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Top 10 Year End Estate and Tax Planning for 2014

Written by Jeffrey SKatoff • October 15th, 2014

Estate Taxation,  Estate Planning,  

With the end of the year quickly approaching, here the top 10 estate planning and tax planning ideas to consider before the new tax year.  While this is only a short list of actions, it should be helpful in highlighting critical areas for review.  

  1. Update your wills and trusts for any significant changes this year such as births, death, divorce, marriage, or other significant events.
  2. Update your durable power of attorney and living wills (the Florida legislature changed the requirements for all new durable power of attorneys in Florida executed after October 2011).
  3. Ensure your beneficiary designations on retirement accounts, insurance policies, and financial accounts are current (remember these may override your estate plan unless properly drafted).   
  4. Make annual exclusion gifts ($14,000 per recipient per year for 2014, or $28,000 per recipient per year if you and your spouse join in the gift).
  5. Consider selling any stocks that have declined in value, so you can offset any gains made throughout the year.  Short term losses are especially beneficial as they can offset income (long term capital losses can only off set long term capital gains, except for the first $3,000 per year in capital losses which can be applied to ordinary gain if there are no capital losses).
  6. Max out your annual contributions to retirement accounts (these accounts provide great asset protection benefits as well as provide a stable foundation for retirement).
  7. Make your charitable contributions by December 31, to ensure you receive favorable tax benefits before year end.
  8. Update any buy-sell agreements, review the necessity for such agreements, and ensure a proper value is used for any agreements that require revaluations each year.
  9. Also, consider visiting your doctor or having any medical procedures you have been putting off if your deductible is already met on your health insurance.
  10. Consider prepaying any expenses, such as deductible interest on your mortgage in order to receive the tax benefits this year.

If we can assist you in any of these of matters, please contact the Florida estate planning lawyers at Clark Skatoff PA, at (561) 842-4868.