A GIFT SPLITTING PRIMER

Caution: If you and your spouse make gifts, a gift tax return may need to be filed even if the amount is under the yearly threshold. The annual gift exclusion allows an individual to gift up to $14,000 per year per person. This means that you can give away up to $14,000 per year to … Continue reading “A GIFT SPLITTING PRIMER”

2016 Tax Rate Update

We have received many questions recently about the 2016 tax laws, which may be driven by the fact that many Americans are finalizing their 2015 tax returns. The IRS announced its new inflation-adjusted tax rates for 2016, but in reality, the rates will not affect the majority of the U.S. population. The federal lifetime estate … Continue reading “2016 Tax Rate Update”

“To Open Probate or Not to Open Probate, That is the Question”

One of the most frequent questions that our estate and probate department (http://www.cooperlevenson.com/Practice-Areas/Estate-Planning/) receives is how a surviving spouse manages assets that were jointly owned with the decedent. Generally, if a decedent owned assets outright (as opposed to jointly) at the time of his or her death, probate must be opened. If not, it may … Continue reading ““To Open Probate or Not to Open Probate, That is the Question””

Estate Planning: The Benefits of Qualified Income Trusts

Maybe you’re not ready for a nursing home but imagine being forced into institutional care to gain eligibility to receive Medicaid coverage. That was the reality for many people who could not afford assisted living or home care but did not qualify for government assistance. That is, until a pivotal change in the law. Historically, … Continue reading “Estate Planning: The Benefits of Qualified Income Trusts”

Tax-free ABLE Accounts for Disabled Individuals: The Basics

The Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE) is gaining popularity as people recognize the ease in gaining eligibility and setting up an account. The Act was signed into law on December 19, 2014 to amend section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code. The ABLE Act assists individuals and families toward saving private funds to … Continue reading “Tax-free ABLE Accounts for Disabled Individuals: The Basics”

Contested Wills: Avoiding the Heardbreak of Expensive Litigation

For the past 35 years a significant portion of my practice has been devoted to representing people involved in Will contests – cases wherein a family member is suing a sister or brother, or even parents or step-parents regarding a loved one’s assets and last wishes. These lawsuits are often complicated, emotionally draining and very … Continue reading “Contested Wills: Avoiding the Heardbreak of Expensive Litigation”