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What Happens After a Grant of Asylum?
After receiving your final approval of asylum, you are now legally allowed to live in the U.S., seek U.S. employment, and travel freely with the proper documentation in and out of the U.S. As time passes, you will be able to secure greater rights. As an asylee or refugee who has been recently granted asylum, ...

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Nondeductible IRA contributions require careful tracking
If, like many people, your traditional IRA holds a mixture of deductible (after-tax) and nondeductible (pretax) contributions, it’s important to track your contributions carefully to avoid double taxation of distributions. Why? Because the IRS treats distributions as a blend of pretax and after-tax dollars. If you treat distributions as fully taxable, you’ll end up overpaying. ...

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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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Obtaining an Immigration Work Permit: Application for Employment Authorization Document (Form I-765)
Being in the United States legally does not necessarily mean that you are authorized to work. As most know, working in the United States without a legal work permit is taken very serious. If you are currently in the process of obtaining a green card, working illegally in the United States may jeopardize the entire ...

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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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Public Charge Rule for U.S. visa applicants
The policy behind the proposed public charge rule was created to reduce the number of people who are eligible for visas, such as green cards, by reevaluating what makes those individuals dependent on government benefits.  Such policy also considers the likelihood of whether those individuals will be placed on benefits in the future. The criteria ...

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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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