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Waltham, Massachusetts Estate Planning Blog

How a large IRA can cause tax problems for beneficiaries

  • 27
  • May
    2015

With no way of knowing what the future holds, there is no way of knowing how much retirement is “enough.”  

Many people without pensions or 401(k) accounts decide to put away as much as possible in individual retirement accounts (IRAs) because they know that any remaining assets will be transferred to their beneficiaries.

How to make your wealth last for future generations

  • 19
  • May
    2015

Thinking long-term is difficult for many people when it comes to estate planning, especially because of all of the uncertainties that the future presents. However, it is important for the very wealthy to think about future generations if they want to truly create a lasting legacy.

According to a recent article by the Wall Street Journal on the topic, this is an issue that people experience when they are in the first generation of their families to have wealth. The article said that there are a few factors that can make planning for the distant future more accessible for these individuals, including:

Protecting your digital assets is easy and important

  • 11
  • May
    2015

Today, the Wall Street Journal featured an important reminder on estate plans and digital assets. It discussed how many people fail to address digital assets in their estate plans and it can be very difficult to access these assets after a person has died.

A financial adviser said that she now addresses digital assets in all of her clients’ financial plans after learning that fiduciaries have a duty to distribute both tangible and digital assets but fiduciaries aren’t always given access to digital accounts after the owner has died.

Long-term care planning is a must for most Americans

  • 05
  • May
    2015

More than 70 percent of Americans over the age of 65 will end up needing long-term care services at some point in their lives, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

It’s difficult to imagine a point down the road where you or your spouse will need to move to a nursing home or another long-term care facility, but it is a possibility that you need to prepare for.

Keeping inheritances fair for your heirs

  • 28
  • April
    2015

If you are like most parents, you probably plan to leave a fair share of assets to each of your children when you pass. But it might be more complicated than just dividing your assets equally among your kids, because fair doesn’t always mean equal when it comes to estate planning.

Here are a few situations in which you may want to leave your children an unequal but fair share of your assets, and how to accomplish that:

Robin Williams’ estate plan failed to cover important issues

  • 27
  • April
    2015

The fact that the heirs of the late Robin Williams are now battling over their inheritances in court is no laughing matter. As the Hartford Courant pointed out in a recent article, while Williams’ estate plan was tax efficient, it may have been lacking in other areas.

For example, Williams’ widow and his three children from his first two marriages are reportedly fighting over who should be entitled to what when it comes to Williams’ personal property. Sadly, if Williams’ estate plan would have provided more details, the conflicts may have been avoided. 

What are estate and gift taxes and why do people want to avoid them?

  • 14
  • April
    2015

Since tomorrow is April 15, we wanted to write about a topic that everyone loves to hate: taxes.

When it comes to estate planning, avoiding estate and gift taxes are two of the biggest goals for many of our clients.

Common reasons for removing a trustee from a trust

  • 09
  • April
    2015

Choosing a trustee is an extremely important decision that many Massachusetts residents put a lot of thought into. Unfortunately, despite your best efforts, the trustee you initially appoint does always end up being your best advocate. But just because you aren't thrilled with something your trustee did, should you seek to have him or her removed?

First, it's important to know that removing a trustee is not as easy as having a conversation with that person and moving on. You have to petition the probate court in order to seek removal, so you must have a good reason for doing so. The following list includes several reasons why a trustee might be removed from his or her duties.

Too many baby boomers ignoring their estate plans

  • 09
  • April
    2015

While most baby boomers are eager to make sure their retirement plans are in order, USA TODAY recently reported that too few are accounting for an estate plan, which can result in stress and conflict for surviving family members.

A New York-based wealth adviser told USA TODAY that an estate plan is usually at the bottom of baby boomers’ to-do lists, if it’s even on their lists at all. Instead, as baby boomers are living longer, healthier lives, they are focusing more on having enough money to do what they want during retirement.

Gifting of money as an estate planning tool

  • 07
  • April
    2015

Estate planning and taxes are inseparable. With the idea of preserving assets within the estate, there are a number of considerations going into this including estate taxation, creation of powers of attorney, wills and trusts, and the possible setting up of guardianships. We must consider all of these items when putting together an estate plan meeting all of your goals.

The federal estate tax exemption recently rose to $5.43 million per individual and $10.86 million for married couples. This allows each individual to give away $5.43 million to family members without requirements of having to pay a federal gift tax.

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