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The Social Security wage base for employees and self-employed people is increasing in 2024

The Social Security Administration recently announced that the wage base for computing Social Security tax will increase to $168,600 for 2024 (up from $160,200 for 2023). Wages and self-employment income above this threshold aren’t subject to Social Security tax. Basic details The Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) imposes two taxes on employers, employees and self-employed […]

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Are you considering moving to a new state to minimize estate tax?

With the gift and estate tax exemption amount at $12.92 million for 2023, only a small percentage of families are subject to federal estate tax. While that’s certainly a relief, state estate tax also must be considered in estate planning. Although many states tie their exemption amounts to the federal exemption, several states have exemptions […]

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Facing a future emergency? Two new tax provisions may soon provide relief

Perhaps you’ve been in this situation before: You have a financial emergency and need to get your hands on some cash. You consider taking money out of a traditional IRA or 401(k) account but if you’re under age 59½, such distributions are not only taxable but also are generally subject to a 10% penalty tax. […]

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Payable-on-death accounts require careful coordination with your estate plan

Payable-on-death (POD) accounts can provide a quick, simple and inexpensive way to transfer assets outside of probate. They can be used for bank accounts, certificates of deposit and even brokerage accounts. Setting one up is as easy as providing the bank with a signed POD beneficiary designation form. When you die, your beneficiaries just need […]

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QTIP trust: Strange name, powerful trust

Granted, a QTIP trust is an odd sounding name for an estate planning technique. Nevertheless, it can be a valuable strategy, especially if you’re currently in a second marriage. The QTIP moniker is an acronym for the technical term of “qualified terminable interest property.” Essentially, the trust provides future security for both a surviving spouse […]

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4 best practices for effective strategic planning meetings

It’s not uncommon for employees to grumble about having to attend too many meetings. Sometimes they have a point; an excessive number of meetings can become a problem at some companies. However, there’s one kind of meeting that business owners and their leadership teams should never scrimp on: strategic planning. That doesn’t mean you need […]

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To avoid confusion after your death, have only an original, signed will

The need for a will as a key component of your estate plan may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised by the number of people — even affluent individuals — who don’t have one. In the case of the legendary “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin, she had more than one, which after her death led […]

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What are the pros and cons of custodial accounts for minors?

Setting up an investment account for your minor child can be a tax-efficient way of saving for college or other expenses. And one of the simplest ways to invest on your child’s behalf is to open a custodial account under the Uniform Gifts to Minors Act (UGMA) or Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA). These […]

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Evaluate whether a Health Savings Account is beneficial to you

With the escalating cost of health care, many people are looking for a more cost-effective way to pay for it. For eligible individuals, a Health Savings Account (HSA) offers a tax-favorable way to set aside funds (or have an employer do so) to meet future medical needs. Here are four tax benefits: Contributions made to […]

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An art collection is a special asset to account for in an estate plan

Some assets pose more of a challenge than others when it comes to valuing and accounting for them in an estate plan. Take, for instance, an art collection. If you possess paintings, sculptures or other pieces of art, they may represent a significant portion of your estate. Here are a few options available to address […]

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