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Do You Need a Retirement Plan Trust for Your IRA?

When we do estate planning with families, our clients often ask if they should name their living trust as the beneficiary of their IRA or 401k. Our answer is usually "no." We almost always recommend that our married clients name their spouse as primary beneficiary. That's easy. The tougher question is - who should be the contingent beneficiary? Should it be their children? Should it be their living trust? Or should it…

Protecting Your IRA and 401k – Retirement Plan Trust

You can protect your IRA and 401k for your children. When your children inherit your IRA or 401k, the retirement plan can continue to grow tax free and benefit from compounding interest - what Einstein, according to urban myth, called the most powerful force in the universe. If your children are over 18, they will control their inherited retirement plan. What if they do what most people do and liquidate the retirement…

Einstein’s Advice to His Young Son

The always fascinating Maria Popov shows us a letter Albert Einstein wrote to his 11 year old son Hans Albert. Happy Father's Day! Yesterday I received your dear letter and was very happy with it. I was already afraid you wouldn’t write to me at all any more. You told me when I was in Zurich, that it is awkward for you when I come to Zurich. Therefore I think it is better…

Innovate with Less

In today's Wall Street Journal, Drew Boyd and Jacob Goldenberg explain their innovation strategy from their new book Inside the Box: A Proven System of Creativity for Breakthrough Results. One of their methods is subtraction - removing things everyone assumes are essential. Consider a contact lens, an exercise bicycle, a package of powdered soup and an ATM. What do they have in common? They have all had something subtracted. Subtract the frame…

2013 California Tax Law Changes

Not only did the federal tax laws change in 2013, but so did the California tax laws. Ah, the golden state, where all that glimmers turns to taxes. Unlike at the federal level, where our elected officials chose to increase the income and capital gains tax rates, here in my home state, the people chose to increase their taxes - or at least other people's taxes -  by passing Proposition 30. Income…

2013 Federal Tax Law Changes

We are living in a new era of taxes. Or to paraphrase the ancient Chinese curse, we are living in interesting times. On January 1, 2013, Congress passed and President Obama signed the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 - not to be confused with the Kyrgyzstan Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. Estate and Gift Tax. The estate and gift tax exclusion is now $5,000,000, indexed each year for inflation, so for 2013 it's…

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