Estate Planning, Family and Wealth Planning, Legacy Planning, Testamentos y Herencias

What is Thanksgiving Day for?

As I grew up in Cuba we had no idea there was a holiday designated to give thanks. As we arrived to the United States in 1995, we started integrating ourselves to the American culture. This tradition we absorbed and enjoyed since our first year.

I had just started ninth grade, when Ms. Castro,  my ESOL teacher explained why Americans celebrated Thanksgiving, the history behind it and the food involved. Some of the major ingredients in the feast were not very common to me or my family, others were completely unknown.  Nonetheless, we celebrated our first Thanksgiving day in November of 1995.

To date, every year on Thanksgiving Day we gather the family together, as many of us as possible, and we share a delicious meal. For this one day in the year, we try to keep the table as American as possible. But what’s a holiday party without a flan for dessert?  It is just a splash of Cuban flare, we tell ourselves.

It does not matter what you do or what you eat or where you spend Thanksgiving Day, what’s important is to Give Thanks!

I give thanks this year for every single day of my life and for everything that has happened each one of those days. I give thanks for the best times and for the not so good times, as those are the ones who have made me grow and be stronger. I give thanks for my family and for my daughter!  I give thanks for my life.  I give thanks  for the opportunity to help others protect themselves and their families. What are you giving thanks for?

I wish you have loads to give thanks for, as all we receive through life is gift!

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

Yahima Suarez
Yahima Suarez, PA
Legacy & Estate Planning for your Family!

Yahima Suarez
Yahima Suarez, J.D. Estate Planning for your Family
Estate Planning, Family and Wealth Planning, Legacy Planning

Are you old at 50? Financial Smarts peak at 50 –Here’s How to Protect Your Older Self.

A recent study conducted by Texas Tech University concluded that the ability to make smart financial decisions peaks at age 50.  This decline was observed in both men and women, making both sexes equally vulnerable to financial fraud as they age.

4 Tips for Protecting Your Finances From Scams, Shams and Schemes as You Age

In “4 Ways to Protect Your Retirement Money From Scammers (and Your Future Self)” (Time.com), Liz Weston points out that fraud victims age 65 and older lost an average of $30,000, and one in ten lost more than $100,000.

Now that I have your attention, here are the four tips that Ms. Weston offers for protecting your finances as you age or those of you with an elderly parent or other relative:

  1. Make Investing Simpler. This tip emphasizes consolidation of similar accounts (such as combining multiple IRA accounts into a single account), replacing individual stocks and bonds with mutual funds or exchanged-traded funds (in general funds will require less attention), and keep two credit cards (one for everyday use and the other for automatic bill payments).
  1. Assemble Defenders. This tip emphasizes choosing the right person – someone who is money-savvy, trustworthy, and ready to act in your best interest – to step in and manage your finances when you are not able. This is accomplished through naming an agent to act on your behalf in financial matters in a legal document called a Power of Attorney.  While your spouse may be your first choice as agent, be sure to choose a younger alternate in case your spouse also becomes impaired.
  1. Open Up Your Finances. This tip emphasizes sharing your financial information with your agent so that he or she will be able to notice when things go awry. For example, you can set up email or text alerts with your financial institutions that notify both you and your agent when unusually large transactions take place. You should also give your doctor and financial advisor permission to contact your agent if they become concerned about your cognitive abilities.
  1. Design a Money Blueprint. This tip emphasizes putting together an “investment policy statement” (IPS) which spells out your financial goals over time, what types of investments you will hold, and how much of your portfolio should be allocated to safe and riskier assets. An IPS will not only help you keep your investments on track, but it will also help you resist sales pitches that fall outside of your plan.

Of course, a Comprehensive Estate Plan is the ultimate way to protect you, your family and your finances as you age. Please contact Yahima Suarez, PA at 305-456-7158 if you are interested in learning more about estate planning or if you have an estate plan that has not been updated in the past few years. An Estate Plan may be updated as often as needed, but if yours have been sitting there for three or more years, make sure to get it reviewed and possibly updated.

Yahima Suarez, J.D. Estate Planning for your Family
Yahima Suarez, J.D.
Estate Planning for your Family
Family and Wealth Planning

Early Predictions About 2016 Estate Tax, Gift Tax, GST Tax and Annual Gift Tax Limits

Under current law the federal estate tax, gift tax, and generation-skipping transfer tax exemptions have become unified and are indexed for inflation on an annual basis.  Since 2011, the exemption and tax rate have changed as follows:

Year    Exemption       Tax Rate

2011    $5,000,000      35%
2012    $5,120,000      35%
2013    $5,250,000      40%
2014    $5,340,000      40%
2015    $5,430,000      40%

The annual exclusion from gift taxes is also indexed for inflation on an annual basis but only in $1,000 increments.  Since 2011, the annual gift tax exclusion has changed as follows:

Year    Exclusion
2011    $13,000
2012    $13,000
2013    $14,000
2014    $14,000
2015    $14,000

While the IRS will not officially release the 2016 inflation-indexed exemption and exclusion until later in October, Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting has released its 2016 predictions based on historical inflationary trends.  According to Wolters, the exemption should end up at $5,450,000 in 2016, or $10,900,000 for married couples.  While this is a mere $20,000 per individual / $40,000 per married couple increase over the 2015 exemption, it is a whopping $450,000 per individual / $900,000 per married couple increase since 2011. Unfortunately, Wolters anticipates that the annual gift exclusion will remain at $14,000 for 2016.

Wealthy individuals and couples should continue to monitor these inflation-indexed numbers and plan accordingly. We will update you on the official 2016 numbers once they are released by the IRS.

Guidance and further information is available. You are not alone. Feel free to give us a call at 305-456-7158 and we will happy to schedule a Legacy & Estate Planning session to answer any questions you may have.

Saludos,

Yahima Suarez

PIC YS

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