Donating to charity your IRA distributions can be an excellent way to both support causes that are meaningful to you and reduce your taxes. Fortunately, a provision of the Internal Revenue Code, which gives donor’s a significant tax benefit, was made permanent at the end of 2015 so individuals can now take advantage of the rules as an integral part of their tax and estate planning.
Under New York law, a trustee can modify an irrevocable trust in certain situations. The process, called “decanting,” permits alteration of a trust by “pouring” the existing (invaded) trust into a new trust. This gives the trustee surprising flexibility to create a new trust that will better accommodate changed circumstances, notwithstanding that the trust is irrevocable.
Increasingly, individuals are accumulating digital assets that they may want to pass on after their death. Social media accounts, websites, online libraries of content and the like can often be inherited like any other asset. Accordingly, individuals working on their estate planning should address how they want the executor of their estate to handle such assets in order to avoid complications after their death.
A will is an important document needed to ensure that your loved ones are taken care of in a manner that you see fit. However, it’s not enough to prepare and execute a will. Important steps must be taken to safeguard your will and estate plan is actually carried out as you intend. One easily overlooked step, but which a former colleague turned Court attorney assures me comes up frequently, is securing the whereabouts of your original will and leaving behind appropriate information to aid those who will be handling your estate.
As people age, they often open joint bank accounts in their name as well as that of a close friend or family member. This allows the friend/family member to have access to the account to write checks and use funds to pay bills or other expenses of the older person. The person setting up this account often does this because he/she thinks it is a cheaper alternative to a power of attorney. However, establishing such a bank account can have unintended consequences.
Individuals who hold a liquor license face a number of restrictions on their business operations. In the context of estate and business succession planning, these limitations add an extra burden when passing the business on to heirs due to additional restrictions which may come into play after the death of a license holder. If owners do not plan appropriately, their estate may face legal difficulties and high costs which could reduce their assets.
For years, the government and financial experts have encouraged individuals to save more money for retirement. One of the best ways to save is to use tax beneficial accounts, including 401k, 403(b) or traditional IRAs. These accounts allow assets to grow tax deferred until the funds are withdrawn, which is not required until an individual reaches age 70 and a half. As a result, many people will die with significant assets in these tax protected accounts, which can pose challenges for proper estate planning. However, retirement asset trusts can provide a solution.
Could your estate benefit from a conservation easement? A conservation easement limits the amount of development that can be done on land. For the property owner, gifting or selling an easement can provide certain financial and business advantages. An easement can also benefit the larger community by conserving the property’s scenic and natural attributes, and ensuring that the property is preserved for open space, agricultural or passive recreational uses.
According to a Gallup Poll earlier this year, only 44% of Americans say they have a will. Unfortunately, from new parents, to one of the world’s biggest music stars, many people believe they don’t need a will; don’t understand why it’s so important; or simply do not take the time to meet with an estate attorney to prepare one.
For many high-wealth individuals, effective estate planning is largely motivated by the desire to minimize the estate and income taxes their heirs may pay. Reducing estate taxes often means maximizing the benefits of the unified credit amount through the use of valuation discounts.