2008 Posts

  • Happy New Tax Year – Changes in 2009

    Tonight at midnight, of course, will be the start of 2009. With the change in the calendar year comes several significant tax changes, most of which I have blogged about prior to today:...
  • 529 College Savings Plan Investments May Be Adjusted Twice Yearly in 2009

    The IRS recently announced in Notice 2009-1 that in 2009 the investments in 529 College Savings Plans may be adjusted twice, as opposed to once per year, which has been the rule to date....
  • Bush Signs Worker, Retiree and Employer Recover Act of 2008

    This morning President Bush signed H.R. 7327, the “Worker, Retiree and Employer Recovery Act of 2008” (WRERA)....
  • The 12 Keys to Proper Estate Planning

    All of us know the Christmas song The 12 days of Christmas. Keeping with the holiday theme, I have come up with "The 12 Keys to Proper Estate Planning." ...
  • Expatriates Beware – New Taxes Apply

    Tired of all the taxes here in the good ole USA and thinking of moving to a tropical isle with little or no taxation?...
  • Deductibility of Estate Planning Legal Fees

    Contrary to what many of my clients assume, legal fees for general estate planning are not deductible for income tax purposes....
  • IRS Offers Free Tax Guide for Individuals

    From IR 2008-142: WASHINGTON — The IRS has placed its comprehensive tax guide for individuals on IRS.gov, updating it for tax year 2008. ...
  • Required Minimum Distributions to be Suspended?

    This update is courtesy of Barry C. Picker, CPA: It looks as if Congress has passed, and sent to Pres. Bush, H.R. 7327; Worker, Retiree, and Employer Recovery Act of 2008, ...
  • It may not seem like it, but Now is the Time to Plan

    Difficult topics when planning for your estate is a recent article on the Chicago Tribune’s website that discusses the advantages of wealth transfer planning during down market and low interest rate environments such as the one we are experiencing now. ...
  • IRS Offers Tips for Year-End Donations

    This is from IR-2008-138, issued today by the IRS: WASHINGTON — Individuals and businesses making contributions to charity should keep in mind several important tax law provisions that have taken effect in recent years....
  • Own Rental Real Estate? You Need an LLC to Protect Yourself

    Anyone who owns rental real estate in his or her individual name is taking a tremendous risk. ...
  • Medicare Part D – An Overview

    After the conclusion of World War II, employer provided health care benefits had become commonplace and employees had come to expect the benefit as part of their overall employment package. ...
  • Big Tax Losses in 2008? Consider a Roth Conversion

    Self-employed persons or small business owners such as home builders with big tax losses for the year should consider converting their traditional IRAs to Roth IRAs this year to "soak up" some or all of the loss....
  • North Carolina Has 4th Highest Beer Tax

    As a beer aficionado, I was surprised to learn today that NC has the fourth-highest tax on beer in the nation, at 53 cents a gallon....
  • NC Gift Tax to be Repealed?

    ​Budget negotiators for the North Carolina House and Senate agreed on tax breaks in the 2008-09 spending plan, which include, most notably for me and many of my clients, a repeal of the state gift tax. ...
  • Report Foreign Bank Accounts Totaling Over $10,000

    The IRS is increasing its efforts to track down American taxpayers who have undeclared foreign bank accounts (including US citizens living abroad). ...
  • IRS Announces 2009 Standard Mileage Rates

    The Internal Revenue Service has issued the 2009 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes....
  • “Aging in America” Recording Available on NAELA Webiste

    A recorded version of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA)’s public webcast "Aging in America: How to Plan for it" is available for through November 30 on the NAELA website....
  • Reverse Mortgage Limits Double

    The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 more than doubled the home value (now up to $417,000) to be used nationwide for establishing the size of loans available from the federal reverse mortgage program. ...
  • NAELA Announces New Senior Housing Locator Website

    The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) has unveiled its new Senior Housing Locator powered by SNAPforSeniors®, an online navigational tool designed to help easily find senior housing anywhere in the country....
  • Obama and Taxes

    http://www.kiplinger.com/features/archives/2008/11/Obama_Tax_Plan_Update.html...
  • NC Has 11th Highest Income Tax Rate in U.S.

    Our top rate is now 7.75%, just slightly under Idaho’s top rate of 7.8%. Even New York has a lower top rate. Before our top rate of 8.25% expired, we were tied for 9th place with Hawaii. ...
  • Tax Policy Center Report on Federal Estate Tax

    Here’s a recent comprehensive report from the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center entitled Back from the Grave: Revenue and Distributional Effects of Reforming the Federal Estate Tax. ...
  • Something Smells Phishy – Fake IRS Refund Emails

    I just received an email with the following text (albiet in my spam filter). After the last annual calculations of your fiscal activity we have determined that you are eligible to receive a tax refund under section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code....
  • Update Your Beneficiary Designations

    Failure to update one’s beneficiary designations for life insurance, annuities and retirement accounts is all too common. ...
  • FDIC Releases New Simplified Rules for Coverage for Living Trusts

    This is the Press Release issued by the FDIC (emphasis added): The FDIC’s Board of Directors today adopted changes to simplify the rules for determining the coverage available on revocable trust accounts – commonly called payable-on-death accounts or living trust accounts....
  • ILIT Trustees – Examine Your Policies

    Life insurance trusts (ILITs) are a popular estate planning technique used to shelter life insurance proceeds from estate taxes, creditors and mismanagement by beneficiaries. ...
  • Warren Buffet – Now’s the Time to Buy American Stocks

    Words of wisdom from a sage investor on the NY Times Website. It is also important not to use the poor economy as an excuse to neglect protecting what you have by doing sound estate planning. ...
  • Free Webcast on Aging October 30, 2008

    The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) will be offering its first ever public Webcast on October 30, 2008. ...
  • IRS Announces Pension Plan Limits for 2009

    IR-2008-118, Oct. 16, 2008 WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today announced cost‑of‑living adjustments applicable to dollar limitations for pension plans and other items for tax year 2009....
  • Gift Tax Annual Exclusion to Increase in 2009

    The IRS has announced many annual inflation adjustments for 2009, including an increase in the annual gift exclusion. The annual gift tax exclusion for present interest gifts will be $13,000....
  • Using a Professional Care Manager

    Services from care managers should be something that every family takes advantage of, but in reality very few families use them....
  • Should You Roll Your 401(k) Over into an IRA?

    Once you cease working for an employer, you have the option of rolling over to an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) any retirement plan (such as a 401(k)) established for you while employed....
  • FDIC Bank Account Insurance Coverage Calculator

    The recent Bailout law increased the FDIC insurance coverage for bank accounts to $250,000 per person, per bank. ...
  • More on Special Needs Trusts

    ​I recently posted a link to an article on Special Needs Trusts – here’s another one from the Wall Street Journal, which quotes several well known lawyers, including Barry Nelson in Miami, who has a special needs child himself. ...
  • What Property is Exempt from Creditors’ Claims in NC?

    If you were ever to be sued, what property would be protected in the event of a judgment against you? ...
  • Estate and Income Tax Reduction Strategies in a Bear Market

    1) If you are not selling options or using margin trading, you should revoke your margin agreements. This reduces your risk by ensuring that your securities are not lent. 2) Roth IRA conversions should be aggressively reviewed....
  • Bailout Includes IRA Charitable Rollover

    ​The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (H.R. 1424) passed the House yesterday, and was quickly signed by President Bush. ...
  • Top 10 Excuses for Failure to Plan One’s Estate

    Most folks never get around to doing any estate planning, even so much as a simple will. Why?...
  • Older Estate Plans Should Be Reviewed

    While folks who put an estate plan into place years, or even decades, ago are to be commended for planning ahead, they should not assume that the job is completed. ...
  • PA Elder, Estate and Fiduciary Law Blog

    http://paelderestatefiduciary.blogspot.com/ ...
  • House and Senate Bills have same IRA Charitable Rollover Provision

    ​Both the Senate’s Tax Extenders and Alternative Minimum Tax Relief Act of 2008 (H.R. 6049), which was passed on September 23, 2008, and the House’s Renewable Energy and Job Creation Tax Act of 2008 (H.R. 7060),...
  • Estate Planning Checklist

    Do you have an Estate Plan in place? If so, are you confident that it fully covers matters relating to health care, family, taxes, and asset protection?...
  • How to Choose an Executor

    This article is from one of our recent newsletters. Although it refers only to executors, most of the considerations also apply to trustees. ...
  • 2008 North Carolina Tax Law Changes

    The North Carolina Department of Revenue has published a list of recent changes to NC tax laws. ...
  • Real Property Transfer on Death Act

    BY CHRIS BURTI, VICE PRESIDENT, SENIOR LEGAL COUNSEL, STATEWIDE TITLE, INC. Elder Law is becoming a burgeoning practice area as the Baby Boomer Generation is rapidly beginning to gray out. ...
  • Pennsylvania Fiduciary Litigation Blog

    http://www.pennsylvaniafiduciarylitigation.com/ ...
  • Change to NC Estate Tax for Out–of-State Property

    I’m back from vacation, furiously trying to catch up on things (as if!), but thought I would quickly add this tidbit from the NC Department of Revenue. ...
  • Planning to Self-Insure the Risk of Long-Term Care Expenses?

    Planning for long-term care expenses should be a part of everyone’s estate plan by the time they reach 50. ...
  • Durham, NC Tops for Retirement

    Black Enterprise magazine has named Durham as the best place to retire. Factors considered were quality on life, health care, taxes, leisure, arts and culture, and climate. Asheville ranked 11th....
  • Rep. Rangel Should Resign from Ways and Means Committee

    Rep. Charles Rangel, chair of the Ways and Means Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives, owes the IRS $5,000 in back taxes for failing to report years worth income from a rental property. ...
  • San Jose Bankruptcy Lawyer

    http://brooksattorney.com/...
  • Presidential Candidates’ Tax Proposals

    Middle Class Tax Cuts – The general goal of the Obama plan is to cut taxes for the middle class and raise taxes for higher-income persons....
  • Just for Laughs – an Estate Planning Joke!

    I’ve seen this joke around a couple of times, and thought I would bring a little levity to the site by publishing it – don’t know who came up with it....
  • Chatham County Clerk Now Requires Approval of Attorneys Fees in Probate

    When I started practicing 20 years ago, Clerks of Court generally required approval of attorneys fees paid in probate proceedings. ...
  • IRS Publishes Report on 2005 Gifts

    The IRS recently published a report on lifetime wealth transfers in 2005 as disclosed to the IRS on federal gift tax returns. ...
  • Burke County, NC One of America’s Fastest-Aging Counties

    Burke County, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, is one of the fastest-aging counties in the country, according a recent article in Forbes. ...
  • For Tithing or Other Gifts to Church – Get Valid Receipt

    If you regularly give to your church, make sure you get an acknowledgment letter that complies with IRS regulations – otherwise you are not entitled to deduct the gifts. ...
  • Houston Trust & Estate Litigation Blog

    http://www.texas-estate-attorney.com/law-blog/...
  • Phishing for Probate

    Today I received an email message that reads as follows: Good Day, My name is Sarah Brown. I work as an executive partner for the firm Mayer Brown Watford...
  • Schiavo, Rivera, Who’s Next?

    I read in the paper this morning about the case of Janet Rivera, a comatose 46 year old California woman. ...
  • SSA Has New Retirement Calculator

    The Social Security Administration has a new calculator on its website called the Retirement Estimator. ...
  • NC Gift Tax Repealed After All

    In what comes as a surprise to me, based on the last news as reported in my postings in the last week or so, yesterday Governor Easley signed HB2436, which includes (page 201)...
  • FDIC Insurance Coverage for Trust Accounts

    With the recent failure of IndyMac Bank and even large banks like Wachovia reporting astounding losses, some folks are becoming increasingly concerned about the safety of their money. ...
  • BB&T Wealth Management Ranked #1

    North Carolina’s own BB&T Wealth Management was rated as the most prestigious regional bank wealth manager by high net-worth consumers, according to the 2008 Luxury Brand Status Index survey. ...
  • Specific Benefits

    Separate Retirement Plan Trust is the Best Choice I generally recommend that persons with IRA or qualified plan assets of at least $200,000 should consider a Standalone IRA/Retirement Plan Trust. ...
  • Easley Wants the Gift Tax to Stay

    My last entry was about SB1756, which includes a complete repeal of the North Carolina gift tax. ...
  • Life Insurance Premium Financing

    Many of us could use more insurance for estate planning purposes, such as financial security for loved ones or payment of estate taxes....
  • IRS Mileage Rates to Increase July 1, 2008

    As a result of the ever-rising gas prices, the IRS has increased the optional standard mileage rates for July 1 through December 31, 2008....
  • Renewable Energy and Job Creation Act of 2008 Fails

    The Renewable Energy and Job Creation Act of 2008, the latest version of legislation featuring several tax extenders, alternative minimum tax relief and energy provisions failed to pass the Senate. ...
  • Summary Judgment Improper in Contract Case where Undue Influence and Lack of Consideration Alleged

    Bruce and Kathryn Barbee, an elderly North Carolina couple, owned a $450,000 vacation home. ...
  • LexisNexis Estate Practice & Elder Law Community

    http://www.lexisnexis.com/community/estate-elderlaw/...
  • Estate Planning for Parents

    Parents of minor children would be well-served to view this video, Estate Planning for Parents, which features my WealthCounsel colleague Alexis Martin Neely on the Today show. ...
  • How to Organize Your Financial and Legal Affairs

    I recently came across a publication entitled If Something Should Happen – How to Organize Your Financial and Legal Affairs. ...
  • Federal Estate Tax Return Statistics for 2004 Decedents Released

    For you true tax geeks out there, you can find all kinds of interesting statistics in this report published by the IRS. ...
  • Organ Donation in North Carolina

    Most North Carolinians know that when they renew their driver’s license, they can indicate their desire to be an organ donor by having a red heart placed on the license. ...
  • IRA Charitable Rollover and Other Tax Extensions Passed by House Committee

    The House Ways and Means Committee passed H.R. 6049, the Energy and Tax Extenders Act of 2008, on May 15, 2008. ...
  • Beyond the Basics – a Trio of Considerations for Succession Planning

    When doing estate planning, one needs to consider to whom to leave one’s property, which is usually not much of a problem....
  • Good News for Family LLCs

    As a proponent of Family Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) for asset management, creditor protection, and ease of gifting, I was pleased to read about the U.S. Tax Court’s decision in Mirowski v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo 2008-74. ...
  • North Carolina Workers Compensation Blog

    http://myworkerscomplawyernc.com/blog/#axzz1KZF7pY2j...
  • Where’s My Refund?

    Excerpts from a recent IRS Memo: WASHINGTON — Taxpayers who have filed their federal income tax returns and are expecting their refunds can use the Internal Revenue Service’s online tool, “Where’s My Refund?,” to check on the status of their refunds. ...
  • Continuation of $100,000 IRA Charitable Rollover Proposed

    On April 17, Senators Max Baucus (D-MT) and Charles Grassley (R-IA) introduced a bill for 2008 and 2009 which would extend certain tax laws until December 31, 2009. ...
  • National Health Care Decisions Day

    Today is National Health Care Decisions Day. I personally encourage everyone who is at least 18 years of age to have a Health Care Power of Attorney and Living Will (also known as Advance Directives). ...
  • Texas Probate Litigation Blog

    http://www.txprobatelitigation.com/...
  • IRS Allows Roth Conversions for Inherited Retirement Plans

    In an unexpected announcement (Notice 2008-30), the IRS has stated that it will allow non-spouse beneficiaries of qualified plans (such as a 401(k), 403(b) or employer pension plan) to convert those funds directly to a Roth IRA. ...
  • NC Gift Tax Reform Under Consideration

    The Revenue Laws Study Committee of the North Carolina General Assembly is taking a look at reforming the North Carolina Gift Tax. ...
  • 3 Rules For Getting Your Economic Stimulus Payments on Time

    According to the IRS Commissioner: 1. File Early. 2. File Electronically. 3. Use Direct Deposit....
  • North Carolina Ranked 13th in Taxable Estates in 2006

    As reported in the TaxProf Blog, Citizens for Tax Justice has released a state-by-state ranking of the number of estates owing federal estate tax in 2006....
  • Retiring? This Study May Make You Think Twice!

    A Greek study reported this month in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that retired persons had a greater death rate than employed persons of the same age. ...
  • Estate Tax Changes Likely

    From this article in the New York Times yesterday: Beginning next year, the federal estate tax exemption will increase to $3.5 million. This means that the tax would apply to only about 0.3 percent of people who die each year. Not exactly the average American....
  • IRS Says Beware of These Tax Scams

    Tax scammers are creative – calling on telephone as well as sending emails. Heres a liink to a recent list of scammers’ ploys from the IRS....
  • IRS Allows Favorable Gift Treatment for S Corp

    This from Professor Chistopher Hoyt at the UMKC Law School, with good news for S Corporation owners:...
  • IRS to Publish New Proposed Regulations for 529 Plans

    The IRS has announced that it will soon propose new regulations governing 529 College Savings Plans, which will (I) contain an anti-abuse rule (to prevent using 529 Plans to skirt gift tax rules);...
  • Factors for Determining Undue Influence

    The North Carolina Court of Appeals’ recent decision in In re Will of John A. Jones, Jr. deals with a Caveat against a Will in favor of the decedent’s wife filed by the executor of the prior Will, ...
  • Protect Your Ancestors’ Legacy with an Inheritor’s Trust

    If you’re like many folks, you may be deeply concerned about how litigious our society has become and fear that your assets may one day be taken by creditors. ...
  • Want Your Tax Rebate? Make Sure You File On Time

    ​If you are of of the many Americans eligible for a tax rebate this year, and are expecting a check in May, don’t procrastinate. ...
  • Stimulus Bill – Here Come the Tax Rebates

    Click "Continue Reading" for a concise summary of, and some commentary on, the Stimulus Bill signed into law last week by President Bush, courtesy of the GiftLaw eNewsletter....
  • Family FLP/FLLC Checklist – Make Sure You do it Right

    Family Limited Partnerships, or more commonly now, Family Limited Liability Companies, are great vehicles for management and protection of family businesses, real estate, and investments. ...
  • Questions for the Family Business Owner

    Owners of family businesses face unique estate planning challenges. Far too often, owners fail to plan properly, or at all, which can ultimately lead to higher estate taxes, conflicts among family members, and even failure of the business....
  • IRS Warns of New Email and Phone Scams

    The IRS issued a warning today about new telephone and email scams. Click "Continue Reading" to view the official notice. ...
  • For Baby Boomers Only

    This is a big departure from my normally somewhat "dry" postings, but as a baby boomer myself, I found this animated short quite funny and wanted to share it. Enjoy!...
  • IRS Lists 4 New Frivolous Positions to Avoid

    The IRS recently published a notice naming four new frivolous income tax claims: Misinterpretation of the 9th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution regarding objections to military spending....
  • Thoughts on the Future of the Federal Estate Tax

    This week I’m in Orlando at the University of Miami School of Law’s Heckerling Estate Planning Institute. Yesterday there was a discussion of what may be coming down the pike as to the federal estate tax (death tax):...
  • North Carolina's Wealthiest ZIP Codes

    According to ESRI, most of North Carolina’s wealthy live in the Charlotte area, but the Triangle boasts eight of the top 25 wealthiest ZIP codes in NC. ...
  • Federal Tax Law Changes for 2007 Returns

    This in information is courtesy of the NC State Giftlaw Newsletter. Of broadest interest in probably the increase in the AMT exemption and the delay it will cause for early filers who expect refunds....
  • Estate Plan Effectiveness and Maintenance Information

    Even the best estate planning documents will not be effective if they are lost or inaccessible. To help ensure that the documents are available when needed, we offer the following suggestions to our clients:...