Estate planning

How to work with a grieving client

A growing elderly population means an increasing number of clients losing spouses, and CPAs with strong emotional intelligence will have better relationships with their clients and get more referrals.

Other people’s money

Seemingly disparate services such as investment advisory, bill-paying, and estate planning all have a common denominator: the CPA’s involvement with other people’s money.

Boilerplate trust clauses

Many clients sign estate planning documents without paying much attention to the clauses they contain. One clause that few clients pay attention to is the one governing how that client’s incapacity could be determined—and therefore how the client could be removed from serving as a fiduciary or trustee. A high-profile

Avoiding the squeeze: Trusts, estates, and the new ATRA tax regime

The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 raised the top income tax rate to 39.6%, and a new 3.8% tax on net investment income also applies beginning in 2013. Both taxes apply to trusts and estates with income in excess of $11,950 in 2013, in contrast to much higher thresholds for individuals. This new tax regime necessitates drafting wills and trusts to give executors and trustees maximum discretion so they can reduce these taxes.

Immediate year-end planning opportunity for existing CRTs

On Dec. 2, the Treasury Department issued final regulations addressing the 3.8% net investment income tax under Sec. 1411 (T.D. 9644). Regs. Sec. 1.1411-3 addresses estates and trusts, including charitable remainder trusts (CRTs). The final regulations include an additional accounting method to tax CRT distributions. Distributions of income from a

New portability rules: A cure for incomplete estate planning

Many CPAs are involved in representing estates of decedents who died in 2011 and 2012. In dealing with such estates, it is important to focus on the new Code provisions allowing portability of the decedent’s unused lifetime gift and estate exclusion amount to the surviving spouse. A failure to do

The 10 most powerful postmortem planning pointers for trusts and estates

After a client passes away, there is much more to do than just prepare a final Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. Taking control of the postmortem planning process can be a powerful way to save tax dollars for the decedent’s estate and family. Postmortem planning also applies to

SPONSORED REPORT

Cybersecurity threats proliferating for midsize and smaller businesses

This report details how SMBs can properly protect private information from breaches, design and implement a cybersecurity policy, and create safeguards for training and education.

CHECKLIST

Being responsive to clients

CPAs and their firms have daily pressures and hectic schedules, but being responsive is crucial to client satisfaction. Leaders in the profession offer advice for CPA firms that want to be responsive to clients.

QUIZ

Test yourself on these often confused words

The spelling checker on your word processing program can do only so much to flag problems. Your best insurance is to learn the troublesome words that trip up writers and use them correctly by the standards of formal, written English.