The James Brown estate battle is one of the more unusual and complex ones we have seen. As some may recall, his estate plan called for his music empire to be put into a charitable trust and used to help needy students. Nevertheless, the will has been the source of ongoing challenges since the musician passed away in 2006. [Read more…]
Summer usually finds teens and college students working at summer jobs, and for many, proudly pocketing their first earnings. But an interesting perspective comes from Kiplinger Retirement Report,as explained in “Seed a Roth IRA for Your Grandkids,”that grandparents can use summer earnings as a teachable moment about retirement planning. Grandparents can make contributions to a Roth IRA for their grandchildren, who can use those funds in later years to build retirement income or even purchase a home.
As an illustration, if you were to contribute $2,000 a year over four years beginning when a grandchild is 15—with a modest 6% annual rate of return—those contributions can grow to more than $143,000 by the time the grandchild is age 66.
If he or she has a summer job or works while attending school, a grandchild has most likely earned income to be able to contribute to a Roth IRA. That contribution can’t be more than he or she earned during the year or the maximum of $5,500 (in 2017 per the IRS), whichever is less. One idea is to deposit the money into the account for your grandchild and let your grandson or granddaughter hang onto his or her earnings. If she was to earn $3,500 from a summer job, then she can use it to buy a car. If you give $3,500 to the grandchild, then that money can be contributed to the Roth IRA.
The contribution you make to your grandchild is considered a gift to the child, so be certain to arrange that with your other gifts for the year. A grandparent can give up to $14,000 per year per person, without having to file a gift tax return (or a total of $28,000 to one person from both grandparents). If you have done irrevocable trust planning to protect assets from the nursing home, however, please consult with a qualified estate planning attorney about any ramifications of making such a gift.
You can also “pre-fund” an account. However, in the event your grandchild’s job falls through or she earns less than was expected, you’ll need to make ensure the excess contribution and its earnings are withdrawn from the account before the next tax filing deadline. Until your grandchild turns 18 or 21, and depending on the laws of your state, you’ll be able to control the money, and then your grandchild will be able to use it, however he or she wants.
As always, we recommend consulting with your financial professional and/or accountant in conjunction with a qualified estate planning attorney. For more information on this and other estate planning techniques, explore our website and contact us to schedule your consultation today!
Reference: Kiplinger Retirement Report (May 2017) “Seed a Roth IRA for Your Grandkids”
For millennials, the idea of a pension plan that pays benefits from the time you retire to the day you die is an unheard-of concept. Fewer and fewer American companies offer this benefit, so if you are among those who have a defined-benefit pension, congratulations! But don’t assume the check is in the mail. A recent investigation by the Department of Labor into some of these large plans shows that more than $500 million is owed to retirees.
Kiplinger’s article, “Missing Pensions Costly to Retirees,”reports that between summer 2015 and 2016, the Labor Department investigated more than four dozen large pension plans and found staggering results: some of them are not doing a very good job of monitoring retired participants and paying benefits when they’re owed. Some plans don’t even have the names or ages of many of their participants.