Updates

Earnings Growth and Moderate Inflation

As of Friday, 80% of companies in the S&P 500 have reported fourth quarter 2017 results. The blended earnings growth rate for the quarter has been 15.2% year-over-year and is the highest reported since 2011. FactSet reports 2018 earnings per share growth estimates have increased by 7%. In addition, from Dec. 31 through Feb. 15, […]

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The Trouble With “Portability”

Frank died in 2012.  His estate elected the deceased spousal unused estate tax exclusion (DSUE), in an amount of $1.2 million—or the “portable” estate tax exemption, as it is more commonly referred to by non-lawyers.  An estate tax return was filed showing no estate tax due, and the IRS sent a closing letter to the […]

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Just Another Pullback

Historically, 10% stock market pullbacks are annual occurrences. Aside from some interesting intraday fireworks due to automated trading and the implosion of various derivatives created to track market volatility, the last several weeks have not been unusual. The financial media, whose main incentive is to generate revenue from advertising dollars, wants readers and viewers to […]

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Someone to trust

How could someone who earned $650 million over 17 years be broke? That’s the question the actor Johnny Depp recently put to a team of forensic accountants and his new business manager, according to a Vanity Fair article (“How Did Johnny Depp Find Himself in a Financial Crisis?,” August 2017).  The team determined that Depp’s […]

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Healthy Adjustments in the Capital Markets

The economic reports for the week were overwhelmingly positive. The Fed decided to hold rates at current levels for the time being and confirmed its previously stated intent to raise short term rates slightly and gradually as the year progresses. Market interest rates responded to the continued strength by rising. Interest rate markets are beginning […]

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Review Estate Plans in 2018

DEAR TRUST OFFICER: I heard that the exemption from the federal estate tax has doubled. What does this mean for my estate plans? — Following Up DEAR FOLLOWING UP: Whenever there is a major change in the federal taxation of estates and gifts, that moment is a good one for the review of estate plans […]

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Market Numbers

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished the week at 26,616.71, up over 20,000 points from its great recession low of 6,547.05 on March 9, 2009. The S&P 500 closed Friday at 2,872.87, up almost 2,200 points from its March 9, 2009 close of 676.53. The S&P 500 closed up 1.18% on Friday, the first day […]

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Bunching Charitable Gifts

With the dramatic increase in the standard deduction in 2018, to $24,000 for married couples, many charities are worried that the tax incentive for donations will disappear, leading to lower gifts.  Because the state and local tax deduction is now capped at $10,000, married taxpayers will need to have at least $14,001 in additional deductions […]

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Tax Reform Alters Popular Retirement Planning Technique

The ability to recharacterize (lookback and undo) the conversion of a Traditional IRA to a Roth IRA no longer exists. Beginning in 2018 with Roth conversions, the one popular technique will no longer be available. Paul Fowler covers the details in a new post, Retirement planning after tax reform. On The One Hand Industrial production […]

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Trust Preserved

In 2009, Elizabeth Briggs amended her revocable living trust to disinherit her son, Thomas, leaving the trust assets to her daughter, Judith.  The amendment stated that Thomas knew the reasons for his disinheritance. After Elizabeth died in 2013, an attorney for the estate and trust advised Thomas that he had received no property from his […]

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