Social Security and Medicare

Social Security and Medicare Face Financial Challenges

Most Americans will eventually receive Social Security and Medicare benefits. Each year, the Trustees of the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds release lengthy reports to Congress that assess the health of these important programs. The newest reports, released on April 22, 2020, discuss the current financial condition and ongoing financial challenges that both programs face, and project a Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for 2021.

Too Much Oil with Nowhere to Go

Too Much Oil with Nowhere to Go

On April 20, 2020, the price of a futures contract for West Texas Intermediate crude — the benchmark for U.S. oil prices — fell below zero for the first time in history, dropping more than 306% in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange and ending the day at -$37.63 per barrel. Essentially, this meant that investors who would soon be obligated to take possession of a barrel of oil were willing to pay someone else to take it instead.

Estate Tax

Estate Tax Changes Under Recent Tax Acts

Over the past two decades significant changes have been made to the taxation of an estate. In this article we take a look at how the federal gift and estate tax, as well as the federal generation-skipping tax have been impacted under the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (the 2010 Tax Act), the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (the 2012 Tax Act), and the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. A chart at the end of the discussion summarizes the effects of this law.

Estate Planning

Estate Planning: Leaving a Legacy

You’ve worked hard over the years to accumulate wealth, and you probably find it comforting to know that after your death the assets you leave behind will continue to be a source of support for your family, friends, and the causes that are important to you. But to ensure that your legacy reaches your heirs as you intend, you must make the proper arrangements now. There are four basic ways of leaving a legacy: (1) by will, (2) by trust, (3) by beneficiary designation, and (4) by joint ownership arrangements.