Blog — Family Business

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

One of the most significant tax advantages to owning a home comes at the back end of ownership, when you decide to sell it for a profit. A homeowner can exclude up to $250,000 of such profit from their federal capital gains tax. For married couples filing a joint tax return, the exclusion jumps to $500,000. This big tax break, however, does come with some basic requirements. It applies to the sale of only a “principal residence,” not a vacation home or investment property. With some limited exceptions for poor health, job changes and unforeseen circumstances, the taxpayer must have owned and used the home as a primary residence for at least two of the five years (the two years need to be...

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Thursday, April 3, 2014

In last week's blog, I introduced the concept of including digital assets in your estate plan. Today's blog is a follow-up providing additional substantive information regarding estate planning issues and planning for digital assets.

Why Think About Digital Assets?

Everyone should be concerned about protecting and planning for their "digital assets," because soon almost all forms of information will be communicated, stored and processed digitally. More and more major businesses and industries are being run on software delivered as online services, from movies to healthcare to agricultural to national defense. Marc Andreessen, inventor of the web browser and...

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Most all of us have “digital assets” of one type or another. A digital asset is a computing device (computer, smartphone or tablet); data storage device or medium, or all electronically stored information (data) like user accounts; or domain names and perhaps even intellectual property rights for someone engaged in a digital-type business, such as designing websites, applications or similar digital resources.

These digital assets cannot be forgotten when planning for one’s disability or death. Failure to include digital assets in your estate planning could lead to an expensive and time-consuming process for anyone trying to recover your digital assets or access data stored by you...

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

As part of a recent series, I wrote an article about various issues involved with making sure beneficiary designations on such matters as Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), 401(k) accounts, life insurance policies and other similar retirement benefit accounts. Since writing the original article, I have encountered at least three different situations with respect to new clients where the beneficiary designations that were made by an individual during his/her lifetime were not changed after a significant event like the death of a spouse or a divorce, which eventually led to an unintended consequence of individuals receiving proceeds as a beneficiary who the descendant would not have...

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Over the past 20 years, many individuals established Qualified Personal Residence Trusts (QPRT) whereby an individual transferred title of his/her real estate to a QPRT, which essentially leveraged the value of the gift made to the trust by deducting the value of the transferor retaining use and enjoyment of the property for the term of years of the QPRT. For example, this mechanism allowed someone to transfer ownership of a million-dollar home to a QPRT, and the value of the actual gift after 20 years to the QPRT beneficiaries, depending on the facts of a particular case, may have been as low as $600,000.

Now that we have experienced an increase in the federal estate and gift tax...

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