Monday, December 1, 2014

Estate And Gift Tax Exemption Announced For 2015

The government has announced the exemptions for gift, estate and generation skipping taxes for 2015. Under our current tax system, these exemptions are indexed and will increase each year. Take note, the exemptions for 2015 are set at $5,430,000. This means that even fewer people than ever will be subject to the federal estate or generation skipping transfer taxes.

Unfortunately, the present interest gift tax exclusion remains at $14,000 for 2015.

Here is an excellent article that discusses the 2015 numbers:

Estate And Gift Tax Exemption Announced For 2015 Gift Tax Annual Exclusion Remains Unchanged | Mitchell Silberberg:

'via Blog this'

Here are your takeaways from these 2015 exemption numbers:

1. The focus in estate planning will be less on estate tax reduction and on income tax and asset protection planning.

2. With the exemptions so high, your focus should be specifically on family issues and concerns. There is NO reason now to let the tax tail wag the family dog.

3. The high exemptions permit you to be creative and intuitive with your estate plan. No longer will what 'feels right for the family" be in conflict with sound estate tax planning.

4. Focus on protecting spouse and children and discuss with your estate planner how those protections work. Select the right mix of protections for your family.

These high exemptions are unprecedented in U.S. tax history. Will they be around permanently? That will entirely depend on politics as always. Stay tuned for more as any news develops on the federal tax exemption numbers.

Let us know your thoughts on this or any other estate planning issues of interest. Your contributions are always welcome. If you prefer to respond more privately, please send me an email. Thank you.

Bernie Greenberg

Monday, November 24, 2014

Holiday Time is Estate Planning Time

Happy Holidays!

Yes, it's that time of year again, it happens every year, the holidays are upon us with Thanksgiving this coming Thursday.

If you follow my articles you know that I have written many times about the holidays also being estate planning time. In this article, we'll explore how that happens.

Estate planning attorneys notice what times of year that clients want to discuss and do wills and their estate plans. I have tracked this for the past 33 years. Generally from near the end of October until the end of January is the time. That tracks exactly with the holidays.

I have asked many clients about this and always the same answers come back. "Well, the holidays are time for family, and in thinking about my family I want to make sure they are protected, so let's get that estate plan done". There are many variations on this theme, yet the theme is always the same.

This is why I say, holidays = family time and family time = estate planning time. This led to a series of articles I began years ago about gifts we give at the holidays. The best gift of all we can give to our families is the gift of peace and security and the best way to give that gift is through your estate plan. You may notice me asking every year if you have given the gift of a current estate plan to your family. In fact, I'll ask you again here, have you given your family the gift of a current will or estate plan?

Since so few adults in the U.S. have a current will or estate plan, it is my goal to motivate people to protect themselves and families through the gift of estate planning.

What besides family do the holidays make you think about? Let us know and please join our conversation by commenting or by sending us an email. We wish you and your families the happiest of Thanksgivings this and every year.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Identity Theft After Death!

How To Prevent Identity Theft After Death:

As con-artists and scammers search for new targets, they have extended their nefarious activities to our deceased loved ones and friends. Identity theft of people who have died is now not just limited to Chicago, it is a world wide problem.

Estate planning attorneys offer several steps to clients to help avoid and prevent identity theft. When you are working with your estate planning attorney, make sure you cover this topic.

This article: How to Prevent After Death ID Theft published by the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys has several important and effective steps to follow.

Let us know your thoughts by joining our conversation on estate planning topics and issues. Your contribution is welcome.

Thank you.

Bernie Greenberg