Month: October 2008

Throw Momma from the Train

Remember Dabby DeVito and Billy Crystal in Throw Momma from the Train? Danny Devito is a mystery writer who has had it ” up to here” with his overbearing mom. He makes a deal with Billy Crystal. Danny will kill Billy’s ex-wife and in exchange Billy will kill Danny’s mother. When I gave seminars on… Read More

Should You Sell Mutual Funds to Avoid Capital Gain Distributions?

It has been a lousy year for equity mutual fund investors. According to Morningstar, the average U.S. diversified stock fund is down 33% year-to-date. Adding insult to injury, some mutual fund owners are going to have to pay hefty income tax bills on their mutual funds that lost value. Why? Because of year-end capital gain… Read More

There is no such thing as a free lunch.

Check out this article  by Al Benelli about so-called financial advisors and “free meal” seminars: Excerpt: “For years I have been warning consumers about the dangers of attending “free-meal” financial seminars. Local, state and federal regulators across the insurance and securities industries have conducted hundreds of investigations into these “selling events.” ABC’s Nightline even did… Read More

Franklin County PA Man Concerned For His Life

Since I grew up in Franklin County (Mont Alto, if you must know) this news about a possible murder mystery with a trusts and estates twist caught my eye. “A hand-written 2001 codicil to Don Berkebile’s last will and testament, coupled with a note to a Public Opinion reporter two years later, indicates the elderly… Read More

Can a Creditor reach your IRA?

Assets in qualified retirement plans such as 401 (k) plans, defined benefit pension plans, and profit sharing plans, are specifically protected from the claims of creditors by the provisions of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) and a 1992 decision of the Supreme Court of the United States, Patterson v. Shumate. In… Read More

2009 Gift Tax Annual Exclusion is $13,000

On October 16, 2008, the IRS announced annual inflation adjustments for 2009.  The adjustments include an increase in the annual gift tax exclusion for present interest gifts to $13,000. The annual exclusion for present interest gifts to a non-citizen spouse will be $133,000.

Who is an heir? What about the transsexual "wife"?

Who is the heir? This is an age-old question. Simply, an heir is the person who inherits a decedent’s property if the decedent left no will. (If the decedent left a will, those who inherit are typically called beneficiaries, not heirs.) Throughout history the answer to who is an heir has changed many times. Keep… Read More

Tax Changes in the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008

On October 3, President Bush signed into law the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, more commonly known as the “Bailout Bill.” The financial bailout provisions have had the headlines for days as everyone tries to sort out what on earth the legislation actually does. But the bill also includes a raft of other tax… Read More

How much do you REALLY know about the FDIC?

Jane Herron has published these three excerpts about the workings of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) – a subject that should be near and dear to everyone’s hearts in view of the current financial crisis: Click here:        Part 1        Part 2      Part 3 The material is taken from the FDIC’s website.  Click here for the complete publication.


‘Tis an ill wind that blows nobody any good. Someone profits by every loss; someone is benefitted by every misfortune. The decline in the stock market, despite its cause, presents us with a tremendous estate planning opportunity. Make gifts now! The most basic reason for estate planning is to provide for those you love, and… Read More