Now that the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act has been signed into law, you’re probably wondering if and how it applies to you. We recently put together an educational video on the key provisions for individuals and small business owners.Read More
If you’ve been able to remain in a comfortable financial position amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be wondering if and how the newly passed CARES Act legislation may impact you. Financial advisor J. Peter Doyle reviews some strategies.Read More
Every January I head down to Orlando for the Heckerling Conference on Estate Planning. Imagine thousands of attorneys and CPAs all congregating to discuss the latest complicated estate and tax planning strategies the best and brightest had dreamt up… yes, it is exactly as big of a nerd fest as you are imagining. I always come back with these amazing ideas that I can’t wait to share as they relate to people’s estate plans.Read More
Family vacation homes often provide a retreat for you and your family to gather and enjoy one another’s company. The home brings not only emotional attachment but also unique planning challenges. Parents or grandparents often desire to have the next generation make their own memories while spending time at the family vacation home.Read More
Crafting a great estate plan can be a fascinating exercise, yet most of us never quite get around to it. Perhaps it’s a bit like a challenging recipe: start with a natural reluctance to contemplate your own demise, sprinkle in some unique family dynamics, season liberally with ever-changing tax laws and fold in that one heir you’re not quite sure about. Is it any wonder we procrastinate?Read More
There you are, in your mid 40’s, working hard and raising your family. Have you had the conversation with your parents yet? Have you received the email from mom and dad telling you that it’s time? When is it time to discuss their finances in preparation for the day when one or both of them are no longer around or able to manage their affairs?Read More
On August 16, 2018, we lost a national treasure. Aretha Franklin, a.k.a. the “Queen of Soul,” passed away in Detroit at the age of 76 from advanced pancreatic cancer.¹ What is not too surprising is that Franklin will join the long list of celebrities who died without a will, including, most recently, Prince.Read More
As the old saying goes, “there are only two things certain in life – death and taxes.” Because everyone has to face these realities sooner or later, taking time to implement certain tax planning strategies and create or review your estate plan, can save you money and provide peace of mind, both now and in the future.
First, let’s talk taxes.
While we all have to pay our dues to Uncle Sam each year, there are several planning strategies that can helpRead More
Becoming a first-time parent is both exhilarating and exhausting. For new mothers especially, it can be frightening. Caring for a newborn adds so many new things to worry about. As a new mom myself, I’ve experienced this firsthand. From the moment we brought our son home, I worried about whether he was eating enough, sleeping enough, and, dare I say it, pooping enough.
In addition to new worries, I oftenRead More
You may have heard that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act raised the shared Federal Estate Tax Exemption level to over $22 million for a married couple. It is estimated that this increase will reduce the number of estates subject to Federal Estate Tax in 2018 from 5,500 to only 1,700, which represents approximately only 0.1% of the estates to be filed in 2018.Read More
Planning a wedding takes quite a bit of time and effort. It involves a good deal of coordination and communication to make sure everything goes smoothly on the big day. Don’t let the organization skills you developed while planning your wedding go to waste after tying the knot. Instead, re-direct them to an important part of your new life together: creating a financial plan for your future.Read More
One of the top concerns for Americans in their 60s is how to pay for retirement. Consider focusing on a plan for these five areas of financial planning to help gain confidence as you approach or enter retirement. Interestingly, many individuals’ first anxiety is loss of principal – particularly with 2008 still in our collective rearview mirrors. However, given that retirement may last 30 years or longer, workers approaching retirement need to be just as focused on loss of purchasingRead More
Young adulthood often marks the passage of several major life events including beginning a career, getting married, starting a family, and buying a first home. As young adults ourselves, my husband and I welcomed our first child, moved states for a new career, and bought our first home, all in the past year.
While settling into being first-time parents and exploring our new neighborhood, another important item lingered on our to-do list: ensuring our son would be taken care of, ifRead More
You may be a fan of do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. A visit to Home Depot or a search through Pinterest shows the popularity of a wide variety of DIY projects. Many folks are taking the DIY approach with their estate plan. Online document preparers offer a low-cost solution for simple estate planning. But beware of many pitfalls to this approach.
Complexities are often hard to detect.
You might not realize what complexities exist in your situation. Family circumstances, asset characteristics, net worth, andRead More
When I first learned to drive, my father taught me how to jump start a car. When attaching the jumper cables, he instructed, always match the positive cable to the positive side, and the negative cable to the negative side. Failure to align the charge could result in serious damage to the car and a shower of sparks. The same can be said when designing your estate plan. Once your estate plan is properly drafted and signed, it is imperativeRead More
Yesterday I was in the mood for some good milk on my cereal. You know the kind: the milk that costs more but has that rich flavor. I bought some with a new box of my favorite cereal and returned home to enjoy my breakfast. The second I began to pour, I knew something was wrong. The consistency was off. I looked more closely at the label:
“buttermilk.” How could I have done that? The packaging had looked right;
Was your estate plan drafted five or more years ago? If so, recent changes in the Federal and Illinois estate tax laws should prompt a review and update of that plan.
Effective January 1st of this year, each U.S. citizen can transfer during life or at death up to $5.43 million of property free of Federal estate tax. Transfers in excess of this amount are subject to Federal tax at a flat rate of 40%. For IllinoisRead More
The single most important estate planning document many of us have is a Power of Attorney for Health Care. This document allows us to name a person we trust referred to as an Agent to direct decisions regarding health care, medical treatment, and hospitalization when we are no longer able to make those decisions. Powers of Attorney also often provide authorization to your Agent to require, withhold, or withdraw any type of medical treatment or procedure even thoughRead More
When developing an estate plan it’s important to select the right person as trustee or executor (fiduciary). Unfortunately there are many stories of things going awry, and family relationships being damaged, when the person responsible for managing your estate doesn’t see eye to eye with the beneficiaries.
These unintended situations can be minimized by remembering a few important points in designating a fiduciary.
Below are four “C’s” to keep in mind:
Consider your familyA family member or child is often the first personRead More
Each year advisors recommend a list of review considerations for year end planning. The importance of reviewing your beneficiary designations cannot be minimized.
Beneficiaries are named in account types such as 401k, 403b, IRA, life insurance, annuities, payable on death accounts and certain pension accounts (i.e. 5 or 10 year certain pension options).
Generally the owner of the asset is allowed to choose who will inherit the account upon the owner’s death. There are a few exceptions regarding ERISA Accounts (401k, 403b);Read More
Jimi Hendrix. Howard Hughes. Abraham Lincoln.
Different eras, different professions, different abilities, same problem.
No, the problem was not because all three had drug issues, obsessive compulsive disorder, or other eccentricities. The problem was simply that all three failed to plan for life beyond the grave!
It probably does not surprise you that Jimi Hendrix failed to plan, given the lifestyleand times in which he lived. But how could Howard Hughes leave an estate valued at more than $2 billion without any intentions?Read More
I have never met a farmer who didn’t haggle from time to time. Whether it’s buying or selling, there is always a negotiation. It seems most farmers are unable to sleep unless they come out of a transaction with a sense that the deal was, at a minimum, fair. Can we extend this mentality beyond buying equipment and selling crops?
An Iowa study indicates that two-thirds of farmers have done no retirement planning, much less estate planning. How can we turnRead More
Often people believe that estate planning is having a will or possibly a trust. However, there are other documents to include in your basic estate plan in order to ensure that all of your needs are taken care of both during lifetime as well as at death.
The basic documents that every estate plan should have are:
Will/Trust – Is the main document of the plan. The Will/Trust provides for asset distribution upon death. A properly drafted document can save estate taxes,Read More
Funeral costs have risen so far and so fast lately that people who have been through it tell what may be the unfunniest joke in history: they say that dying has become so expensive that nobody can afford it any more.
One reason for these cost increases is that many people fail to plan for the funeral, the burial plot or cremation, the flowers and everything else before the fact. Suddenly, the grieving family has to make complicatedRead More
Each spring, thousands of people take part in the ritual known as “Spring Cleaning.” Rugs are shaken out, window and door screens are sprayed with water, and the garage gets a much-needed sweep. This creates a sense of cleanliness and new beginnings for the upcoming summer season. However, what some people fail to realize is that “Spring Cleaning” can also mean starting fresh or “cleaning-up” other areas of your life.
When was the last time you prepared a snapshot of whereRead More
I’ve had a small black book in my possession for 8-9 years. No, it is not a list of past girlfriends; each page is devoted to a different part of my financial life or my plethora of passwords. Just to give a few examples:
One page is devoted to each life insurance policy I keep on my wife and I. I detail the issue date, policy number, annual premium, the term and the toll-free phone number for the insuranceRead More
The main responsibility of an Executor is to distribute property to the beneficiaries ccording to the instructions set out in a person’s will. It may sound simple, but executors are often faced with many duties that can become complicated and time consuming. It is usually best to get advice from professionals including an attorney, accountant, and financial planner. You may perform some or all of the following steps when settling anRead More