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Two Sides of the Same Coin:  Planning For the Wealthy and Non-Wealthy Client
Not everyone is lucky enough to have an estate tax problem, which is a good problem. As a practical matter, the vast majority of individuals in this geographic region are well below the net worth that Congress has deemed to be “rich” (currently $5.49 million per person). For individuals fortunate enough to have wealth issues, ...

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ABLE Accounts Can Benefit Loved Ones with Special Needs
For families with disabled loved ones who are potentially eligible for means-tested government benefits such as Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), estate planning can be a challenge. On the one hand, you want to provide the most comfortable life possible for your family member. On the other hand, you don’t want to jeopardize his ...

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Fine-Tuning Your Company’s Compensation Strategy
As a business evolves, so must its compensation strategy. Hopefully, your company is growing — perhaps adding employees or promoting staff members who are key to your success. But other things can spur the need to fine-tune your compensation strategy as well, such as economic changes or the rise of an intense competitor. A goal ...

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IRS Simplifies Procedure for Obtaining Extension to Make Portability Election
Earlier this month, the IRS issued a Revenue Procedure that allows certain estates to make a late portability election without first filing a ruling request. Portability is a tax law provision that permits a surviving spouse to take advantage of the deceased spouse’s unused combined gift and estate tax exemption (currently $5.49 million). But portability ...

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5 Things to Know When You Hire an Estate Planning Attorney
Once you've decided that it's time to hire an attorney who specializes in estate planning, how do you go about doing so? It can be challenging to know where to start! "Where should I look? What questions should I ask initially? How do I know when I've found the right attorney for my legal needs?"  ...

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Why Business Owners Should Regularly Upgrade Their Accounting Software
Many business owners buy accounting software and, even if the installation goes well, eventually grow frustrated when they don’t get the return on investment they’d expected. There’s a simple reason for this: Stuff changes. Technological improvements are occurring at a breakneck speed. So yesterday’s cutting-edge system can quickly become today’s sluggishly performing albatross. And this ...

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Are You Familiar With Fraudulent Transfer Laws?
A primary goal of your estate plan is to transfer wealth to your family according to your wishes and at the lowest possible tax cost. However, if you have creditors, be aware of fraudulent transfer laws. In a nutshell, if your creditors challenge your gifts, trusts or other strategies as fraudulent transfers, they can quickly ...

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Seasonal Business? Optimize Your Operating Cycle
Every business has some degree of ups and downs during the year. But cash flow fluctuations are much more intense for seasonal businesses. So, if your company defines itself as such, it’s important to optimize your operating cycle to anticipate and minimize shortfalls. A High-Growth Example To illustrate: Consider a manufacturer and distributor of lawn-and-garden ...

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Be Careful Leaving Specific Assets to Specific Heirs
Planning your estate around specific assets is risky and, in most cases, should be avoided. If you leave specific assets — such as a home, a car or stock — to specific people, you could end up inadvertently disinheriting someone. Unintended Consequences Here’s an example that illustrates the problem: Kim has three children — Sarah, ...

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Louisiana is the only state in the United States which has the concept of forced heirship. What Is Forced Heirship? Forced heirship is an ancient civilian concept derived from Roman law. The law of forced heirship provides that certain family members cannot be disinherited.  The law, as originally enacted, provided that any child of a ...

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Liability Protection is Uncertain for Single Member Limited Liability Companies in Louisiana
Bad Facts Make Bad Law Shaun Olmstead and Julie Connell were residents of Florida when the trouble started.  Shaun and Julie operated a credit card business and were charged by the FTC with perpetrating an advance-fee credit card scam. The FTC eventually obtained a $10 million judgment against Shaun and Julie, individually, and then sought ...

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If you want control over the distribution of your estate, you need a valid will and a designated executor. Otherwise, your heirs could be in for a difficult, expensive and potentially contentious ride. This article provides a review of the tasks necessary in administering an estate ­-- tasks that need to be done during a ...

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Take care to avoid these eight (8) major estate planning mistakes. 1.  Relying on the Government’s “Estate Plan” One of the biggest mistakes people make in estate planning is to not have an estate plan in place at all. This puts families in the position of being subject to government rules and regulations about all ...

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Many couples, in their golden years, find themselves wondering: What if one or both of them is admitted into a nursing home and needs Medicaid? After saving throughout their lives, they are fearful that if one of them enters a nursing home, they will have to dissipate their life savings to pay for the cost ...

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Many people have wills drafted to include bank accounts, stocks and other probate assets. But they overlook planning for personal possessions. Bitter disputes can erupt over items that have more sentimental value than monetary worth, including furniture, photographs, jewelry and artwork. This article provides answers to commonly asked questions about how estate assets are distributed, ...

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