In an earlier blog, I discussed the estate tax exemption portability that provides significant estate planning flexibility to married couples.  This was supposed to be simplification for married couples, but did not turn out that way at all!  Many issues such as remarriage, trusts, and the generation skipping tax complicated the portability exemption. Every US.. read more →

In 1939 Social Security benefits became available to spouses, ex- spouses and children of the retired worker. As a general rule the benefit for one dependent whether it be a spouse, ex-spouse or child is 50% of the workers benefit. To be entitled to dependent benefits you must be: a spouse age 62 or older.. read more →

Let’s take a look at 2 forms of reduction to your Social Security benefits. The Windfall Elimination Provision and the Government Pension Offset.   If you have earnings from a job not covered by Social Security (non-covered worker), then you or your spouses Social Security benefits may be reduced. Windfall Elimination Provision  affects the worker and.. read more →

Planning to make a large cash gift for high school graduation? Consider paying some college tuition instead With commencement ceremonies for high school seniors coming up, many parents and grandparents are contemplating making cash gifts the student can use for college expenses. But if gift and estate taxes are a concern, consider a potentially more.. read more →

Exemption portability, made permanent by the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, provides significant estate planning flexibility to married couples if sufficient planning hasn’t been done before the first spouse’s death. How does it work? If one spouse dies and part (or all) of his or her estate tax exemption is unused at death, the.. read more →

Qualified personal residence trusts are an estate planning technique used to remove a portion of the value of an individual’s personal residence from their taxable estate for federal estate tax and gift tax purposes. They are appropriate for transferring a residence that is likely to appreciate. The owner of the personal residence transfers her ownership.. read more →

For 2012, the gift and estate tax exemption is $5.12 million and the maximum gift and estate tax rate is 35%. Absent additional legislation, for 2013 the exemption will drop to $1 million and the top tax rate will increase to 55%. It’s difficult to predict what Congress will do between now and then, so.. read more →

This question seems to keep coming up more and more since people are working longer. Clients often ask if the have to take their “required minimum distribution” even though they are still working past age 70-1/2. The “still working” exception only applies to your current employer, only if the employer plan allows it, and you.. read more →

With 2011 coming to a close, it’s time to take a final look at tax strategies for year end. It’s especially important this year because many incentives are set to expire unless extended. Conventional wisdom says to defer income and accelerate deductions. Depending on your perspective as to whether tax rates will decrease, stay the.. read more →

Corporate-owned life insurance (COLI) is a life insurance policy on an employee, owner, or director’s life that is owned by the employer, with benefits paid to the employer. Corporate- owned life insurance was originally intended to hedge against the financial cost of losing key employees due to an unexpected death, the cost of training replacements,.. read more →