Estate Planning KC: Trump won — now what? How the repeal of the death tax impacts you

Will a Trump presidency impact your estate? While not covered in depth during this election cycle, the fate of the estate tax, or “death” tax was contemplated in both candidates’ economic platform. Each candidate presented vastly different views on how to handle the death tax. Now that we know which economic platform is to be set in motion, we’ll look at how estate plans in Kansas City may be impacted by the Trump Presidency.

Elimination of the Death Tax
Donald Trump initially proposed eliminating the estate tax (or death tax as his team refers to it) in its entirety. While this may sound appealing on principle, the reality is that with the estate tax exemption currently set at $5.45 million per individual (or $10.9 million per couple), most estates are not subject to estate taxes. According to IRS records, just under 5,000 estates even paid estate taxes in 2015. When compared to the likely overall mortality rate of over 2.5 million, we can see the minimal impact of the estate tax repeal to the overall population. The change may have significant benefit to high net worth estates, though.

One wrinkle does exist as to whether the state of Kansas will follow suit. The state of Kansas currently is “tied” to the Federal threshold for determining whether an estate is subject to taxation on the state level. If the estate is under the federal threshold, then no tax is likely to be due. If Kansas continues this practice then the death tax, as we know it, may die for Kansans. Maybe not a bad thing.

Creation of a Capital Gains Tax
While Donald Trump’s tax plan calls for the repeal of the death tax, it instead creates a capital gains tax on any assets in the estate. Depending upon how his plan actually goes into effect, it may mean the elimination of the step-up in basis that normally occurs at death. Today, the step-up in basis allows the value of an appreciated asset to be calculated using the value at death instead of the value of purchase. Here is an example of how the step-up works.

Let’s say that your rich aunt purchased 5,000 shares of Cerner stock back in December of 1996 when the stock was trading around $2.00 per share and Cerner is trading at around $50 today. Using $50 as the sale price (and ignoring any stock splits) here is how the capital gains tax plays out both with the step-up in basis rule and without:

As the example shows, the imposition of the capital gains tax may have significant impact on appreciated assets. To offset this impact, the Trump plan appears to call for an exemption of the first $10 million dollars in asset value. If this is the case, then the estate tax scenario for the bulk of the population may not change. Even if there is no exemption, his representatives have indicated that Trump intends to provide an exemption for small family businesses and farms.

Impact of the Trump Tax Plan

While the elimination of the death tax will make certain aspects of estate planning easier, other aspects will become more complex. For instance, the Trump plan will require heirs to track the basis of received assets in order to report the capital gain if and when such assets are sold. This may be difficult if the asset was purchased a long ago and held over an extended period of time. Estate plans will need to look more closely at the nature of the asset and whether action should be taken during your lifetime to mitigate potential capital gains tax. Also, you may want to look at your retirement account balances to determine if opportunities exist to take advantage of certain tax benefits that may exist, especially for qualified Roth accounts.

We are still early in the process and time will tell as to what the changes actually look like. Most people are taking a wait and see approach while being ready to act once changes begin to take place after Jan. 20.

This Sponsored Column is written by Todd Rasmussen of Estate Planning KC. Rasmussen is an attorney and certified public accountant with offices in Overland Park. His firm, Estate Planning Kansas City, helps clients with their estate planning and business needs. This article is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended to render legal advice. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be made solely on the basis of this article.

Quality Credit Repair: Helping People Reclaim Financial Freedom in 2017

This press release was orginally distributed by SBWire

Philadelphia, PA — (SBWIRE) — 11/22/2016 — As the holiday season quickly approaches, everyone should be reminded about how they should set a strict spending limit and be extra careful about not going over that number. Of course, its easy to splurge on family and close friends during this time of the year, but its important that people dont spend more than they can afford to; otherwise, theyll find that theyre simply burying themselves deeper in debt. Instead, they should practice effective budgeting strategies and healthy spending habits, so they may enter into the new year with a full head of steam in the direction of a more financially sound lifestyle.

If someone is already struggling with bad credit or debilitating debt, the professionals at Quality Credit Repair are available to help them reclaim their financial freedom early on in 2017. During a free consultation, the experts will perform a comprehensive credit review and listen closely to each of their clients to understand the challenges they face because of their poor credit score. They will then help them determine whether or not any of the inquiries are false or erroneous; if so, they will contact credit reporting services and provide them with the necessary documents proving that the information had been recorded incorrectly.

Clients will also be advised about debt settlement, negotiation and consolidation depending on the circumstances. In addition, they will be provided with advice, information and resources on how to rebuilt their credit scores and make intelligent financial decisions on a regular basis in the future. Anyone whos searching, how to restore your credit rating, will certainly be relieved after speaking with a professional at Quality Credit Repair. Instead of feeling helpless and boxed in, people are encouraged to roll into the new year with more freedom, greater confidence about their current financial standing, and a rejuvenated credit score.

Receive a free consultation with the experts at Quality Credit Repair by calling 888-399-3898 or by visiting their website today.

About Quality Credit Repair
Quality Credit Repair works to help clients better their credit score and ensure they receive the most accurate credit reports. Their dedicated and highly trained consultants have over 15 years of experience resolving credit related issues. They will review a clients credit report and highlight areas that are harming the scores. The consultant will also layout changes the individual can make to better their credit. The company helps build credit by recommending the opening of secured accounts with certain, trusted lenders. Their services are available to clients anywhere in the country.

For more information, please visit http://www.qualitycreditrepair.com.

For more information on this press release visit: http://www.sbwire.com/press-releases/quality-credit-repair-helping-people-reclaim-financial-freedom-in-2017-744800.htm

Fedeli bill introduces mandatory financial…

NIPISSING Vic Fedeli believes the province needs to do a better job teaching its students how to manage finances.

The Nipissing MPP introduced the Financial Literacy Act, a private members bill that would make a Grade 10 financial literacy course mandatory in all high schools throughout the province.

Financial literacy is an important life skill. As students start their first jobs, use their first credit cards and begin planning for their future, it is important they learn how to save and spend responsibly, said Fedeli.

The bill would amend the Education Act to require school boards to ensure a comprehensive course on financial literacy is taught to Grade 10 students across the province. The amendment would also make the new course a prerequisite to graduation.

The province currently includes aspects of financial literacy in subjects across the curriculum from Grade 4 to 12. Students are given opportunities to learn about saving, spending and investing money, as well as how to be responsible consumers.

The government is also supporting additional learning in regards to post-secondary education and career planning as part of the mandatory Grade 10 career studies course.

Preparing students to be financially literate is essential to students success and a strong economy. By learning about financial literacy, students will have the skills they need to thrive now and throughout the rest of their lives, said Education Minister Mitzie Hunter when discussing the topic at the beginning of November, which the province recognized as Financial Literacy Month.

While the province has invested more than $3 million into financial literacy resources and learning opportunities since 2011, Fedeli believes it needs to do more.

The Wynne governments plan on financial literacy is insufficient. Under their plan, financial literacy is not a mandated course, it is not permanent under the Education Act, and is not a prerequisite for completing high school, said Fedeli.

David Thompson, chair of the Near North District School Board, likes the idea of bringing structured financial courses to Grade 10 students in the province. While schools in the Near North District currently teach some aspects of financial management across different courses, their currently isnt one course devoted to the subject.

Financial literacy is very important for our students. In hearing from alumni and graduates some wish they had more of a financial background before they moved on from high school, said Thompson. Certainly educating students about money management is always a good thing.

The absence of financial literacy is being felt across the province, according to the Financial Composer Agency of Canada. A recent survey revealed 60 per cent of adults rate their financial knowledge as fair or poor and 80 per cent of young Canadians are not confident in their financial knowledge.

A firm grasp of personal finance is essential for making independent decisions, managing debt, and leading a secure and fulfilling life. The Financial Literacy for Students Act would equip students in Ontario with the skills, knowledge and confidence to make the right financial decisions in their own lives and for Ontarios economy, said Fedeli.

money matters | Estate planning wards off problems later on

Susans voice quavered when she called me. Jake has a terminal illness.

I met with her to review the couples finances and see what was required so Susan would meet the financial goals theyd set.

Settling an estate seems so involved, she said.

It is, I responded, and more challenging after losing a loved one. But it can be done effectively and on a timely basis.

Im not an attorney, and I dont provide legal advice. But a financial adviser plays a key role. So I reviewed with Susan simple steps and resources available to guide the estate-resolution process.

First, create a comprehensive estate plan. When is the best time to do this? When the need seems far off. Your written plan enables you to express your legacy goals clearly and thus maintain control. If it includes one or more trusts, you can avoid going through probate which is costly, establishes a public record and thus eliminates privacy and puts decisions in the hands of the court. Remember, wills do pass through probate, but trusts avoid it as long as assets are properly titled.

At the passing of the first spouse, a trust creates vehicles to control assets based on the provisions you establish. You have choices for these vehicles, which depend on individual personal and financial factors along with changing personal status and estate-tax provisions in the law.

I noted some essential steps that a couple should follow, preferably while both partners are in good health, but still invaluable if one takes ill.

bull; Inventory all your assets and make sure theyre titled correctly. If you have a revocable trust, make sure your assets are properly titled to your trust. Review your trust with an estate-planning attorney to make sure its up to date with legal and tax changes, and your personal circumstances.

bull; Since retirement accounts are passed directly to named beneficiaries, check each account to make sure the beneficiaries are up to date and correctly named.

bull; Visit California Courts online (http://www.courts.ca.gov/8865.htm) to see if youll need to file in probate court. Then consult Nolo Press (http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/executor-estate-checklist-29458.html) for step-by-step directions to manage your responsibilities as estate executor. Contact your estate-planning attorney for guidance.

bull; At the death of the first spouse, secure at least six copies of the death certificate. You will be required to produce this document for brokerage forms, banks and other institutions where you have accounts.

bull; If youre overwhelmed or unprepared to undertake all the tasks required, consult with a professional fiduciary.These specialists are trained to act as executors and/or trustees and are required by law to represent only your interests.

bull; Notify credit card companies, Social Security and pension administrators of the death of your spouse.

bull; If youre eligible for a pension, choose carefully how you want to take distributions when you initiate benefits. Generally, you can select the highest distribution, called single life only, or other choices that give the survivor all or a portion of the deceaseds distribution over the survivors lifetime. To make the best decision, consider your total picture. Make sure you have documentation of your choice so you can continue to receive benefits.

I guess Ill be facing really big changes, said Susan.

Yes, I answered. But give yourself time to sort things out. For example, I recommend not selling your home or moving to another location within the first year after a death. If you do have changes in mind, try them out first: If youre thinking of living in a different city, take an extended vacation there or rent a condo for several months.

Also plan for long-term care lifestyle, as well as finances.As we age, the possibility of physical or medical limitations grows.

Jake and I have loosely discussed that, Susan said. Planning my options will be on my to-do list.

Ira Fateman is a certified financial planner at SAS in San Francisco who conducts free personal finance workshops for Hebrew Free Loan (http://www.hflasf.org/financialfitness). Reach him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

OECD economist says China’s economic reforms effective on several fronts

Intelligent robot AELOS stands with one leg at an incubator in Shenzhen, south Chinas Guangdong Province, Oct. 12, 2016. Shenzhen is an attractive destination for start-ups around the world with a total of 1,421 incubators. (Xinhua/Mao Siqian)

PARIS, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) — Chinas economic reforms are effective on several fronts as the reduction of cost of business and the modification of fiscal system, an economist of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said.

OECDs indicator shows that in the past three years, the cost of starting a business has been reduced substantially in China, while the administrative procedures that the firms have to go through when registered have been eased a lot in the country, the head of China Desk of Economics Department of the OECD Margit Molnar said in a recent interview with Xinhua.

Newly registered enterprises have been soaring these years in China, more and more people decided to set up a firm and to become entrepreneurs, she noted.

Chinas official statistics published in July this year show that about 2.62 millions of firms have been newly registered during the first six months this year in China, with a rise of 28.6 percent compared to the same period of 2015.

On the fiscal front, Chinas fiscal reform has been very successful, Margit said, adding that China has changed its budget law in 2014, which came into effect in 2015, to allow Chinese local governments to issue bonds.

I think thats a crucial improvement in the managing of responsibilities between the central and local government as well as managing debt and making debt more transparent, so on the fiscal front we have seen very substantial changes and improvements, Margit qualified.

On the question of opening of China, Margit said that if you just look at the initiatives China has adopted in the past year or two, you can say that China is opening, for instance the Belt and Road initiative announced in 2013, that is something that goes well beyond expectation.

It was not just a trade and investment type of integration that people have thought in the beginning, but it really goes into areas like intellectual property rights or environment or climate change, or collaboration in areas that people never thought such an initiative could cover, said Margit.

So if you look at these initiatives or the AIIB or other initiatives, you would say that these are definitely signs of further opening to reap the benefits of increased integration, she said.

Margit also said that there was still room for further reforms in China, for example, on the reduction of cost of business, the so called one-stop shop, or single window where at a single place one can achieve all the documents, is needed for registering a company.

So far, weve seen a unification of three or four license, or five … but this is not all, we would like to see unification for all licenses, she said.

China should also be alert to the risk of cooperate debt which is not only high but also not coming down in the past two years, Margit said, noting that the implicit guarantees enjoyed by state-owned enterprises should be removed.