Annual Gift Tax and Estate Tax Exclusions Are Increasing in 2022

The amount you can gift to any one person without filing a gift tax form is increasing to $16,000 in 2022, the first increase since 2018. The federal estate tax exclusion is also climbing to more than $12 million per individual. The IRS’s announcement that the annual gift exclusion will rise for calendar year 2022 means that any person who gives away $16,000 or less to any one individual (anyone other than their spouse) does not have to report the gift or gifts to the IRS. Any person who gives away more than $16,000 to any one person is required

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Why You May Need a Trust in Addition to a Power of Attorney

While everyone should have a durable power of attorney that appoints someone to act for them if they become incapacitated, in some circumstances it is not enough. In these cases, a revocable trust can help. A durable power of attorney allows you to appoint someone you trust to step in for you to handle financial and legal matters if you become incapacitated. We all are at risk of incapacity from illness or injury, whether temporary or permanent. Of course, this risk rises as we get older. Without someone in place to handle legal and financial matters, bills can go unpaid,

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You May Be Overestimating Your Social Security Benefits

Studies have found that workers overestimate how much they will receive in Social Security benefits when they retire. Having a good understanding of the realities can help you plan for retirement. Researchers from the University of Michigan studied the expectations of workers and found great uncertainty about future Social Security benefits as well as a tendency to overestimate the amount they think they will receive. Half of the workers surveyed in the study did not know their benefit amount. The average overestimation of the benefit was $307 a month, more than one-quarter of the average forecasted benefit. The study found that as

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How to Protect an IRA From Heirs’ Creditors

When a person declares bankruptcy, an individual retirement account (IRA) is one of the assets that is beyond the reach of creditors, but what about an IRA that has been inherited? Resolving a conflict between lower courts, the U.S. Supreme Court in 2014 unanimously ruled that funds held in an inherited IRA are not exempt from creditors in a bankruptcy proceeding because they are not really retirement funds. Clark v. Rameker (U.S., No. 13-299, June 13, 2014). This ruling had significant estate planning implications for those who intend to leave their IRAs to their children. If the child inherits the

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6 Things to Ask Before Agreeing to Be a Trustee

Being asked to serve as the trustee of the trust of a family member is a great honor. It means that the family member trusts your judgment and is willing to put the welfare of the beneficiary or beneficiaries in your hands.  But being a trustee is also a great responsibility. You need to go into it with your eyes wide open. Here are six questions to ask before saying “yes”: May I read the trust? The trust document is your instruction manual. It tells you what you should do with the funds or other property you will be entrusted to

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Trusts: Revocable Vs. Irrevocable

The Fundamentals of Trusts Trusts: A Powerful Tool for Protecting Wealth Despite what the term “trust fund baby” would suggest, trusts are not just for billionaires, celebrities, or old-money families. Trusts are a powerful tool for protecting wealth, both during life and following one’s passing, even for people of less-than-Vanderbilt means. When a trust is set up, wealth—be that cash, real estate, or other assets—is removed from the control and management of you, the grantor, and put under the fiduciary care of a third party, the trustee or trustees. A trustee may be an individual, individuals, or a financial institution.

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