July 25, 2019
When planning your estate, you’re likely to focus on major assets, such as real estate, investments and retirement plans.
But it’s also important to “sweat the small stuff” (your tangible personal property). Examples include jewelry, antiques and photographs. Your heirs may squabble over these items, which can lead to emotionally charged disputes and even litigation. Spelling out every gift of personal property in your will or trust can be cumbersome. Instead, consider drafting a personal property memorandum to provide instructions on the distribution of tangible personal property not listed in your will or trust.
June 20, 2019
If you have a substantial balance in a traditional IRA and are considering converting it to a Roth IRA, consider doing so now. Why? You have to pay taxes on the conversion and the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) reduced income tax rates through 2025. Roth IRAs offer tax advantages if you expect your future tax rate to be higher. By temporarily lowering individual income tax rates, the TCJA ensures that your rate will increase in 2026 (unless a future Congress lowers tax rates). From an estate planning perspective, a Roth IRA has two advantages: 1) It doesn’t mandate required minimum distributions (RMDs) beginning at age 70½, and 2) your beneficiaries can withdraw funds from a Roth IRA tax-free.
May 14, 2019
If you own an interest in a closely held business, it’s critical to have a properly executed buy-sell agreement. Without one, an owner’s death can have a negative effect on the surviving owners. Estate tax liability can bring about a forced sale of the business if your estate is large enough and your family lacks liquid assets to satisfy the tax liability. A buy-sell agreement permits the remaining owners to buy the interest of an owner who dies, retires or otherwise leaves the business. In the case of death, the buyout typically is funded by life insurance, which provides a source of liquid funds to purchase the deceased owner’s shares and cover any estate taxes. Contact us with questions.