Planned Giving News and Information
 
December, 2016
The following is intended as general information and does not represent legal or tax advice. The information presented is the view of the author. Individual circumstances vary - please consult your legal and tax advisors about your specific situation. To return to the general planned giving pages, please close this browser window. This News and Information section has been compiled by Future Focus.

"May we all remember our lives are not measured by the number of years and days we exist, but by what we accomplish while we do live, and the good we may render our fellow man."
Henry Wells

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Is Everybody Stressed About Retirement?
Are you stressed out about saving enough money for a comfortable retirement? Join the crowd. It’s the most common significant financial stressor, according to a new survey from Schwab Retirement Plan Services, checking in on the pulse of workplace 401(k) participants nationwide. There are probably multiple things that play into retirement savings stress—market volatility, uncertainty, fear. Compared to looking at a definitive amount of credit card or student debt where you know how much you owe, people are looking at retirement as more of an unknown. Read more.

Even Without Estate Tax The Right Answer Is Still the Same: Put It All In Trust
One unfortunately common and major mistake made in estate planning is the failure to use trusts to the maximum extent the law permits. Trusts may be the most important development under English common law, which pervades the United States, with the exception of Louisiana. That state and many countries through the world that do not use English common law as its fundamental legal system have adopted trusts by a variety of means including legislation. That is because trusts are, in many ways, the most powerful and important tool in estate and financial planning. Unfortunately, trusts are not used with the frequency or duration they should be. Read more.

IRS Announces 2017 Retirement Plans Contributions Limits For 401(k)s And More
The Treasury Department has announced inflation-adjusted figures for retirement account savings for 2017, and there are tweaks that help savers. Much stays the same, but there are increases in income phase-outs for IRA contributors, to the adjusted gross income limits for snagging the saver’s credit, and to the overall defined contribution plan limit—up to $54,000–a boost for self-employed and small business owners and workers who have the option of stuffing their retirement nest egg with after-tax dollars. Read more.

Who Gets The Family Bible And Coca-Cola Stock?
When a widow with incapacity issues and squabbling adult children died, the executor she named in her will rushed to her home and changed the locks just as one son showed up to take things left in her will to his siblings.
“Over and over, tangible personal property is the thing that pushes people over the edge; the beneficiaries are at odds, and the executor is trying to keep the peace,” says Carly Howard, a senior wealth strategist with Altantic Trust in Atlanta, Ga.
Howard got her start in probate litigation—representing beneficiaries suing each other after their parents died. Now she’s doing proactive planning with families who don’t want their heirs to fight or end up in court. “There are so many things you can do to avoid this,” she says. Read more.

New and Disturbingly Authentic Looking Tax Scam
The IRS has reported on some very disturbing and threatening telephone calls claiming to be from the IRS. As they have reported in their news releases, these are scams. The IRS doesn't make such calls.

Recently a new scam surfaced in the form of a letter that looks like it comes from the IRS. This letter looks like a legitimate IRS letter called a CP2000 Notice.  When legitimate, it reports discrepancies between the Taxpayers' Income Tax Return and what was reported on such documents as a W-2, 1099, etc. The scam letters ask for a relatively small amount of additional taxes (usually under $1,000). The scammers are hoping that the Taxpayers will consider the demand small enough to pay it and get rid of it. You can see from this example what is wrong with one of these scam letters.

IRAs Gone Wild: How To Invest In Private Equity, Real Estate, Gold
A record $7.5 trillion is sitting in individual retirement accounts, the bull market is looking tired, and the Internal Revenue Service’s army of auditors has been shrinking. So the temptation to get creative with IRA money has never been greater and the marketing pitches never more pervasive. You can put real estate, private equity, private loans and even gold coins and bullion (but not collectibles or insurance) in a tax-deferred IRA or a Roth IRA, where all growth is tax-free. You do this through a “self-directed” IRA–which is simply one parked at a custodian that allows you to invest in alternative assets. Read more.

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Please note, individual financial circumstances will vary. The information on this site is meant as general information and does not represent legal or tax advice. The information presented is the view of the author. As with all tax and estate planning, please consult your attorney or estate specialist. All material is copyrighted and is for viewing purposes only. This News and Information section has been compiled by Future Focus. Please report any problems to webmaster.