only pay if you don’t plan.”  Now, portability provides both an alternative and a back up plan to lifetime tax planning.  This means you might be able to minimize or even eliminate federal estate taxes even Read More

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Using Trusts in Estate Planning: Personal Risk Management

Paying insurance premiums to protect against potential losses frees us mentally to enjoy driving a car, leave our house empty while on vacation and receive medical treatment for an injury or illness. In the same way, the use of trusts acts like insurance and can shift anxiety to comfort, turmoil to peace, and complexity to Read More

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Three Social Security Traps

What you don’t know about Social Security benefits can hurt you and your spouse for the rest of your lives. Here are three traps to avoid when taking your benefits. The Key Takeaways The longer you can postpone taking your Social Security benefits, the larger the amount you and your spouse will receive over your Read More

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