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To Convert Or Not To Convert: Roth IRAs

November 20, 2014

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 1:37 pm

Any decisions you make about converting your Roth IRA should be evaluated in light of taxes and your entire estate plan. You need to consider three primary concerns before electing to convert your Roth IRA.

Concern #1: Are You Getting the Most Out of Your IRA?

If you do some advance planning, a Roth conversion can benefit multiple generations, especially if you have a spouse. If  your spouse decides that he or she doesn’t need the assets inside the Roth because there are other forms of support, then the second spouse could disclaim receiving those benefits and hand it over to future generations. In this case, children or grandchildren would have the required distributions based on their life expectancy, allowing for a lot of tax-free growth.

Source: SaveUp

Source: SaveUp

Concern #2: Are You Going to Outlive Your Roth?

The primary reasons to consider a Roth conversion are to reduce the size of your taxable estate and to pass on assets tax-free. Although you can’t entirely predict longevity, you can make some estimations about your spending, your lifestyle, and your net worth. This can give you a clear picture of how you might spend down a Roth and what other assets would remain in your estate. It may be worth your time to wait for conversions until you’re no longer working and in a lower tax bracket, for example.

Concern #3: Are You Going To Gift it To Charity?

Since charities don’t have to cough up income taxes on received donations, a traditional IRA is a better gift to charity than a Roth. If you would like to maximize a gift to charity, opting to convert to a Roth could actually be the wrong move.

When you have specific estate planning concerns, you need guidance from professionals who understand the tax ramifications of your decisions. To walk through tax-saving strategies specific to your situation, contact us today at




Protecting Inherited Assets in Divorce

November 19, 2014

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 9:24 pm

Divorce generates a lot of difficult questions about property division, but one of the most challenging questions you don’t want to have to consider is whether you may lose some of your inherited assets. Even though some states may not consider assets inherited by one party as jointly-owned marital property by both parties, you can take some preventive steps to protect these assets.



There are three key steps you can take to protect your inherited interests in light of divorce:


  • Keep copies of all documents related to the assets. Anything that shows the property was intended only for you, and not for you and your spouse, is important. If you have a letter from the person who passed the property on to you, add this to your copy arsenal. The more solid evidence you have that this property was intended for ownership by you alone, the better.
  • Don’t mix inherited money with accounts that are linked to your spouse as well. Park your inheritance in a separate investment or bank account. This helps to support the idea that the inherited money was not intended for the use of both spouses. Likewise, keep the titles in your name only, especially if you’ve been gifted an inheritance for the purchase of a specific item, like a home.
  • Consider a prenuptial agreement. If you want to help protect inherited assets like property, money, or businesses, a prenuptial agreement is one all-encompassing approach to shielding these assets. Make sure there is a clause specifically explaining that a spouse has no right to inherited assets in the event of a divorce.

Advance planning is the best approach to protecting inherited assets from becoming a target during your divorce. Contact our office for assistance at 732-521-9455 for more details.

Does Moving Influence Your Estate Plan?

November 18, 2014

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 3:47 pm

In the midst of a crazy move, no one will blame you if you forget about the possible impact on your estate plan. Once you’ve settled and begun the long process of opening boxes and hunting for items that you are sure you have packed but have seemingly disappeared into a black hole, you’ll want to add “update estate planning” to your to do list.

Home For Sale Sign in Front of New House.

Source: Realty Times

If you’re relocating to another state, you definitely want to consider ensuring that your will is valid in a new state. If your new state has different estate tax laws, your estate plan from your old home may not be properly maximized. Finally, you’ll want to look into the community property laws of your new state, too.

If you’re relocating to another country, it becomes even trickier to determine the laws that you need to comply with. As you can see from just a few examples, moving can generate a lot of questions about your existing estate plan and it’s very likely that you’ll need to update documents. Do this under the guidance of an experienced estate planning attorney who can review your situation to maximize asset protection and minimize taxes. Contact our planning specialists today at

Single Member LLC’s: Opening Exposure to Veil Piercing

November 17, 2014

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 9:29 pm

A recent decision from the Wyoming Supreme Court highlights the dangers of having a single member LLC. Known as “veil piercing”, when an LLC is not properly protected, the parties to it can have their assets exposed to debt collectors and creditors.

Source: LH

Source: LH

Although the basic idea behind an LLC is protecting private assets from business debt collectors, more courts are generating cause for concern about exactly this reason because they, like the Wyoming Supreme Court, are finding just the opposite. This idea of limited liability is often a primary reason that an investor opts to choose the LLC format. Not wanting to expose his or her personal assets to risk is a critical reason that an investor takes that initial leap and confidently launched a business. No one would jump into the sometimes murky waters of business without calculating the cost of the investment in terms of potential profit and risks.

Thankfully, there are a few steps you can take under an experienced tax and planning attorney that will help limit the opportunities any creditors have to pierce the veil. Ensure that the legal requirements and all formalities are addressed by the LLC in addition to remaining compliant with the IRS. Avoid commingling of accounts where possible.

Asset protection planning and having multi-member LLCs is another wise option that can help to limit some of your personal exposure to risk in a business venture. Trusts, holding companies, and even retirement plans might also factor into your strategies. Contact our office today to learn more at


Key Questions When Putting Together the Powers Clause of a Will

November 14, 2014

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 1:30 pm

A will typically has many different clauses within it that your attorney will walk you through during the drafting process. The most common clauses are an introduction, a debts section, taxes, tangible personal property, real estate, specific bequests, residuary, powers, the appointment of fiduciaries, signing, attestation, and other clauses. In this blog post, we’ll focus specifically on some key questions to consider for the powers clause. shutterstock_112255724

The first question to consider is whether the will should include independent executor details, which means that an executor is given operation powers outside Probate Court supervision. Including this in your will can allow things to move forward much more quickly, but it must be expressly outlined in the will in order to be valid.

With regard to executors and trustees, other important questions include:

  • Do these individuals have any liability limitations?
  • Are there any power limitations for their actions?
  • If there a business to be handled by the executor, is the executor able to continue operating it?
  • What are the benefits or disadvantages associated with naming a bank or similar institution as the executor?

Working with an experienced estate planning team is a crucial step to ensure that you have addressed all of these questions and crafted a will that is not only valid but works to carry out your own wishes. Contact our office for will development and review by emailing

Gun Trusts: A Basic for a Smooth Collection Transfer

November 13, 2014

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 9:06 pm

While there are many resources out there to help you plan for the future of more typical assets, like stock and pond portfolios, it’s just as important to be clear about the best way to pass on the legacy of personal item collections, too. In the blog, we’ve previously talked about some ideas regarding management of an art collection, but what about guns? Gun

Passing down your collection of firearms can be tricky, but placing them inside a revocable living trust might be the best option for you. In this situation, the gun owner serves as the trustee. A revocable living trust can be a good choice for items that are federally-restricted, like silencers. Doing so can help to eliminate some of the paperwork associated with owning and transferring these kinds of assets. While these can accomplish the goal of reducing red tape, a revocable living trust is also growing in popularity as a way to handle the gun collection belonging to a deceased loved one.

Serving as the owner and trustee of your trust works while you are still alive, but it’s very prudent to establish a successor trustee who is also familiar with federal and state laws related to firearms in addition to some of the more care-specific concerns like storage. When done this way, you have the assurance that a knowledgeable individual is taking over the collectio management if something happens to you.

There are many different assets you might consider placing in a revocable trust- contact our planners at Shah & Associates to discuss your unique needs by reaching out via email to



Inflation Adjustments Impact 2015 Tax Benefits

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 2:21 pm


Source: YSMM

The Internal Revenue Service recently announced inflation adjustments that will have an impact on more than 40 tax provisions. Some of the key impacts are worth noting for those who are engaged in the tax planning process. It’s critical to stay involved in your tax planning with reviews on at least a yearly basis simply because of the possible changes handed down from the federal level.

Although it’s a good guideline to always be in touch with strategies that could help maximize your assets and minimize taxes, check in with your tax planning specialist toward the end of the year so that your plans are structured appropriately for any incoming changes for the forthcoming tax year.

Here are some of the most relevant changes that could influence your planning tactics:

  • For decedents who pass away during 2015, their estate will have a basic exclusion amount set at $5,430,000, an increase from $5,340,000.
  • The annual gift exclusion remains the same, sitting at $14,000.
  • Non-U.S. citizen spouses can benefit from an adjustment in the exclusion from tax on a spousal gift, since that is up to $147,000 from $145,000.

There’s never been a better time to discuss your current planning strategies and have them evaluated to best meet your needs. For a comprehensive review of your tax-saving strategies or a discussion about how to get started, contact Shah & Associates at 732-521-9455.

End of Year Tax Question Roundup: Are Estate Planning Fees Deductible?

November 12, 2014

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 6:45 pm

As we climb closer to the end of the year, many people are concerned with increasing tax deductible expenses. One of the common questions involves whether estate planning fees are deductible for income tax purposes. The short answer is that these can be deductible, but that it depends.


Estate planning fees are deductible if the purpose of the estate planning meets one of the following criteria:

  • The collection or production of income
  • Management, maintenance, or conservation of property that is held for the purpose of income production
  • Tax planning and tax advice


The above three bullet points are examples of miscellaneous itemized deductions but the fees associated with the estate planning are subjected to a 2% AGI (adjusted gross income) floor. Personal legal expenses, like legal costs to prepare a will, are not deductible. The same goes for basic powers of attorney and medical directives. If you’re putting together comprehensive plans with credit trusts to reduce estate taxes and revocable trusts to avoid probate, however, these can be tax deductible.

You’ll want to discuss the specifics about what portion of your estate planning fee is tax deductible, but doing so can help reduce what you owe in personal income taxes. Contact the professionals at Shah & Associates to get a jump start on your tax planning and earn that tax deduction by emailing us for an appointment at



Childless Couple? You Need Estate Planning, Too

November 10, 2014

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 8:32 pm

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you can skip out on essential estate planning just because you don’t have children. As a partner in a married couple, you still have two main concerns to address with estate planning: creating a power of attorney and determining how you want property transferred if something happens to you.

Source: Sodahead

Source: Sodahead

If something happens to you, you probably want your spouse or another individual to take over the responsibility of managing your affairs. Although these are difficult questions to ask, you need to be prepared for the event of incapacitation, and estate planning can help you address your affairs management.

If you don’t have a will or trust to handle what happens to your property, state law takes over. This can have the negative impact of passing on your wealth the way that state law wants and not the way you want. As an owner of assets, it’s likely that you have some input over what you’d like to happen to your assets, and that’s why it’s critical to figure out how the transfer of your property can happen. If there are not other family members who you would like to inherit the assets, it might be worthwhile to discuss your options, anyways.

It’s possible that you can help minimize the estate taxes faced by the remaining spouse, but you may want to look into giving over some of those assets to charity, too. Either way, put yourself in the driver’s seat on estate planning and be sure you have articulated your wishes.

There are multiple tools that may be relevant in the estate planning scenario of a couple without children. To learn more about structuring your future no matter what your circumstances, contact our office for a consultation at

Holiday Review: Gifting and Gift Taxes

November 7, 2014

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 2:29 pm

With the holidays right around the corner, many people are thinking about giving gifts but also about tying up their charitable donations as the tax year winds to an end. It’s important to understand what kinds of gifts you can pass along without there being tax consequences. This is helpful not just as a reminder for holiday gift-giving, though, but for your long term awareness of what saves on taxes and what does not.

Bear in mind that gifts to individuals are not like charitable donations- there are no income tax deductions for gifts that you pass on to other individuals. However, these can be a good tool to pass on investment income away from you and into the hands of family members that are in lower tax brackets. There’s a side benefit related to your estate, too. Passing on gifts to others can minimize the value of your estate that will be taxed at death.


Factor in gift taxes whenever you’re passing on cash and playing Santa, though. For the most part, the gift tax is a high enough value that it doesn’t pose problems for many individuals. Annual exclusions for an individual are $14,000, and this is double for a married couple. And it doesn’t matter if you’re contributing the entire $28,000 or whether you and your spouse are splitting this gift to one person- the exclusion protects you all ways around.

Some people have the misconception that they can only give away up to $14,000 per year, but this is on a per-year, per-person basis. If you wanted to, you could pass on the individual or married couple amount to each of your grandchildren, children, other relatives,or friends.

If you’re intrigued by what other strategies can aid in your long-term planning, contact our estate planning professionals today at



Fast Facts: Inheriting Books

November 4, 2014

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 4:29 pm


Rare books? Might want to be sure they’re listed in your will.

When a loved one passes away, there are many valuables or assets that might be specially reference in the will or other estate planning documents, but inheriting a library can raise a lot of questions for you. If you’re not a book collector yourself, it can be confusing to determine what books are rare or not and just how much time you should spend on figuring out what to do with the books.

If you make a bulk donation, though, you might miss out on some rare library gem that you’d like to keep in the family or sell. If you think there are rare books in the collection you’ve inherited, it could be worth the time to identify those special books and make your own decisions about how to handle them.

Thankfully, there are several sites that can make your search easier. You can begin by sorting the books you know you want to keep or give away and make a special pile of those you want to research further. This will help you make the most of your time.

The following sites can be helpful when you’re searching for book values. To make sure you’re accessing the right information, always use the ISBN as opposed to the title or author so that you are comparing apples to apples.


If you think there are numerous titles that you can’t handle, contact a rare books specialist to help you determine the value of what you’re looking at. An experienced dealer can also clue you in to factors like possible damage or covers that could alter the actual value of the item.

If you’ve got rare books in your own collection, consider listing them for your estate plan. It will make life easier on your heirs in the event that you have a large library. To learn more about estate planning for unique assets, contact our office today at



Credit Shelter Trusts: Do I Need One?

November 3, 2014

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 5:47 pm

Credit shelter trusts have a history of popular use with married couples because at its basis, this trust protects assets up to the federal estate tax and gift tax exclusion in order to be taxed under the first spouse’s estate. When that spouse passes away, the assets stay in the trust in order to benefit the surviving spouse. When the second spouse passes away, the assets are not taxed because they are protected under the unlimited marital deduction. Without the use of this credit shelter trust, the gift and estate tax credits for the first spouse wouldn’t benefit the other spouse, leaving the second spouse’s assets subject to higher tax on death.


This concept is known as portability and it was made permanent through the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. For those married couples with smaller or medium sized estates, credit shelter trusts can still be a valuable asset.

There are several distinct benefits to this concept of portability. To start with, it makes planning easier for married couples. There’s no real added steps that the couple has to take in order to take advantage of portability. There’s no need to create testamentary trusts when portability is accomplished. Doing this also eliminates the need for considering major tax consequences of which spouse dies first.

Credit shelter trusts are also relatively easy to administer. The surviving spouse retains control over the assets and the executor doesn’t have to consider the best approach to to trust funding. It’s important to note, though, that tax returns still need to be filed in order for the portability to be protected for the survivor.

Finally, beneficiaries can take advantage of a second basis step-up when the second spouse passes away. Assets inside the trust don’t get included in the survivor’s estate. This step up in basis can add a lot of value if there are appreciable assets inside the trust like real estate or businesses. This is because of the high rates associated with capital gains taxes as well as  the net investment income tax.

For more information about setting up a credit shelter trust for your family, contact Shah & Associates at 732-521-9455.

Annual Estate Plan Review: A Smart Decision

October 31, 2014

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 12:53 pm

Having all the documents in line for your current needs is crucial for your short and long term planning, but it’s just as important to be sure that you are following up on those materials at least yearly. Circumstances change, laws change, and it’s simply prudent planning to review and verify the accuracy of what you have put together. Using an annual review program like the Lighthouse Maintenance Plan .


There are also very personal reasons that it’s wise to have your plans reviewed on an annual basis. Changes in your life circumstances may alter your wishes, transfer of assets, or the names of beneficiaries you have listed on your policy. Here are some of the most common reasons that you need to contact an estate planning attorney for some updates:

  • A change in marital status
    • Marriage gives you several opportunities to minimize taxes
    • Divorce usually means the removal of the spouse from fiduciary responsibilities and the beneficiary role (unless you are mandate to maintain them on a policy per your divorce decree)
  • Purchase or Sale of a Company/Business
    • Purchase: Make sure you have plans in place for how the business can be sold or transferred if something happens to you
    • Sale: Determine to what extent your estate is taxable, and have a plan for where the assets from the sale will go (like a trust).
  • Moving to a new state
    • Since each state has different requirements (and some even have state estate taxes), make sure your documents are in line with applicable laws.
  • Birth, Death, or Life Changes for Fiduciaries or Beneficiaries
    • If circumstances have changed, this is a great reason to update all your documents.
  • Significant Changes in Your Personal Finances
    • Has your estate decreased in value? Have you recently inherited money or won the lottery? This is a good time to reach out to specialists to be sure you’re maximizing your assets and minimizing taxes.

Be sure you’re getting the most out of your review program. The Lighthouse Maintenance Plan offered by Shah & Associates includes a yearly review, compliance with any changing requirements or laws, educational materials, telephone consultations, invitations to planning workshops,and 24-hour access to your documents. If you’d like to learn more about how the Lighthouse Maintenance Plan can help you get the most out of your tax and estate planning, contact


Tax Return Requirements for Nonresidents with U.S. Assets

October 30, 2014

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 2:40 pm

Individual nonresidents in the U.S. may be subjected to estate taxes under U.S. regulations if the individuals owned U.S. assets. There are several different items that might quality as U.S. assets, such as personal property, securities of companies based in the U.S., and real estate situated in the country. There are some regulations when it comes to stock holdings, as well, even if you help the certificates abroad or maintained those certificate registrations under the name of another person. If the stock holdings are U.S. companies, those assets may also be subject to estate taxes.

There are exceptions to these rules, though. If the securities you hold generate portfolio interest, are received from

Credit: Americorps Alums

Credit: Americorps Alums

insurance proceeds, or are bank accounts linked to businesses or trades not in the United States, the assets are exempted. Executors who are servicing the estate of a deceased nonresident with U.S. assets will need to file an estate tax return with the IRS in the event that the fair market value of the U.S. assets is greater than $60,000.  This is know as form 706NA, and it can still be required if the value of the assets is less than $60,000 on the date of death in some situations.

There are ways to plan around this to help avoid any unnecessary taxation. Speaking with an experienced estate and tax attorney can aid in the identification of proper strategies to plan for these kinds of assets. One such tactic, for example, is in owning these assets inside a properly structured trust rather than owning each asset individually.

International investors should be aware of these regulations and opportunities for a planning conversation. To set up a plan that minimizes taxes by structuring the position of assets properly, contact Shah & Associates at 732-521-9455.



On The Same Page: Preparation for Estate Plan Heirs

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 12:36 pm

Failing to plan comprehensively can be a big downfall for a modern estate plan. There’s more involved than just putting your own documents together, though. Communicating with the beneficiaries is another crucial step. It turns out that all too often, plans don’t wind up passing on assets the way creators thought they would. A 2012 study conducted by U.S. trust explored the situations of more than 3,000 wealthy U.S. families, finding that 70 percent were unsuccessful in passing on family assets to the next generation. Three critical reasons were cited for these failures:

  • No universal “purpose” discussed for family possessions
  • Lack of preparation/knowledge by heirs
  • Failure to communicate among family members

Credit: Intuit

Many of the miscommunications that end up with arguments between family members could have been prevented with communication beforehand. Heirs, too, need to do some work ahead of time to ensure they are prepared for the transfer of assets. Heirs should be aware of the estate tax lifetime applicable exclusion amount and whether any state estate taxes will be applied. Gifted assets carry forward with the deceased’s tax basis, but inherited assets will receive a “step up” towards market value at the time of death.

Retirement assets should be scrutinized closely since they are very susceptible to tax mistakes and because they don’t get a step up in basis. Make sure all the forms are updated properly and that the heirs are aware of the plan’s rules for taking over/obtaining access to assets.

Communication and planning are crucial for every party to an estate plan. To learn more about successful estate planning in New Jersey, contact our offices for an appointment at


Profit or Hobby: Understanding Tax Consequences of IRS Determination

October 28, 2014

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 1:49 pm

Section 162 of the U.S. tax code is critical for individuals who work for themselves in a variety of occupations. When a taxpayer can demonstrate that he or she is engaged in a business venture with the objective of earning a profit, or or she can deduct necessary and ordinary expenses associated with carrying out that business. A business owner can even deduct expenses related to the business that are in excess of the total profit earned by the business, but not if their venture is classified by the IRS as a “hobby”.

Credit: LiveWithinYourHarvest

Credit: LiveWithinYourHarvest

When the activity is classified as a hobby, you can only deduct expenses up to the business profit- meaning that there can be no net loss. Since this issue has come up so much recently, it’s worth a review of the nine factors analyzed in Section 183 to determine if something is a hobby.

  • The manner in which the activity is carried out by the taxpayer, including record-keeping
  • The expertise of the taxpayer and his/her advisers
  • The time and effort put forth by the taxpayer carrying out the activity
  • The expectation that assets would appreciate in value
  • The relative success of the taxpayer in carrying out other similar/dissimilar activities
  • The history of losses or income by the taxpayer related to this activity
  • Occasional profit amounts
  • Whether other income sources offset the activity loss
  • Whether the activity lacks factors related to recreation or personal pleasure

A recent case involving an artist demonstrates the complexity of these issues when it comes to taxation; after reporting many years of net losses during her career as an artist, the taxpayer’s business venture as such was challenged by the IRS. After careful review of the factors above, the tax court eventually determined that she was engaged in her art ventures with the intent of making a profit. As you can see by the nine factors listed above, it’s in your best interest to have a strong bookkeeping system and team of tax advisers helping you in the event that the IRS questions the nature of your business. Email us today to learn more:


Power of Attorney 101

October 27, 2014

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 4:01 pm

Making the decision to put a power of attorney in place is an important and wise one, since powers of attorney are accepted in all states. When valid, a power of attorney can give someone else the opportunity to make decisions and elections on your behalf. Like all estate planning documents, you should have your estate planning attorney review your document to ensure it’s validity in your resident state.


A power of attorney can be sweeping and broad, enabling an agent to act fully on your behalf, or it can be limited to ensure that certain transactions and scenarios are taken care of in the event that something happens to you. If you want to be sure that the closing portion of your home sale goes through, for example, you can structure your power of attorney to only “activate” the agent’s powers in that particular capacity.

Just as your power of attorney can be flexible based on your needs, so too can the timeline for when you agent’s powers become active. Signing the document can make your power of attorney active immediately, but you might decide to include wording that only makes it active after an event that leaves you incapacitated. A sudden car accident or disability  are examples of circumstances where you might want your agent to become active on your behalf.

Your agent can act on your behalf in general or in the capacities you outline in the actual document, but it’s critical that your document is valid and that a copy is maintained by the agent. This is because when they act on your behalf, they will usually need to produce the power of attorney in order to successfully complete tasks or transactions for you.

Some people even use a power of attorney simply as a matter of ease; doing so allows you to equip someone else with the ability to sell and buy assets regularly without you actually needing to show up in person. Used as a future planning tool, it can also be important to protect your interests in the event that something happens to you. To put your power of attorney together, contact us at 732-521-9455.



Living Trusts: The Importance of Proper Funding

October 24, 2014

Filed under: Asset Protection,Asset Protection Planning,Distribution of Assets,Estate Planning,Funding,Living trust,Trusts — Tags: — admin @ 9:45 am

If you have decided to use a trust to pass on your assets, this can be an exciting decision that gives you peace of mind about the firmness of your plans. If you don’t ensure that the trust is properly funded, however, it’s unlikely that your trust is going to carry out the plans that you intended.

If you already have assets inside the trust, make sure that you set up reminders to continuously review your materials and always have unfunded or new assets titled into the trust’s name. Don’t ever assume that these changes have been made, since the ownership of verification falls squarely on your shoulders. Keep copies of documents that confirm your changes so that you are always clear on what’s been taken care of already. If values have also changed, ensure that is updated as well.2014-10-20_1448

If an asset that you used to own has now passed onto someone else through a sale or closure, make sure it’s removed from your funding portfolio. This makes it easier on your family members in the future and the trust executor so that they are not searching for assets that are no longer present. To review your funding in your living trusts, get in touch with us through email at or over the phone 732-521-9455

Married Without Children? An Estate Plan Can Help You Give Back

October 23, 2014

Filed under: Beneficiaries,Charitable Giving,Distribution of Assets,Estate Planning,Estate Planning without children — Tags: — admin @ 9:38 am

If you are married but do not have any children to pass down your assets to, look at estate planning as your opportunity to do something unique and special with your plans. There is nothing wrong with not having children, and it actually gives you a chance to give back in other, meaningful ways.

There may be other people, outside of immediate children, who could benefit from your estate. This can include nieces and nephews, grandchildren, siblings, or even pets. Take some time to consider any special people in your life who might benefit from such a gift. If you have lost a child, you might even consider putting together a scholarship foundation or other organization that can carry on that child’s legacy in your absence.

You may also want at least some of your assets being passed down to charity. Have a conversation with your spouse about the causes you care about the most and how you’d like to see funds distributed. Your giving can really help nonprofits that are in vital need of donations.2014-10-20_1444

Leaving a legacy is one of the biggest benefits to putting your estate plan together, whether you have children or not. If you’re ready to talk over your options, contact us at or over the phone 732-521-9455

Estate Planning Tips: A 529 Savings Plan

October 20, 2014

Filed under: College Planning,Estate Planning,Estate Planning for Children — Tags: — admin @ 9:34 pm

If you’ve already looked into getting one, you know that Section 529 savings plans are able to accumulate earnings without federal income tax (and in many cases, state income tax). Once the beneficiary of the account reaches the age where he or she is going to college, that individual can take out withdrawals tax-free to pay for college expenses.

For the most part, relatives set up 529 plans, but no family relationship is actually required. Another little-known fact about these is that most of them will accept larger lump sum payments. Making these larger payments into a 529 plan can be beneficial for your estate planning because they are treated by the IRS as “completed gifts”. Likewise, they also fit into the yearly gift tax exclusion ($14,000). If you decided to spread your lump sum over several years, you could benefit from this gift tax exclusion every single year that you’re making a contribution.2014-10-20_1436

This is a great tool for grandparents who want to help support their grandchildren’s future, because you can be making contributions for numerous grandchildren over several years. As an added bonus, 529 accounts can be a bit flexible, like if you need to change account beneficiaries without facing any penalties. Contact our offices today to learn more about estate planning tools and options to minimize taxes and pass on your legacy. Call us at 732-5521-9455.

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