Financial & Estate Planning

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Financial Planning
 
Medical Professionals: A Prescription for You - The demands on medical practitioners today can seem overwhelming. It's no secret that health-care delivery is changing, and those changes are reflected in the financial issues that health-care professionals face every day. You must continually educate yourself about new research in your chosen specialty, stay current on the latest technology that is transforming health care, and pay attention to business considerations, including ever-changing state and federal insurance regulations.
 
Guaranteed Lifetime Withdrawal Benefit Annuity Rider - Fixed-index annuities (also referred to as equity-indexed annuities) and variable annuities can be useful options for retirement savings because interest earnings are tax-deferred until withdrawn. These annuities can also be converted to a stream of income payments that can last for the rest of your life (annuitization). However, annuitization generally requires that you exchange your annuity account balance for income payments. Due to growing demand for additional income options, many issuers are offering a rider, called a guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefit (GLWB), to variable annuities and fixed-index annuities that allows you to get lifetime income payments while continuing to have access to the annuity's remaining cash value.
 
Estate Planning
 
Key Estate Planning Documents - There are five estate planning documents you may need, regardless of your age, health, or wealth: Durable power of attorney, Advanced medical directives, Will, Letter of instruction, Living trust. The last document, a living trust, isn't always necessary, but it's included here because it's a vital component of many estate plans.
 
Estate Planning Key Numbers - You will find here some key numbers associated with estate planning, as well as the federal gift tax and estate tax rate schedules for 2014 and 2015.
 
2015 Key Numbers -
 
The New Estate Tax Rules and Your Estate Plan - The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (the 2010 Tax Act) included new gift, estate, and generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax provisions. The 2010 Tax Act provided that in 2011 and 2012, the gift and estate tax exemption was $5 million (indexed for inflation in 2012), the GST tax exemption was also $5 million (indexed for inflation in 2012), and the maximum rate for both taxes was 35%.
 
Estate Planning and Income Tax Basis - Income tax basis can be an important factor in deciding whether to make gifts during your lifetime or transfer property at your death. This is because the income tax basis for the person receiving the property depends on whether the transfer is by gift or at death. This, in turn, affects the amount of taxable gain subject to income tax when the person sells the property.
 
Portability of Applicable Exclusion Amount - For married individuals who died in 2011 or in 2012, the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (the 2010 Tax Act) added a new portability provision allowing a surviving spouse to use any unused applicable exclusion amount of a deceased spouse for gift and estate tax purposes. The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (the 2012 Tax Act) permanently extended portability of the unused applicable exclusion amount between spouses. Portability of the exclusion between spouses and an increase in the basic exclusion amount would seem to make estate planning easier for many estates.
 
Advanced Estate Planning Concepts for Women - Statistically speaking, women live longer than men; if you're married, that means that the odds are that you're going to outlive your husband. That's significant for a couple of reasons. First, it means that if your husband dies before you, you'll likely inherit his estate. More importantly, though, it means that to a large extent, you'll probably have the last word about the final disposition of all of the assets you've accumulated during your marriage. But advanced estate planning isn't just for women who are or were married. You'll want to consider whether these concepts and strategies apply to your specific circumstances.