the Estate PLANNER
Here’s a brief glance at what you’ll find in the January/February issue… click here for the full publication.
Do you have a liquidity plan?
A liquidity plan is an essential component of an effective estate plan, particularly if a substantial amount of wealth is tied up in a closely held business, real estate or other illiquid assets. It won’t be possible to achieve estate planning goals without liquidity to pay estate taxes and other expenses. An irrevocable life insurance trust (ILIT) or buy-sell agreement are options; if these do not provide enough cash, borrowing from a bank or receiving an extension from the IRS may be alternatives. A sidebar to this article discusses Internal Revenue Code Section 6166, which allows an executor to defer estate taxes associated with a qualifying closely held business.
A blended family requires smart estate planning
If a person is married and has children from a previous marriage plus children or stepchildren from his or her current marriage, that family is considered a blended family. For those who wish to pass their wealth on to all of their biological children but also provide for their spouse and perhaps any stepchildren, estate planning can get tricky. Two estate planning strategies to consider involve a qualified terminable interest property (QTIP) trust and an irrevocable life insurance trust (ILIT).
Being elastic can be fantastic - Stretch your retirement savings for yourself and your heirs
Those with savings in a traditional IRA, a 401(k) plan or another “qualified” retirement account must begin taking required minimum distributions (RMDs) when they reach age 70½. But it’s usually best to let them continue compounding on a tax-deferred basis (or tax-free in the case of Roth accounts) as long as possible. Fortunately, there are several strategies one can use to stretch tax savings over many years. Beginning in 2010, converting a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA will be an option for people of all income levels. One can also roll over a Roth 401(k) or Roth 403(b) to a Roth IRA. And a “stretch” IRA allows one to provide heirs with the opportunity to stretch distributions over many years. But these all have pros and cons that must be considered.
Estate Planning Red Flag - You haven’t reviewed your estate plan recently
The Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 created a one-year estate tax repeal for 2010. It’s not likely to remain in effect, though. Although Congress had not yet passed legislation by the end of 2009 repealing the repeal, it might still pass such legislation and make it retroactive to Jan. 1, 2010. Besides this, there are a number of other reasons to update one’s plan.