If your wealth is tied up in a closely held business, lack of liquidity can create estate planning challenges. Selling your business shares to an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) converts them into liquid assets. If the ESOP owns more than 30% of the company’s outstanding common stock immediately after the sale, you may be […]

Choosing the right executor (or “personal representative”) is critical to the smooth administration of an estate. Yet many people treat this decision as an afterthought. An executor’s duties may include taking inventory of the estate’s assets, filing the estate’s tax returns and paying its taxes, and handling creditors’ claims. A family member is a common […]

An IRA is a popular vehicle to save for retirement, and it can also be a powerful estate planning tool. Some people designate a trust as beneficiary of their IRAs, but is that a good idea? The answer: possibly. IRA benefits The benefit of an IRA is that your contributions can grow and compound on […]

If your estate includes forms of intellectual property (IP), such as patents and copyrights, it’s important to know what these intangible assets are worth and how they should be transferred to heirs. For the former, obtain an appraisal from a professional with experience valuing IP. For the latter, take into consideration not only the gift […]

Many people choose to pass assets to the next generation during life, whether to reduce the size of their taxable estate, to help out family members or simply to see their loved ones enjoy the gifts. If you’re considering lifetime gifts, be aware that which assets you give can affect the tax consequences. For example, […]

If you’re about to receive an inheritance and your net worth is already high, you might save gift and estate taxes by using a qualified disclaimer to refuse the bequest. The assets will then bypass your estate and go to the next beneficiary. Despite today’s large estate tax exemption, wealthier people still may have estate […]

If you dream of spending your golden years in a tropical paradise, a culture-rich European city or another foreign locale, it’s important to understand the potential tax and estate planning implications. If you don’t, you could be hit with some unpleasant surprises. Avoiding the pitfalls If you’re a citizen of the United States, U.S. taxes […]

An estate plan is effective only if you have some wealth to transfer to the next generation. One way to reduce investment risk is to diversify your holdings. But it’s not unusual for affluent people to end up with a significant portion of their wealth concentrated in one or two stocks. If you’ve been hesitant […]

The TCJA doubled the lifetime gift and estate tax exemption this year to an inflation-adjusted $11.18 million. But it can still pay to make lifetime gifts. First, gifting removes future appreciation from the estate, saving estate tax for taxpayers with very large estates. Second, the higher exemption isn’t permanent, so taxpayers who don’t have to worry […]