September 2010 Posts

  • Online Estate Planning? Think About It

    Call me old-fashioned, but I think estate planning should involve a personalized and continuing relationship, not a transaction. While some may prefer to use low-cost websites or software because they are more concerned about price than value, think about what they won’t be getting....
  • AICPA issues Press Release Against Tax Strategy Patents

    WASHINGTON (Sept. 29, 2010) – Tax strategy patents threaten American taxpayers and Congress should ban them before it adjourns for the year, a coalition of 18 national consumer and taxpayer organizations said in a letter to lawmakers....
  • Keep Your Information Private

    Watch out for telephone calls where the caller requests personal information: “There are no situations in which it is reasonable to give out Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, credit card, checking account or other personal information over the phone or in writing unless you have initiated a conversation with a qualified person or business,” according to Angel Dennison, director of the Chatham County Council on Aging....
  • LegalZoom Responds to My Post of 9-27-10

    Boy, that was fast! I stand corrected by LegalZoom’s Senior Counsel, Kenneth Friedman. The Attorney General of Washington State did not file suit against LegalZoom, but did institute an investigation of their business practices. ...
  • Is LegalZoom Selling Your Personal Information?

    The Attorney General of Washington instituted an investigation of LegalZoom for the unauthorized practice of law and the release of personal and financial information of customers to third parties, resulting in LegalZoom entering into this Assurance of Discontinuance. Check out this article on the topic....
  • Beware of “Medicaid Friendly” Annuities versus “Medicaid Compliant” Annuities

    I have had a few clients who have been sold “Medicaid Friendly” Annuities. In at least one case, the annuity salesman sold the client a “Medicaid Friendly” annuity in the local senior center....
  • “Tax Hike Prevention” Act of 2010 introduced in Senate

    The Tax Hike Prevention Act of 2010 was introduced in the Senate on September 13 as Senate Bill 3773 "to permanently extend the 2001 and 2003 tax relief provisions and to provide permanent AMT relief and estate tax relief, and for other purposes." ...
  • New Online Service Helps Executors Locate Financial Information

    One of the most challenging things for many executors is trying to locate and organize the decedent’s financial information, such as insurance policies, and bank and investment statements....
  • NC Court of Appeals Holds IRA Withdrawals Exempt from Creditors

    The North Carolina Court of Appeals, in Kinlaw v. Johnson, confirmed statutory law protecting IRAs from creditors, and extended the protection to the account owner’s legal use of IRA funds from collection on a creditor’s judgment. The court stated:...
  • Obama Still Wants $3.5 Million Estate Tax Exemption

    This update is from Tax Analysts by way of Robert Keebler, CPA: Obama administration officials are considering a proposal to allow taxpayers to elect to apply 2009 rules to their 2010 estate tax bills, a Treasury Department official said in an interview that aired September 12....
  • Forgoing an ILIT- Estate Planning’s Costliest Mistake

    Most people know that the proceeds of a life insurance policy are generally free of income taxes. What many don’t realize, however, is that the same proceeds are included in one’s estate for estate tax purposes....
  • IRS Guidance for Executors of 2010 Estates

    Given the new basis reporting requirement for the estate of decedents dying in 2010, these new FAQ from the IRS are welcome and contain very important details, including (emphasis added):...
  • Online Wills Are Risky

    I came across this article by lawyer and journalist Deborah L .Jacobs, The Case Against Do-It-Yourself Wills, on Forbes.com today. While I think the article sends an important message, I take issue with some of what Jacobs, and even nationally known attorney Jonathan Blattmachr have to say:...
  • Top 10 Estate Planning Considerations

    Now that Labor Day has come and gone, with no more summer vacations and the kids back in school, it’s time to get serious and give thought to creating or updating your estate plan. Here are some things that should be examined/implemented as part of every estate plan:...
  • NC Law on Intrepretation of Estate Tax Clauses for 2010 Decedents

    This year, of course, there is no federal estate tax. However, many Wills and Trusts drafted in the past contain formula clauses based on the existence of the federal estate and/or generation-skipping transfer tax....
  • Social Security Payback Option May be Eliminated

    The Social Security Administration may do away with a rarely used option to pay back earlier social security payments received in order to get increased payments in the future. ...