4Thought Blog

4thought graphic - blog 2020

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

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

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