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Walt’s Week in Williamsburg, Virginia: October 21st – 26th

Here are the highlights from my daily blog for last week.  If you’d like to read any blog in its entirety, just click on the link provided.  Enjoy!!    

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Sunday, October 21, 2012

With all the noise these days about taxing the rich and the future of the federal estate tax, the message that ordinary folks also need to plan, to protect themselves and their families, gets drowned out.

Did you know we just passed National Estate Planning Awareness Week (Oct. 15-21)? Don’t worry if you missed it, estate planning is a continuous endeavor and one that is never out of season.

This is definitely one way to learn everything you ever wantedto know about estate planning or visit our website to download free reports on myriad topics of interest.   Click here if you'd like to read the entire blog.                   

Reference: The Wall Street Journal (September 22, 2012) “Should You Wait on IRA Donations?

Monday, October 22, 2012  

Special needs

They navigate a confounding thicket of tasks and rules. On one side, there is the bureaucracy that government program administrators may erect at any moment. On the other, there are specialized trust accounts and estate planning issues to consider.

In this election season and numerous others, there are many debates on which government programs should stay put and which ones should be cut.  Oftentimes, the disabled population gets forgotten in these debates.  If you have a family member with special needs, what are you to do if the aid they depend on gets thrown on the chopping block? When you have a child with special needs, planning ahead is absolutely essential.  When you have a child with special needs, planning ahead is absolutely essential. Click here if you'd like to read the entire blog.

Reference: The New York Times (October 5, 2012) “Assuring Care of a Family Member With Special Needs

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Rolling-dollarsThe charitable IRA rollover provision, which expired at the end of last year, allowed IRA owners ages 70½ or older to donate up to $100,000 of their IRA assets to a charity. The donor didn't receive a tax deduction for the contribution. But he or she didn't have to report the IRA withdrawal as taxable income, either. And the contribution could count toward the annual required minimum distribution, or RMD, that people 70½ or older must take from a traditional IRA.

While taxes are uncertain for 2013, you may be thinking Congress and the White House may retroactively extend some “expired” taxpayer favorites. For example, one that expired in 2011 is the ability to give the “required minimum distribution” (RMD) from your IRA to charity.  Why Not Have Your Charitable Intentions Help You Save on Tax?  Click here if you'd like to read the entire blog.  

Reference: The Wall Street Journal (September 22, 2012) “Should You Wait on IRA Donations?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

 Deadline I think the case for urgency is fairly self-evident.  Given how difficult and involved estate planning can be, people, for whom this is relevant, should be gearing for action now, if they have not already done something.

When it comes to 2013 taxation, the future may be catastrophic for estate tax planning. As each day of 2012 passes us by, incredible wealth transfer opportunities are dwindling away.  Can you beat the clock before time runs out?

These last few months are either a time to seize the unprecedented gifting opportunity of a $5.12 million gift tax exemption, or a time to run out the clock on this opportunity perhaps for the rest of your lifetime. The gift tax exemption is scheduled to return to $1 million.   Don’t wait until it’s too late and the ball is already dropping in Time’s Square.  Click here if you'd like to read the entire blog.  

Reference: Forbes (October 14, 2012) “Romney Wants No Estate Tax – Case For 2012 Mega Gift Remains Compelling

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Pocket-change-logoThe increase is among the lowest since automatic annual adjustments were adopted in 1975. It reflects relatively low inflation over the past year.

At a mere 1.7%, Social Security will see its lowest increase ever come 2013. What does this mean for seniors today?

The COLA is the Cost Of Living Adjustment added to Social Security annually, based on inflation and increases in the Consumer Price Index (CPI.) For some seniors, planning for the new year means planning around the COLA and hoping for the best. Alternatively, a reduction or a weak increase in COLA may mean seniors will need to make up the difference out of savings. Nevertheless, the CPI is an imperfect indicator and a debated one as well.  When you fail to factor in the cost of gasoline and food when calculating inflation, it should surprise no one that the COLA falls short as well.  Click here if you'd like to read the entire blog.  

References: USA Today (October 16, 2012) “Social Security benefits to rise 1.7% in 2013

Friday, October 26,2012Gift box of money

I've discussed  'Mega Gifting' a lot lately, mostly because the unique opportunity to pass a large amount of money to your loved ones, tax free, will be lost on January 1, 2013.  Until then, this large gift will be available to every one you love…well almost.  

Many of you already knew that an individual may make unlimited lifetime or post-death transfers of property to a spouse free of estate and gift taxes- unless the recipient spouse is a non-citizen.,  Fact is, the tax free exemption for the non-citizen spouse is limited to $133,000 per year.   Click here if you'd like to read the entire blog.  

If you are interested in a more details on this topic as well as many others, please go to the homepage on my website and download the free report entitled “Estate Planning Issues for the Non-Citizen Spouse”. 

 Join me every day as I bring you estate planning topics of interest to you and those you love from Williamsburg, Virginia.

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We've been putting together as many resources as possible so that we can continue to help:

  • If you’re a current client with a signing appointment or a prospective client with a consultation and would prefer that meeting take place in your own home, we can accomplish that with a little bit of pre-planning on our part and with the addition of a laptop, smartphone, tablet or other computer in your home to facilitate this virtual meeting. For those of you that need to sign legal documents, that too can be accomplished with the use of a webcam (FaceTime etc.), so that we can witness and electronically notarize all of your important legal documents.
  • We launched the rollout of our on-demand webinar early so that new clients and our allied professionals can view the important component parts of ‘an estate plan that works’ at their convenience.  That is available on our website.
  • Live video workshops will be produced as quickly as possible and certainly ahead of our previous schedule; we will keep you posted as these events become available. Given the ‘boutique’ nature of the firm, we rarely have more than ten people in our office including team members at any one time. During this period of ‘social distancing,’ we promise to have no more than 8 people at any time.   This allows us to comply with the Governor’s directive to limit in-person gatherings.
  • The best way to communicate with us is still by phone during regular office hours of 8:30 to 5:00, Monday through Friday, or, you can email any of our team members (that is, their first name followed by @zarembalaw.com).  We will respond to these emails as quickly as possible.
  • Please continue to follow the directives of our local, state, and federal agencies. For your health and in consideration of our team who is assisting you, if you’ve scheduled an office appointment or planned to drop off paperwork and are experiencing a fever, dry cough, or shortness of breath, please contact your primary care doctor for guidance and then our office to reschedule.

Thank you, Walt and the Zaremba Team

Coronavirus/Covid-19
Update to our Process

The unprecedented coronavirus pandemic has taken our entire country by surprise. We understand how difficult this time is for America’s businesses and families.  However, we believe it is vitally important that we make every effort possible to continue to offer solutions that avoid disrupting our important partnership with you, your family and friends.  As you know, estate planning is not something that should wait for a more convenient time, therefore the opportunity to address your important goals both during and after this crisis should not wait.  To that end, we have added the option of a ‘virtual consultation’ to our office process.  You will now have a choice of either meeting with us in our office or in the comfort of your own home.