Today GOBankingRates, which has nearly 350,000 readers, launched an interesting slideshow, “21 Ways the Rich Waste Their Money.” For #6 and #7 on the list, journalist Lia Sestric shared two examples of wasteful spending flagged by John O. McManus, founding principal of McManus & Associates.
5 ways to protect your estate from capital gains taxes
Published: Dec 25, 2015 6:04 a.m. ET
Traditional estate planning is being turned on its head
By JOHN O. MCMANUS
The time-honored approach to estate planning is being turned on its head by significant tax law changes that have taken effect in recent years.
Long-term capital gains tax rates now range from 25% to 33% (when you add together the top federal, state and local rates and Obamacare’s Medicare surtax). So now that the federal estate tax exemption is $5.43 million ($10.86 million for a couple’s combined exemptions), many Americans may no longer be exposed to federal estate taxes, making taxes on income and capital gains more prominent.
In fact, some legal practitioners who spent the first half of their careers zealously transferring assets out of their clients’ estates to avoid estate taxes now expect to spend the second half pushing assets back into their clients’ estates because the estate planning paradigm has changed.
What are the best ways to strategize around capital gains taxes to keep them as low as possible?
Rundown of the tax rules for gifts
To answer that, it helps to first understand the rules about gifts and taxes.
Below is an advice column on capital gains tax strategies by John O. McManus that was published by InvestmentNews for its regular feature, “The Tax-Conscious Adviser.”
Estate plans require a fresh look
Thinking around bequests shifts as capital gains tax and estate tax exemption rise
Nov 29, 2015 @ 12:01 am
By John O. McManus
Significant tax law changes mean it’s time to dust off your estate plan. Long-term capital gains tax rates now range from 25% to 33%, with the combination of the top federal, state and local rates and the Medicare surtax. This hike in capital gains tax rates, coupled with the greater federal estate tax exemption, calls for a fresh look at planning strategies.
With the current $5.43 million federal estate tax exemption ($5.45 million for 2016), many people may no longer be exposed to federal (and possibly state) estate taxes. Thus, maneuvering around capital gains tax becomes the primary concern.
Reporter Greg Iacurci tackled year-end tax planning strategies in a recent piece for Investment News. To help identify where the focus of advisers should be, Iacurci spoke with John O. McManus, estate planning attorney and founder of McManus & Associates.
The Investment News story, “Year-end tax planning strategies advisers should be considering,” encourages exploration of end-of-year tax considerations now, with just two months left in 2015. As Iacurci points out, “tax rules are largely unchanged,” so “tactics employed last year will more than likely still be relevant.”
A significant opportunity presented by Uncle Sam, portability was first introduced as part of Tax Relief Unemployment Reauthorization and the Job Creation Act of 2010. It was scheduled to sunset on December 31, 2012 but was made permanent with passage of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. McManus & Associates, a top-rated estate planning law firm with offices in New York and New Jersey, today released the “Top 10 Possibilities of Portability.” Part of the firm’s Educational Focus Series, the discussion was led by Founding Principal and AV-rated Attorney John O. McManus, who shared guidance on transferring unused federal estate tax exemption amounts and the critical steps that must be taken to utilize this important estate and income tax tool.
Greg Iacurci, reporter for Investment News, recently explored reverse mortgages, a type of home equity loan for borrowers age 62 and older that allow homeowners to access part of their home equity in cash. For his story, “Advisers like reverse mortgages, but only in unique circumstances,” Iacurci interviewed John O. McManus, founding principal of McManus & Associates, who shared some words of caution.
While reverse mortgages may be an ok option for clients who plan to stay in their home indefinitely and who could use some supplemental income, McManus warned against draining one of your most valuable assets to pass down to children or other loved ones.
Washington Post Reporter Jonnelle Marte recently interviewed McManus & Associates Founding Principal John O. McManus on financial goals that people should aim to achieve in their 40s. Jonnelle’s piece, “5 Money Milestones to Hit While You’re in Your 40s,” was published last week and re-published by Tulsa World on Sunday.
McManus’ insight informs two milestones from the article: one related to wills & estate planning and the other life insurance. From the story, here’s Milestone #4:
4. Update your will and estate plan: A few things may have changed since you last reviewed your will. You might have had another child, gotten divorced or been newly married. These changes would make it time to update your will to make sure your home, savings and other assets will go to the appropriate people after you die, Turner says. “If your ex-spouse is the beneficiary for your retirement plan you want to change that,” Turner says, adding that people should double check the beneficiaries for your 401(k) and life insurance policies.
The rules for how a person’s estate will be broken up after death vary from state to state, says Peter Creedon, a financial adviser in Mount Sinai, N.Y. For instance, some states may pass assets on to a domestic partner while other states will not, Creedon says, making the will the best method for explaining who should inherit assets. Talk to a lawyer or financial adviser about getting the documents in order. People with simple situations may get by using online services such as LegalZoom, which will create a will for prices starting at $69.
Parents should name guardians and put together a plan for what should happen to their children if they died, says John O. McManus, a trusts and estates lawyer in New York City. Those instructions can include guidelines for medical treatment and preferences on what type of school they would like their child to attend, he says. Parents who have amassed a sizeable amount of savings — think millions — may want to create a trust that would help them pass the money on to their children in a tax efficient way, he says.
In February, Andrea Coombes wrote an article, titled “The Tax-Smart Way to Draw ‘529’ Funds”, about education tax benefits for the Wall Street Journal’s Investing in Funds report. The piece generated a number of follow-up questions from readers. Here’s one that came across Coombes’ desk:
“Before he died, my father contributed to a 529 on behalf of my daughter [his granddaughter]. Need anything be done now to ensure that my daughter is able to use these funds for tuition?”
To help answer this question, Coombes turned to John O. McManus, top-rated tax and estate planning lawyer who founded McManus & Associates. The firm offers income tax planning among its services.
Combine Income Tax Preparation and Estate Planning
Coordination is key
Apr 1, 2015 John McManus Trusts & Estates
When tackling a jigsaw puzzle, you’ve likely taken the “divide and conquer” approach, separating the larger puzzle into more manageable sections. Eventually, you bring the different areas of focus together to put the finishing touches on the full image.
Wealth management is the same. Estate planning emphasizes an array of complex matters spanning death taxes, asset protection, incapacity, guardianship and family missions. Compartmentalizing can be helpful, but advisors must remember to bring the pieces of the puzzle back together in the end. It’s critical that strategies to maximize the value of your clients’ estates are coordinated with their retirement, financial and income tax planning.
McManus & Associates can prepare your Income Tax Returns. For many years, the firm has been completing tax returns for clients and has learned that keeping income tax planning under the same roof enables a more refined level of specificity in estate planning for your family. Want to hear more about how you can benefit from McManus & Associates’ Income Tax Planning Practice? Listen to the firm’s recent conference call with clients (link below) and contact us at 908-898-0100/212-753-9000.