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Estate Planning

Planning Your Estate

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Estate Planners and New Tax Rules: Changes to Know About in 2014

By James O'Brien. If you meet the threshold for?estate taxes, think of 2014 as a landmark year in your planning. The rules surrounding exemptions and gifts have changed, and the impact could be far-reaching for your family -- perhaps more so than many planners initially realize. As the new structures fall into place and the details of new limits and portability within your legacy assets come into focus, you'll want to pay attention to the following key details. They represent remade horizons... more

Information for Executors

estate-planning

Executor Choices

Death is a topic that most people are uncomfortable thinking about. But we should ideally address this topic in a proactive manner because it may involve passing assets to our family. In order to maximize the benefits for your family, the following questions must be considered: Who's going to carry out your final wishes when you?re gone? What qualities must a person have to effectively carry out the responsibilities of an executor? How do I appoint someone to be the executor of my... more

Charity and Donations

estate-planning

Charitable Planning Strategies

Warren Buffett, the billionaire investment guru, made international headlines recently when he announced his plans to donate about 85% of his stake in his company, Berkshire Hathaway, to a charitable foundation established by another business icon, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, and his wife, Melinda. These transfers are estimated to be $31 billion. Another $6 billion will go to four Buffett family foundations. Buffett's generosity is unquestionable, but there was much more to his decision... more

Beneficiary Selection and Designation

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Putting on Heirs-Who Inherits your Retirement Assets?

Do you think it's a lot of work to create an estate plan? It certainly can. However, it may only take a few minutes to create one for your retirement savings. It can take just long enough for you to complete and sign the Beneficiary Designation Form for your account(s). If you're like many people, you probably don't realize that your retirement savings will pass to the beneficiaries named on this form, not to the heirs named in your will or other estate-planning documents. Like most of... more

Trusts Management

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Providing a Structured Income Stream for Heirs without a Trust

There are many reasons besides unfavorable tax consequences why it is not a good idea to transfer Roth IRA, IRA and other non-retirement invested assets directly to heirs without restrictions. We are all adults here, so lets be honest about the reality of many painful issues families are quietly struggling with: high potential for divorces of an adult child, a downs syndrome dependent relative or other lifelong disability, a drug addicted potential heir, a child who cannot handle money and... more

Estate Plans and Your Family

estate-planning

Estate Planning for Newlyweds

By Anna Wroblewska. The first thing you want to do as a newlywed probably has nothing to do with estate planning, but it's critical to tackle it early. Taking the time to sit down with your spouse and update your estate plans will ensure that, should the worst happen, your new family is prepared to handle the unexpected. So what do you need to do? Start small: Change your account beneficiariesThe quickest and easiest thing to update is the beneficiary, or "transfer on death" designations,... more

Will Management

estate-planning

Do You Really Need a Will?

Many people believe they don't need a will. But if you think you're 'already covered' without writing up a specific will for your estate, you may miss out on some key benefits. Here are some myths about writing a will that many people incorrectly believe. Your Estate is Too Small Some believe that if their estate won't be subject to estate taxes (as of 2014, the total gift tax exclusion is up to $5,340,000), there is no need for a will. However, a will's purpose is not to save on estate... more