4Thought Blog

4thought graphic - blog 2020

Remarried? Know Your Spouse’s Estate Property Rights

Posted by Concannon Miller on Thu, May 19, 2022

In nearly every U.S. state, property rights including estate rights — apply to spouses, whether the marriage is a first or subsequent marriage.

Although the laws are complex and can vary dramatically from state to state, you should at least review your estate plan if you've remarried to help ensure your assets will go where you intend.

Here's an overview of how states regard estate plan provisions — and what you can control.

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Topics: Estate and Trust Services

Estate Planning: Should You Use Your Trust to Make Charitable Gifts?

Posted by Concannon Miller on Thu, Mar 31, 2022

If philanthropy is important to you, you probably make regular charitable deductions. You may also have established a nongrantor trust.

Such trusts can help you make charitable gifts that provide greater tax benefits than you'd receive for individual donations. Of course, you don't give to charity simply for the tax deductions.

But there's nothing wrong with getting the most bang for your buck. Here's how individual and trust donations differ — and how their differences can guide you in making charitable giving decisions.

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Topics: Estate and Trust Services

Intrafamily Trust Loans: Tips to Reducing Gift, Estate Taxes

Posted by Concannon Miller on Thu, Jan 27, 2022

Even though there are signs that interest rates are likely to rise in the near future, they remain low for now. This means that the benefits of making intrafamily loans remain compelling. Not only can you assist loved ones with favorable terms, but you may be able to reduce gift and estate taxes.

The good news is that you may not need liquid assets to make a loan. If you've established a trust, your beneficiaries may be able to borrow from it.

However, there are rules (for example, your trust must allow loans) and you should evaluate the decision with the help of a professional advisor. Here's some basic information about trust loans.

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Topics: Estate and Trust Services

How to Maximize the Annual Gift Tax Exclusion in 2021

Posted by Concannon Miller on Thu, Dec 2, 2021

The holidays often inspire a spirit of generosity. So, at year end, many people decide to give money or assets to their loved ones.

Over time, lifetime gifts can also be an effective way for wealthy people to minimize their taxable estates. Here are the basic federal tax rules for these transactions.

Beware: Quite a few states impose estate or inheritance tax at a lower threshold than the federal government does. So it's also important to understand the rules in your state to avoid an unexpected tax liability or other unintended consequences of an asset transfer.

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Topics: Estate and Trust Services

The Pros & Cons of Joint Ownership in Estate Planning

Posted by Concannon Miller on Tue, Aug 24, 2021

Estate planners often tout the virtues of owning property jointly — and with good reason. Joint ownership generally offers several advantages for surviving family members.

But this shouldn't be viewed as a panacea for every estate planning concern. You must also be aware of all the implications.

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Topics: Estate and Trust Services

How Buy-Sell Agreements Can Promote Business Owners’ Estate Plan Objectives

Posted by Concannon Miller on Tue, Aug 3, 2021

If you own a business, you're probably familiar with the protections provided by buy-sell agreements. But do you know how important these documents can be to an estate plan?

Because buy-sell agreements specify whether, and under what circumstances, owners' interests may be transferred, they can help you control the ultimate disposition of your business and achieve other important estate and succession planning goals.

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Topics: Succession planning, Business Valuation, Estate and Trust Services

Exhausted Your Gift Tax Exemption? Consider a Net Gift

Posted by Concannon Miller on Thu, Jul 15, 2021

Net gifts are gifts of money, property or assets for which the giver agrees to pay the gift tax — thus reducing the value of the gift for tax purposes. It can be appealing if you've exhausted your lifetime gift tax exemption.

Another option is the "net, net gift," which can enable you to finance your gift recipient's tax liability so that he or she receives the full amount. Let's take a look.

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Topics: Estate and Trust Services

Family Business: Why You Should Hold an Estate Plan Meeting

Posted by Concannon Miller on Tue, Jan 26, 2021

If you're a business owner and a high-net-worth individual, you may want to gather your family members together to discuss the details of your estate plan.

This can be especially important if you own a business that employs family members. These meetings are a little like the Scottish clan gatherings held hundreds of years ago by clan chiefs to discuss their succession and inheritance plans.

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Topics: Succession planning, Estate and Trust Services

Act Now Before Year End for Best Estate Planning Opportunities

Posted by Tammie Yearwood on Fri, Oct 30, 2020

The election might bring about a lot of changes, especially to the current federal tax laws.

One of the potential biggest impacts would be on estate planning, so if you’re looking to transition wealth to the next generation, now is the time to do so.

The current lifetime gift tax exemption amount is $11.58 million dollars per individual, which is the highest it has ever been. It’s scheduled to sunset at the end of 2025 and revert back to a $5 million exemption level, adjusted for inflation, but that timeline could be shortened depending on the results of the election or other future congressional action.

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Topics: Estate and Trust Services

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

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