IRS Gifting Rules for 2014

Gifting Limits 2012The holiday season is already behind us but that doesn’t mean you still can’t give the perfect gift.

In the financial world, the term gift has a whole new meaning as it pertains to estate planning. Many investors look to “gift” a portion of their estate to prevent having to pay a hefty estate tax down the road.

If you want the bottom line about the gifting tax here it is: If you make gifts to friends or family that is large enough, there is the possibility that you may owe the federal government some tax money.

Of course, you probably want more information about the current regulations of the federal gift tax. Keep reading and I’ll share a few of the major points for 2014 and beyond. Sorry if this isn’t as exciting as the Nutcracker.
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IRS Gifting Rules for 2013

Gifting Limits 2012The holiday season is already behind us but that doesn’t mean you still can’t give the perfect gift.

In the financial world, the term gift has a whole new meaning as it pertains to estate planning. Many investors look to “gift” a portion of their estate to prevent having to pay a hefty estate tax down the road.

If you want the bottom line about the gifting tax here it is: If you make gifts to friends or family that is large enough, there is the possibility that you may owe the federal government some tax money.

Of course, you probably want more information about the current regulations of the federal gift tax. Keep reading and I’ll share a few of the major points for 2013 and beyond. Sorry if this isn’t as exciting as the Nutcracker.
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3 Things You Must Know About Inheriting an IRA

Inherited IRA RulesWith the exception of financial experts, deciphering the rules of individual retirement accounts can often leave a person confused and frustrated.

Actually, scratch that.

Even financial experts can get stumped on the inherited IRA rules.

While the gist of most IRAs is relatively easy to comprehend, once a person begins investigating the rules – requirements and exclusions – things tend to get a bit tricky.

This becomes even more apparent when you find yourself named as a beneficiary of an IRA from a friend or family member who has passed.

Inherited IRAs constitute some of the largest assets left in an estate.

For this reason any heirs who find themselves in a position of deciding what to do with an inherited IRA should think carefully about all the options before making their final decision.

I’ve had many clients that have been faced with this very decision.

Most are tempted to just cash it in and buy <fill in the blank> which is usually some item they just don’t flat out need.

Please don’t be this person.

Since this decision can have a huge impact on your own personal finances (in both positive and negative ways) most beneficiaries will benefit by consulting with a tax professional or financial advisor experienced in this area.
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What Is a Family Trust and Should You Set One Up?

what is a family trustThe concept of a family trust—also known as a revocable living trust—isn’t very well understood by many people.

The differences between a trust and a simple will, for instance, are frequently confused.

While it’s somewhat more time consuming—and therefore, more expensive—to have a family trust prepared than a will, there are significant benefits of the trust for many individuals.

I have many clients that feel that they “have to setup a trust“.

I think many want to avoid probate at all costs.

Please keep in mind that probate is NOT a four letter word.

I don’t want to discourage you from setting up a family trust, but it’s not a requirement in every situation.
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The Gift That Keeps On Giving – Gifting Limits for 2012

Gifting Limits 2012The holiday season is already behind us but that doesn’t mean you still can’t give the perfect gift.

In the financial world, the term gift has a whole new meaning as it pertains to estate planning. Many investors look to “gift” a portion of their estate to prevent having to pay a hefty estate tax down the road.

If you want the bottom line about the gifting tax here it is: If you make gifts to friends or family that is large enough, there is the possibility that you may owe the federal government some tax money.

Of course, you probably want more information about the current regulations of the federal gift tax. Keep reading and I’ll share a few of the major points for 2012 and beyond. Sorry if this isn’t as exciting as the Nutcracker.

First, and perhaps foremost for some, is the fact that you, as the giver, are not going to be taxed (unless you exceed the gift tax exemption). It is the recipients who will have to pay taxes. For taxes to figure into the equation at all, you will have to have given away in excess of $1 million in cash or other assets over the course of your life.

Plus, if you have a spouse they have their own separate exemption for the same amount. What this means is that most people will never have worry about the federal gift tax at all. (Currently $139,ooo up from $136,000 for 2011 tax year)
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Closer Look At the New Estate Tax Laws

As a financial advisor, I do my best to keep up with estate law.  Unfortunately, the laws change constantly.   A recent conversation with an attorney was a quick realization how much has changed in such a short amount of time.   Thanks to the Tax Relief Act of 2010, we now have the lowest estate tax rate in 80 years, with some new rules to be aware of, and some very interesting choices and options affecting estate planning.
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Rules for Opening a Guardianship Account

There comes a time when minors, senior citizens, or disabled persons might need someone to manage their money. In these cases, a guardian will be appointed by the court to control guardianship of the persons accounts. While you want to think that every one who is appointed a guardian of an account is trustworthy and will manage the accounts ethically and wisely, that is not always the case. That is why there are rules governing the control of guardian accounts. From who has access to the account, to who owns it, and how money is spent, courts monitor these accounts.
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What is a Durable Healthcare Power of Attorney

Nobody wants to think of themselves being incapacitated or unable to make medical decisions on their own behalf. However, there comes a time in most everyone’s life where they reach a point where they can not make decisions for themselves. This might either be because a person no longer has the mental capacity to do so, or they have been in a crisis or emergency that renders them unable. Regardless, it is a good idea to have someone trustworthy have a healthcare durable power of attorney to help make those decisions.
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7 Free and Cheap Online Legal Resources

free and cheap legal online services Lawyers can be expensive.

I know because there are two (soon to be four) lawyers in my family circle.

I’m fortunate, since my law advice comes either free, or very cheap.

However, I’ve often thought about what I’d do if I needed a little more law help.

For the most complex issues, there is very little that can match up to a competent lawyer, face to face and on your side.

However, there are a number of issues you can resolve on your own — if you have the right knowledge and know which forms or documents to use.
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Do You Really Need to Make a Will?

Are you one of the 55% of the U.S. population that has not made a will?*Are you under the impression that you have to be super rich and have tons of money to have a will or do any sort of estate planning? I assure you that is not the case.

If you answer yes to one of the three following questions than I strongly encourage you to consider having a will:



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The Uber Importance of Reviewing Your Beneficiary Designations

Today I want to stress why it is so important to review the beneficiary designation forms on your individual retirement accounts, your life insurance policies, and even your 401K at your present job.

Don’t think reviewing your beneficiaries is a big deal?

Let me share a quick story of why that is so important and how one little oversight can make a huge difference for your family.  In this case, an $80,000 difference!
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