Vacation homes are typically treasured by families and often pass down from generation to generation. But there may be more to transferring the family lake cottage or beach house than first meets the eye. If you plunge ahead without careful planning, it could disrupt harmony and lead to a “family feud.” In some cases, relationships may be severed forever. (more…)
The most comprehensive tax law change in decades, commonly known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, was signed into law on December 22, 2017. Although the corporate tax cut provisions were a highly publicized aspect of the bill, the numerous and dramatic changes to individual income tax rules will change the landscape for most taxpayers, beginning with the 2018 tax year. For some, the estate tax changes will have a material impact as well. However, as widespread as these changes are, almost all are set to last only seven years, through 2025, unless Congress acts to extend or revamp the laws before then. (more…)
According to the 2017 Genworth Cost of Care Survey, a widely used barometer for the industry, the median cost of adult day health care in the United States is $1,517 a month. It’s $3,750 for an assisted living facility, $3,994 for home care services and $4,099 for home health aides. And the median cost rises to $7,148 for a semiprivate room at a nursing home and $8,121 for a private room! (more…)
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), which generally went into effect at the beginning of 2018, lowers individual and corporate tax rates, reduces or eliminates many deductions and enhances other tax breaks. One thing the new law doesn’t do is repeal the federal estate tax. But the TCJA does include other provisions that can impact your estate plan. (more…)
Do you know someone who suddenly became widowed when a beloved spouse passed away in the prime of life? You may have tried to console the widow or widower, but then resumed your normal daily activities. And the surviving spouse was left to pick up the pieces of his or her life, often on their own.
But this isn’t always “someone else’s” problem. It can happen to you or a member of your immediate family. The question is: Would you be prepared to cope emotionally and financially? Could you afford to live the same lifestyle? (more…)
The season of giving is almost upon us, but will generosity to friends and family trigger a gift tax return filing requirement? The main tax advantage of gifting during your lifetime is the removal of assets that would otherwise be included in your gross estate and be subject to federal estate tax upon your passing. But even if your estate is under the current estate tax filing threshold of $5.49 million per taxpayer for 2017 (or $5.6 million in 2018), you may still be required to report gifts you made during the tax year. The annual gift tax return, IRS Form 709, is due April 15th following the calendar year the reportable gifts were made.
A common misconception is that once you have a will and a living trust in place, nothing else needs to be done in order for your assets to be distributed at your death according to your wishes. The mere listing of an asset in the trust agreement does not make it a trust asset. Actually, assets have to be held in the name of the trustee, (i.e. the title of the asset has to be transferred to the trustee of the trust,) in order for the asset to be subject to the terms of the trust agreement. At the same time, certain types of assets pass by other means, irrespective of whether or not a will or trust is in place. You will want to understand these differences in order to appropriately title your assets to make sure they are transferred as you intend at death.
As promised during his campaign, on April 26, 2017 President Trump unveiled a new broad tax-cut plan. Besides slashing business and individual tax rates and eliminating the net investment income tax and the alternative minimum tax, the proposal also includes eliminating certain itemized deductions such as the state and local income tax deductions. However, deductions for mortgage interest and charitable giving are expected to stick around. (more…)