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Review and Revise Your Estate Plan to Reflect Life Changes During the Past Year
Your estate plan shouldn’t be a static document. It needs to change as your life changes. Year end is the perfect time to check whether any life events have taken place in the past 12 months or so that affect your estate plan. And the plan should be reviewed periodically anyway to ensure that it ...

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Intellectual Property Requires Careful Estate Planning
If your estate includes forms of intellectual property (IP), such as patents and copyrights, it’s important to know how to address them in your estate plan. Although these intangible assets can have great value, in many ways they’re treated differently from other property types. 2 Estate Planning Questions For estate planning purposes, IP raises two ...

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Take Caution When Including Employees in Your Estate Plan
If you’re the owner of a small business, you may think of your tight-knit group of employees as a family. If you wish to include them as beneficiaries in your estate plan, it’s critical to be aware of possible unintended tax consequences. Unraveling the (Tax) Code Generally, money or other property received by gift or ...

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Turn Down an Inheritance Using a Qualified Disclaimer
If you are about to receive an inheritance from a family member, you can use a qualified disclaimer to refuse the bequest. The assets will then bypass your estate and go directly to the next beneficiary in line. It’s as if the successor beneficiary, not you, had been named as the beneficiary in the first ...

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For Unmarried Couples, Estate Planning is Indispensable
When married couples neglect to prepare an estate plan, state intestacy laws step in to help provide financial security for the surviving spouse. It may not be the plan they would have designed, but at least it offers some measure of financial security. Unmarried couples, however, have no such backup plan. Unless they carefully spell ...

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Is a Significant Portion of Your Wealth Concentrated in a Single Stock?
Estate planning and investment risk management go hand in hand. After all, an estate plan is effective only if you have some wealth to transfer to the next generation. One of the best ways to reduce your investment risk is to diversify your holdings. But it’s not unusual for affluent people to end up with ...

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3 Reasons you Should Continue Making Lifetime Gifts
Now that the gift and estate tax exemption has reached a record high of $11.18 million (for 2018), it may seem that gifting assets to loved ones is less important than it was in previous years. However, lifetime gifts continue to provide significant benefits, whether your estate is taxable or not. Let’s examine three reasons why ...

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Your Original Will: Does Your Family Know Where to Locate It?
In a world that’s increasingly paperless, you’re likely becoming accustomed to conducting a variety of transactions digitally. But when it comes to your last will and testament, only an original, signed document will do. A Photocopy Isn’t Good Enough Many people mistakenly believe that a photocopy of a signed will is sufficient. In fact, most ...

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4 Estate Planning Techniques for Blended Families
Today, it’s not unusual for a family to include children from prior marriages. These “blended” families can create estate planning complications that may lead to challenges in the courts after your death. Fortunately, you can reduce the chances of family squabbles by using estate planning techniques designed to preserve wealth for your heirs in the ...

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Don’t Overlook Securities Laws When Planning Your Estate
For a variety of estate planning and asset management purposes, many affluent families hold their assets in trusts, family investment vehicles or charitable foundations. If assets held in this manner include interests in hedge funds, private equity funds or other “unregistered” securities, it’s important to ensure that the entity is qualified to hold such investments. ...

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Only Certain Trusts Can Own S Corporation Stock
S corporations must comply with several strict requirements or risk losing their tax-advantaged status. Among other things, they can have no more than 100 shareholders, can have no more than one class of stock and are permitted to have only certain types of shareholders. In an estate planning context, it’s critical that any trusts that ...

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If You Made Gifts Last Year, You May (or May Not) Need to File a Gift Tax Return
Gifting assets to loved ones is one of the simplest ways of reducing your taxable estate. However, what may not be as simple is determining whether you need to file a gift tax return (Form 709). With the April 17 filing deadline approaching, now is the time to find out an answer. Return Required A ...

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Life Insurance Can Be a Powerful Estate Planning Tool for Nontaxable Estates
For years, life insurance has played a critical role in estate planning, providing a source of liquidity to pay estate taxes and other expenses. It’s been particularly valuable for business owners, whose families might not have the liquid assets they need to pay estate taxes without selling the business. Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs ...

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Have You Taken State Estate Taxes Into Account?
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has doubled the federal gift and estate tax exemption, with inflation-adjustments projected to raise it to $11.18 million for 2018.This means federal estate taxes are a concern for fewer families, at least in the short term. (The doubled exemption expires December 31, 2025.) But it’s important to consider how state ...

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Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: Key Provisions Affecting Estate Planning
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) is a sweeping revision of the tax code that alters federal law affecting individuals, businesses and estates. Focusing specifically on estate tax law, the TCJA doesn’t repeal the federal gift and estate tax. It does, however, temporarily double the combined gift and estate tax exemption and ...

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