1206, 2017

The 21 Questions You’re Going to Need to Ask About Investment Fees

June 12th, 2017|Comments Off on The 21 Questions You’re Going to Need to Ask About Investment Fees

The best way to understand what the fiduciary debate is about — and to protect yourself — is to view this discussion through the lens of fees.

Every time you do business with people in the financial services industry, ask them this: How much money are you making, and what are the different ways you are making it?

Read the full article at NYTimes.com.

1702, 2017

Why You Should Get Around to Drawing Up a Will

February 17th, 2017|Comments Off on Why You Should Get Around to Drawing Up a Will

Having a will is important to ensure that your money and belongings are distributed according to your wishes after you die, said Sally Hurme, an elder-law attorney affiliated with AARP. “It determines how anything you own is going to be distributed to people you want to receive it, after your death,” she said.

If you die without a will, your estate will be settled in accordance with state law. Details vary by state, but assets typically are distributed using a hierarchy […]

812, 2016

Love and Burnout: Caregivers, Too, Need Cure

December 8th, 2016|Comments Off on Love and Burnout: Caregivers, Too, Need Cure

Though caregiving can be a profound and moving journey, caregivers’ needs are often overlooked. The health care system is mainly focused on patients; caregivers who are slowly burning out can slip by unnoticed until it is too late.

Read the full article at NYTimes.com.

212, 2016

Maine Voices: Playing Both Sides of the Street When It Comes to Residency Can Lead to Tax Problems

December 2nd, 2016|Comments Off on Maine Voices: Playing Both Sides of the Street When It Comes to Residency Can Lead to Tax Problems

With the passage of Question 2, imposing a 3 percent tax surcharge on taxable incomes over $200,000 effective for 2017, the number of people seeking to leave Maine will likely climb.

Frequently, the go-to state is Florida, which has no personal income tax, no estate tax and much warmer winters. Other low- or no-income tax states, such as nearby New Hampshire, are also a strong draw.

While people have the right to move from one state to another, it is extremely important […]

111, 2016

Even Math Teachers Are at a Loss to Understand Annuities

November 1st, 2016|Comments Off on Even Math Teachers Are at a Loss to Understand Annuities

Annuities can be hard to fully grasp even in their simplest configuration, where you hand a pile of money to an insurance company, then receive a guaranteed stream of annual income for life. But schoolteachers and other people doing good works are often left to trudge through a morass of contracts tied to some of the most arcane investments, sold by representatives who may not fully understand the inner workings themselves.

Read the full article at NYTimes.com.

2106, 2016

IRS Will Now Require Executors to Report Cost Basis to Beneficiaries For Inherited Assets

June 21st, 2016|Comments Off on IRS Will Now Require Executors to Report Cost Basis to Beneficiaries For Inherited Assets

When a beneficiary inherits property from a decedent, the asset receives a step-up in basis to its value on the date of death – which is both a tax perk for inheritors, and a form of tax simplification (as beneficiaries otherwise may not know what the decedent’s original cost basis was anyway).

However, with hard-to-value assets, there may be a disagreement between the valuation for estate tax purposes, and the value used by the beneficiary for cost basis reporting. After all, […]

2605, 2016

Phone Scams Continue to be a Serious Threat, Remain on IRS “Dirty Dozen” List of Tax Scams for the 2016 Filing Season

May 26th, 2016|Comments Off on Phone Scams Continue to be a Serious Threat, Remain on IRS “Dirty Dozen” List of Tax Scams for the 2016 Filing Season

The IRS will never:

Call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.
Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement […]

2405, 2016

Last summer at the lake? How to pass your camp or cottage into new hands

May 24th, 2016|Comments Off on Last summer at the lake? How to pass your camp or cottage into new hands

All across Maine, from the wooded mountains on the western border to the open ledges of the islands off the coast, families love their seasonal homes. Large or small, elegant showplaces or rustic hideaways, these places are steeped in history and shared memories. There are many ways to plan for the management and inheritance of even a modest seasonal home, including trusts and family business entities.

Read the full article at bangordailynews.com.

1205, 2016

Finding Out Your Power of Attorney Is Powerless

May 12th, 2016|Comments Off on Finding Out Your Power of Attorney Is Powerless

Financial institutions may refuse to accept traditional legal forms long after older clients are capable of filling out alternatives.

Read the full article at NYTimes.com.

601, 2016

Estate Tax Changes

January 6th, 2016|Comments Off on Estate Tax Changes

Maine has recently approved changes to its estate tax laws that will exempt significantly more of a decedent’s estate from Maine estate taxes. Under the previous federal law, individuals dying in 2015 may transfer property during life and at death in an amount equal to $5,430,000.00 (as indexed for inflation) free from the federal estate tax. The amount of the federal estate tax exemption has been increased to $5,450,000.00 beginning January 1, 2016 for individuals dying after the first of […]