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Estate Planning Blog

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McBrayer Blogs

Showing 9 posts in Estate Planning.

Don’t Delay—Proposed Changes to Estate Tax Law Aim to Eliminate Step-Up in Basis

Posted In Estate Planning, Taxation, Wills and Trusts

If you’ve been waiting for the “right time” to start planning your estate, don’t wait any longer—the right time may be in the rearview before you know it. With a new administration in the White House, tax reform is on the agenda in Washington, and the proposed changes would have a major effect on many estates, especially for high-net-worth individuals. More >

An Estate Planning Tool You Can Trust: Spousal Lifetime Access Trusts (SLATs)

Posted In Estate Planning, Tax consequences, Taxation

With estate and gift tax exemptions at a historical, all-time high (over $11.5 million per person), it’s the perfect opportunity for married couples to take advantage of a unique estate planning tool: the Spousal Lifetime Access Trust, or SLAT.  Before the current exemption is cut in half on January 1, 2026, we recommend that spouses explore the benefits of establishing a SLAT – not just for the benefit of one another, but for children and grandchildren – in order to reap the most from current tax protections. More >

Five Things You Must Do to Maximize 2020 Giving and Minimize Tax Liability

Posted In Estate Planning, Tax consequences, tax refund, Taxation

It may seem hard to believe, but what has almost certainly been the longest year in human history is finally nearing an end. And while you might not want to add tax planning to your 2020 To-Do List, thinking strategically now may allow you to turn some of those leftover lemons into lemonade by minimizing your tax liability for the year. Don’t miss the following tips to get a jump on those returns. More >

A Nonprofit Organization is Not Necessarily a "Charitable" Organization

Posted In Estate Planning, Nonprofit

Very often when speaking of corporations established for laudable purposes people incorrectly equate the word “nonprofit” with “charitable.” While this may be a distinction without a difference in casual discussions, when it comes to a federal tax return, the two are not synonymous. This misperception during the initial stages of planning and establishment of a nonprofit corporation can result in a costly mistake by organizers hoping to fund their activities with donations. More >

Steps to Take After the Death of a Loved One

Posted In Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts

The loss of a loved one is an emotional and often overwhelming situation. The steps below provide a guide to handling the estate of the deceased individual. More >

Revocable Trusts: An Alternative Route

Posted In Estate Administration, Estate Planning, Trusts

Traditional estate plans generally consist of a will and other documents that are meant to provide a map for fulfilling the wishes of the individual both before and after death. There are times, though, when an estate may be better served by other estate planning vehicles such as a revocable living trust, which can provide flexibility, privacy and ease of administration. These types of trusts are becoming popular and should be afforded due consideration when planning an estate. More >

Sticking to Your Guns: Accounting for firearms in an estate plan

Posted In Estate Administration, Estate Planning, Trusts

An estate plan is designed to ensure a smooth transition of assets from a decedent to beneficiaries, as well as minimizing expenses, fees, and taxes associated with the transfer. Most estate planners may be concerned with the transfer of real property and other substantial assets, but what may be overlooked is the way in which a decedent’s firearms are accounted for. Failure to properly account for these items may produce unwanted results, all the way up to excessive fines and even prison time. More >

Exemption Portability - What is it, and how does it work?

Posted In Estate Planning

The term "portability" is used in many contexts, but in the estate planning context portability describes the way a surviving spouse can use the remainder of a deceased spouse's unused exclusion amount to further shield her or his estate from tax liability. Portability first came about in 2010 as a temporary concept in the Tax Relief, Unemployment Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010. It was set to expire on December 31, 2012, but Congress, in the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, made portability a permanent part of the estate and gift tax exclusion. The current unified exemption for estate and gift taxes is $5.43 million (for the year 2015), so portability allows for a potentially very large tax break for a surviving spouse's estate. More >

Nothing is uncertain like death taxes

Posted In Estate Planning

There's a saying about death and taxes, the certainty thereof, which has been oft repeated to the point of weariness. While it is true that the imposition of taxes is a certainty, the shape and form of such taxes, especially in an estate planning context, is anything but. Just when one believes the ground to be firm in any particular tax context, the sands begin shifting. The federal estate tax has been just such an example the past several years, and estate plans should account for future uncertainty. More >

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