Recent Posts in Community Category

  • For Clients, Advisors, Community The tax code allows a family to save $6,550 (on a pre-tax basis) in a health savings account. These accounts are designed to cover deductibles and co-pays in a health care plan with cost sharing and relatively high deductibles. Is it better to fund an HSA pre-tax or a savings account after tax? Fund an HSA or Taxable Account? If a family contributes the maximum to ...
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  • Supreme Court Holds Inherited IRAs Are Not Asset Protected

    || 24-Jun-2014

    For Clients, Advisors and Community. If you or your parents have an IRA with six figures or more, you need to read this article carefully. A word of introduction: An “inherited IRA” is an account originally established by Mom or Dad and at the death of Mom or Dad is held for the benefit of son or daughter or grandchild (or other relative). It is typically titled, “Mom or Dad IRA ...
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  • A Lesson From Phillip Seymour Hoffman

    || 10-Mar-2014

    For Clients, Advisors and Community. My staff will tell you that I take pride in writing my own blog articles. I don’t have a ghost writer and I don’t buy a service. This very recent article in “Wealth Management” quoted below is so well written that I can’t possibly do better. Large parts of this blog are taken directly from that article. (“Keeping Up with ...
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  • For Clients, Advisors, Community: Do you know for sure that there will be no title problems when you go to sell your home? Are you sure everything is in order? As part of our regular process, we want to be certain our clients’ real estate is titled consistently with their estate plan. It is occasionally necessary to look at the county records or if we find something suspicious, obtain more ...
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  • An Envelope with a Surprise in It

    || 18-Jun-2013

    For Clients, Professional Advisors and Community: Very recently, I came home to a strange brown envelope from Lutheran General Hospital. It wasn’t a bill or a lab report. It was from “Medical Records” and was hand addressed. I couldn’t figure out what it might be. My only encounter with Lutheran General this year was when I had revision surgery on my left foot. I opened it ...
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  • For Clients, Advisors and Community: In this article (briefly delayed by technical glitches), I review the implications of the income tax changes in the legislation. I have chosen not to restate that which has been published in the general news, but rather some interesting tidbits related to the new law. Increased Brackets. We have a “progressive” income tax system. This means that the ...
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  • Retirement Plan Loans Become High Audit Risk

    || 10-Nov-2012

    Participants are allowed to borrow from their account balance in some profit sharing and 401(k) plans, if the governing plan document allows. It is optional with the employer. We have discouraged our employer-clients from including loan provisions in their plan documents because loans have often burdensome administration requirements. There are strict limits. When a participant misses a payment ...
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  • The Worst Bank in America

    || 15-May-2012

    For Clients, Community and Advisors. Every day, we assist our clients in transferring assets to their trusts to ensure that the goals and objectives of their estate plans are accomplished. Once the assets are transferred, we endeavor to verify that the assets are correctly titled. I would venture to say that every year, we deal with hundreds of financial institutions. Some are easier to work with ...
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  • Organ Donation via Facebook. Is It Binding?

    || 9-May-2012

    For Clients, Advisors and Community. There was recent news that Facebook users could register as organ donors. This development gave great publicity to the fact that 70% of individuals would accept a donated organ if needed but only 30% are registered to be organ donors. The result has been a well publicized shortage of needed organs for transplantation. Please note that looking for an organ donor ...
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  • What Is a DNR Order? How Does It Work?

    || 1-May-2012

    For Clients, Community and Advisers. I am often asked about the mechanics of implementing a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) Order. Many elder or infirm clients do not want to spend their last months dragged through extraordinary medical procedures. Rather, they choose to have a natural death without having the medical establishment bring out the paddles every time they arrest or have breathing trouble. ...
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  • Assisted Living: Promise or Dumping Ground?

    || 3-Apr-2012

    For Clients, Advisors and Community In my 32 years of practice, I have watched my clients age, enjoying long years with their children and grandchildren. In our senior care (elder law) practice, I am increasingly counselling my clients about long term care issues including, the transition from independent living to getting assistance whether it be with medications, getting to and from their doctor ...
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  • In recent years, have you made a gift of real estate to your children or grandchildren or, for that matter, anyone? If you have, you need to read this article. The Law. Transfer of real estate (or anything of value) from one person (donor) to another (donee) for less than fair market value is considered a gift for gift tax purposes. This is considered a separate tax system from our income tax ...
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  • For Clients, Advisors and Community. In March and May, 2011, I wrote blog articles about the asset protection aspects of inherited IRAs. This article describes current developments involving tax aspects of inherited IRAs. What is so important about inherited IRAs? With careful planning, the beneficiary of an inherited IRA (typically a child) has the opportunity to defer income taxes (with ...
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  • For Clients, Advisors and Community. Do you have a vacation home? Perhaps you celebrate every Christmas at a mountain lodge built by Grandpa, take the kids on a spring break to a beachside condo, or spend summer weekends at the old farmhouse so the little ones can catch fireflies. How do you pass on your vacation home to the next generation so that everyone still enjoys spending time together ...
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  • Where Do You Really Live? - A Question of Taxes

    || 17-Oct-2011

    For Clients, Advisors and Community Our society is increasingly mobile. Many of our clients have multiple residences. They spent the spring and summer months in the Chicago area but spend the late fall and winter in warmer climates – Florida, Arizona, California, Hawaii and other locations. In a sometimes desperate chase for increased revenue, Illinois (and other states) have recently passed ...
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  • On first glance, it looks like the recently signed “Illinois Residential Real Property Transfer on Death Instrument Act” would only interest lawyers, title companies, and the government. In fact, this new law, which goes into effect on January 1, 2012, will allow a majority of our clients to “have their cake and eat it, too”, just by addressing how their residence title is ...
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  • Where Is the Original of Your Will?

    || 14-Sep-2011

    For Clients, Community, Professional Advisors. At least once per year (and sometimes more often) we receive a phone call from the children of one of our clients. It sounds like this: “Dad died yesterday. We’re trying to find the original of his will (and/or trust). Does your office have it? Might you know where it is?” In a recent case, three different copies of a will showed up ...
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  • Time Again to Check Beneficiary Designations

    || 10-Aug-2011

    For Clients, Advisors, Community A recent published case emphasizes the importance of clients checking their beneficiary designations of their retirement plans including; profit sharing, 401(k) and pension — on a regular basis. The general rule is that if the participant is married, he or she must name his or her spouse as beneficiary (unless the spouse signs a waiver in the presence of a ...
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  • For Clients, Advisors & Community In an earlier article, I discussed what a civil union is and how Illinois law affects spouses in a civil union under the new law. There is a major disconnect, however between the Illinois civil union law and Federal law. Illinois recognizes civil unions. Because of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) (defining marriage as a union between a male husband and a ...
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  • Will the Illinois Civil Union Law Affect Your Family? I

    || 20-Jun-2011

    For Clients, Advisors & Community On June 1, 2011, legislation establishing civil unions went into effect in Illinois. This is a major step in marital rights for gay and lesbian couples. What’s interesting, however, is that the law potentially impacts, perhaps in a major way, heterosexual couples as well. This article will outline the features of the new law as well as its impact on some ...
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  • Update on Inherited IRAs

    || 15-May-2011

    For Clients, Professional Advisors Since my March 3, 2011 posting on inherited IRAs, there has been an interesting precedent. A Federal Court in Texas has issued an important appellate decision. The case is Chilton v. Moser. What happened? Shirley died in 2007 naming Janice as beneficiary of her $170,000 IRA. Janice opened an IRA titled, “Janice, beneficiary of Shirley IRA” and ...
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  • For Community, Clients, Advisors In the first installment of this blog series, I described how, for one family we recently represented, procrastination caused unnecessary delay, expense and worry that their objectives would not be achieved. In the second installment, I discussed a case currently in my office where delay and a reliance on joint tenancy property caused husband and wife’s ...
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  • The High Cost of Procrastinating (I of III)

    || 22-Mar-2011

    For Community, Clients, Advisors In the last year or two, our firm has represented three families who have come to us under circumstances where it was too late for us to help them plan. I’d like to tell you a little bit about each of their experiences, in hopes their lessons can save you some unnecessary troubles. Here’s the first example. More will follow in each of my next two blog ...
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  • Pita Inn - Our Wheeling Office

    || 15-Mar-2011

    For Community, Clients, Advisors Many of our clients know that we recently opened a second office in Lake in the Hills. What they don’t realize is that Kaufman Law Group has a Wheeling “office” as well. Okay, it’s not really an office. It’s where we have lunch at least once a week, sometimes more often. It’s Pita Inn, a Mediterranean restaurant located on ...
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  • For Professional Advisors, Clients, Business Owners Asset protection is an increasing focus in our practice. In its March 4, 2011 Tax Letter, Kiplinger gave the impression that inherited IRAs are exempt from creditors and in bankruptcy, citing an Arizona case. For now, that’s not the case in Illinois. Allow me to explain: In the case cited by Kiplinger, Kay Theim and her husband filed for ...
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