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New Tax Proposals Mean Some Should Review Their Estate Plans

New Tax Proposals May Effect Your Estate Plans A number of tax proposals being considered in Congress could significantly affect gifting and estate plans for those with larger estates -- over $3.5 million. If you're in that category, you might want to meet with your estate planner to take advantage of gifting opportunities that are

What Is a Fiduciary and What Are Its Obligations?

What Is A Fiduciary? When you need someone else to care for money or property on your behalf, that person (or organization) is called a fiduciary.  A fiduciary is a person or entity entrusted with the power to act for someone else, and this power comes with the legal obligation to act for the benefit

Be Careful Not to Name Minors as Your Beneficiaries

Most people want to pass their assets to their children or grandchildren, but naming a minor as a beneficiary can have unintended consequences. It is important to make a plan that doesn’t involve leaving assets directly to a minor. There are two main problems with naming a minor as the beneficiary of your estate

Using a Minority Valuation Discount to Reduce Estate Taxes

While the current estate tax exemption is quite high, a closely held family business may put your estate over the limit. Careful planning is necessary to lower or completely avoid the tax, and minority valuation discounts are one strategy. Families that want to pass on their business may run into the estate tax. Estates

How to Protect an IRA From Heirs’ Creditors

When a person declares bankruptcy, an individual retirement account (IRA) is one of the assets that is beyond the reach of creditors, but what about an IRA that has been inherited?  Resolving a conflict between lower courts, the U.S. Supreme Court in 2014 unanimously ruled that funds held in an inherited IRA are not exempt from creditors

How Much Money Can You Have and Still Qualify for Medicaid?

In order to be eligible for Medicaid benefits a nursing home resident in Pennsylvania may have no more than $8,000 or, for those whose gross monthly income exceeds $2,382 (in 2021), $2,400, in "countable" assets.  Note that Medicaid is a state-run program, so the rules are somewhat different in each state, although there are federal

Passing Assets to Grandchildren Through a Generation-Skipping Trust

Passing assets to your grandchildren can be a great way to ensure their future is provided for, and a generation-skipping trust can help you accomplish this goal while reducing estate taxes and also providing for your children.   A generation-skipping trust allows you to “skip” over the generation directly below you and pass your assets

How You Can End Up in Medicare’s Donut Hole, and How You Get Out

Medicare prescription drug (Part D) plans can have a coverage gap—called the "donut hole"--which limits how much Medicare will pay for your drugs until you pay a certain amount out of pocket. Although the gap has gotten much smaller since Medicare Part D was introduced in 2006, there still may be a difference in what you

What Is a Directed Trust and What Are Its Benefits?

Directed trusts can be a useful estate planning tool, allowing you to place your family’s assets in a trust but benefit from the expertise of an advisor who knows more about the handling of certain trust functions than you may. The benefit of a directed trust is it allows you to retain control while