Tax & Wealth Advisor Blog

Estate planners should now focus less on transfer taxes and more on income taxes when building a plan that provides for a client’s loved ones. This is a change. For a long time, estate planners were focused primarily on the transfer taxes (i.e., estate, gift, and generation skipping), while minimizing income tax planning for their […]

Individuals who own Qualified Small Business Stock (QSBS), depending on when the corporation was formed, may have the ability to sell the stock without paying tax. A company is a “Qualified Small Business” if it is a C corporation, and its assets do not exceed $50,000,000. Stock is “Qualified Small Business Stock” if it is […]

The IRS may very soon have another arrow in its quiver to attack valuation discounts on transfers of equity interests to family members. For those clients who have a plan that utilizes discounted giving, it is critical to have these plans examined by an estate planning expert and perhaps fully executed as soon as possible. […]

People describe an estate plan in a number of ways. Some people use very technical jargon, focusing on the specific tools: wills, trusts, powers. Others describe what the plan does—who gets what property and when. But in my opinion, planners need to help clients understand the “why”; that is, why they should invest in an […]

On Monday, May 18, 2015, in Comptroller of the Treasury of Maryland v. Wynne, the United States Supreme Court declared Maryland’s income tax scheme unconstitutional. The Supreme Court justices voted 5 to 4 to affirm a Maryland Court of Appeals ruling that Maryland’s income tax scheme results in improper double taxation on income earned in […]

The statistics are surprising. Only 3 in 10 American adults have a Will, and a much lower percentage have the right estate plan for their situation. Many reasons have been offered for this phenomenon, including fear of death and fear of attorneys. But when we consider what a good estate plan really is–a strategy to […]

I hate the term procrastination.  Why?  It has a negative connotation.  I think instead, to be fair, when evaluating behavior we should use the term “waiting,”  and then determine what waiting gets you.  If waiting gains the waiter an advantage, it is not procrastination, it is savvy.  On the other hand, if waiting has a […]

Keen observers of human behavior know a couple of things to be true. 1. In the absence of information, people assume the worst 2. People flee uncertainty My clients are smart, successful people that have built enviable businesses. Intuitively, they know these “truths.” But to their detriment, they forget them. Instead, if they actually do […]

There is a great quote from Oliver Wendall Holmes on complexity: “I would not give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity, but I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity”. Of course, there is the other great quote about complexity with its author of unknown origin: […]

Most states, including Wisconsin, have a statute that automatically revokes as beneficiary a divorced spouse once the divorce is final.  See, e.g., Wis. Stat. § 854.15.  This means that, unless your will, trust, IRA, 401(k), life insurance, etc., provides otherwise, once a divorce decree is final, an individual’s ex-spouse and the ex-spouse’s relatives receive nothing […]