Charitable remainder trusts can be a great vehicle for elderly people to downsize without paying a steep tax penalty. They can also be very dangerous, if not handled correctly.
One problem many older Americans have, is that they would like to retire, move or just downsize. However, the tax consequences of doing so can be difficult to get around.
An elderly couple that has lived in the same home for decades would have to pay capital gains taxes, if they sell the home. This could make it more difficult to sell the home and have the money to move somewhere...
Federal estate tax gets the attention, but some states need focus as far as estate planning is concerned.
There are some states that still levy an estate tax and can be expensive places to pass away, according to Forbes in “Where Not To Die in 2018.”
Some states tie their exemption level to the federal government’s, such as Hawaii and Maine. Those states get an automatic tax break.
Some other states have already passed legislation to do the same thing and other states have recently repealed their estate taxes.
Oregon and Massachusetts are tied for the lowest estate...
Congressional Republicans reached a final deal on a tax reform bill. They kept the estate tax in place, with an important modification.
One of the bigger issues with the Republican plans to reform federal taxes had to do with the estate tax. Most Republicans would like to see it done away with entirely.
The initial bill passed in the House of Representatives did just that, by phasing the estate tax out over a period of time. However, the Senate version of the bill was more cautious and just changed the exemption limit, while keeping the estate tax in place.
Many people who do not have to pay the federal estate tax are unaware that there is still a benefit to the spousal election that might benefit them in the future.
When talking about the estate tax exemption limit, estate planning attorneys often discuss two different numbers. They mention the individual exemption amount and the married couple exemption amount, which is double the individual number.
The reason they do this, is because of the spousal election.
When one spouse passes away, the surviving spouse can take what is called a spousal election which will give them the married couple’s exemption...
Some decisions to bequeath certain assets to people cannot be undone by creating a new will and changing who gets the assets.
One of the oldest principles of estate planning law is that people can always change their minds about what to do in their wills. All they need to do if they want to do something different, is create a new will reflecting their new desires.
It is best to destroy any copies of the old will. However, that is not strictly necessary. There are some times when people cannot change their minds about their wills.
One example is...