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How does the gift tax work?

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires gift-givers to pay taxes on gifts that exceed a certain amount. At this time, the tax does not kick in until the person making the gifts gives away $11.4 million or more. However, those with significant assets need to keep these limits in mind and gift wisely.

Three ways parents can use estate plans to protect their children

The world changes once you become a parent. Instead of taking steps only to protect your own future and the future of your spouse, you now have to take steps to protect your children. With a few steps you can put a plan in place that will better ensure a good upbringing, no matter what the future may hold.

Trust administration can have its complications

Trusts can act as useful protection for assets, especially ones that need distributing after a person's death. When the time comes to handle those remaining assets, the successor trustee has the responsibility of following instructions involved with administering the trust.

Of course, as with any type of task relating to a person's remaining estate, settling a trust can have its complications. You may worry about what will happen to your loved one's assets, and as a beneficiary, you may wonder when you will receive assets to which you are entitled. If your loved one created a revocable trust, it is likely that the trustee will distribute assets and dissolve the account.

Going beyond a will is typically wise for estate planning

Creating an estate plan is on many New York residents' to-do lists, but it is often near the bottom or constantly having other tasks placed above it. You may think that you have plenty of time to create your plan or may even think that you already have a plan because you created a will. However, an estate plan can -- and typically needs to -- go beyond just a will.

While a will can certainly cover important aspects of your estate and personal life, it is lacking in certain abilities. For instance, a will does not allow you to have control over assets after your passing. If you want to create a comprehensive estate plan, you may want to consider other planning tools.

Recent IRS announcement could impact your estate plan

There are certain life events that should trigger a review of one’s estate plan. A death in the family, the birth of a new family member, a divorce or a marriage are common examples. Another example: tax changes.

The tax code has gone through some major changes in recent years. Just last year, the biggest tax change in over four decades went into effect. This change should have triggered a review and possible update of your estate plan. If it did not, and in some cases even if it did, a recent announcement by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) should trigger a review.

Does your family know what you want your funeral to be like?

A large part of estate planning is making your wishes known even when you can no longer express them on your own. Whether you prepare for the possibility of incapacitation or for your death, you want to make sure to complete certain tasks in the manner in which you desire.

You have arranged for someone to make health care and financial decisions for you if you can no longer do so in life and for someone to administer your estate in death. However, have you let your family know what you want as far as your funeral is concerned?

Important factors to consider when choosing an executor

You may have already begun your estate planning journey and have done a deep dive into a self-assessment. You may have had to answer many tough questions so far, but still, you have not completed the entirety of the process. Though you may have many aspects of your final affairs in order, you still need to choose a person who will handle those affairs on your behalf.

Choosing someone to act as the executor of your estate is not an easy decision. You may have a few people in mind for various reasons, like you consider them trustworthy or they know you well. However, it is important to remember that closing an estate is a long and difficult process, so choosing just anyone is out of the question.

Is there such a thing as “too much” inheritance?

A recent publication in The Atlantic estimates over 1.4 million American households hold over $5 million in assets. With such large wealth in the country, many are starting to ask whether there is such a thing as “too much” inheritance. For many wealthy families, the question stems from a concern that future generations should be encouraged to be productive members of society instead of planning for a future of financial stability thanks to the cushion of a large inheritance.

3 ways to help loved ones avoid becoming a victim of fraud

Fraudsters are known to target our senior loved ones and, according to a recent report in Barron's, their efforts are successful. Scammers have reportedly gained billions of dollars in ill-gotten gains from senior Americans.

These fraudsters are largely successfull because they exploit a vulnerable population's often limited online knowledge, with schemes using the phone, text messages, emails and social media contacts.

Estate planning myth #1: A will is enough.

Putting together an estate plan is likely on your “to do” list. For those who already have a plan, they may have an annual reminder to review the plan and make changes as needed. Whether you are one of the millions in the former situation or part of the more prepared later group, it is important to make sure your estate plan truly encompasses your wishes.

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