With an asset protection plan that uses our proven Estate, Tax, Elder Law, Medicaid and Special Needs Planning strategies, Amoruso & Amoruso, LLP gives you peace of mind by ensuring that your loved ones receive the care that they need.
I am thrilled to be named as a recipient of the Theresa Foundation's 20th Annual Theresa Award for my advocacy on behalf of people with special needs. This is an incredible organization that enriches the lives of those with special needs. Please support the event by purchasing a Journal Ad or attending the event on May 2nd! Here is the link: http://www.theresafoundation.org/theresa-events/the-theresa-awards/
While dynasty trusts may at first glance seem complex, they are an excellent mechanism to create structure around the family legacy and fortune and potentially avoid the familiar proverb of a wealthy family going from “shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations.”
Ready for a history lesson on using trusts to pass on wealth?
Long ago the railroad and oil barons would create trusts in which the trust’s income was distributed to the children and grandchildren for their care and well-being, but the principal was to be distributed to the grandchild at the child’s death. However, the IRS caught on to this generation skipping, and so Congress passed the generation-skipping transfer tax (GST).
The GST assesses a tax on both outright gifts and transfers in trust to or for the benefit of unrelated persons who are more than one generation younger than the donor (like grandchildren).
A recent article in Forbes, titled "Why Rich Kids Don't Pay Taxes," examines the exemption to the GST. Like the gift and estate tax, the current exemption is $5.34 million for individuals and $10.68 million for couples. The article states that the magic of the dynasty trust resides in this exemption. Wealthy families pass along at least $10.68M to their heirs indefinitely—to exploit the dynasty trust’s advantage. If those assets continue to grow, gains on the original $10.68M gift are also exempt from gift and estate taxes.
Although this type of estate planning is associated with the rich, anyone can structure a trust in the same manner, even with a small initial investment. This small amount can grow significantly in the course of a few decades. Set up your grandchildren as "trust fund babies" and make them wealthy from an early age. Talk with your estate planning attorney to find out more.
A careful review of the return can point the way to opportunities for decreasing your taxes and increasing after-tax wealth.
"Those that ignore history are bound to repeat it."
Translation: learn from mistakes made in the past and avoid repeating them. In other words, you should review what didn't work in order to guide yourself forward to better outcomes.
For example, your tax return from last year—where is it? Dig it out and take a look. You may find ways to reduce the amount of taxes you are paying so you have more money to invest (and for seniors, more money to spend!).
Quick! Find the first page of your Form 1040. This is where you want to find areas in which to lessen your taxes. The back page of the first page has itemized deductions, such as mortgage interest, charitable contributions, medical expenses, and others, along with tax credits, which allow limited planning opportunities.
For example, unreimbursed employee expenses may be deducted if they are:
Paid or incurred during your tax year,
For carrying on your trade or business of being an employee, and
Ordinary and necessary.
The IRS says an expense is “ordinary” if it is "common and accepted in your trade, business, or profession." An expense is deemed to be necessary if it is "appropriate and helpful to your business." An expense does not have to be required to be considered necessary.
You may be able to deduct the following items as unreimbursed employee expenses:
Business liability insurance premiums.
Damages paid to a former employer for breach of an employment contract.
Depreciation on a computer your employer requires you to use in your work.
Dues to a chamber of commerce if membership helps you do your job.
Dues to professional societies.
Job search expenses in your present occupation.
Licenses and regulatory fees.
Medical examinations required by an employer.
Your passport for a business trip.
Subscriptions to professional journals and trade magazines related to your work.
Tools and supplies used in your work.
Travel, transportation, meals, entertainment, gifts, and local lodging related to your work.
Union dues and expenses.
Work clothes and uniforms if required and not suitable for everyday use.
So, what is the take-away from all of this you can use? Grab last year's return and see what you can learn … and save!
Unlike Medicare, which is fully regulated by the federal government, Medicaid is a joint program of both federal and state governments. The federal government sets guidelines, and states establish their own rules and programs within these broad parameters.
Do you know the difference between Medicare and Medicaid? Although you may feel you need a PhD. in government bureaucracy to understand it all, let's take a basic approach and break it down to a "third-grade" level.
In general (third-grade) terms, Medicare is regulated totally by the federal government, and Medicaid is a joint program of both federal and state. The federal government sets the Medicaid guidelines, but the states will establish their own rules and programs within those boundaries.
Medicaid is “means-tested.” To qualify for Medicaid, an individual’s monthly income has to be below $2,000 or $3,000. His or her assets (not including a home, personal belongings, a car, and some other items) cannot be worth more than $2,000 to $15,000.
Remember: each state has its own threshold, within limits. In addition, the rules can vary not only by state, but also in some instances by county.
Sound complicated?It is. If you want the “Doctorate” version, speak to a qualified elder law attorney who specializes in this area to get the right answers and to discuss your specific situation.
To find the Most Affordable cities, we started with America’s 100 largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) and Metropolitan Divisions (MDs), all with populations of 600,000 or more.
When making purchases, more than likely you want to get the biggest bang for your buck. Everyone likes a good deal! So when deciding where to live and what real estate to purchase, getting the best deal possible for your situation is key.
Some folks will trade off a degree or two of affordability to be closer to family, have a shorter commute to work, or to be near other conveniences. In addition, it is an added benefit if the place you choose to call home has a decent cost of living.
Having more money can make important lifestyle trade-offs easier to afford. One way to make sure you are planning well for retirement and beyond is to discuss your goals with a qualified estate planning attorney. He or she can help you design a strategy to use your money effectively now and to provide for your loved ones after you are gone.
Perhaps you want to retire near your daughter in the Southwest? Talk to an estate planning attorney to help you navigate a strategy to help you get there, or wherever you would like to call home in your golden years.
There are various reasons why our elders are such easy prey for these thieves.
People taking advantage of other people is just an ugly reality of the world we live in. Some of the worst offenders are those who dupe the elderly. Seniors can be easily confused and too trustworthy at times, which makes them the perfect target for fraud.
If you are on the younger side, you should consider how you will provide for your family in the event of your timely death. If you are at or nearing retirement, you should also be concerned about elder care—how you will be cared for if you are unable to be on your own.
Regardless, it is essential to get the professional advice and information you need. Speak to an estate planning and elder law attorney as soon as possible. While it may not be the most enjoyable conversation you will ever have (discussing one’s own morbidity and mortality), it may be one of the smartest.
Effective January 1, 2014, the unified federal gift and estate tax exemption was increased to $5.34 million dollars.What this change means is that an individual can now give up to $5.34 million during their lifetime, or pass away with an estate valued up to $5.34 million dollars, without paying any Federal gift or estate tax.
"If my grandfather left me some money in his will, do I have to pay taxes on it?" No, but ...
If the estate is greater than $5.34 million under current law at your uncle’s passing, then the estate will be required to pay estate taxes. In addition, some states themselves impose an independent state estate tax. Caution: If your uncle made gifts exceeding the annual gift exclusion (i.e., $14,000 for 2014) in any given year to a beneficiary, then the amount in excess reduces the $5.34 million that can be left estate tax free at death.
Accordingly, for 2014, an individual can receive a lifetime exemption of $5.34 million. That means that you can receive up to that amount from your uncle’s estates without his estate owing any tax. If during your lifetime you are fortunate enough to receive more than $5.34 million from your uncle, then the estate would be required to pay taxes on anything above that threshold.
Spoiler alert: This area of law can get complicated.
Families with children from one or more marriages or relationships may require different tools and strategies for estate planning than those from a couple's one and only marriage. Yet another set of circumstances arises when one parent remarries and the other remains single.
Each of these situations—as well as yours—is very unique with different facts, scenarios, and requirements. The best way to address your estate planning needs is to speak with an attorney who concentrates his or her practice in this area. They will be able to assist you with creating the plan that will work the most efficiently and advantageously for you and your family.
There are several charitable giving strategies that help donors generate income from their gifts. Each is appropriate in different situations.
Giving to charity is a very satisfying act, with the giver fulfilling the needs of a charity and experiencing the joys of goodwill in the process. What a great feeling! And what's more, there are times when the giver gets something in return. So, how do you go about doing that?
By creating a CRT or charitable remainder trust, you donate appreciated capital gain property to an irrevocable trust you create. The trust then sells the property free of any capital gains taxation and invests the proceeds to generate an income stream on principal not diminished by capital gains taxes.
The trust pays you (or your beneficiaries) income for some period of years (up to 20 years) or for life, whichever you decide. After this period is over, the remainder of the property in the trust passes to the charities you designated when you created the trust or changed thereafter.
To sweeten the arrangement even more, when you transfer property to the trust, you receive a charitable contribution deduction.
This is not a do-it-yourself project, so consult with an experienced estate planning attorney to determine whether this technique is right for your unique circumstances.