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Charitable lead trusts offer philanthropic and family benefits
Affluent families who wish to give to charity while minimizing gift and estate taxes should consider a charitable lead trust (CLT). These trusts are most effective in a low-interest-rate environment, so conditions for taking advantage of a CLT currently are favorable. Although interest rates have crept up a bit in recent years, they remain quite ...

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Leave your mark with a dynasty trust
If a prime objective of your estate plan is to leave a lasting legacy, a dynasty trust may be the right estate planning vehicle for you. And, thanks to the substantially increased generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax exemption amount established by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, a dynasty trust is more appealing than ever. GST ...

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Beware if your estate plan leaves 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 homes, cars or stock — to specific people, you may inadvertently disinherit them.Illustrating the problem Illustrating the problem Let’s say Debbie has three children — Abbie, Mary Kate and Lizzie — and ...

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Make health care decisions while you’re healthy
Estate planning isn’t just about what happens to your assets after you die. It’s also about protecting yourself and your loved ones. This includes having a plan for making critical medical decisions in the event you’re unable to make them yourself. And, as with other aspects of your estate plan, the time to act is ...

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Does your estate plan include a formula funding clause?
The gift and estate tax exemption is higher than it’s ever been, thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), which temporarily doubled the exemption to an inflation-adjusted $10 million ($20 million for married couples who design their estate plans properly). This year, the exemption amount is $11.4 million ($22.8 million for married couples). If you’re married and ...

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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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Often times, individuals do not become permanent residents until much later in life. This often occurs when adult United States citizen children who are over twenty-one filing a petition on behalf of their much older non-citizen parent. As a result, many of these parents are not fluent in the English language and find it very ...

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Have You Had Your Annual Estate Plan Checkup?
An annual estate plan checkup is critical to the health of your estate plan. Because various exclusion, exemption and deduction amounts are adjusted for inflation, they can change from year to year, impacting your plan. 2019 vs. 2018 Amounts Here are a few key figures for 2018 and 2019: Lifetime Gift and Estate Tax Exemption ...

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For spouses of U.S. citizens who have been granted conditional permanent residence status for a period of two years, you will need to file form I-751 to remove the conditional status during the 90 days before your second anniversary as a conditional resident. Unfortunately, like most other USCIS applications, there is a considerable backlog and ...

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