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The marital deduction is perhaps the best-known estate tax reducer. It also is among the most misused planning devices. While powerful, the mari-tal deduction also can trigger higher taxes or other headaches. The marital deduction is straightforward. The estate executor totals the value of all assets owned by the deceased to arrive at the gross […]
Many owners of substantial IRAs hope their IRAs become nest eggs for their children or grandchildren. Their estate plans include strategies that let the IRAs, when inherited, compound for as long as possible – perhaps decades. That means selecting the right beneficiaries, and being sure the beneficiaries are well-advised about their options. Unfortunately, beneficiaries often […]
The marital deduction is key to most estate plans of married couples. It can wipe out the entire estate tax liability. But misuse of the marital deduction can create a larger long-term tax bill or cause non-tax problems. Let’s look at how to use the marital deduction and avoid misusing it. The estate tax is […]
Managing the equity in appreciated homes and second homes has become a pleasant and unexpected challenge for many. Especially on the coasts, residential real estate values soared the last five years. Suddenly owners, especially long-time owners, have properties that are more valuable than they imagined. For many families, real estate wealth exceeds the value of […]
Don’t wait until the end of the year to plan gifts to family members. Annual gifts are an important part of many estate plans, but most people don’t handle gifts the best way. Planning gifts now will increase the amount of wealth that is transferred tax-free to your heirs. The goals of gift-giving are to […]
Incentive trusts and protective trusts are all the rage. Many people want to be generous with succeeding generations – now or in their wills – but they want some assurance the wealth won’t be wasted. People are concerned that inheriting wealth might reduce an heir’s work ethic. They don’t want the money to disappear in […]
Estate planners agree that one of the most underused strategies is the charitable remainder trust. That might change. New trends are making CRTs more attractive. Taxpayers with appreciated property should take a fresh look at CRTs as part of their retirement and estate planning strategies. In a CRT, an individual transfers appreciated property to the […]
New legal tools are available to help many families stuck with out-of-date trusts. For years I’ve warned against traditional trusts that make fixed distributions or distributions only from income. Inflation and the twenty year decline in interest rates and dividends have crippled the benefits from these trusts. Beneficiaries are helpless because the trusts are irrevocable […]