Commonwealth Independent Advisor

A Spotlight on State Estate Taxes: Strategies to Avoid Exposure

Posted by David Haughton, JD

June 5, 2019 at 1:30 PM

In 2017, following the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), a dramatic step was taken to double the federal estate tax exemption amount. Today, individual estates valued at less than $11.4 million are not subject to taxation at a federal level. This new threshold means only a small fraction of estates will be subject to the federal estate tax upon death for the foreseeable future.

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Topics: Estate Planning

Does Your Client Still Need an ILIT?

Posted by Krista Teegarden

June 4, 2019 at 10:00 AM

Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, the federal estate tax exemption increased from $5.49 million to $11.4 million per individual (in 2019). This boost means a married couple can exclude a staggering $22.8 million from estate tax!

But this dramatic change has also prompted many clients to question whether they still need an irrevocable life insurance trust (ILIT) if their estate is valued below this exemption. The answer is . . . it depends.

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Topics: Estate Planning

Changing Your Client's Irrevocable Trust: What Are the Options?

Posted by Justin C. Duft, JD, CFP, CLU, ChFC, CLTC

April 3, 2019 at 1:30 PM

Irrevocable trusts can help accomplish many financial goals, such as creating a legacy for future generations or providing financial support for a disabled family member. Whatever the purpose, grantors enjoy tremendous flexibility when designing an irrevocable trust. But once that trust is in place, the ability to adjust its direction is often limited by rigid rules. As a result, over time, a trust may fall out of alignment with the intentions of the grantor and/or the interests of the beneficiaries.

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Topics: Estate Planning

An Estate Planning Checklist for Advisors

Posted by Justin C. Duft, JD, CFP, CLU, ChFC, CLTC

April 2, 2019 at 10:00 AM

A plan to distribute wealth, just like a plan to accumulate it, must be tailored around your client's unique situation, goals, and needs. As the trusted advisor, you're well positioned to oversee all elements of your client's plan to help ensure the distribution of assets according to his or her wishes—and at the lowest possible cost. That involves a sometimes overwhelming amount of information and documents to keep track of, so what follows is an estate planning checklist to guide your conversations with clients and to help ensure that you've covered all the details in their plans.

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Topics: Financial Planning, Estate Planning

Last Will and Testament: The Key to a Comprehensive Estate Plan

Posted by David Haughton, JD

February 19, 2019 at 10:00 AM

In August 2018, Aretha Franklin passed away, leaving four children and an estate in the tens of millions of dollars. She did not, however, leave a last will and testament. This lack of planning has created the potential for legal conflict over settlement of her sizeable estate.

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Topics: Estate Planning

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