Are you an "experienced" taxpayer? Here are a couple of age-based tax breaks that seniors shouldn't overlook when filing their 2016 returns. 1. Claim Your Rightful Medical Expense Deductions If you're 65 years of age or older, you may have fallen into the habit of automatically claiming the standard deduction instead of itemizing your deductions. Taking the standard deduction is often the … [Read more...] about Tax Breaks Seniors Should Not Overlook
A special needs trust or a supplemental needs trust can be established to help a disabled individual who is receiving assistance from the government -- or is eligible to receive it. Disabled people, who cannot support themselves and rely on government assistance, are not allowed to have more than a certain amount of personal assets, so family members can't just give them money to pay for just … [Read more...] about Special Needs Trust: What Expenses Can They Pay For?
Safeguard and Periodically Review Your Estate Plan. No Estate Plan is ever finalized. Tax laws, economic conditions, estate exclusions, account values and inflation constantly change which affects the way they are implemented. Material events that suggest it is time for a review of your Estate Plan include: Funding your Trust – especially if opening new accounts or moving to a new … [Read more...] about When to Review Trusts and Other Estate Plans
A helpful checklist on how to settle a Living Trust Estate. Most of us have an estate, a legacy we leave to our families. We also have a choice over how that legacy will be passed on. If we choose to do nothing, we are choosing to allow the State to administer our estate and to determine who receives our legacy. An average probate can cost 5 to 10 percent of the gross estate. Avoid probate by … [Read more...] about A Checklist for Settling a Living Trust Estate
Have you tried doing your own physical exam lately? I mean, going to a doctor can be such a waste of time, not to mention the cost. It can be so much better to try to save money and just complete the necessary tests and lab work by yourself. Possibly, you have performed surgery on yourself? Maybe you have extracted your own tooth or filled an annoying cavity all without the assistance of a … [Read more...] about The Dangers of Do-It-Yourself Living Trusts
Some common myths about doing your own Estate Plan. MYTH: I have chosen a godparent for my children, so it is not necessary for me to nominate a legal guardian for them in case something happens to me. FACT: Traditionally, the role of a godparent is to faithfully assist the godchildren in leading a spiritual and moral life. It is not a nomination or appointment to become the child's … [Read more...] about Common Myths About Do-It-Yourself Estate Planning
Many believe that credit card debt dies along with you. That is not exactly true. So what does happen to credit card debt after you pass away? There is no simple answer to this question. And the complete answer depends on a number of variables such as who else is on your account, whether you have a living trust, and what state you live in. When you die, your estate is required to pay any … [Read more...] about Does Credit Card Debt Live Beyond Your Lifetime?
Planning for Long-Term Care and Asset Protection The Risks of Failing to Plan You can't avoid it forever. The truth is, most of us are going to face unthinkable hardships as we age. Perhaps the most feared adversity seniors face is dementia. A disorder that degrades brain function one piece at a time and robs you of the life you know. The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer's. In the … [Read more...] about Legal Strategies and Planning for Long-Term Care and Asset Protection
Adding Children to Title of Real Property or Other Significant Assets May Create Problems People often have their own ideas of the easiest way to pass on their homes or other property to their children when they pass away. Later on, they may seek the services of an attorney to help them prepare a more comprehensive estate plan, such as a Revocable Living Trust. It is not that unusual for … [Read more...] about Adding Children to Title of Real Property
Most gifts of money or valuable assets to another are considered by the IRS to be taxable to the person making the gift. Exceptions Under current IRS rules there are four ways to make tax free gifts that are not taxable to the person making the gift: Annual gifts capped at $14,000 (indexed for inflation) Lifetime gift exclusion ($5.45 million in 2016 indexed for inflation) Payments … [Read more...] about How to Make Tax Free Gifts