Grandkids off to college? Tips on helping them pay

Posted by Gerald J. Turner – Many grandparents want to help their grandchildren pay for their education. However, the cost of a college education is on the rise, making funding a student’s education a real sacrifice, especially for those moving toward retirement or living on a fixed-income. College financial-aid and student loan regulations are also changing rapidly, and qualifying for need-based financial aid can be tricky. That’s why it is important for students, parents, and grandparents to be on the same page about funding a young person’s college experience. Here’s how to help the student while still getting the most out of need-based aid: 1. Take advantage of a parental 529 savings plan, but make sure it belongs to the parent or student. If you’re thinking about helping a student pay for college, then you have probably heard of a 529 plan. If a 529 belongs to the parent or

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Taking Full Advantage of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

Posted by Robert L. Arone – Key Points to Discuss With Your Clients Like all things, tax laws are constantly changing. An important part of serving your clients is responding quickly and strategically to new developments in the tax law landscape. But at the same time, a knee-jerk reaction is rarely the best course of action—often resulting in unforeseen complications in the future. The best decisions are made by professional teams working together to analyze all angles of a situation to come up with the best strategy in response to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), a historic amendment to the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. The TCJA affects many Americans in a variety of areas of life, and your clients might not be aware of what its impact will be on their long-term financial plan.  Of course, this law is going on seven months old, but too many

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Is There an Income Tax Time Bomb Lurking in Your Client’s Estate Plan?

Posted by Robert L. Arone – As the federal estate tax exemption has ballooned from $1.5 million ten years ago to $5.43 million today, the need for estate tax planning has drastically decreased.  Instead, higher income tax rates that were ushered in under the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA) have shifted the focus of estate planning to a new frontier:  income tax basis planning. In this issue you will learn what income tax basis is, how older estate plans have been deliberately designed to include an income tax time bomb, and the options your clients have to update their plans so that their heirs will receive the maximum basis. The Basics of Income Tax Basis In its simplest form, income tax basis is the cost to buy an asset, which includes the purchase price plus costs and transfer fees. Basis must be tracked because when an asset is

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