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Have you Made your Burial Wishes Clear?

It may be difficult to consider, but funeral arrangements are a critical component of your estate plan. Failure to clearly communicate your wishes regarding the disposition of your remains can lead to tension, disputes and even litigation among your family members during what is already a difficult time. Address these…

Provide for Family Members with Special Needs using an SNT

If you have a child or other family member with a disabling condition that requires long-term care or prevents (or will prevent) him or her from being able to support him- or herself, consider establishing a special needs trust (SNT). Also known as a supplemental needs trust, an SNT allows…

21st Century Estate Planning for Digital Assets

Even though you can’t physically touch digital assets, they’re just as important to include in your estate plan as your material assets. Digital assets may include online bank and brokerage accounts, digital photo galleries, and even email and social media accounts. If you die without addressing these assets in your…

Naming a Minor as Beneficiary of a Life Insurance Policy or Retirement Plan can Lead to Unintended Outcomes

A common estate planning mistake is to designate a minor as beneficiary — or contingent beneficiary — of a life insurance policy or retirement plan. While making your young child the beneficiary of such assets may seem like an excellent way to provide for him or her in the case…

4 Estate Planning Techniques for Blended Families

Today, it’s not unusual for a family to include children from prior marriages. These “blended” families can create estate planning complications that may lead to challenges in the courts after your death. Fortunately, you can reduce the chances of family squabbles by using estate planning techniques designed to preserve wealth…

Only Certain Trusts Can Own S-Corporation Stock

S corporations must comply with several strict requirements or risk losing their tax-advantaged status. Among other things, they can have no more than 100 shareholders, can have no more than one class of stock and are permitted to have only certain types of shareholders. In an estate planning context, it’s…

5 Estate Planning Tips for the Sandwich Generation

The “sandwich generation” accounts for a large segment of the population. These are people who find themselves caring for both their children and their parents at the same time. In some cases, this includes providing parents with financial support. As a result, estate planning — which traditionally focuses on providing…

If you made gifts last year, you may (or may not) need to file a gift tax return

Gifting assets to loved ones is one of the simplest ways of reducing your taxable estate. However, what may not be as simple is determining whether you need to file a gift tax return (Form 709). With the April 17 filing deadline approaching, now is the time to find out…

Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Expands Appeal of 529 Plans in Estate Planning

It’s common for grandparents to want to help ensure their grandchildren will get a high quality education. And, along the same lines, they also want the peace of mind that their wealth will be preserved for their children and grandchildren after they’re gone. If you’re facing these challenges, one option…

Make the Holidays Bright for You and Your Loved Ones with Annual Exclusion Gifts

As the holiday season quickly approaches, gift giving will be top of mind. While gifts of electronics, toys and clothes are nice, making tax-free gifts of cash using your annual exclusion is beneficial for both you and your family. Even in a potentially changing estate tax environment, making annual exclusion…