PA Trusts & Estate Blog

Stay Away From Expensive Joint Accounts!

Why You Should Stay Away from Joint Accounts - Patti Spencer

Few things cause more trouble than titling assets jointly, especially bank accounts. What does it mean if your name is on someone else’s bank account? It depends. For all deposit accounts, the rights of the parties to a multiple-party account are determined under the Pennsylvania Multiple-Party Account Act. Here is the applicable provision:   2010… Read More

Talking About Estate Planning – Part I of 2

Talking Estate Planning 1 - Patti Spencer

In many families, there is an uncomfortable silence when the subjects of death and money come up. According to Eileen and Jon Gallo, authors of Silver Spoon Kids: How Successful Parents Raise Responsible Children (McGraw-Hill, 2001), most adult children have no idea of their parents’ net worth, let alone the details of their estate plan.… Read More

Talking About Estate Planning – Part 2 of 2

Talking Estate Planning 2 - Patti Spencer

Give your family the gift of telling them what you have planned for them. Decide who will be your executors, agents under your power of attorney and surrogate for health care decisions under a medical directive. Let the family know who is going to hold these positions. Make sure the persons you name are willing… Read More

Discussing ‘The Estate Plan’ with Beneficiaries

Discussing The Estate Plan - Patti Spencer

Estate planning aims at the transfer of wealth from one generation to another in a way which minimizes taxes and maximizes economic gain. It usually involves parents making gifts to their children, grandchildren, or charities. The problem is that while many clients spend hours with attorneys, accountants, and financial advisors crafting an estate plan, they… Read More

Your 1040 is Done But You Can’t Pay the Balance Due

Your 1040 is Done - Patti Spencer

Can’t pay your income tax? Didn’t pay enough in estimates or had too little withholding? Can’t  pay at all? Do you feel like you have to choose between the frying pan and the fire? You’re not alone, and there are ways to settle up with the IRS. First, if you are considering not filing your… Read More

There’s Still Time to Make 2015 Qualified Charitable Contributions

There's Still Time to Make 2015 Contributions - Patti Spencer

On Friday, December 18, 2015 President Obama signed the 2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act into law. Among its many provisions it is the permanent extension of the ability for a taxpayer to make qualified charitable distributions (QCDs) from individual retirement accounts (IRAs). In the legislation signed by the President on December 18, 2015 the IRA charitable… Read More

Year-End Tax Planning for 2015

Year-End Tax Planning - Patti Spencer

Year-end Tax Planning for 2015 There is still­ some time left to make some income tax savings moves for 2015. Charitable Contributions Make deductible charitable contributions on or before December 31. Taxpayers must be itemizing deductions on IRS Schedule A in order to benefit. Be sure to obtain acknowledgment letters for donations greater than $250.… Read More

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015

The Bipartisan Budget Act - Patti Spencer

President Obama, Nov. 2, signed into law the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, a two-year budget deal. The legislation raises the federal debt limit and is paid for in part by provisions eliminating two Social Security retirement benefit claiming strategies, a provision to prevent a significant increase in Medicare Part B premiums for some, and… Read More