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Nov 04 2015
Gearing Up for the ACA's Information Reporting Requirements

Posted in estate

Starting in 2016, applicable large employers (ALEs) under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will have to file Forms 1094-C and 1095-C to provide information to the IRS and plan participants regarding their health care benefits for the previous year. Both the forms and their instructions are now available for ALEs to study and begin preparations for required filings. In addition, organizations that expect to file Forms 1094 and 1095 electronically can peruse two final IRS publications setting out specifications for using the new ACA Information Returns system.

Keep in mind that ALEs are employers with 50 or more full-time employees or the equivalent. And even ALEs exempt from the ACA’s shared-responsibility (or “play or pay”) provision for 2015 (that is, ALEs with 50 to 99 full-timers or the equivalent who meet certain eligibility requirements) are still subject to the information reporting requirements in relation to their 2015 health care benefits.

If your company is considered an ALE, please contact us for assistance in navigating the ACA’s complex requirements for avoiding penalties and properly reporting benefits. If you’re not an ALE, we can still help you understand how the ACA affects your small business and determine whether you qualify for a tax credit for providing coverage.

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Last Updated by Admin on 2015-11-04 08:55:55 AM

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Nov 03 2015
Accounting for Digital Assets in Your Estate Plan

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If you die without addressing your digital assets (such as online bank and brokerage accounts) in your estate plan, your loved ones or other representatives may not be able to access them without going to court — or, worse yet, may not even know they exist.

The first step in accounting for digital assets is to conduct an inventory, including any computers, servers or handheld devices where these assets are stored. Next, talk with your estate planning advisor about strategies for ensuring that your representatives have immediate access to these assets in the event something happens to you.

Although you might want to provide in your will for the disposition of certain digital assets, a will isn’t the place to list passwords or other confidential information, because a will is a public document. One solution is writing an informal letter to your executor or personal representative that lists important accounts, website addresses, usernames and passwords. Another option is to establish a master password that gives the representative access to a list of passwords for all your important accounts, either on your computer or through a Web-based “password vault.”

If you have significant digital assets and need help incorporating them into your estate plan, please give us a call.

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Last Updated by Admin on 2015-11-03 07:00:24 AM

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Aug 24 2015
Don’t Forget To Plan For Long-Term Care Expenses

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Too often, people planning their estates focus on tax and asset-protection issues and overlook long-term health care needs. But the high cost of long-term care (LTC) can quickly devour resources you need to maintain your lifestyle during retirement and provide for your children or other heirs.

LTC expenses, which can easily reach into six figures annually, aren’t covered by regular health insurance policies. And Medicare provides little assistance, if any. So it’s important to have a plan for financing these costs.

One option to consider is an LTC insurance policy. Although these policies are expensive, under the right circumstances they can prevent LTC costs from depleting assets you’ve set aside for retirement and estate planning.

If your LTC policy is “tax-qualified,” any benefits you receive will be excluded from your taxable income — subject to certain limited exceptions — and you’ll be able to deduct a portion of your premium payments. Tax-qualified policies are guaranteed renewable and noncancelable, don’t delay coverage of pre-existing conditions more than six months, and meet certain other requirements.

To be sure that LTC costs are considered as part of an integrated estate and financial plan, contact us. We can help you determine whether LTC insurance or another funding option best fits your needs.

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Last Updated by Admin on 2015-08-24 08:14:32 AM

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Aug 13 2015
Discuss Planned Gifts With The Charities That Will Receive Them

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If your estate plan includes charitable donations, discuss any planned gifts with the intended recipients before you finalize your plans. This is particularly important for donations that place restrictions on the charity’s use of the gift, as well as donations of real estate or other illiquid assets.

Some charities have policies of rejecting gifts that come with strings attached. And many charities are reluctant to accept gifts of real estate or other noncash assets that may expose them to liability or require an investment in order to convert the assets into operating funds.

If a charity rejects your gift, the assets will end up back in your estate and will go to any contingent or residual beneficiaries. If these beneficiaries aren’t other charities, rejection of the gift may increase your estate tax liability.

Real estate is particularly risky for nonprofits. The charity may be exposed to liability for environmental issues, zoning and building code violations, and other risks. It may require a cash investment to pay the mortgage or maintain the property.

If you’d like to make a charitable donation through your estate plan, we can help ensure that you’re taking the proper steps so your wishes are carried out as you intended.

Last Updated by Admin on 2015-08-13 11:46:16 AM

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Aug 03 2015
Use Caution When Transferring Home Ownership To Your Children

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Many people mistakenly believe they can transfer their home to their children while retaining the right to continue living in it for the rest of their life, and remove the home’s value from their taxable estate. But, on the contrary, retaining such a “life estate” guarantees that the home’s value will be included in your taxable estate when you die. This means that, if your estate exceeds your available exemption at your death, some or all of your home’s value will be subject to estate taxes.

If instead you give your home to your children outright, you’ll remove it from your taxable estate. But your children will take over your tax basis in the property. So if the home has appreciated significantly, your children won’t be able to sell it without triggering substantial capital gains taxes. On the other hand, if the home passes to your children as part of your estate, they’ll receive a stepped-up basis, which reduces potential capital gains.

To determine the best course, compare the potential tax implications of each strategy. Retaining a life estate may be a good option if, for example, you believe that potential capital gains taxes would outweigh any estate tax savings an outright gift would create.

We can answer your questions regarding transferring home ownership.

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Last Updated by Admin on 2015-08-05 06:53:54 AM

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