By Philip Kavesh, Attorney
You can update your will to reflect tax changes or the court may do it for you.
Americans are willing to eliminate the estate tax, reducing taxes for the rich, but they also want the rich to pay more taxes.
Social Security retirement benefits are sometimes taxable.
Identity thieves not only steal credit cards in victims' names, they often file fraudulent tax returns in hopes of receiving refunds. The IRS has changed its policy and it should become less difficult to learn the truth.
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.
With the holiday season on the horizon, the end of year financial season has arrived. It's time to deal with money issues relating to income tax planning, charitable giving and scams and the annual check up on family finances. There is not too much in the way of tax drama in the final weeks of the year, with no major legislation being passed, but a few popular tax provisions are still undecided. Congress needs to act soon to extend these favorites, which include a higher education tuition and fees deduction, a mortgage debt forgiveness exclusion and a classroom expense deduction for teachers
With every state seeking additional revenue and every candidate seeking additional votes, estate taxes have become part of many politicians' platforms. Most of us pay more attention to estate taxes on the federal level, but estate taxes on the state and federal level have changed a lot in recent years. Not everyone is clear on how these changes apply to them and their estate planning. Key point to keep in mind - state and federal taxes are very different from one another. The bottom line: everything you own, including the face value of insurance policies where you are an owner, gets taxed. The federal estate tax exemption is $5 million, and federal estate tax of approximately 35% is levied on any estate valued at more than $5 million. Using the "portability" feature, any married person can pass along any unused portion of their $5 million to their spouse.
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.
While few of us ever feel that we have enough money for retirement, strategies to help ensure that your nest egg lives longer than you do are addressed in The Boston Globe article, "Can you afford to live to 100?"