Financial Advice for Retirement, Social Security, IRAs and Estate Planning

Estate Planning Basics

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How to Multiply the Benefits of Gifts

January 1, 2009

A key estate planing tool for almost every family is more valuable as of Jan. 1, 2009. The annual gift tax exclusion is increased to $13,000, up from $12,000. Each person can make gifts of up to $13,000 annually to any other person without incurring gift taxes or counting against the lifetime annual gift credit […]

Asset Declines are a Planning Opportunity

December 1, 2008

There is at least one silver lining in today’s dark cloud – Estate Planning opportunities are being created. Today we have a rare opportunity to transfer wealth to younger generations while incurring very low gift and estate taxes. Falling market prices and low interest rates are a great combination for estate planners. If the price […]

estate planning

A Loophole for 529 Plans Losses

December 1, 2008

Many people who saved for college through 529 savings plans face substantial losses in their accounts. There is a silver lining in the tax law, and it is one reason 529 plans are among the best ways to save for education. Income and gains earned by the 529 account are sheltered. If the account balance […]


How the Turmoil Can Alter Trusts

November 1, 2008

The financial crisis is causing major changes in the banking business, and that will lead to changes at trust companies and in trustees. Trust creators and beneficiaries need to at least monitor the situation and might need to take action. Many trusts have a corporate trustee or co-trustee, such as a bank or trust company. […]


The Financial Crisis and Young Investors

November 1, 2008

The financial and market disruptions are affecting more people than those in or near retirement. While years from their own retirements, young investors are viewing the recent market turmoil and concluding that the financial markets are not for them. They are reducing 401(k) contributions, taking early withdrawals, and deciding it is better to spend than […]


Why Most Estate Plans Fail

October 1, 2008

A large percentage of estate plans fail to achieve one or more of their goals, and many of them fail for a surprising reason. In past visits we discussed the ways trustees, heirs, changed circumstances, and new laws upend estate plans. What we have not discussed is the most surprising and perhaps most frequent reason […]


How to Avoid Tax while Helping Grandkids

October 1, 2008

Most people are concerned about the financial futures of their grandchildren and even great-grandchildren- more so than the security of their own children. After ensuring their own retirement years are secure, many people tell survey takers the security of the third and fourth generations is their next worry. Apparently they believe their children can take […]


How to Save Your Estate Plan

September 1, 2008

Too often what seems like a great estate plan fails to achieve its goals. Sometimes the execution is wrong. Other times the owner failed to take one or more key steps. One often-overlooked step is to ensure that the estate prevails in any audit by the IRS or state tax authorities. Estate tax returns are […]

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