Tips to avoid being scammed
Scammers are always finding new and cleaver ways to separate people from their money.
Scammers are using cryptocurrency in new ways
Scammers are more active now than ever, with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reporting that Americans lost almost $8.8 billion to scams in 2022.
Protect yourself from cons and scams
While scams are rampant, one of the ways to protect yourself is to stay aware of the latest scams and schemes that criminals are using and follow some simple rules.
National debt, around the world
The U.S. national debt stood at $31.4 trillion before the Congress acted with legislation to avoid a default on the debt.
Scams targeting college students
Scammers are increasingly targeting college students. The Federal Trade Commission estimates that students lost nearly $520 million to fraud in 2022. The scams come in many forms, and scammers will often rely on creating a sense of urgency to get you to act without thinking.
Family farms and the estate tax
Merle Parks left the bulk of his estate, which included a farm, to his nephew Ronald. Merle died on September 19, 2023. The estate tax return for Merle was due six months later.
Two family business stories
The following stories are true, the information taken from court decisions and newspaper reports. They are offered as examples of the unexpected problems that may occur with family businesses.
The digital estate checklist grows
Updating your will every few years is a great idea. Create a smoother transition of assets for your
executor by addressing digital
executor by addressing digital
An Unexpected Relative
In 2018, Loch David Crane, a California resident, died without having made a will. His reasons for not taking care of this important financial chore are unknown, but perhaps it was because he had no surviving spouse, children, siblings, or grandparents.
The "death box"
Settling an estate is no easy task. It starts with the will, which every financially responsible person should have, but that is only the start. Retired estate planner Joan Burda, in an article for the American Bar Association’s Senior Lawyer magazine, discussed something she likes to call the “death box,” though the name given to the repository is not important.
Estate taxes and gifts
Richard Spizzirri, a successful lawyer and investor in the biotechnology sector, was married four times in his life. He was still married to wife number four, Holly, at his death in 2015, but he had been estranged from her for several years.
How to define income
There isn't a simple answer to the question of what constitutes the income of a trust.
An Inflation-protected Investment
Since 1997, the U.S. government has provided investors with a convenient tool for building inflation protection into their portfolios. That tool is Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities.
Beyond the ordinary investment account
Flexible living trusts are extraordinarily useful. The estate planning benefits, which generally include privacy and probate avoidance, are reasonably well known.
Inflation, stocks, and bonds
In 89 of the last 97 years, inflation was lower than the total return in the stock and bonds markets. So says the annual compendium of investment returns from Ibbotson Associates, “Stocks, Bonds, Bills, and Inflation: 2023 Yearbook.” In only eight years did inflation outpace investment returns, but 2022 was one of those years.
"It's a better world than it has ever been"
Those are the words of Warren Buffett, answering a question during the 2023 Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting in May. Buffett has always been an optimist, so that observation is not surprising. Technology has made consumer goods available that the richest tycoons of 100 years ago could not imagine, let alone have.
Disadvantage of An Individual Trustee
In a complex legal battle involving trust administration, the Silver family finds themselves entangled in jurisdictional complexities.
A menu of services
One of the greatest strengths of trust planning is the ability to tailor the plan to respond flexibly to current and future family financial needs.
Recalibrating retirement readiness
A recent article in Financial Planning magazine reported that Americans are falling behind in saving for retirement readiness [“Four Reasons Retirement Readiness is Declining,” May 2023]. Some 55% of Americans are behind, and 35% are “significantly behind” where they need to be able to retire in comfort.
Do's and don'ts for IRA beneficiaries
Inheriting an IRA, as welcome as it may be, comes with complications. If you are a surviving spouse, there are special favorable choices for you, and this article is not for you. Nonspouse beneficiaries need to know a number of rules.
To Turn an IRA Into a Small Pension
Over the years, more and more employers have dropped their pension plans, which pay a monthly retirement benefit for life, in favor of plans that allow for employee contributions to a tax-deferred retirement account, such as a 401(k) or 403(b) plan.
Fraud and taxes
Dennis Gomas inherited a pet food business from his brother in 2010. Dennis lived in Florida, and the business was in New York, which made supervision difficult. When a key employee was discovered stealing inventory and selling customer lists to a competitor, Dennis fired her and moved the business to Florida in 2014.
Music to IRS' ears
Omar Firestone was the executor of the estate of Ghaida Firestone. On January 17, 2012, he was notified that the estate tax return had been selected for audit. A recomputed estate tax of over $1.8 million was communicated to Omar by the IRS on April 16, 2013.
A Strategy Too Good to be True
Albert and Gladys Gerhardt created a Charitable Remainder Annuity Trust (CRAT) in November 2015. They transferred real property worth $1.8 million to the trust, and reported the transfer on Form 709, the federal gift tax return.
Speaking to the Senate Finance Committee earlier this year, IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel sought to allay fears that increased IRS funding would result in a dramatic increase in audits of small businesses and middle-class taxpayers.