For those of you who plan to file your 2014 tax return timely so that you can get your refund promptly, you should probably postpone your shopping spree.
According to article by Stephen Ohlemacher of Associate Press, Congress again passed a tax bill this year just before shutting down for the holidays, extending more than 50 temporary tax breaks that had expired. Although this is good news for the taxpayers as to the extension of the tax breaks, the late passage is likely to delay the processing of tax returns and any refund.
Congress also cut the IRS budget by $346 million, $1.2 billion less than the agency received in 2010. Like everything else in life, there is good news and there is bad news. The good news is that due to the cut in IRS funding, there are fewer IRS agents auditing and enforcing the tax code. The bad news is, the refund is likely to be delayed.
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While sitting around the dinner table during the upcoming holidays, you might want to turn the conversation around to your estate plan.
Telling your family members about your final wishes might just be the best gift you can give them. It could head off disagreements and hard feelings.
Why talk about something so morbid at a holiday gathering? Well, it might be the only time of year that all members of the family are together at once, a story on savannahnow.com says.
So the holiday dinner could be a time to share your wishes. You can explain how you intend to distribute your assets and the reasons behind your decisions.
You can also tell them your wishes for health care towards the end of your life and let them know where your important documents are stored, the story says.
If you would like your family to meet us, please give us a call so we may introduce ourselves to your loved ones.
You’ve got plenty to do this time of year. Buy presents. Get a turkey. Decorate the house.
But there’s one more thing that you should add to the list – update your estate plan.
Your estate plan needs to change as often as your life changes, says an article on savannahnow.com.
Maybe there is a new member of your family at the holiday table this year. Or maybe one has gone.
If you haven’t made an estate plan, you ought to do it now. If you have assets, you need to know to whom you’d like to give those assets.
An easy way to start is to call an estate planning attorney. If you already have an existing plan and it has not been reviewed in the last couple of years, it should be reviewed and updated. Your situation may only need a simple Will or you may need something more sophisticated. You may want to set aside assets to minor children, minimize estate taxes or structure different distributions.
Wills, remember, are subject to probate. Trusts do not.
Revocable living trusts can provide for a surviving spouse, protect children’s inheritances from creditors, give loved ones an incentive to do things that are worthwhile and protect a children from losing an inheritance in a divorce or a lawsuit.
You should also make sure you have a comprehensive plan that includes a durable power of attorney, a health care directive, a medical authorization and other necessary ancillary planning documents to protect you during incapacity. Call us now so we can help you to cross off one of your items on the “To Do” list.
A dilemma faced by many as we get older: is it time to accomplish things you haven’t accomplished yet, or time to reflect and just enjoy your remaining years.
Although there are different points of view, an essay in the Wall Street Journal suggests that the latter choice might be better for some folks.
The writer, a man in his ’70s, dismisses the idea of the “New Old Age,” one in which medicine is letting us live longer and healthier and with that the idea that we can keep doing more.
Older folks sometimes are discouraged from retiring. Baby boomers, in particular, may feel pressure to keep working, go hiking, have plastic surgery and keep doing more.
The writer, Daniel Klein, isn’t buying it. His believes old age is best served by reflection, reading and nurturing relationships.
He says a time spent in Greece helped showed him this. There, the old men sat in coffee shops and whiled the time away chatting, just enjoying each other’s company.
Klein cites ancient Greek philosophers for embracing this idea, as well as the Zen Buddhist philosophy.
Of course, everybody is different. But Klein suggests there is nothing wrong — and maybe everything right — about slowing down and smelling the roses, if it works for you.