Estate planning

Trust-Owned Life Insurance: The CPA's Role

Many CPAs recommend that their high-net-worth clients use trust-owned life insurance (TOLI) as the cornerstone of their estate plan. In addition, many CPAs choose to serve as trustees of such trusts. CPAs who are considering accepting a trustee designation should be well aware of the hazards inherent to the task

Tune Up for High-Performance Wealth

Each year, individuals and business owners should evaluate their wealth management initiatives to make sure they have the appropriate portfolio for their age and investment goals. Practitioners should emphasize the following key points to help clients maximize their saving potential. Maximize retirement plan contributions. The 401(k)/403(b) maximum contribution for tax

Smart Stops on the Web

TAX SITES Links for Professionals CPAs and tax preparers will want to bookmark this directory to accounting, payroll and tax Web sites. In the tax software category, users can find many links to electronic programs for income tax preparation, payroll and 1099s, estate, trust and retirement, and sales and

Small Business Insurance Checkup

or most people a preventive visit to the doctor for an annual checkup has become routine. Similarly, each year drivers have their cars inspected to ensure safe and reliable transportation. But too often, small business owners—including CPAs—don’t take similar measures to ensure the financial health of their organizations by conducting

Death and Taxes

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY CPAs WHO FILE FORM 706 ON BEHALF OF DECEASED clients should be familiar with some common pitfalls. The form shows the decedent’s assets, liabilities and allowable deductions that together are used to calculate the estate’s tax liability. FOR HELP IN DETERMINING WHICH ASSETS TO LIST on form 706,

Web Sites Worth a Visit

PERSONAL FINANCIAL PLANNING SITES Don’t let the URL fool you. Whether they love or hate financial planning, PFP professionals and clients can find useful information at this Web site. Visitors can register for free to access articles, checklists and interactive forms on topics such as annuities, asset allocation, budgeting,

Planning for Higher Education

ollege is expensive. IRC section 529 qualified tuition programs have become more popular due to Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (EGTRRA) provisions that ended the taxing of distributions used to pay qualified higher education expenses. Prior to the EGTRRA, the earnings portion of such distributions was

Smart Stops on the Web

ESTATE PLANNING SITES Test Your Knowledge The American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys Web site offers a top 10 estate planning techniques section which gives an overview of various approaches and how to use them to protect clients’ wealth. The FAQ area helps CPAs answer common questions such as

Going, Going, Gone?

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY WITH UNCERTAINTY ABOUT WHETHER THE ESTATE TAX will actually be repealed in 2010 and the possibility it will return in 2011, CPAs need to help their clients plan carefully to make sure they take maximum advantage of all of the estate tax changes. THE ESTATE TAX EXEMPTION INCREASES

Smart Stops on the Web

PERSONAL FINANCIAL PLANNING SITES A Free Plan for the Future Investors can get a free financial plan by filling out a short online questionnaire at this site. For a thorough analysis, they can download a comprehensive form and mail it to Atlantic Financial, an independent investment firm in Westboro,

Smart Stops on the Web

Links, Links and More Links This site offers both the consumer and the professional planner links to estate planning and related sites. The home page is organized under headings such as Charitable Planning, Elder Law, and Probate and Living Trusts. The Understanding Estate Planning section offers links to glossaries

The Right Philanthropic Vehicle

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY A SURPRISING NUMBER OF INDIVIDUALS SET UP PRIVATE foundations and other philanthropic entities without considering if they are the best option to meet their charitable inclinations. Income and estate tax savings are not the only consideration. A PRIVATE FOUNDATION IS THE CHOICE OF THOSE who want to maintain

When the Client Wants to Leave It to the Cat

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY THE CPA WHOSE CLIENT WANTS TO ensure that companion animals will be properly cared for in an estate trust has to have sensitivity to the client’s feelings as well as know where to steer him or her. Extreme emotions are involved when people talk about death—and money. ESTATE

Estate Planning Strategies

iven the complexity of the Internal Revenue Code, many estate planning techniques can be used to lower (or eliminate) the tax burden over the course of an individual’s life. One method taxpayers can use is simply taking advantage of lifetime-giving opportunities through the annual exclusion amount, the applicable estate and

Facing a Hobson’s Choice.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY MANY MARRIED COUPLES FACE A CLASSIC ESTATE planning dilemma. They have combined estates large enough to require them to pay estate taxes, but each spouse has insufficient separate assets—other than retirement plans—to fund the bypass trust that could cut their estate tax bill. Funding a bypass trust with

Postmortem Estate Planning

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY A SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS DEATH can create a severe cash crunch as well as other problems stemming from federal estate tax rates that reach 55%. Postmortem planning can help such clients and may save hundreds of thousands of dollars even if lifetime estate planning was inadequate, erroneous or

Providing Guidance to Executors and Trustees

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY IN THE NEXT 20 YEARS, EXECUTORS AND trustees will be responsible for managing the transfer of more than $4.8 trillion in wealth from one generation to the next. With more individuals being named as executors and trustees, many are turning to CPAs for help in carrying out their

The Best Online Tax Sites

The Internet is an especially rich field for CPAs specializing in tax; even accountants with minimal online experience have probably visited the Internal Revenue Service Web site ( However, experienced CPA Web surfers have been accessing the many quiet but useful sites that continually pop up on the Web with


6 key areas of change for accountants and auditors

New accounting standards on revenue recognition, leases, and credit losses present implementation challenges. This independently-written report identifies the hurdles that accounting professionals face and provides tips for overcoming the challenges.


How tax reform will impact individual taxpayers

Amy Wang, a CPA who is a senior technical manager for tax advocacy at the AICPA, answers to some of the most common questions on how the new tax reform law will impact individual taxpayers.