Tax & Wealth Advisor Blog

The revocable trust is the document that is almost always the centerpiece of the estate plan. Simply put, the revocable trust is almost always the document that controls who gets what. That might be counterintuitive to some people who assume the Will is the “dispositive document.” But, most often, the Will serves only two purposes: […]

As an estate planning attorney, the most common question I get—both from potential clients and at cocktail parties (or kids’ soccer games)—is, “do I need a Will?” Now, I know that a lot of estate planners have a simple, consistent three letter answer for that is, “YES”.  But that is not my answer.  My answer, maybe a […]

For those of you who spend time in the estate planning arena, in helping your clients get the right property to the right people at the right time, you inevitably run into “the conflict”:  The conflict between the mathematical truth that it is better, tax-wise, under virtually all circumstances, to have your clients give away property […]

The United States Supreme Court issued a landmark decision in Windsor, holding that if a couple is married and resides in a state (or province) that allows same sex marriage, then that couple is married for purposes of federal law (including the Internal Revenue Code).  A question left unanswered by the Supreme Court in Windsor […]

2010, as part of the Job Creation Act, Congress allowed a surviving spouse to utilize a previously deceased spouse’s unused estate tax exclusion.  This planning technique is known as “portability.”  In 2012, as part of the American Taxpayer Relief Act, portability became permanent (or as permanent as any federal statute can be).  One of the […]

The federal tax code (the “Code”) offers several benefits (and a few burdens) to married couples.  In 1996, the United States Congress passed a statute known as the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”).  Under DOMA, with respect to any federal statute, a married couple meant a husband and wife; a man married to a woman.  […]

Beginning in the 2014 tax year, when a taxpayer’s Adjusted Gross Income (“AGI”) exceeds a threshold amount, the taxpayer will be subject to a 3.8% tax on his or her net investment income.  Net investment income includes income from a business in which the taxpayer does not “materially participate.”  The section of the Internal Revenue […]

For a long time, estate planners have been focused primarily on the transfer taxes (estate, gift and generation skipping), while minimizing income tax planning when planning with their clients. An example of this would be lifetime gifting. Many an estate planner has pontificated ad nauseum about the power of the gift; if the annual exemption […]