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.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Over the last several weeks I have written articles concerning various topics of cottage law – succession planning, charitable giving, tax planning and the effect of the new federal estate and gift tax law. As we approach the end of the year I will focus my thoughts and articles on estate planning and related topics that you may find helpful as you reflect on this past year and look forward to the future.

I tell my clients that planning “in time” is not necessarily planning “on time.” This rule applies to not only estate planning, but the cottage plans and business succession plans that I am involved in for families as well. I’d like to share a brief story that...

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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

 

I recently read an article by an attorney who expressed his frustration with clients or potential clients asking him, “What will x or y cost me?” The attorney accurately pointed out that the simple question of what will a legal service cost is not always simple to answer. He compared that question to someone asking a doctor who knows nothing about the person’s medical history or has never examined the person a question like, “Doctor, I’m sick. I don’t know how sick, or what my options are, but how much will you charge to make me better?” 

Any attorney, financial advisor, paralegal, or do-it-yourself computer/online service that offers “one-price-...

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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Now that Halloween has come and gone and the end of the year is on the horizon, the time is here to plan your short- and long-term strategies for charitable giving.

Depending on who you listen to, the overall economy is still sluggish; however, many individuals still realized significant stock market gains based on bullish market conditions during the course of 2013. Individuals who have enjoyed success in the market this year have realized gains that will increase their gross income, triggering higher taxes.

At the same time, many charitable organizations have been squeezed and were subject to further setbacks when the federal government shutdown stopped fund-raising...

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

In December 2012, Congress made temporary increases on the estate and gift tax credits permanent and adopted further benefits for taxpayers. Those credits resulted in individuals being able to give away during their lifetime, or transfer at death, approximately $5 million in assets to beneficiaries ($10 million for married couples). For most taxpayers, these new limits and other tax provisions like “Portability” (which allows married couples to use the first spouse to die’s $5 million estate tax credit upon the second spouse’s death without the need for a married separate trust) brought “tax-based” or “motivated” estate planning to an end. The new rules have resulted in estate planning...

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

One of the most critical issues in any cottage succession plan is “when,” “how” and “to whom” can common owners of the family cottage transfer their ownership interest. Absent specific planning rules to govern these issues, transfers of ownership and decisions of an owner to sell his/her ownership in the family cottage is usually the most significant threat to keeping the cottage in the family.

 

Restrictions Usually Require “Intra” Family Transfers

 

Most often, the primary concern is to prevent any ownership of the family cottage from being transferred either voluntarily or involuntarily to a non-family member. A “Voluntary”...

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