Estate Planning Hot Topics


Welcome to our Estate Planning Hot Topics center.  This is our Blog containing current and timely short articles of interest to our clients about various estate planning, legacy planning, tax planning, business succession planning, and estate administration issues.  You may view our Estate Planning Hot Topics archive here and you may subscribe to the Estate Planning Hot Topics to be alerted when we post additional articles of interest.

Estate Tax Planning

Do Not Add Your Children to the Title of Your House!

Posted on: June 9th, 2015
In an all too common scenario, an elderly couple with modest assets may take seemingly minor steps that have devastating tax consequences. One of the most common of these mistakes is adding their children to the title of their house. Often, they do this without the benefit of advice from a legal professional because they want to avoid spending a few hundred, or even one or two thousand dollars on professional advice. What they do not realize, however, is that the result of these actions often cost their children tens of thousands of dollars in taxes once the parents are gone!...

An Estate Planning Checklist to Facilitate Wealth Transfer

Posted on: January 12th, 2015
Studies show that 70% of family wealth is lost by the end of the second generation and 90% by the end of the third. Help your loved ones avoid becoming one of these statistics. Educate and update your heirs about your wealth transfer goals and the plan you have put in place to achieve these goals....

Year End Estate Planning Tip #4–Make Gifts that Your Family Will Love but the IRS Will Hate

Posted on: December 22nd, 2014
Don't let the chaos of the holiday season prevent you from avoiding federal gift tax by making 'annual exclusion' gifts, medical payments gifts, and educational gifts....

Year End Estate Planning Tip #3–Check the Privacy of Your Estate Plan

Posted on: December 15th, 2014
With the end of the year fast approaching, now is the time to fine tune your estate plan before you get caught up in the chaos of the holiday season. One area of planning that many people overlook is ensuring that their final wishes remain private....

Year End Estate Planning Tip #2–Check Your Beneficiary Designations

Posted on: December 8th, 2014
With the end of the year fast approaching, now is the time to fine tune your estate plan before you get caught up in the chaos of the holiday season. One of the most overlooked aspects of financial and estate planning is beneficiary designations....

Year End Estate Planning Tip #1–Check Your Estate Tax Planning

Posted on: December 1st, 2014
With the end of the year fast approaching, now is the time to fine tune your estate plan before you get caught up in the chaos of the holiday season. One area that married couples should revisit is their estate tax planning....

Announcing the 2015 Adjustments for the Federal and Maryland Estate Tax Exemptions

Posted on: November 28th, 2014
The Internal Revenue Service has released the official adjustments that will affect 2015 federal reporting for estate taxes, gift taxes, generation-skipping transfer taxes, and estate and trust income taxes. Maryland also has adjusted its state estate tax threshold for 2015....

2015 Changes to State Death Taxes, Including DC and Maryland Estate Taxes

Posted on: November 7th, 2014
Both Maryland and the District of Columbia impose estate taxes at thresholds much lower than the Federal estate tax. If you or your heirs live in one of the states that imposes an estate tax, you should consider estate tax efficient ways to pass assets to your heirs....

Estate Tax Portability-A Back-Up Plan for Estate Tax Planning

Posted on: May 12th, 2014
The federal estate tax sometimes is a voluntary tax. Estate planning attorneys used to say, 'You only pay if you don't plan.' Now, the portability between spouses of the federal estate tax provides both an alternative and a back up plan to lifetime tax planning....

What to Do with an Inherited IRA

Posted on: October 4th, 2013
Those who inherit an IRA must be very careful to follow the rules, which are complicated and often confusing. It is possible to keep an account growing tax-deferred for decades, but an innocent error can cause the recipient to lose the tax-deferred advantage and force her to pay tax now on the entire account balance. As a result, it is critical to talk with an expert before making any decision or taking any action, and to understand all available options. ...

Beware of Estate Tax Law Changes for 2013

Posted on: July 19th, 2013
The 2013 tax legislation, known as the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, dealing with the 'fiscal cliff' included significant revisions to the estate tax law that will affect estate planning for the foreseeable future. These tax law changes affect Americans of all income levels. These revisions were implemented for federal tax issues; remember that Maryland has "de-coupled" from the federal estate tax and imposes its own estate tax on much lower asset thresholds....