Recent News & Blog

Recent News & Blog / Estate Planning

  • Assets with sentimental value may require more thoughtful planning than those with greater monetary value

    As a formal estate planning term, “tangible personal property” likely won’t elicit much emotion from you or your loved ones. However, the items that make up tangible personal property, such as jewelry and antiques, may be the most difficult to plan for because of their significant sentimental value. Without special planning, squabbling among your loved ones over these items may lead to emotionally charged disputes and even litigation. Contact the CPAs and financial planning advisors at SEK for estate planning tips.

  • Making will revisions by hand is rarely a good idea

    To avoid the time and expense associated with formally updating your will, it may be tempting to simply make the change by hand and initial it. But this is almost always a bad idea. For one thing, handwritten changes are highly susceptible to a challenge. Even worse, depending on the law in your state, handwritten changes may not be binding.

  • April 15 is the deadline to file a gift tax return

    If you made substantial gifts of wealth to family members in 2023, you may have to file a gift tax return. The return is due by April 15 of the year after you make the gift, so the deadline for 2023 gifts is coming up soon. Generally, a federal gift tax return (Form 709) is required if you make gifts to or for someone during the year that exceed the annual gift tax exclusion ($17,000 per person for 2023 and $18,000 per person for 2024). Contact the CPAs and tax advisors at SEK for more details.

  • Lines may blur when it comes to estate and family business succession planning

    If you own a closely held business and don’t take the proper estate planning steps to ensure that it lives on after you’re gone, you may be placing your family at risk. One challenge of transferring a family business is distinguishing between ownership and management succession. Contact the CPAs and business advisors at SEK to learn how to protect your family business and ensure the right estate planning.

  • Take care of a loved one who has special needs with a special needs trust

    Special needs trusts (SNTs) benefit children or other family members with disabilities that require extended-term care or that prevent them from being able to support themselves. An SNT is an irrevocable trust that may provide peace of mind that your loved one’s quality of life will be enhanced without disqualifying him or her for Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income benefits. Contact the CPAs and tax advisors at SEK for more details and estate planning tips.

  • Addressing your elderly parents in your estate plan in 5 steps

    An estate plan typically includes accommodations for your spouse, children, grandchildren and even future generations. Yet the older generation may also need your financial assistance. How can you best handle the financial affairs of parents in the later stages of life? Incorporate their needs into your own estate plan while tweaking, when necessary, the arrangements they’ve already made. Contact the CPA's and business advisors at SEK to answer your questions about estate planning for your and your parents.

  • Is it time to review your beneficiary designations?

    Too often, people designate a beneficiary when they acquire a nonprobate asset and then forget about it. But over time, these beneficiary designations may become inappropriate or obsolete because of changes in life circumstances. So, it’s a good idea to periodically review beneficiary designations and update them if necessary. Contact the CPA's and business advisors at SEK for more information.

  • A power of attorney is a critical component of an effective estate plan

    While much of your estate plan focuses on actions that take place after death, it’s equally important to have a plan for making critical financial or medical decisions if you’re unable to make them for yourself during your lifetime. This is why including a power of attorney in your estate plan is a must. Contact the CPA's and business advisors at SEK for additional details.

  • Comparing inter vivos and testamentary trusts

    Trusts are used to accommodate asset transfers beyond dispositions in a will. There are two main types: the inter vivos trust and the testamentary trust. An inter vivos trust, sometimes called a “living trust,” is created during your lifetime. A testamentary trust, on the other hand, is created when the grantor passes away. It doesn’t officially become effective until the grantor’s death, and at that time it becomes irrevocable. The choice between an inter vivos or testamentary trust often depends on your estate planning objectives, including tax implications and whether you want to avoid probate or maintain control over assets. Contact the CPA's and business advisors at SEK to answer your tax questions and for more tax tips.

  • Where should you keep your estate planning documents?

    You’ve likely put a great deal of time, effort and expense into implementing an estate plan that meets your goals. But unless your loved ones know that these documents exist, and how to find and access them, your well-laid plans can be derailed. Contact the CPA's and business tax advisors at SEK with your questions about estate planning, tax planning and other tax tips.

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