Wealth Counselor

Preparing for the Reduction in the Estate Tax Exemption

Posted by Robert L. Arone In late May of this year, the U.S. Treasury released a publication detailing a number of the proposed tax code changes that the Biden administration would like to usher through Congress in an ambitious effort to modernize the US tax system to meet its citizens’ needs. While reasonable minds may differ strongly on the best way to stimulate the US economy and create wealth and security for the American people, one thing is certain: the need for individuals to engage in careful estate and tax planning to avoid paying more tax than necessary is not going away. The IRS publication,[1] sometimes referred to as the Green Book, outlines a number of key proposals that—if ultimately passed—have the potential to significantly shake up the estate planning world as we know it today by sidelining a number of tried and true estate planning strategies while potentially increasing the

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Working with Co-trustees: How You Can Help

When clients select a successor trustee for their trust, they frequently choose one person to serve as a successor trustee at a time. Many attorneys continue to recommend that only a single trustee be appointed to avoid the potential for disagreements or conflicts between co-trustees during the trust administration after the trustmaker’s death or disability. This can be a prudent approach and works well in many situations. This is particularly true when the appointed trustee diligently keeps the trust beneficiaries informed about the trust administration and carefully fulfils the trustee’s responsibilities under both the law and the provisions of the trust document. However, many clients are reluctant to place the entire responsibility for trust administration on one person. As a result, it is increasingly common for a trustmaker to nominate two or more family members or friends to serve as successor co-trustees. In some cases, it may even be beneficial

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Helping Clients with Anticipated Inheritances

Posted by Robert L. Arone When we think of estate planning, we often think about preparing our clients’ accounts and property to go to their loved ones in a tax-efficient way, protected from probate, disgruntled heirs, beneficiaries’ creditors, divorcing spouses, bankruptcy, and the poor spending habits of beneficiaries. We rarely consider helping our clients prepare for receiving an inheritance. Believe it or not, there are several essential things a client must consider if they anticipate receiving an inheritance. Helping them understand these issues brings value to your professional relationship, ensuring that they return for your advice and counsel for years to come. Understanding the Nature of the Property to Be Inherited The first way to help a client properly prepare to receive an inheritance is to discover what exactly they will be inheriting. Is it real estate, a 401(k), or an individual retirement account (IRA)? Perhaps it is publicly traded

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Helping Clients Responsibly Leave Wealth to Grandchildren

Posted by Robert L. Arone Estate planning attorneys frequently hear from their clients, “I’d like to leave something to my grandchildren. What’s the best way to do that?” Naturally, grandparents love their grandchildren and want them to succeed in life. And when grandparents are in the twilight of their lives, their hearts often turn to the younger generation with a desire to give them whatever advantages they can, especially if they were unable to give their own children those same advantages when their children were younger. For most grandparents, the best way to provide for their grandchildren is to leave their accounts and property to the grandchildren’s parents to ensure the financial stability of that family unit, thereby indirectly benefiting the grandchildren. In fact, default inheritance laws in nearly every state reflect this common desire to provide first for children and then for the grandchildren in the event that an

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President Biden’s First One Hundred Days: Looking Back and Planning Ahead

Posted by Robert L. Arone This year has been unprecedented from a political perspective in many ways. President Joe Biden stepped into office facing huge obstacles related to the COVID-19 pandemic, an economy battered by the pandemic, a crumbling national infrastructure in dire need of repair, an ongoing immigration crisis at our southern border, and deep political and social divisions in this country, among other challenges. As Biden entered office, he named the following issues as his top priorities: Getting past the COVID-19 pandemic through masking, vaccinations, and opening schools Addressing climate change and alternative energy solutions Financial regulation and student debt Anticompetition practices among the leading companies in Big Tech Revitalizing the economy and employment to recover from the pandemic Improving international relations Immigration Race, gender, and social issues With these issues at the top of Biden’s priority list, it may appear that no real changes are coming down

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