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By Keith Grissom on November 20, 2018 at 10:40 AM

Calculator on top of a tax return, focused on the charitable giving portion of the form.The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 brought a myriad of changes to the tax law, including for individual taxpayers. While certain deductions that were available to individuals have now been limited — e.g., the $10,000 limit on the state and local income tax (SALT) deduction — the standard deduction has increased to $24,000 for a married couple filing jointly and $12,000 for single filers. In 2017, the standard deduction was $12,700 for a married couple filing jointly and $6,350 for single filers.

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By Keith Grissom on November 8, 2018 at 11:50 PM

One small, pink piggy bank next to a larger, white piggy bankRecent changes to Missouri law could make it easier for trustees to terminate “uneconomic” trusts.

Sometimes the cost of administration of an existing trust outweighs the justification for continuing to hold assets in the trust. This may be especially true if there is a corporate trustee and the beneficiaries have no estate tax, creditor, or divorce concerns. For such a situation, Missouri law provides a mechanism by which a trust may be terminated in the discretion of the trustee, without having to go to court, if the total value of trust property is under a certain dollar limit. If the total value of trust property is below the limit and the trustee concludes that the value of the trust property is insufficient to justify the cost of administration, the trustee may terminate the trust after providing notice to certain beneficiaries.

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By Keith Grissom on November 5, 2018 at 2:50 PM

Stack of coins increasing from left to right with a man behind them holding a calculatorThe IRS announced cost-of-living increases for various retirement-related accounts on Nov.1, 2018. These changes for 2019 include:

  • The contribution limit for employees who participate in 401(k), 403(b), most 457 plans, and the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan is increased from $18,500 to $19,000.
  • The limit on annual contributions to an IRA is increased from $5,500 to $6,000. The additional “catch-up” contributions limit for individuals age 50 and over remains at $1,000.
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By Keith Grissom on August 29, 2018 at 10:20 AM

Jar of money with another jar labeled "tax"Traditionally, due to lower estate tax exemption amounts, many married couples would use bypass trusts or credit shelter trusts as part of a typical estate plan. For example, on the death of the first spouse, assets in that spouse’s revocable trust would be allocated to a bypass trust (frequently referred to in the trust document as a family trust) up to the amount of the deceased spouse’s remaining estate tax exemption, with the balance allocated to a marital trust for the surviving spouse. The bypass trust would not only pass estate tax free at the first spouse’s death, but would also be outside of (i.e., bypass) the surviving spouse’s taxable estate at death. In addition, the bypass trust assets might continue from generation to generation without being subject to any additional “transfer taxes” like the generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax, if GST exemption was allocated to the trust. This type of planning continues to provide a variety of benefits.

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By Keith Grissom on January 4, 2018 at 9:45 AM

A man and woman reviewing finances, writing on a pad of paper with a laptop in front of them.

It is common for clients to have established a long-lasting relationship with one or more investment advisors over their lifetime. This relationship is so strong that in their eventual demise, they would like for the advisor to continue to provide services for the client’s assets that may be held in trust for successive generations. However, at the same time, the client may recognize that the most appropriate person to make decisions with respect to distributions, and matters other than investment decisions, is a corporate trustee. Commonly, the investment advisor cannot serve as trustee even if naming an individual is desirable.

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By Keith Grissom on November 3, 2017 at 12:47 PM

U.S. Capitol BuildingOn Nov. 2, 2017, House Republicans released their long-awaited tax reform bill called “The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.” The bill contains sweeping changes in a variety of areas and expands upon, and in some cases changes, what was included in the “Unified Framework for Fixing Our Broken Tax Code,” released in September 2017 (discussed here).

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By Keith Grissom on September 29, 2017 at 2:32 PM

Metal wheel with the words "tax reform" on itThe Trump Administration, along with the Senate Committee on Finance and the House Committee on Ways and Means, on Sept. 27, 2017, released the “Unified Framework for Fixing Our Broken Tax Code.” The framework is a consolidation of earlier proposals including the 2018 budget plan and the one-page memo previously released, as well as the Tax Reform Tax Force Blueprint released by House Republicans in 2016.

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By Garrett Reuter, Jr., Keith Grissom on September 27, 2017 at 11:52 AM

Toy house sitting on top of a calculator with a pencil and papers next to it.In many cases, determining the beneficiaries of your estate plan is simple. If your spouse survives you, your assets go to your spouse. If your spouse doesn’t survive you, your assets are split equally among your children. But choosing who will ultimately receive your assets and in what proportions is only part of the process. Another part of it is deciding how the beneficiaries receive those assets.

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By Keith Grissom on June 1, 2017 at 3:54 PM

Question mark surrounded by dollar symbolsOn May 23, 2017, the Trump administration released its fiscal year 2018 budget, titled “A New Foundation for American Greatness.” In it, the administration provides another glimpse at its intentions regarding the future of the estate tax.

In the section titled “How to Make Things Right: New Policies for Jobs and Growth and New Spending Priorities,” it provides, in part, that,

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By Keith Grissom on March 20, 2017 at 10:30 AM

Clock with words "tax time"As a result of legislation enacted in 2015, the filing deadlines for certain tax returns due in 2017 have changed. Congress included tax return due date legislation as a revenue provision in the Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015. The legislation, signed into law in July 2015, made changes to certain tax return due dates generally effective for tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2015, making the changes applicable to 2016 tax returns filed in 2017.

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