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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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, ...

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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, ...

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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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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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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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