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Don’t be afraid of probate
The word “probate” may conjure images of lengthy delays waiting for wealth to be transferred and bitter disputes among family members. Plus, probate records are open to the public, so all your “dirty linen” may be aired. The reality is that probate doesn’t have to be so terrible, and often isn’t, but both asset owners ...

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Parental priorities: How to choose a guardian for your child
If you have minor children, arguably the most important estate planning decision you need to make is choosing a guardian for them should the unthinkable occur. If you haven’t yet made this decision, formalize your choice as soon as possible. When it comes to choosing the best candidate, you probably already have a short list ...

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Flex plan: In an unpredictable estate planning environment, flexibility is key
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) made only one change to the federal gift and estate tax regime, but it was a big one. It more than doubled the combined gift and estate tax exemption, as well as the generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax exemption. This change is only temporary, however. Unless Congress takes further ...

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BDIT lets you give away property without losing control
By temporarily doubling the gift and estate tax exemption, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) opened a window of opportunity for affluent families to transfer assets tax-free. To take advantage of the higher exemption amount, many families that own businesses or other assets worth more than the pre-TCJA exemption amount are planning substantial gifts ...

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Obtaining an Immigration Work Permit: Application for Employment Authorization Document (Form I-765)
Being in the United States legally does not necessarily mean that you are authorized to work. As most know, working in the United States without a legal work permit is taken very serious. If you are currently in the process of obtaining a green card, working illegally in the United States may jeopardize the entire ...

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The net investment income tax is alive and well: How it can affect your estate plan
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) reduced individual income tax rates, but it left the 3.8% net investment income tax (NIIT) in place. It’s important to address the NIIT in your estate plan, because it can erode your earnings from interest, dividends, capital gains and other investments, leaving less for your heirs. How it ...

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Don’t worry! A broken trust can be fixed
There are good reasons why estate planning advisors recommend you revisit and, if necessary, revise your estate plan periodically: changing circumstances, including family situations and new tax laws. While it’s relatively simple to change a beneficiary, what if an irrevocable trust no longer serves your purposes? Depending on applicable state law, you may have options ...

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Public Charge Rule for U.S. visa applicants
The policy behind the proposed public charge rule was created to reduce the number of people who are eligible for visas, such as green cards, by reevaluating what makes those individuals dependent on government benefits.  Such policy also considers the likelihood of whether those individuals will be placed on benefits in the future. The criteria ...

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Leave a philanthropic legacy with a charitable remainder trust
Let’s say you’re charitably inclined but have concerns about maintaining a sufficient amount of income to meet your current needs. The good news is that there’s a trust for that: a charitable remainder trust (CRT). This type of trust allows you to support your favorite charity while potentially boosting cash flow, shrinking the size of ...

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Is a self-directed IRA right for you?
Traditional and Roth IRAs can be powerful estate planning tools. With a “self-directed” IRA, you may be able to amp up the benefits of these tools by enabling them to hold nontraditional investments that offer potentially greater returns. However, self-directed IRAs present pitfalls that can lead to unfavorable tax consequences. Consequently, you need to handle ...

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Sec. 6166: Estate tax relief for family businesses
Fewer people currently are subject to transfer taxes than ever before. But gift, estate and generation-skipping transfer (GST) taxes continue to place a burden on families with significant amounts of wealth tied up in illiquid closely held businesses, including farms. Fortunately, Internal Revenue Code Section 6166 provides some relief, allowing the estates of family business ...

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The Crummey trust: Still relevant after all these years
Traditionally, trusts used in estate planning contain “Crummey” withdrawal powers to ensure that contributions qualify for the annual gift tax exclusion. Today, the exclusion allows you to give up to $15,000 per year ($30,000 for married couples) to any number of recipients. Now that the gift and estate tax exemption has reached an inflation-adjusted $11.4 ...

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When it comes to asset protection, a hybrid DAPT offers the best of both worlds
A primary estate planning goal for most people is to hold on to as much of their wealth as possible to pass on to their children and other loved ones. To achieve this, you must limit estate tax liability and protect assets from creditors’ claims and lawsuits. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act reduces or ...

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New Asylum Restrictions
According to the Department of Justice and Homeland Security, the southern border has been overwhelmed with asylum applicants in the past year. There are nearly 436,000 pending asylum applications that have yet to be decided. The Supreme Court of the United States rendered a decision this past week that would prohibit migrants who have resided ...

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Control how your charitable gifts are used by adding restrictions
If philanthropy is an important part of your estate planning legacy, consider taking steps to ensure that your donations are used to fulfill your intended charitable purposes. Outright gifts can be risky, especially large donations that will benefit a charity over a long period of time. Even if a charity is financially sound when you ...

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