If you made gifts last year you may be wondering if you need to file a gift tax return. The short answer: There are many situations when it’s necessary (or desirable) to file Form 709 — “United States Gift (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return” — even if you’re not liable for any gift tax. Let’s […]Continue reading

Even though it may not be top of mind when you’re developing or revising your estate plan, it’s important to consider how bequeathing assets to your family might affect them. Why? Because when your heirs receive their inheritance, it becomes part of their own taxable estates. Giving a loved one permission to create an inheritor’s […]Continue reading

Generally speaking, owning property jointly benefits an estate plan. Indeed, joint ownership offers several advantages for surviving family members. However, there are exceptions and it’s not the solution for all estate planning problems. 2 Types of Joint Ownership for Spouses As the name implies, joint ownership requires interests in property by more than one party. […]Continue reading

A revocable trust — sometimes known as a “living trust” — can provide significant benefits. They include the ability to avoid probate of the assets the trust holds and facilitating management of your assets in the event you become incapacitated. To obtain these benefits, however, you must fund the trust — that is, transfer title […]Continue reading

If you own an interest in a closely held business, a buy-sell agreement should be a critical component of your estate and succession plans. These agreements provide for the orderly disposition of each owner’s interest after a “triggering event,” such as death, disability, divorce or withdrawal from the business. This is accomplished by permitting or […]Continue reading

Choosing a Guardian In many respects, estate planning for single parents is similar to estate planning for families with two parents. Single parents want to provide for their children’s care and financial needs after they’re gone. But when only one parent is involved, certain aspects of an estate plan demand special attention. One example is […]Continue reading

Are you charitably inclined? If so, you probably know that donations of long-term appreciated assets, such as stocks, have an advantage over cash donations. But in some cases, selling appreciated assets and donating the proceeds may be a better strategy. That’s because adjusted gross income (AGI) limitations on charitable deductions are higher for cash donations. […]Continue reading

Over your lifetime, you may have accumulated a wide variety of tangible assets, including automobiles, works of art and property, that you’ve accounted for in your estate plan. But intangible assets can easily be overlooked. Consider intellectual property (IP), such as patents and copyrights. These assets can have great value, so, if you have them, […]Continue reading

Many people include health care powers of attorney or advance directives in their estate plans so they have some influence over critical medical decisions in the event they’re incapacitated and unable to make decisions themselves. A psychiatric advance directive (PAD) is less well known, but worth considering, especially if your family has a history of […]Continue reading