I’m often asked this question: “With the federal estate tax exemption amounts being so high, do I really need an estate plan?” The answer I give is “Absolutely yes!”
Throughout my career at Parsec, I have had the opportunity to join our founder, Bart Boyer, at several client appreciation dinners. During these events, Bart would famously review the current economic environment and discuss how to build long-term generational wealth. Without fail, he always reminded clients that “there are only two ways to build wealth:
If you have recently inherited an IRA, may receive an inherited IRA in your future or are passing along your IRA to beneficiaries, it is important for you to be aware of the taxation of inherited IRA assets. Specifically, IRS requires you to take required minimum distributions (RMDs) from an inherited IRA. Since IRA accounts are typically funded with all — or almost all — pretax funds, every distribution from an IRA is taxed as ordinary income and can have a considerable effect on your tax liability. There have always been rules to require taxpayers to take these distributions and pay tax on them, but these rules have changed significantly in the last couple of years.
The areas of trust planning and trust creation are vast and limited only by the imagination of the trust-makers, their attorney and the law. Trusts can be written and created to include a wide variety of features and accomplish many goals. So, while there may be a general form to certain commonly used trusts, no two trusts are ever the same. Somewhat like fingerprints, trusts are unique to each individual.
Even though 2020 and 2021 have been a challenge for everyone in very personal and different ways, I believe that one commonality we all share is that these unusual times have reminded us to cherish what we do have and review/revise our life priorities.
The trustee acts as the legal owner of trust assets and is responsible for handling any of the assets held in trust, filing taxes for the trust and distributing the assets according to the terms of the trust.
Divorce is never easy. There is always a laundry list full of things that you need to be dealing with or thinking about during this time. One very important item that typically isn’t at the top of the list is reviewing your estate plan. Chances are, when you originally set up your estate plan, it gave your spouse full control and named them as the primary beneficiary of your assets.
Talking with your children about disability and/or death can be a difficult task for most people. Parents spend the better part of their financial lives working, saving and planning only to end up avoiding proper communication and planning with their children on the topic of death. Parents often do not discuss their estate plans with adult children out of fear that this will only cause tension and improper incentives. But in my experience as an attorney and financial advisor, the most successful planning results come from good communication.
Most people don’t realize that how you hold title to property directly influences your estate plan. Since it’s a common misunderstanding that can dramatically alter your intentions, let’s explore why.
No two people are alike, and no two families are alike. More and more often, families are being created and shaped in nontraditional ways and continue to change the way we think of families, such as single-parent families, blended families, same-sex households and children as caregivers for aging parents. In a way, nontraditional families are more the norm than the exception.