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A Crummey Trust Can Preserve the Annual Gift Tax Exclusion
Traditionally, taxpayers have looked for ways to make the most of the $14,000 annual gift tax exclusion, and using a Crummey trust is one way to do that. But with the federal gift and estate tax exemption currently at an inflation-adjusted $5.49 million and the possibility of an estate tax repeal, it may seem that the ...

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Critical Connection: How Costs Impact Pricing
As we head toward year end, your company may be reviewing its business strategy for 2017 or devising plans for 2018. As you do so, be sure to give some attention to the prices you’re asking for your existing products and services, as well as those you plan to launch in the near future. The ...

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DISRUPTIVE INNOVATIONS IN ESTATE PLANNING (Electronic Wills)
A new disruptive innovation is on the horizon in the area of estate planning, namely electronic wills.  An electronic will is one that is digitally (not physically) signed and stored electronically. Traditionally, all parties to a will (the testator, two witnesses and a notary) must be physically present and in the same room for the ...

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Tax Law Uncertainty Requires an Estate Plan That Can Roll with the Changes
Events of the last decade have taught us that taxes are anything but certain. Case in point: Congress is mulling abolishing gift and estate taxes as part of tax reform. So how can people who hope to still have long lifespans ahead of them plan their estates when the tax landscape may look dramatically different ...

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Bridging The Divide With A Mezzanine Loan
In their efforts to grow and succeed, many companies eventually reach the edge of a precipice. Across the divide lies a big step forward — perhaps the acquisition of a competitor or the purchase of a new property — but, financially, there’s no way across. The money is just not there. One way to bridge ...

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ABCs of HSAs: How an HSA Can Benefit Your Estate Plan
One health care arrangement that has been soaring in popularity in recent years has been the pairing of a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) with a Health Savings Account (HSA). The good news is that not only does an HSA provide a tax-advantaged way to pay for health care costs, but it also can help you ...

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THE COST OF A REVOCABLE TRUST IN LOUISIANA (Does It Measure Out?)
Mrs. Gladys Holsum received an invitation to a free educational seminar about estate planning. At the seminar, after a long parade of horribles, Gladys was told she needed a revocable trust to avoid an impending calamity. She was told that a revocable trust would: (1) save her money by avoiding an expensive probate; (2) save ...

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Don’t Let “Founder’s Syndrome” Impede Your Succession Plan
Are you the founder of your company? If so, congratulations — you’ve created something truly amazing! And it’s more than understandable that you’d want to protect your legacy: the company you created. But, as time goes on, it becomes increasingly important that you give serious thought to a succession plan. When this topic comes up, ...

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Charitable Giving Pièce de Résistance: Artwork Donations
Charitable giving is a key part of estate planning for many people. If you’re among them and own valuable works of art, they may be ideal candidates for charitable donations during your life. Generally, it’s advantageous to donate appreciated property because, in addition to gaining a valuable tax deduction, you can avoid capital gains taxes. ...

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How Profitable are Your Customers?
“We love our customers!” Every business owner says it. But all customers aren’t created equal, and it’s in your strategic interest to know which customers are really strengthening your bottom line and by how much. Sorting Out the Data If your business systems track individual customer purchases, and your accounting system has good cost accounting ...

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Tax Basis Planning Worth a Look if Estate Taxes Aren’t a Threat
For many people today, income tax planning offers far greater tax-saving opportunities than gift and estate tax planning. A record-high gift and estate tax exemption — currently $5.49 million ($10.98 million for married couples) — means that fewer people are subject to those taxes. If gift and estate taxes aren’t a concern for your family, it can ...

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5 Ways to Dance Through Digital Disruption
You’ve probably heard the term and wondered whether it could happen to your company. Maybe it already has. We’re referring to “digital disruption” — when new technologies and business models affect the value proposition of existing goods and services. Perhaps the most notorious recent example of this is the rise of ride-sharing companies such as ...

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Find the Right Path Forward with KPIs
From the baseball field to the boardroom, statistical analysis has changed various industries nationwide. With proper preparation and guidance, business owners can have at their fingertips a wealth of stats-based insight into how their companies are performing — far beyond the bottom line on an income statement. The metrics in question are commonly referred to ...

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Estate Tax Relief For Family Businesses Is Available … In The Form Of A Deferral
If a substantial portion of your wealth is tied up in a family or closely held business, you may be concerned that your estate will lack sufficient liquid assets to pay federal estate taxes. If that’s the case, your heirs may be forced to borrow funds or, in a worst-case scenario, sell the business in ...

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Have You Properly Funded Your Revocable Trust?
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. The ...

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