When Heirs Are Imperfect

Passing your estate to an heir with credit problems or a gambling or alcohol addiction might not only lead to that wealth being squandered, but the inheritance could worsen the destructive behaviors. Of course, you don’t want to disinherit your child simply because of his or her personal challenges. There are potential solutions that allow parents to control and incent behaviors long after they are gone, ensuring that a troubled child’s inheritance won’t be misused.¹ [...]


Four Steps To Valuing An Estate

Determining the value of an estate is a fundamental first step in estate management and a critical requirement for settling a decedent’s estate.¹ How to Assess the Value of an Estate Select the date of calculation. Because values move up and down, you need to set a specific date for a valuation. For a living person, you are free to pick any date. If you’re assessing the value of a decedent’s estate, you may choose either [...]


Four Reasons Millennials Need An Estate Strategy

You’re young, have little in savings and likely have no one yet relying on you financially. So why do you need to think about estate management?¹ Here are four great reasons: Estate Strategies: They're Not Just for the Elderly You need a will. You may ask why a will is important if there’s not much to pass on. A will is not just about transferring assets. It can be used to accomplish other tasks, such as [...]


Revising Estate Strategy Assumptions

When the rules of the game change, tactics should follow in response to the new landscape. While estate tax exemptions have ridden an uncertain roller coaster in recent years, the rules appear to be stabilizing with the passing of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, prompting many to reconsider estate strategies.¹ In 2017, Congress raised the estate and gift tax exemption to $11.2 million, doubling the $5.6 million that previously existed.² This exemption increase means [...]


Tips For Finding Care For Your Special-Needs Child

The need to care for special-needs children may continue into their adult years, and even after the passing of their parents. The care choices are wide ranging—family, health-care aides, special-care facilities, day programs, and group homes. However, your child’s specific needs and your available financial resources may dictate which is appropriate for your situation. Family Limits Family members are a logical first choice for care. However, the physical, financial, and emotional demands must be considered. [...]


A Living Trust Primer

A living trust is a popular consideration in many estate strategy conversations, but its appropriateness will depend upon your individual needs and objectives. What is a living trust? A living trust is created while you are alive and funded with the assets you choose to transfer into it. The trustee (typically you) has full power to manage these assets.1 A living trust will also designate a beneficiary, or beneficiaries, much like a will, to whom [...]


A Primer On Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts

I’m proud to pay taxes in the United States; the only thing is, I could be just as proud for half the money. Entertainer Arthur Godfrey1 The irrevocable life insurance trust (ILIT) can be an important estate strategy tool that may accomplish a number of estate objectives, though it may not be appropriate for every individual.2,3 What Is an ILIT? An ILIT is created by an individual (the grantor) during his or her lifetime. The [...]


Understanding The Alternate Valuation Date

When an individual dies, the executor is faced with an important decision that has the potential to impact the taxes owed by the estate and its heirs.¹ The executor will have the option of valuing the estate on the date of death, or on the six-month anniversary of death — the “Alternate Valuation Date.” Pick a Date It may seem like an obvious decision and simple choice, but it’s not. Here’s why. For estates with [...]


Choosing A Business Structure

In March 2015, about 679,072 new business had been created in the preceding year.¹ All individuals pursuing the dream of exercising their entrepreneurial muscles, will face the same question, “Which business structure should I adopt?” Each option presents its own set of pros and cons. To complicate matters a bit, the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act created several key changes that may benefit certain business structures. For example, the new law added a 20 percent deduction [...]