A Helpful Change to Maryland’s Estate Tax Law?

Governor Martin O’Malley recently signed a new law that will reduce the sting of estate taxes over the next several years for Maryland residents. So how does the Maryland tax compare with the federal version? As defined by the IRS, “The Estate Tax is a tax on your right to transfer property at your death.” The federal government imposes a tax on taxable estates in excess of $5.34 million (the individual federal exemption amount, which increases for inflation annually). Maryland currently imposes an estate tax on taxable estates in excess of $1 million (the state exemption amount).

Secrets of a Successful Retirement Transition

For most Americans, retirement is one of life’s major turning points. We’re no longer required to take part in the work-a-day world, and can turn our attention and considerable experience to family, friends, service, and personal interests.

But it isn’t as easy as it sounds. Many people find retirement jarring, and have trouble adjusting to the new lifestyle. With that in mind, we’ve asked our retired clients for advice for those about to make the leap — what lessons they’ve learned, what they did well and what they wish they’d done differently. The responses are full of fantastic insights, important reminders, and creative ideas. Whether you’re facing retirement now or at some point in the future, you will find something of value here.

A Surprise in Your Tax Bill?

Will There Be A Nasty Surprise In Your Tax Return?

Given the time of year, you may well be in the midst of gathering data for your 2013 tax return. As you embark on this project, you should be aware of a few new taxes you may have to pay. While I can’t cover everything, here are some of the bigger changes you might encounter.

(The changes outlined in this article were implemented in 2012 with the passage of the American Taxpayer Relief Tax Act (ATRA) of 2012, or with the Affordable Care Act).

Do Investment Opposites Attract?

Is Your Significant Other Your Financial Opposite?

It’s true that opposites sometimes attract. But what do you do when you and your significant other are opposites when it comes to investment strategy? You might be an aggressive, pedal-to-the-metal investor, while your partner is more financially conservative. (Or vice versa.) A difference like that can be a huge obstacle to developing a sound financial plan.

So what can you do?

The Good News and Bad News About Capital Losses

Discussing capital losses with clients isn’t usually much fun, because it involves the loss of money. The good news is that when we sell a position with a capital loss, it creates a taxable loss. And capital losses can be used to offset capital gains. If a taxpayer has taxable losses in excess of their capital gains, then they can deduct up to $3,000 of those capital losses against their ordinary income.

Five Myths About Financial Planning

When it comes to the subject of financial planning, people often have the wrong idea. Whether they confuse planners with accountants, or assume that the planning process is only helpful for those with a lot of money, the misunderstandings endure. Unfortunately, these misconceptions prevent those who would benefit from planning from ever considering the service.

In an effort to clear that up, here are five common mistakes people make about financial planning.