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Financial Planning

HESCH NAMED “LEADING LAWYER” FOR SIXTH CONSECUTIVE YEAR

William E. Hesch, Esq., CPA, PFS. was recently recognized as a “Leading Lawyer” in the Trust and Estate area by Cincy Business for 2010. This is the sixth consecutive year Hesch has received the coveted distinction, which is determined by the ballot of local attorneys. Go to articles to read complete press release.

2018 Tax Reform for Meals and Entertainment

The 2018 Tax Reform made a lot of changes to the meals and entertainment deductions. Here’s a short list of what died on January 1, 2018, so you can get a good handle on what’s no longer deductible:

  • Entertainment and meals while entertaining included in the cost of the event are not deductible
  • Golf
  • Skiing
  • Tickets to football, baseball, basketball, soccer, etc. games
  • Disneyland

Meals during the course of entertainment will be deductible if purchased separately from the entertainment event.

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Estate Planning Lessons to Be Learned From the Passing of Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin, a.k.a. the Queen of Soul, died August 16, 2018. She influenced millions through her music and civic actions. She was a longtime resident of Michigan, where she lived until her death. Aretha Franklin left behind four adult sons, and unfortunately for them, she did not have a will or trust. Her estate has been widely estimated to be worth currently about $80 million, and under Michigan law, her four sons will divide the estate equally among themselves.

One of the biggest reasons a person, especially someone in a financial position like
Aretha, should have a trust is for the added privacy it provides. If a person has only a will or nothing at all in place, the estate would go through probate. One of the worst things about the probate process is that it is all public record, and available to anyone’s eyes. A trust would have ensured that the nature of her assets be kept private because it avoids probate, and not put on public display.
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Tax-Saving Tips

New IRS 199A Regulations Benefit Out-of-Favor Service Businesses

If you operate an out-of-favor business (known in the law as a “specified service trade or business”) and your taxable income is more than $207,500 (single) or $415,000 (married, filing jointly), your Section 199A deduction is easy to compute. It’s zero.

This out-of-favor specified service trade or business group includes any trade or business

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SPECIAL NEEDS TRUSTS: Pt. 3 – Pooled Trust Mistakes

Aside from the individually structured first and third party special needs trusts, a pooled SNT is a trust that is for multiple individuals with special needs. A pooled SNT is a trust that is established and managed by a non-profit organization. It is a trust that pools together all of the assets of the disabled individuals that have accounts through the trust, as well as assets acquired through outside donations, and makes distributions to the beneficiaries based on their individual shares of the trust’s assets. Pooled SNTs are a way to relieve family members of the job of being the trustee and allows professionals to handle the tedious responsibilities of being the trustee. Some important aspects that set apart pooled SNTs from first and third party SNTs are:

  • Pooled SNTs do not have any age limits;
  • The disabled person is able to be one of the grantors of the trust; and
  • Any excess funds at death are generally kept by the non-profit.

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SPECIAL NEEDS TRUST MISTAKES: Pt. 2 – Third Party Trust Mistakes

A Third Party Special Needs Trust is created for the benefit of a disabled person, which ensures that the disabled person will have proper care. The Third Party SNT is funded with assets typically by family and friends of the disabled person. Unlike the First Party SNT, the property is never owned by the disabled person, and there is also no payback of Medicaid or any other government benefits. When properly planned, a Third Party SNT can provide greater flexibility than a First Party SNT, and can be a very useful mechanism for providing proper care for a person with special needs.

While every state has its own requirements for Special Needs Trusts, generally, Third Party SNTs are more flexible because there are no age requirements. They also do not have to be monitored by the Probate Court in the county of their residence, and may be either revocable or irrevocable. As long as there is careful planning and proper management, there is no repayment of any governmental funds, like Medicaid.

There are common mistakes that must be avoided to ensure that the Third Party SNT works properly and will not have adverse effects on the disabled person or trustee. One of the first mistakes is improperly transferring property into the trust that may disqualify government benefits or require the trust to payback the state funds. It is essential that the property in the trust is never owned by the disabled person, and he or she have no legal right to the property. Transferring property, including money, that can be traced back to the disabled person can be considered a “step-transfer,” and would result in Medicaid and other state funds to be repaid, which could cost thousands of dollars.

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SPECIAL NEEDS TRUST MISTAKES: Pt. 1 – First Party Mistakes

A First Party Special Needs Trust is set up for the benefit of a person with special needs, and is funded with the disabled person’s own property. Different rules apply when a Third Party SNT that is set up by family members for the benefit of the disabled person. Typically, a First Party SNT is used in two common scenarios: the disabled person receives a lawsuit settlement for damages, or when the disabled person inherits money or property from family, who did not set up a Third Party SNT.

When a disabled person owns property outright, the person may face difficulty receiving government benefits. This is where a First Party SNT comes in; it allows the disabled person to have access to their property, while the trust retains ownership of it, which improves the disabled person’s ability to receive government funding. When formed properly, the First Party SNT is a useful vehicle for ensuring proper care for a person with special needs.

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IRS Releases New Form W-4 for 2018

With the new tax law, how much will you owe the IRS when you file your 2018 tax return next April?

Now that most of our clients have their 2017 taxes filed, it is time to start taking action regarding 2018 taxes. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act or TCJA has an impact on just about every area of tax one can think of in 2018. These changes include increasing the standard deduction, removing the personal exemption, and changing the tax rates and brackets. The impact of these changes will affect both employees and business owners. The first effect you or your employees might notice is that some employees’ take-home pay may have increased due to the adjustment in IRS withholding tables. These larger paychecks are wonderful, but employees should be cautious. An increase in take-home pay might be deceiving because you may actually be under withholding your federal income taxes. If your pay is being under-withheld, it could be a big shock come tax time when you owe the IRS money next April. In order to avoid a surprise tax bill for the 2018 tax year, employees should update their W-4 form. To help individuals deal with 2018 withholding issues, the IRS has recently released a new W-4 Form for 2018 and a Withholding Calculator.

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New End of Life Law

Medical/Physician’s Orders for Scope of Treatment

Kentucky and Indiana (Ohio Pending)

Did you know that in the last month of life over 50% of Americans go to the emergency room and that 50% to 75% of them get admitted? However, some people might not want to spend the last month of their lives in a hospital. Hospitalization is expensive and usually not considered an ideal place to die. You can avoid these unwanted end of life experiences through proper advance care planning.

The newest tool for advance care planning is medical or physician’s orders for scope of treatment. Nationally this new tool is being referred to as a POLST, which stands for Physician’s Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment.  The National POLST Paradigm is an organization started in Oregon that helps push for the adoption of medical order documents across the country. Over 22 states have endorsed the POLST program, and 25 others are developing similar programs. Kentucky and Indiana are two such states. In Kentucky, these documents are known as MOST or Medical Orders for Scope of Treatment. In Indiana, they are known as POST or Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment. However, Ohio has not been successful in passing a POLST initiative. Ohio’s MOLST (Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment) bill has passed the Ohio Senate and has been referred to committee in the House. These documents go by a few different names depending on the state, but generally, they do the same thing.

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ABLE Accounts

Last month we told you about Special Needs Trusts, which are an important tool in planning for the support and care of a disabled person. Today, we will continue that conversation and tell you a little about how you can use both a Special Needs Trust and an ABLE Account to plan for the support and care of a disabled person.

ABLE Accounts have been talked about on our blog in the past, but here is a little refresher. ABLE Accounts are available in both Kentucky and Ohio, through the National Achieving a Better Life Experience (“ABLE’) Act. ABLE Accounts allow for a disabled person to save and invest money without losing eligibility for certain public benefits programs, like Medicaid, SSI, or SSDI. Additionally, earnings in your ABLE Account are not subject to federal income tax, so long as you spend them on “Qualified Disability Expenses.” Some examples of “Qualified Expenses” include education, housing, transportation, employment support, health prevention and wellness, assistive technology and personal support. However, ABLE Accounts have limited deposits of $15,000 a year, lifetime funding limits, and a medicaid payback provision. Additionally, the onset of the disability must have occurred prior to age 26. These restrictions on ABLE Accounts make planning all the more important.

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