Blog

Take steps to curb power of attorney abuse
A financial power of attorney can be a valuable planning tool. The most common type is the durable power of attorney, which allows someone (the agent) to act on the behalf of another person (the principal) even if the person becomes mentally incompetent or otherwise incapacitated. It authorizes the agent to manage the principal’s investments, ...

Read The Full Post


Determining whether you need to file a gift tax return can be tricky
For 2020, the lifetime gift and estate tax exemption has reached a whopping $11.58 million ($23.16 million for married couples). As a result, few people will be subject to federal gift taxes. If your wealth is well within the exemption amount, does that mean there’s no need to file gift tax returns? Not necessarily. There ...

Read The Full Post


The Process of Obtaining Green Cards for Family Members
First thing first, determining which family members you can petition for is of upmost importance. In this matter, depending on how your family member is related determines whether they will be able to come to the U.S. It is a myth that just because you are now a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, you can ...

Read The Full Post


Inheriting property? Be aware of the basis consistency rules
If you’re in line to inherit property from a parent or other loved one, it’s critical to understand the basis consistency rules. Current tax law, passed in 2015, provides that the income tax basis of property received from a deceased person can’t exceed the property’s fair market value (FMV) as finally determined for estate tax ...

Read The Full Post


If you’re a non-U.S. citizen, the estate planning rules are different
Traditional estate planning strategies generally are based on the assumption that all family members involved are U.S. citizens. However, if you or your spouse is a noncitizen, special rules apply that may require additional planning. Defining “residency” and “domicile” If you’re a U.S. resident, but not a citizen, you’re treated similarly to a U.S. citizen ...

Read The Full Post


Time passages: Estate planning through the years
Virtually everyone needs an estate plan, but it isn’t a one-size-fits-all proposition. Even though each person’s situation is unique, general guidelines can be drawn depending on your current stage of life. The early years If you’ve recently embarked on a career, gotten married or both, now is the time to build the foundation for your ...

Read The Full Post


Use nongrantor trusts to bypass the SALT deduction limit
If you reside in a high-tax state, you may want to consider using nongrantor trusts to soften the blow of the $10,000 federal limit on state and local tax (SALT) deductions. The limit can significantly reduce itemized deductions if your state income and property taxes are well over $10,000. A potential strategy for avoiding the ...

Read The Full Post


What Happens After a Grant of Asylum?
After receiving your final approval of asylum, you are now legally allowed to live in the U.S., seek U.S. employment, and travel freely with the proper documentation in and out of the U.S. As time passes, you will be able to secure greater rights. As an asylee or refugee who has been recently granted asylum, ...

Read The Full Post


Nondeductible IRA contributions require careful tracking
If, like many people, your traditional IRA holds a mixture of deductible (after-tax) and nondeductible (pretax) contributions, it’s important to track your contributions carefully to avoid double taxation of distributions. Why? Because the IRS treats distributions as a blend of pretax and after-tax dollars. If you treat distributions as fully taxable, you’ll end up overpaying. ...

Read The Full Post


Qualified Opportunity Funds: A new weapon in the estate planning arsenal
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act created a new program to encourage investment in economically distressed areas through generous tax incentives. The Qualified Opportunity Zone (QOZ) program relies on investments in Qualified Opportunity Funds (QOFs) — funds that can provide wealthy taxpayers with some new avenues for estate planning. 3 big tax benefits Investors in ...

Read The Full Post


IRS confirms large gifts now won’t hurt post-2025 estates
The IRS has issued final regulations that should provide comfort to taxpayers interested in making large gifts under the current gift and estate tax regime. The final regs generally adopt, with some revisions, proposed regs that the IRS released in November 2018. The need for clarification The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) temporarily doubled ...

Read The Full Post


3 pitfalls to avoid when naming a beneficiary of a life insurance policy
Life insurance can be a powerful financial and estate planning tool, but its benefits can be reduced or even eliminated if you designate the wrong beneficiary or fail to change beneficiaries when your circumstances change. Common pitfalls to avoid include: Naming your estate as beneficiary. Doing so can subject life insurance proceeds to unnecessary state ...

Read The Full Post


Have you considered making direct payments of tuition and medical expenses?
With the lifetime gift and estate tax exemption at $11.40 million for 2019 ($11.58 million for 2020), you may think you don’t have to worry about gift and estate taxes. However, there are no guarantees that estate tax law won’t be revised in the future or that your accumulated assets won’t eventually exceed the available ...

Read The Full Post


Don’t be so afraid of probate
The word “probate” (or "succession" in Louisiana) 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, ...

Read The Full Post


Parental priorities: How to choose a tutor for your child
If you have minor children, arguably the most important estate planning decision you need to make is choosing a tutor (referred to as a "guardian" outside Louisiana) 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, ...

Read The Full Post