4Thought Blog

4thought graphic - blog 2020

Estate Planning: A Strategy to Reduce Risk When Giving Away Substantial Wealth

Posted by Concannon Miller on Tue, Aug 4, 2020

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act substantially increased the gift and estate tax exemption. For 2020, the inflation-adjusted amounts are $11.58 million for individuals and $23.16 million for married couples filing jointly.

This creates a significant tax-saving opportunity for wealthy families. However, because the exemption amounts revert to their pre-TCJA level ($5 million and $10 million, adjusted for inflation) starting January 1, 2026, you can only give away substantial wealth gift-tax-free (either directly or in trust) for a limited time. However, there's a chance that Congress could change the rules or extend them.

What would happen if you took advantage of this opportunity now and later discovered you needed the money? That's where a spousal lifetime access trust can come in.

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Topics: Estate and Trust Services

Charitable Remainder Trust: A Great Option for a Lasting Gift, Tax Savings

Posted by Concannon Miller on Tue, Jun 30, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic may have you thinking about how you can help those whose health and financial security has been imperiled by the virus. Naturally, charities fighting COVID-19 will welcome your donations now.

But you may also want to think about making a more lasting gift. With a charitable remainder trust you may be able to support a favorite nonprofit and also enjoy lifetime income and current tax benefits. Learn more about how CRT might fit into your estate plan.

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Topics: Estate and Trust Services

The SECURE Act Retirement Change Harming Some Estate Plans

Posted by Concannon Miller on Thu, Feb 13, 2020

The new SECURE Act contains a number of favorable provisions that will help Americans save more for retirement. However, the new law also contains an unfavorable provision that will affect nonspouse IRA beneficiaries who inherit accounts with substantial balances.

As a result, some carefully constructed estate plans will be damaged. Here's the story.

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Topics: Individual tax planning, Estate and Trust Services

2019 Year End Estate Planning Considerations

Posted by Concannon Miller on Tue, Dec 10, 2019

Nearly everyone should consider updating his or her estate plan. This is smart advice even if you're not currently exposed to the federal estate tax.

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Topics: Estate and Trust Services

Gift Tax Returns: When to File Even if You’re Below the Annual Exclusion Amount

Posted by Concannon Miller on Thu, Sep 12, 2019

For 2019, the lifetime gift and estate tax exemption has reached a whopping $11.40 million ($22.80 million for married couples). As a result, few people will be subject to federal gift taxes.

If your wealth is well within the exemption amount, does that mean there’s no need to file gift tax returns? Not necessarily. There are many situations in which it’s necessary (or desirable) to file Form 709, “United States Gift (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return” — even if you’re not liable for any gift taxes.

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Topics: Estate and Trust Services

Death & Taxes: Estate Tax Tips for High Net Worth Individuals

Posted by Concannon Miller on Tue, Jul 9, 2019

When a loved one who was "financially comfortable" passes away, his or her family must deal with the emotional issues that come with the loss — as well as winding up the decedent's financial affairs.

Surviving family members are often unprepared for the tax issues that may arise when a loved one dies. Here's some guidance to help you manage important tax and financial considerations during this difficult time.

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Topics: Estate and Trust Services

Estate Planning: What You Need to do Post-Tax Reform

Posted by Concannon Miller on Thu, Jun 6, 2019

Estate planning isn't just for the rich and famous. Many people mistakenly think that they don't need an estate plan anymore because of the latest tax law changes.

While it's true that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act provides generous estate tax relief, even for well-to-do families, the need for estate planning has not been eliminated. There are still numerous reasons to develop a comprehensive estate plan and regularly update it.

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Topics: Estate and Trust Services, 2017 Federal Tax Reform

Estate and Trust Services: Why a CPA is Essential to Your Team (Video)

Posted by Tammie Yearwood on Tue, Feb 12, 2019

CPAs are best suited to evaluate the tax consequences of estate plans. Business owners and other high-net-worth individuals should strongly consider making or updating an estate plan to reduce estate taxes and ensure your assets are distributed according to your wishes.

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Topics: Estate and Trust Services

Estate Planning: How to Save Taxes using the Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax

Posted by Concannon Miller on Thu, Jan 10, 2019

Beneficial rules for the generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax are currently in force, which may allow you to pass on assets to future generations without a federal tax bill.

GST Tax Basics

When it comes to arranging for gifts and bequests to loved ones, most planning strategies focus on avoiding or minimizing the federal gift and estate taxes. Rightly so. But there's one more piece to the puzzle. It's called the generation skipping transfer tax. The GST tax is intended to snare those who would try to foil the federal gift and estate tax system by transferring wealth to persons more than one generation younger than themselves (typically grandchildren).

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Topics: Individual tax planning, Estate and Trust Services

Estate Planning: How to Set up a Private Foundation to Save Taxes

Posted by Concannon Miller on Tue, Dec 18, 2018

Are you interested in setting up a private foundation?

With this approach, you make contributions to a foundation and get a charitable tax deduction just as you would with any qualified organization. Then, as the director, you decide which charities you want to make distributions to so you retain control of the assets.

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Topics: Individual tax planning, Estate and Trust Services

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