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By Jennifer Davis on July 15, 2020 at 11:00 AM

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many people to think pragmatically about the possibility that they or their loved ones might fall ill. Having an estate plan in place can ensure that your wishes are honored and your loved ones are taken care of in the event of your incapacity or death.

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By Keith Grissom, Jennifer Davis, Elizabeth Pack on July 13, 2020 at 5:00 PM

This is the first in a blog series on opportunities for tax planning in the current uncertain, low-interest rate environment. Future installments will cover one-time and annual gifting, making or refinancing loans, creating Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts, family limited partnerships and limited liability companies, installment sales to defective grantor trusts, and charitable giving.

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March 31, 2020 at 10:00 AM

This is the fourth in a four-part blog series on the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act (SECURE Act). The first three installments can be read here.

An area of estate planning that is impacted by the changes in the recently enacted SECURE Act is the use of qualified charitable distributions (“QCDs”). A QCD is a distribution from an IRA (up to $100,000 per year, per individual) made directly to an eligible charity.

Those 70½ and older may continue to make QCDs to public charities. A QCD will count toward an individual’s RMD requirement and generally will not trigger an income tax on distribution. While the age to begin taking RMDs was raised to 72 under the SECURE Act, the age to make QCDs remains unchanged at 70½. Because QCDs are not included in income, they are typically more tax-efficient than taking a charitable deduction.

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March 18, 2020 at 2:00 PM

Protecting piggy bankThis is the third in a four-part blog series on the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act (SECURE Act). Parts 1 and 2 can be read here. The final installment will cover how the SECURE Act affects Qualified Charitable Deductions.

As discussed in previous installments of this blog series, after the death of a retirement plan participant or IRA owner, non-eligible designated beneficiaries of a retirement account (other than a Roth) will experience an acceleration of taxable income and the loss of tax-deferred growth that was available before the recently enacted SECURE Act. This is due to the elimination of the life expectancy, or stretch, payout. If it is important to you to minimize the additional future income tax caused by the 10-year payout, there are several items worth considering.

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March 9, 2020 at 9:00 AM

This is the second in a four-part blog series on the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act (SECURE Act). Part 1, an overview of the act’s key provisions, can be read here. Future installments will cover minimizing the tax burden of the act’s 10-year payout and how it affects Qualified Charitable Deductions.

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March 2, 2020 at 10:30 AM

This is the first in a four-part blog series on the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act (SECURE Act). Future installments will cover more details on the impact of the SECURE Act on estate plans, minimizing the tax burden of the act’s 10-year payout, and how it affects Qualified Charitable Deductions.

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By Garrett Reuter, Jr. on February 4, 2020 at 10:30 AM

"March 5" displayed on wooden blocksHow many times have you prepared your income tax returns for the previous year, only wishing you knew then what you know now, so you could go back and make more advantageous tax decisions? In most cases, you are stuck with the decisions you made before the new tax year began, even though you may not have all the relevant tax information available to assist with those decisions until several months into the new tax year. Too bad for you, says the IRS, unless you are an estate or trust.

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By Keith Grissom on July 8, 2019 at 3:10 PM

Dollar bill being stretchedOn May 23, 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives, by a vote of 417 to 3, passed legislation called Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019, or the SECURE Act. This legislation, if passed by the Senate and signed by the president, will cause significant changes for retirement planning, many of which are positive, but it also includes aspects that could have a big impact on estate planning.

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By Garrett Reuter, Jr. on February 21, 2019 at 9:35 AM

Women turning back the hands of a clockHow many times have you prepared your income tax returns for the previous year, only wishing you knew then what you know now, so you could go back and make more advantageous tax decisions? In most cases, you are stuck with the decisions you made before the new tax year began, even though you may not have all of the relevant tax information available to assist with those decisions until several months into the new tax year. Too bad for you, says the IRS, unless you are an estate or trust.

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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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