Do You Own Rental Property? How Proactive, Comprehensive Estate Planning Can Help

A comprehensive estate plan should address all of your assets. For most people, an estate plan must include three common categories: (1) your home; (2) financial accounts, like your checking and savings account; and (3) personal property. Other types of assets - such as life insurance, retirement funds, and annuities - should also be considered as part of your estate plan. If you own rental property, however, your estate plan will be more complicated because there are some unique considerations. Rental Property & Estate Plans It is no surprise that one of the risks of being a landlord of commercial or residential property is the threat of lawsuits. An injured guest or tenant, a claim under t

How to Share Family History and Heirlooms with Your Estate Plan

The best time to share your family history with loved ones is right now, before the memories are forgotten. Any time your loved are nearby becomes a great opportunity to reminisce. While you can always pull aside children and grandchildren for a chat about family history, did you know you may also be able to use a personal property memorandum in your estate plan to pass along special memories and stories about specific items that are meaningful to you and connect your family with the past? What Is a Personal Property Memorandum? Many states allow you to include a “personal property memorandum” in your estate plan. This supplemental document, specifically referenced in your will or your livin

Organizing for Tax (and Estate Planning) Season

It is the start of a new year, which means tax season—and this year’s April 17th IRS filing deadline—is just around the corner. Soon you will be receiving tax forms such as your W-2 or 1099s, and you will start thinking about the life events that could affect your taxes in various ways. This flurry of tax prep activity is the perfect opportunity to get your estate plan in order, too, and kill two birds with the proverbial stone. Why? Because as you run down your list of “tax prep” questions, you will find that your answers could also impact your estate plan. Some things to think about: Did you get married or divorced? Did any of your children or grandchildren? Did you welcome a child or gran

High Deductible Health Plan? How Your Health Savings Account (HSA) Works with Your Estate Plan

If you are enrolled in a qualified high-deductible health plan (HDHP), you must consider how your health savings account (HSA) fits into your estate plan—especially to make sure that any hard-earned money left in your HSA when you die goes where you want it. What is an HSA? An HSA is an account whose funds may be used to pay for qualified medical expenses or saved for expenses that arise in the future. These accounts have several tax advantages. You can deduct contributions to the account up to the yearly limit. You pay no income taxes on earnings in the account (such as interest or dividends). And, withdrawals from the account to pay for qualified medical expenses are tax-free. An HSA is an

HOW TAX REFORM WILL IMPACT YOU AND YOUR ESTATE PLANNING

In December 2017, Congress passed, and the President signed a sweeping tax reform bill commonly known as the "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act". This Act contains significant changes that will impact your estate planning and income tax situation going forward. Estate Tax Changes Starting January 1, 2018, the estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax exemptions double from $5 million to $10 million (adjusted for inflation after 2011). For 2018, the exemption is now $11.2 million per person ($22.4 million for a married couple). The exemption will adjust for inflation each year. This doubled exemption remains in effect until December 31, 2025, at which time the law sunsets and the exempt

What to Expect from Estate Planning in 2018

2017 is fading into the rearview mirror. As we all look ahead to 2018, let us consider a few things to watch regarding estate planning, so you and your family can be completely protected. ● The Death Tax. The death tax has been in a state of flux ever since the early 2000s when the Bush administration’s first tax cuts changed the exemption and tax rates. The recently-passed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is the latest significant change. Starting January 1, 2018, the estate tax exemption amount will double to $11.2 million per person (married couples have $22.4 million of combined exemption). Like the current exemption, this amount will adjust annually for inflation. However, this enhanced exemp

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