As 2016 winds down, we turn our focus to year-end planning, the year-end reviewing we should all do and a look at what may change in 2017. It’s a good idea to check in with your accountant to see if there are any last-minute income tax strategies, expenses or deductions that need to be in place before year-end that may reduce your tax liabilities. Make sure to discuss with your accountant any required minimum distributions you must take from any IRA, 401(k) or other qualified retirement plan (or from any inherited qualified retirement plan or IRA).
We’ll also discuss various gifting strategies you may want to take advantage of prior to the end of the year. That may include making gifts to individuals, education accounts such as 529 plans or gifts to charities. Always make sure to give only to charities you’re very familiar with or have researched. Sites like Give.org can help you learn more about how charities use your donations. That way, you ensure your donation has the impact you intend.
With a transition into a new presidency, there is always speculation about what things will change and what to do to prepare as President Obama leaves office and President-elect Trump is inaugurated. We suggest you separate out the speculation from what the current laws. With the advice of your trusted advisors, you can make your best determinations on what actions to take or not to take prior to the end of the year. In my 30 years of practice, I am always cautious regarding any speculation about how the laws will change. The political process always provides us with unexpected surprises both good and bad in passing new legislation.
Notwithstanding unexpected legislative surprises, one trend we’ve seen over the last few decades is rules around protecting assets from the nursing home have becoming stricter. In this case, we recommend that those putting off planning to protect the home or other assets from nursing home expenses schedule an appointment with their estate or elder law planning attorney. We anticipate stricter rules will continue to make it more difficult to protect these assets.
We hope you have found our blogs for 2016 informative and helpful! Our team has worked diligently to prepare topics we think will be helpful for our colleagues and clients for 2017. We wish you and your family a happy holiday season and all the best for the New Year!