Below is a brief glance at what you’ll find in the January/February 2013 issue.
Link to the issue:  January/February 2013
Tax Deal Reshapes Estate Planning Landscape
The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA), signed on Jan. 2, not only averted the United States’ descent over the “fiscal cliff,” but includes some welcome relief from both the large estate tax increases that had been scheduled to go into effect in 2013 and the uncertainty that has plagued the federal estate tax regime in recent years. This article examines the act’s effect on estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax rates and exemptions; exemption portability; and other estate planning provisions. A sidebar notes that the act makes it easier to convert a traditional retirement plan account into a Roth account.
Are Your Children Prepared to Handle Your Wealth?
Parents who have built up a large estate and are eager to share their wealth with their children may be concerned about the kids’ ability to handle it. Fortunately, there are ways to help ensure children won’t blow through their inheritance at a young age. This article discusses creating incentive trusts, educating children on money management, being smart with distributions to them, and communicating with them about the reasons behind the decisions taken.
Planning Your Digital Legacy
In an increasingly digital world, people often overlook digital assets when developing an estate plan, and the consequences can be disastrous. With no paper trail, a decedent’s family members may be unaware that certain assets exist, or may need a court order to have someone hack into a password-protected computer. Or, if a small-business owner dies and his or her family lacks access to important information, the business may suffer. This article discusses strategies for ensuring that family or personal representatives have access to important records when the time comes.
Estate Planning Red Flag: You’re Married and Relocating Into or Out of a Community Property State
In community property states, money earned and property acquired by either spouse during marriage generally belongs to the “community” – meaning each spouse has an undivided one-half interest (regardless of how property is titled). When one spouse dies, his or her share of community property goes to the surviving spouse unless a will provides otherwise. But couples who relocate to or from a community property state may find that the new state’s laws affect their property rights in unexpected ways. This article explains the importance of modifying a will or using trusts or other tools to ensure that an estate plan continues to operate as desired.