In March, we learned about the Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) rules and how they apply to tax-deferred retirement plans, such as 401(k)s, the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), and Traditional IRAs. By design, RMDs are the Internal Revenue Code’s mechanism for forcing you to distribute, and pay tax on, the money in your tax-deferred retirement plans….

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Having just survived another tax season, many tax filers will be on the hunt for any write-off or deduction that may help reduce their future tax liability. In the spirit of making lemonade out of lemons, many have used losses on capital assets to ease the tax burden. In that regard, I’m often asked if…

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A Qualified Charitable Donation (QCD), also known as an IRA charitable rollover, is a tax savings tool for charitably inclined IRA owners. First introduced in the Pension Protection Act of 2006, QCDs were originally permitted for years 2006 and 2007. Since then, however, QCD rules have been in constant limbo. They’ve lapsed, been reinstated (often…

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The Bi-partisan Budget Act of 2015, which passed through Congress at breakneck speed included groundbreaking Social Security reform measures. More specifically, the budget act eliminated the file-and-suspend and the restricted application strategies, two key strategies couples used to coordinate retirement and spousal benefits to maximize Social Security income. The 1939 Amendments introduced spousal benefits and…

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A recent column of mine discussed revocable living trusts and how they may ensure control and privacy of your estate. If you’re not looking to control assets from the grave, and your objective is to simply avoid probate in order to make life easier for executors and beneficiaries, then there are alternatives to trust-based estate…

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Imagine it’s the year 2000, and Sam and Pam Smith have a combined estate valued at $1.35 million, with each owning $675,000 in assets individually. Knowing there’s an unlimited marital deduction (spouses can transfer an unlimited amount of assets to each other without incurring gift or estate taxes), Sam and Pam Smith’s estate plan consisted…

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Proper estate planning ensures your assets and wellbeing will be cared for in the event of death or incapacitation. While there are several documents, such as the Will, Durable Power of Attorney, and Advanced Medical Directives everyone should have regardless of health, wealth, or age, the question of whether or not a revocable living trust…

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