New Data on Life Expectancy

Courtesy of Jonathan Blattmachr and Marty Shenkman for the Heckerling Institute, last month we provide the following: ‘Over the past three decades, life expectancy of male workers retiring at age 65 has risen six years in the top half of the income spectrum, but only 1.3 years in the bottom half.  The age for peak financial decision making is age 50.  Financial decision making ability begins to decline by age 60 and is significantly impacted by age 80.  Even more worrisome is that the same studies indicated that people’s perceptions of their abilities do not decline.  At what age are most estate plans crafted?  Likely much older. Creating and implementing a plan at an earlier age to protect clients is important to properly protect them […]

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Tax Thresholds for 2016 vs. 2015

The Tax Thresholds, 2016 table provides some important federal tax information for 2016, as compared with 2015. Many of the dollar amounts are unchanged or have changed only slightly due to low inflation. Other amounts are changing due to legislation.  Please click on the highlighted text to access the document, and Happy 2016 from the Will Doctor.

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New York Attempts Statutory Solution to Problem of Posthumously Conceived Children

On Nov. 21, 2014, Governor Cuomo signed into law EPTL §4­1.3 and amendments to EPTL §11­1.5 to provide a statutory solution to inheritance rights of a posthumously conceived child in New York.  New EPTL §4­1.3 introduces four requirements for a posthumous child, referred to in the statute as a “genetic child,” to inherit from the genetic parent in intestacy or under a will or trust. First, the genetic parent storing the sperm or ova (a/k/a an egg cell) must expressly consent to the use of the genetic material for posthumous conception and authorize a person to make decisions about the use of the genetic material after his or her death.   Such consent and authorization must be in a written instrument, which is executed not more […]

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House Kills the Death Tax

On April 16, the House passed, by a vote of 240-179, the “Death Tax Repeal Act of 2015,” which would repeal the estate tax and the generation-skipping transfer tax. The Obama Administration previously indicated that if the President were presented with H.R. 1105, which would add $269 billion to the deficit (over ten years). The Will Doctor notes the wildly gyrating revenue losses attributable to the repeal of the Estate tax, thrown about from time to time by all the parties.  The amount of revenue to be raised, on the other hand, by the taxation of capital gains on gifts, or at death, will likely more than offset the revenue lost from estate tax repeal.  This presents the politicians with an opportunity to do a […]

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Boehner Calls for Repeal of Estate Tax

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said on April 14 that the House will move to pass legislation to abolish the federal estate tax. “Estate tax repeal is long overdue,” Boehner said at a news conference in Washington, D.C. The Death Tax Repeal Bill of 2015 was approved by the House Ways and Means Committee on March 26. The bill is expected to come shortly to the House floor. On April 13, a White House official said that estate tax repeal legislation would cost $270 billion over 10 years. “The bill would only benefit households that have, or couples that have, more than $11 million of assets, because everyone else is fully exempt from the estate tax,“ Jason Furman, director of the Council of Economic Advisers, said […]

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Death Tax Repeal Act of 2015

The House Committee on Ways and Means reported on a straight party-line vote H.R. 1105, 114th Cong., 1st Sess. (March 6, 2015), introduced by Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Tx) and referred to as the Death Tax Repeal Act of 2015. The bill would reduce the top gift tax rate to 35 percent, and keep the gift tax lifetime exemption at $5 million, adjusted for inflation after 2011. The bill would retain the present basis adjustments for property received from a decedent, and provide that a transfer in trust will be treated as a completed taxable gift, “unless the trust is treated as wholly owned by the donor or the donor’s spouse under [the grantor trust rules]”, except as provided by regulation. The bill seems likely to […]

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More Press on new Pressure to Repeal Estate Tax”

Josh Hoxie at the Institute for Policy Studies, has reported the following on The Hil: “Anti-tax Republicans are trotting out the old canard that the estate tax destroys family farms and small businesses. Rep.David Reichert (R-Wash.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures in the House of Representatives plans to hold a hearing Wednesday on the impact of the federal estate tax on family farms and small businesses.  The hearing is a red herring, a distraction from a substantive conversation about the concentration of wealth and the real needs of farmers and small businesses. We’ve been here before.  In the late 1980s, anti-estate tax campaigners complained that the estate tax was the “death of the family farm.”  Americans for a Fair Estate Tax, a […]

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Estate Tax Repeal Through the House Ways and Means Committee

The House Ways and Means Committee on March 25 approved seven bills dealing with oversight of the IRS and repeal of the estate tax. Democrats on the committee were in agreement on the IRS measures but balked at repealing the estate tax. The bills are expected to come up for a vote in the House after Congress returns from a two-week recess on April 13. Alluding to the current activity and deliberation among lawmakers regarding tax reform, House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis. said the entire tax code needs to be replaced and the committee’s action with the markup is a “step in that direction.” He called the tax code “a mess,” and sharply criticized the IRS in his opening statement, saying, “The […]

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Facebook Plans a “Legacy Contact”, for Life, After Death

From IDG Connect: “Facebook recently announced plans for a “legacy contact” so social media profiles can be maintained after the death of their owners by trusted others. Here, Richard Law, CEO of identity management software developer GBGroup, answered questions on the significance of Facebook’s move. Is the Facebook move unique? Facebook’s move to allow users to appoint a ‘digital power of attorney’ may be among the first but it will surely not be the last. If anything, it represents the perennial nature of Facebook and the focus people are beginning to place on their digital afterlives. I expect other networks will soon follow Facebook’s lead as users become increasingly aware of the value of their identity and the increased need to protect it – even […]

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Facebook Adds Provisions for Access after Death

We have previously referred to “The Digital Beyond” website and its focus on transitioning our digital assets.  I have included a link to their new post, describing the Facebook acknowledgement of this issue, following Google, and others.  Its a good idea to set up some way to give digital access to your heirs of appropriate accounts. http://www.thedigitalbeyond.com/2015/02/facebook-adds-legacy-contacts-to-address-digital-afterlife-issues/

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