Articles Tagged with Portability

Girl with magnifying glassEnsuring that your assets are passed on to heirs in a way that you wish is not always easy because of the many options available and the fact that the tax laws are always changing. While certain facts are relatively fixed – i.e., beneficiary designations on life insurance policies and retirement plans avoid having these particular assets subject to probate, others are subject to change. Keep up with these changes by meeting with your estate planning attorney on a timely basis.

The use of trusts to help estates avoid probate is well established in any estate planning law practice, but when laws change, estate planning must change also. An explanation comes from The (Anderson, IN) Herald Bulletin article, "Changes in laws can affect your estate planning," which explains how the revocable grantor trust works and why it was created: to help people avoid probate.

A revocable grantor trust roles include the grantor (the person making the gift), the trustee in charge of the trust (typically the grantor), the income beneficiary (also usually the grantor), and the remainder beneficiary. Taxes that are generated from investments and income are reported on a standard tax return. When assets are placed in a trust, individuals have control and the use of the assets. Ownership is structured so that there is no probate. Individuals should fund the trust with as many assets with which they are comfortable (except IRAs and retirement accounts).

Clock facesSo how do you know if your estate plan is out-of-date?  If your will or trust predates these four key “freshness dates,” it may be time to visit your attorney for a review.

Estate plans are not meant to be a one-time deal. If life changes – or the law changes – you need to update your plan accordingly.

The website recently posted a very informative article, titled “Why Your Will May Be Out of Date,” which states that although your estate planning documents are still valid, they may no longer work the way you originally thought they would.

Bigstock-Beautiful-woman-looking-throug-20311445“For those who are single, whether they’ve always been single or they find themselves single again, there are some unique [estate-planning] issues,” says Doug Rothermich, managing director, wealth-planning strategies at TIAA-CREF.

Married couples usually can see the benefit of having an estate plan, but single people mistakenly think estate planning does not apply to them.

Accordingly to a recent Wall Street Journal article titled Estate-Planning Essentials for Single People, single people face some unique estate planning issues. This is true whether they have always been single or now single again.

MP900289434Just when is the DSUE [Deceased Spouse Unused Exemption] available to a surviving spouse or the estate of a surviving spouse for use in determining the surviving spouse’s applicable exclusion amount?

It can be very challenging to stay on top of federal estate tax law changes. For instance, experts and taxpayers alike are grappling with the ins and outs of “portability.” How and when can it be used?

The temporary regulations governing portability are now on the books. While there is some guidance regarding how a “Deceased Spouse Unused Exemption” (DSUE) actually works, a recent Forbes article, titled “Estate Tax Portability – Date DSUE Amount May Be Taken Into Account,” provides some practical advice.

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