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By Keith Herman on November 26, 2018 at 1:20 PM

Piggy bank sitting on top of a pile of tax return papersWith an estate tax exemption of $11.18 million in 2018 (rising to $11.4 million in 2019), estate planning has been turned on its head. For most people, estate taxes are no longer an issue, and the increased exemption provides options for reducing capital gains taxes. For those families with estates over $22.8 million, the new gift/estate tax exemption provides additional opportunities for estate tax planning.

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By Keith Herman on April 27, 2018 at 1:35 PM

$100 bills sticking out of a white and red gift boxOn December 22, 2017, President Trump signed into law what is commonly known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (2017 Act). The 2017 Act increased the estate, gift, and generation-skipping (GST) transfer tax exemptions to $10 million, indexed for inflation ($11.18 million for 2018), and retained the estate/gift/GST tax rates of 40 percent. The gift tax exemption is now significantly larger than it has ever been, and larger than it was ever expected to be. Below are 10 things to consider in determining whether to make a gift to take advantage of the existing $11.18 million gift tax exemption. In addition to the tax benefits, making a gift during your lifetime allows your children or other beneficiaries to benefit from the gift, and you will also benefit by seeing them enjoy it.

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By Keith Herman on March 1, 2018 at 1:52 PM

Jar of money with a sign on it that says "tax" - showing tax savingsSimilar to individuals, trusts normally pay federal and state income taxes. In 2018, the highest federal rate of 37 percent only applies to single individuals if they have more than $500,000 of income and to married couples filing jointly if they have more than $600,000 of income. However, a trust will be in the highest federal tax bracket if it has more than $12,500 of income. (The maximum long-term capital gains and qualified dividends rate is now 20 percent for trusts with more than $12,700 of income.)

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By Andrew Wolkiewicz, Keith Herman on January 31, 2018 at 10:54 AM

Paper house and calculator on top of a book, showing estate planningOn Dec. 22, 2017, President Trump signed into law what is commonly known as the Tax Reform and Jobs Act of 2017 (2017 Act). As explained in more detail below, the 2017 Act increased the estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax exemptions. This legislation expires at the end of 2025 and the tax laws will revert to where they stood prior to the 2017 Act unless Congress makes additional changes before then.

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By Keith Herman on December 20, 2017 at 1:12 PM

Clock and calendar, showing time passingAs the year draws to an end, now is a good time to review your existing tax situation and estate planning in general. More specifically, this is also a good time to look at your annual gifting strategies in order to avoid missing some important tax opportunities.

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By Keith Herman on August 23, 2016 at 10:26 AM

Holding hands, parent and childA good friend of mine called me in a panic the other day. She and her husband were leaving town for vacation and were worried about not having their estate plan in order. She asked how to name guardians for their four minor children, should she and her husband die.

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By Keith Herman on May 4, 2016 at 9:13 AM

Parents will never stop worrying about their children, and when it comes to the people your children date, emotions always run high. Thankfully, there is something you can do to protect your hard-earned money from your children's spouses, or potential ex-spouses. 

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