Penning Group Blog

The Penning Group blog is written and edited by the advisors and attorneys of The Penning Group, providing practical business, personal, and legal information. To view blog posts by category, choose a topic area from the sidebar menu.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Tax Planning is critical at the end of the year. Here are some ideas to contemplate, along with the tried and true year-end tax savings techniques.

Individual Tax Strategies:

1) Game – The Standard Deduction

If your total itemized deductions are usually close to the standard deduction amount, consider the strategy of bunching together expenditures for itemized deduction items every other year, itemizing those years to deduct more...

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Like most attorneys, I was taught Estate Planning either by direct tutoring from my partners or by the traditions of those attorneys teaching seminars and speaking in related educational-type programs. The answer to the question of who should serve as a successor trustee in a trust for the individuals forming the trust (trust makers) is almost always an afterthought – it defaults to the kids, of course.

Parents hand out nominations of successor trustee to children and other family members as if they were a prize. While the nomination is certainly honorable, as estate planning attorneys, we should look beyond the “feel-good moment” and counsel the client about the...

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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Importance of “Trust Funding

One of the significant benefits of utilizing a living trust as part of one’s estate plan is to avoid the necessity of a surviving spouse or heirs from having to probate your assets with a probate court after your death. However, this benefit is not achieved by simply drafting and signing a living trust. The title to assets actually has to be transferred from an individual and/or their spouse to the trust during their lifetime in order to achieve the goal of avoiding probate.

Trust Funding for Basic Joint and Individual Trusts

I...

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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

In my practice, I oftentimes meet with clients who are “apologetic” for taking my time given their perception that they “… really don’t have that much [in assets]” but have come to see me based on the encouragement from friends or relatives. 

All Adults 18 Years and Older Need Planning

The truth is that everyone age 18 or older has estate planning needs. Estate planning is not solely based on how much a person is worth. While a person’s net worth is relevant in the planning process, especially individuals with significant assets, the...

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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Sometimes I’m asked if I’m concerned that changes to federal estate tax law will result in there being less work for me to do in my practice. I reply that I’m not concerned and that the changes to the federal estate tax law just mean that I’ll be dismantling all the planning during the second half of my career that I spent the first half of my career creating for clients.

That, of course, is not a serious response, but there is an element of truth in it. Changes in federal estate tax law have resulted in a need for individuals to consider their past planning and whether changes should be made to that planning in light of visions in the new law.

Past Strategy...

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