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Kansas City, Kansas Estate Planning and Tax Law Blog

Updating your estate plan is an annual event

There are few things in life that you can do once and forget about. If you want your car to run well, you must change the oil and have it serviced regularly. Your teeth should be cleaned annually, and you need a flu shot every year. Likewise, your estate plan is one of those things that needs regular attention.

Creating an estate plan is setting the foundation for your future and the futures of your loved ones. However, just as your normal activity makes it necessary for a dental checkup, the events of life also necessitate a fresh look at your estate planning documents.

Do the tax benefits make an ESOP worth it?

Your company has numerous options when it comes to providing benefits to its employees. You may have asked around to try to figure out what would not only benefit your employees, but also your company. You want to foster an atmosphere in which your employees feel invested in its success, and that's when you came across the employee stock option plan.

An ESOP provides advantages for your employees, but it also allows the company a way to purchase shares owned by an owner who leaves the company. It may allow it a way to borrow money to purchase those shares and repay the loan as tax-deductible contributions to the plan. You may already know the business advantages of setting up an ESOP, but may not yet understand the tax benefits gained through this type of plan.

How does the 501(c)(3) tax exemption benefit my organization?

There is a satisfaction that comes from knowing you are doing something to help others. Being able to be useful and help others through your work is the ultimate dream come true for many. However, it is still work and success means careful planning and consideration.

Running a charitable organization means your primary concern is likely funding. Obtaining adequate funds to fulfill your mission and distributing those funds in the most efficient way are certainly matters that take up your time and attention. However, your organization may also qualify for federal tax exemption status, and this could make a substantial difference in your bottom line.

Choosing the right person to manage your life insurance trust

Trusts are valuable estate-planning tools for many Kansas residents. In fact, you may be considering creating one in which to put your life insurance policy. This makes it easier for you to determine how to distribute the proceeds to your beneficiaries after your death.

Even though it's true that a life insurance policy doesn't go through probate, you may not feel that the beneficiaries can appropriately manage the money they will receive. You may also have minor children and want to make sure that the funds are available for them when they get older. Regardless of your reasons, choosing the right person to act as trustee can make the difference between successfully meeting your goals and disaster.

3 questions business owners should ask when estate planning

Estate planning looks a little different for a small business owner than it does for an average individual. In addition to the normal assets and property to consider, owners need to ensure that their businesses are cared for in the event of their death, disablement or retirement

It’s a mistake some small business owners make to not create an estate plan for the business. It’s perhaps one of many reasons why 70 percent of family-owned businesses last only one generation. If there is no concrete plan for what happens when the owner want to retire, if they are disabled or if they pass away, loved ones are left to figure out what happens next and whether they want to run the business or not.

Three tax mistakes your small business might be making

Running a small business is a difficult task and creating a plan for your taxes can become an afterthought. Making tax mistakes can lead to large unexpected payments and even fines. Business owners need to be mindful of their expected tax payments and be aware of the changing regulations.

If you are a business owner who dislikes taxes and bookkeeping you are not alone. A 2014 poll found that 40 percent of owners said that calculating taxes is their least favorite part of having a small business. This post will cover three common tax problems that your small business can have and steps you can take to prevent issues.

The three most common estate planning mistakes

Putting together an estate plan is an obstacle for many families. First, you may not know where to begin. Second, you may not know where to go once you start; and, third, you're afraid of making mistakes that could affect lifelong assets and valuable property. All of these concerns are valid, and estate planning attorneys are available to address them with you and your family.

If you're seeking more information on estate planning, chances are that you're trying to alleviate some of these concerns. Putting plans into action requires complex and evolving paperwork, and you need to make sure that it works together when you need it the most.

End-Of-Life Care Plans Communicate Your Wishes To Loved Ones

Most people have a disconnect between thinking about their later years and actually taking action, especially when it comes to estate planning and health care directives. Maybe it's a fear of mortality and maybe it's uncertainty about medical treatments. Regardless of the reason, the fact is that most Americans don't have a defined plan to get them through their end of life years.

It's reported that fewer than half of Americans have a will. Even fewer have plans for their late years when health declines. According to a new study, only 37 percent of the total population has a plan for their late-life health care decisions.

Proposed Tax Reform Would Shift Home-Ownership Equation

President Trump has proposed tax policy change that has the potential to make home ownership less attractive for many Americans. The proposal would increase the standard income tax deduction to a point where only the wealthiest Americans would benefit by taking itemized deductions instead.

Under the proposed plan, the standard deduction for married couple filing jointly would jump from $12,700 to $24,000. Bloomberg reports that a couple would need to have a mortgage of about $608,000 before it would be worth it to take the itemized deduction instead of the standard one. That means that 25 million homeowners who currently itemize deductions would no longer do so on the new plan.

How to name beneficiaries in an estate plan

Even if you don't already have an estate plan, you have probably thought about how you would want to pass on your property and assets. Turning these wishes into reality requires a careful legal process. How are these steps taken and what should people who want to pass on part of their estate know about their role in the process?

Estate planning should include beneficiary designations

A person named in beneficiary designations will receive assets such as a 401(k), IRA or life insurance. If you want a particular person or persons to receive specific benefits, they should be named in beneficiary designations. Without designations, assets may pass on in accordance with a default contractual agreement or state law.

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