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Expanded 529 plans offer unique estate planning benefits
If you’re putting aside money for college or other educational expenses, consider a tax-advantaged 529 savings plan. Also known as “college savings plans,” 529 plans were expanded by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) to cover elementary and secondary school expenses as well. And while these plans are best known as an educational funding ...

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A poorly worded apportionment clause can upend an estate plan
Federal estate tax liability is no longer an issue for many families, now that the gift and estate tax exemption stands at $11.4 million for 2019. But there are still affluent individuals whose estates may be subject to hefty estate tax bills. If you expect your estate to have significant estate tax liability at your ...

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Understanding the contents of a will
You probably don’t have to be told about the need for a will. But do you know what provisions should be included and what’s best to leave out? The answers to those questions depend on your situation and may depend on state law. Basic provisions Typically, a will begins with an introductory clause, identifying yourself ...

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What’s The Difference Between The Two Types of Power of Attorney?
When drafting your estate plan, you and your attorney must account for what happens to your children and your assets after you die. But your plan must also spell out your wishes for making financial and medical decisions if you’re unable to make those decisions yourself. A crucial component of this plan is the power ...

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Naming A Trustee May Be One Of The Most Important Decisions Of Your Life
When it comes to estate planning, trusts are appealing for many reasons. They can enable you to hold and transfer assets for beneficiaries, avoid probate and reduce estate tax exposure. But they can be complicated to set up. One of the major decisions you’ll need to make when establishing a trust is who will act ...

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A buy-sell agreement can provide the liquidity to cover estate taxes
If you own an interest in a closely held business, it’s critical to have a well-designed, properly funded buy-sell agreement. Without one, an owner’s death can have a negative effect on the surviving owners. If one of your co-owners dies, for example, you may be forced to go into business with his or her family ...

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Thinking about a Roth IRA conversion? Now may be the ideal time
Roth IRAs offer significant estate planning and financial benefits. If you have a substantial balance in a traditional IRA and are considering converting it to a Roth IRA, there may be no better time than now. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) reduced individual income tax rates through 2025. By making the conversion now, ...

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Assets with sentimental value require extra planning
When planning your estate, you’re likely focused on major assets, such as real estate, investments and retirement plans. But it’s also important to “sweat the small stuff” — your tangible personal property. Examples include jewelry, antiques and photographs. These personal items — which often have modest monetary value but significant sentimental value — may be ...

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Estate planning for single parents requires special considerations
Are you a single parent of minor children? Be sure your estate plan accounts for these specific circumstances....

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Add Spendthrift Language to a Trust to Safeguard Assets
  Protecting assets from creditors is a critical aspect of estate planning, but you need to think about more than just your own creditors: You also need to consider your heirs’ creditors. Adding spendthrift language to a trust benefiting your heirs can help safeguard assets. Spendthrift Language Explained Despite its name, the purpose of a ...

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Properly Funding Your Revocable Trust is the Key to Unlocking its Benefits
If your estate plan includes a revocable trust — also known as a “living” trust — it’s critical to ensure that the trust is properly funded. Revocable trusts offer significant benefits, including asset management (in the event you become incapacitated) and probate avoidance. But these benefits aren’t available if you don’t fund the trust. Funding ...

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What You Need to Know About Filing Gift and Estate Tax Returns
Have you made substantial gifts of wealth to family members? Or are you the executor of the estate of a loved one who died recently? If so, you need to know whether you must file a gift or estate tax return.   Filing a Gift Tax Return   Generally, a federal gift tax return (Form ...

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Building an On-Off Switch Into Your Estate Plan
The right estate planning strategy for you likely is the one that will produce the greatest tax savings for your family. Unfortunately, there can be tension between strategies that save estate tax and ones that save income tax. This is especially true now that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act nearly doubled the gift and ...

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An ESOP Can Benefit a Business Owner’s Retirement and Estate Plans
Employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) offer closely held business owners an exit strategy and a tax-efficient technique for sharing equity with employees. But did you know that an ESOP can be a powerful estate planning tool? It can help you address several planning challenges, including lack of liquidity and the need to provide for children ...

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Hastily Choosing an Executor Can Lead to Problems After Your Death
Choosing the right executor — sometimes known as a “personal representative” — is critical to the smooth administration of an estate. Yet many people treat this decision as an afterthought. Given an executor’s many responsibilities and complex tasks, it pays to put some thought into the selection. Job Description An executor’s duties may include: Collecting, ...

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