4Thought Blog

4thought graphic - blog 2020

Protect Your Estate Plan with a Power of Appointment

Posted by Concannon Miller on Tue, Oct 4, 2022

You've probably spent considerable time thinking about your estate plan and what objectives it should achieve.

Unfortunately, after you're gone, unanticipated events can thwart your best laid plans. But a "power of appointment" can provide your estate plan with flexibility and adaptability.

This is an estate plan provision that gives a designated beneficiary some control over some or all of your trust's property. Assuming this person fulfills the duties properly, he or she will have the discretion to change distributions from the trust or even add or subtract beneficiaries. Let's take a look.

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Topics: Estate and Trust Services

Making A Family Gift? New Estate Rules to Know

Posted by Tammie Yearwood on Tue, Sep 6, 2022

With holidays and end of year tax planning, the time around the new year is pretty popular for financial gifts.

There’s a recent tax court ruling that emphasizes the timing of the gift and when it is considered to be a completed gift; specifically when gifts are made by checks at the end of the year. The court recently ruled that gifts don’t count if the checks aren’t cashed.

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Topics: Estate and Trust Services

Estate Planning: How to Select an Executor, Trustee to Carry Out Your Wishes

Posted by Concannon Miller on Tue, Jul 12, 2022

There are several steps to creating and carrying out an estate plan — not all of which will fall on you.

For example, other people must act as your plan's executor and trust's trustee (although they can be the same person). Your responsibility is to name an executor and trustee (if you have a trust) that you know will faithfully follow your instructions and meet fiduciary duties.

Here are brief job descriptions and advice for choosing people to fill these critical roles.

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Topics: Estate and Trust Services

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

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