Planned Giving News and Information
August, 2017
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.

"He who cannot give anything away cannot feel anything either."

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

Monthly Features

Monthly Magazine

General News

News Stories and Articles

Make Your Retirement Money Last For Life
If you’re nearing retirement, consider a new option designed to prevent you from going broke in your old age. You can invest up to 25% of the total balance of your IRAs and 401(k)s, or a maximum of $125,000, (whichever is less) into something called a qualified longevity annuity contract or QLAC.

A QLAC works like this: you pay an insurance company a lump sum, and the company pays you an annual income for life, beginning sometime in the future---anytime between when you turn 70 ½ and 85. The longer you wait for your payout, the bigger the annual payment will be. Read more.

Is It Wise to Trade Your Pension for a Lump Sum?
Most private employers have already replaced traditional pensions, which promise lifetime income payments in retirement, with defined contribution plans such as 401(k)s. But 15% of private-sector workers and 75% of state and local government workers still participate in traditional pensions. Altogether, 35% of workers say they (and/or their spouse) have pension benefits with a current or former employer.
Many pension plan participants have the option to take their money in a lump sum when they retire. And since 2012, an increasing number of large corporate pensions have been implementing "lump-sum windows" during which vested former employees have a limited amount of time (typically 30 to 90 days) to accept or decline buyout offers. (Lump-sum offers to retirees already receiving pension benefits are no longer allowed.) Read more.

How to use Crummy Trust to Avoid Gift Taxes
Wealthier Americans face a challenge: how to transfer money to future generations while paying as little as possible in taxes to Uncle Sam. The reason that's difficult is that the estate tax imposes a 40% tax on transfers at death above the lifetime exemption amount, while the gift tax imposes a similar tax on transfer made during one's lifetime.

Moreover, many people are reluctant to give outright gifts to children and grandchildren for fear that the recipients will squander the gift. However, by using what's known as Crummey trust provisions, you can make gifts that qualify for the annual gift tax exclusion while retaining control over how the trust money is invested and eventually distributed to your loved ones. Read more.

How To Find Your Own Retirement Tax Haven
Thinking of leaving a high-tax state for a low-tax state in retirement? You need to know that states differ dramatically on tax: whether to exploit millionaires, shower breaks on retirees, go after non-residents and even the dead. They even differ on whether to tax Social Security benefits; just 13 states do. If you’re a pre-retiree planning out how taxes will impact your retirement, keep in mind that it makes a big difference what your total income is, and what kind of income you’re receiving. And don’t plan too far ahead. “Nothing in taxes is ever permanent; legislators are always changing the tax law,” warns James Wetzler, former New York state commissioner of taxation, who concluded in a recent review of state migration studies that there is little evidence to discourage an extension of the New York’s millionaire’s tax. Read more.

Roth IRA Tips, Tricks and Twists
There are several extraordinary methods to maximize the advantages of these accounts. You no doubt are aware of the basic benefits of the Roth IRA. First, any future investment earnings and interest are sheltered from taxation. Then when the client reaches age 59½ withdrawals are (generally) tax-free, and there are no mandatory withdrawals while the Roth IRA owner is alive, even after she turns 70½.
However, there are several lesser-known features to the vehicle that could save your clients taxes and trouble in good times and bad. Here are some hidden ways that Roth IRAs can be used to boost your clients’ financial well-being. Read more.

Complicated Taxes for Business Travelers Might Be Getting Easier
Recently the U.S. House of Representatives passed HB 1393, the Mobile Workforce State Income Tax Simplification Act of 2017, via voice vote. This is a welcome step to simplifying the collection and administration of state individual income taxes.
Complying with state income taxes for business travelers is a headache. Most states technically require such payments when someone is in the state for even a day (see map), and even that withholding to be set up in advance. Such practices disrupt interstate commerce and falsely suggest that business travelers earn their income in traveling states and not from the home office. We’ve increasingly heard horror stories of states trying to collect these sums. HB 1393 would limit states from imposing or collecting individual income tax on people who are in the state for less than 30 days. Read more.

Here's What You'd Be Paid in Lifetime Social Security Benefits for Each Claiming Age, 62 Through 70
There's little denying the importance that Social Security plays for our nation's retired workers. According to statistics from the Social Security Administration (SSA) that were released last year, a little more than three in five retired workers relies on their Social Security benefits to make up at least half of their monthly income. Without the monthly income Social Security provides, many seniors would probably be living at or below the poverty rate. You control your own destiny. However, you ultimately hold the golden ticket that determines how much Social Security will pay you once you file your claim for benefits. There are a number of factors that go into determining how large your monthly check will be. Read more.

These Hidden Estate Planning Mistakes Can Have Horrible Consequences
Imagine your spouse is ill, and you meet with an estate planning attorney to get your family affairs in order. Your attorney drafts a trust document and a will. You and your spouse sign it. You think everything is fine. Your spouse passes, and shortly after that, you find that the accounts are not set up to transfer the way you both intended. Everything is not fine. Can this happen? Yes, and it happens all the time. Read more.

Are You Ready To Retire?
Here are some questions to ask yourself when deciding whether or not you are ready to retire.
Is your nest egg adequate?
It may be obvious, but the earlier you retire, the less time you'll have to save, and the more years you'll be living off your retirement savings. The average American can expect to live past age 78. With future medical advances likely, it's not unreasonable to assume that life expectancy will continue to increase. Is your nest egg large enough to fund 20 or more years of retirement? Read more.

Old Money, New Bottle: Decant If You Don't Like The Terms Of An Old Trust
It used to be an irrevocable trust was really irrevocable. Now 25 states allow you to change the terms of an old trust by a newfangled process called decanting. It’s done without going to court, sometimes behind beneficiaries’ backs. And yes, that’s legal.
“Now you have clients saying, ‘Hey, we want to change this trust,’ and I tell them, ‘You can do it.’ You don’t have to have a reason other than you don’t like the terms,” says Jonathan Forster, an estate lawyer with Greenberg Traurig in McLean, Va. “Decanting is all the rage.”
Technically it’s the trustee, who has a fiduciary duty to all of the beneficiaries of the trust, who has to initiate a decanting. You’re doing a rewrite by distributing assets from an old trust into a new trust with new terms, for the benefit of one or more of the beneficiaries of the first trust. Read more.


News Sources

Use the following links to open other browser windows with current information on world and economic news. Closing the new browser windows will bring you back to this page. Closing this page will take you back to the planned giving pages.

To exit News and Information and return to the planned giving home page, please close this window.

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.