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Dynasty trusts are making a big comeback under the 2001 tax law. Before the estate tax was enacted many years ago, dynasty trusts were the standard way to ensure family wealth was preserved and grew through several generations. Now, with the estate tax being phased out more families can emphasize the non-tax goals of estate […]
The Roth IRA is one of the best investment tax shelters Congress ever created. But volatile markets add some complications to Roth IRA decisionmaking. If you converted a traditional IRA into a Roth IRA earlier this year or if you are considering a conversion, you should keep an eye on the markets before and after […]
You don’t need cash to put a sizeable tax deduction on this year’s tax return. If you have some appreciated assets, you have a way to keep the taxman at bay. The best assets to use are your first or second home and securities, such as stocks or mutual funds. Pick the proper strategy and […]
Year-end tax planning is special this year. The new tax law, the market downturn, and other factors provide some unique opportunities and traps. With the right moves in the next few months you can substantially reduce taxes this year and in coming years. The wrong moves, or failure to act, can cost you. The math […]
Your will and estate plan need to be reviewed. If you’ve procrastinated about a plan, this is the time to get started. But even if you have been meticulous, the 2001 tax law requires at least a review and probably significant changes. The common feature all estate plans will need for the next 10 years […]
There are hidden income taxes. I call them stealth taxes. More Americans fall prey to these taxes every year, especially older or retired Americans. There are three main stealth taxes: the alternative minimum tax (AMT), the Pease tax (the itemized deduction reduction), and the PEP (personal exemption phaseout). These stealth taxes are in addition to […]
More and more retirees stay active. Some work or start businesses. Some have hobbies. Technology and other changes in the economy make it possible for more and more seniors to pursue avocations. But too many seniors overlook big tax breaks from these activities. Over the years I’ve driven through the horse country of Virginia many […]
Insurance products can be great tax shelters. Annuities and cash value life insurance have tax breaks sanctioned by Congress. But a price of the benefits is that there are a number of tax traps. It is easy to fall into one of these traps, and the result can be expensive. Even worse, an entire estate […]