Tag: legislation

Conference Call: Top 10 Estate and Tax Planning Issues in the News

There are several tax and estate planning strategies that high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) should consider seizing upon before year-end. In a conference call with clients today, John O. McManus, founding principal of McManus & Associates, weighed in on timely topics for the benefit of clients, from legislative initiatives that may impact estate planning to why an estate plan needs to include provisions governing digital assets. Below, listen to the call recording and find an outline of the issues covered during the discussion:  

  1. What legislative initiatives and political current events may impact estate planning? If enacted, the SECURE Act will drastically limit the ability to “stretch” an IRA for your children and the estate and wealth tax proposals of the Democratic candidates for President may suggest urgency in need to complete wealth transfers.
  2. How does being diagnosed with a significant health problem impact the estate plan? It is best to re-focus on the estate plan and have difficult conversations with family members and advisors as soon as reasonably possible because of the elevated concern about incapacity or demise.
  3. Why should major life events cause one to re-visit the estate plan? Marriages or divorces in the family, the acquisition of new assets or investments, starting a business can all serve to undermine the intended estate plan or create a new blind spot or vulnerability. 
  4. What are the important principles in planning for the modern family? Blended families, same-sex marriages, single-parent families, and domestic partnerships each raise their own nuanced considerations, which places a greater emphasis on a specialized and flexible approach. 
  5. Why and how should you discuss your estate plan with your children? Discussing death, taxes, and asset protection may be uncomfortable, but they are essential to best prepare your heirs for their inheritance. 
  6. What is a family mission and how can it be integrated into the estate plan? It is important to consider imparting sentiments in support of the family legacy, such as preserving family traditions and values. 
  7. What are the risks of failing to properly plan for the disposition of a specific asset, such as a home, personal effects, a business, or even frequent flyer miles? Items that may have a sentimental value or disproportionately favor one child over another may cause divisiveness and other complexities. 
  8. What estate planning lessons can be drawn from the Financial Independence, Retire Early (FIRE) movement? Prudently structuring discretionary trusts can avoid an outcome in which children are deprived of their motivation for self-sufficiency and can also provide opportunities for them to amplify their personal wealth. 
  9. Once an estate plan is completed for the time being, what are the practical steps that should be taken to protect the documents and other important information? Current best practices include various options for physical and electronic storage to ensure these materials are readily available during an emergency or tragedy. 
  10. Why must an estate plan include provisions governing digital assets, including web-based accounts and cryptocurrencies? Wills, Trusts, and Powers of Attorney should specifically authorize a fiduciary to have access to all information, including online and digital passwords to ensure efficient access to accounts.

Conference Call: “Top 10 Estate Planning Considerations to Complete Before Year-End”

Yesterday, McManus & Associates held a client conference call reviewing several immediate strategies that clients should consider employing before year-end. With the proposed tax reforms listed in President Obama’s budget, certain planning strategies are in the crosshairs and may not be around for long. Although legislation next year could be made retroactive to January 1, 2014, if you act before the end of 2013 such changes will not affect your planning. Get inside the castle walls now.

During the half-hour call, the firm shares effective strategies and highlights maintenance items required to ensure one’s family wealth remains protected. Below are the 10 questions that will be answered by listening to the recording.

LISTEN HERE: “Top 10 Considerations for Estate Planning with Life Insurance”

  1. Laws could change with new revenue debates. Have you made lifetime gifts in trust? Created a grantor trust?
  2. Have you made sure to operate your family LLC/Limited partnership as a legitimate business? What should you do before year-end?
  3. What should you give away? Are you planning to make annual exclusion gifts, gift appreciated securities etc? Have you prepared Crummey notices?
  4. Should you create lifetime trusts for your children? Have you given your trustees a limited power of appointment?
  5. What can you prepay? What should you prepay? Home, deductibles, medical expenses, major year-end purchases?
  6. Have you crossed any major milestones this year? Do you have children who turned 18 this year? Do the fiduciaries and guardians named in your documents still reflect your current wishes? Are your powers of attorney up to date?
  7. Have you made contributions to your family foundation and/or donated to charity?
  8. Are you over 70 ½? How to use Required Minimum Distribution to your advantage.
  9. Create GRATs or QPRTs. Given the current interest rates what should you consider?
  10. How should you consider harvesting capital gains, timing long-term losses?

Give us a call at 908-898-0100. We can help you identify which strategies you should implement now before the calendar rolls over to 2014.