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Inheritances Inevitably Lead to Tax Consequences: Irrevocable Trusts Basics

Taxes and inheritance issues go together like Halloween and trick or treating. Tax planning is a critical part of estate planning, and families who wish to transfer assets from one generation to the next need to prepare for both aspects, as settling an estate can easily become quite complicated. Many estate plans include the use of irrevocable trusts. There are some basics that heirs need to know if they are beneficiaries of these trusts.

Reducing or Eliminating Estate Taxes: Smart Strategies

Will you be leaving substantial assets to your heirs? Then you are probably concerned about estate taxes and the bite they'll take out of your multi-million dollar estate. Not to mention state taxes that your heirs may have to pay. Our contributors have a few savvy strategies that can help lower your estate tax burden.

Your Gift May Have Strings Attached: IRS Form 709

Technically speaking, whenever you give a gift to someone, you have to follow the gift-tax rules. You don't have to file a gift tax return every time you give someone a birthday present or a bouquet of roses, but it's useful to know when the gift tax - embodied in IRS' Form 709 - needs to be dealt with. It's better to know the rules and follow them than to have to deal with the IRS with an unexpected tax.

Bill Wurst Leaves Millions to his Alma Mater MSU

Bill Wurst, a 1959 alumnus in electrical engineering left $4 million to the MSU College of Engineering as a gift from his estate. The gift was designated for the greatest needs of the college, giving the family and the college the flexibility to apply it where it would do the most good. Wurst had spoken with the alumni foundation's senior director about the gift in 2011. The funds will be used as matching funds for the university's planned Norm Asbjornson Innovation Center.

Keeping Estate Plans Current Protects Family Businesses

Whether it's a farm or a manufacturing facility, family businesses are a key part of the global economy. Family business owners are not always very good about keeping their estate plans up to date. Circumstances change: the value of the business may grow or shrink, relationships within the family may change, and tax laws change. Failing to update the family business's estate plan can lead to financial disaster. Legacies built up for generations can come apart in the span of one generation when planning is not done properly or kept up-to-date.

Give Money Now - Or Later?

For those who are fortunate to enjoy their retirement and have enough money to leave behind, they might be wondering whether it is best to leave an inheritance or gift their assets? Although the percentage of taxes owed on gifts and inheritance is the same, one is inclusive and one is exclusive, and the dollar difference between the two is huge.

House of Representatives Passes Bills Concerning Gift and Estate Taxes

The U.S. House of Representatives this week passed a bill to provide gift tax certainty to individuals who make gifts to 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations, 501(c)(5) labor unions, and 501(c)(6) trade associations. In a related move, the House also passed a bill to repeal the federal estate tax (H.R. 1105, the "Death Tax Repeal Act").

Charitable Gifts: It's All in the Delivery ... At Least for Tax Purposes

With the holiday season in full swing, 'tis the season to review date of delivery rules for charitable gifts, which determine the date that the gift was made and affect the tax consequences of the gift. Here are the general rules for determining date of delivery for some types of property when given as a gift.

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