Blog – “Altman Speaks”

The Kardashian Diary Saga: Another Lesson in Why the Words Matter!


In today’s world of reality television, it seems like a day does not go by without some breaking news on the Kardashian family.  A fascination has been born with the daily activities of the members of this family.  Recently, that fascination has extended to capture the attention of the estate planning world, but not for […]

Minnesota Joins Connecticut as the Only States in the Nation to Have a State Gift Tax


Effective June 30, 2013, for any amounts gifts over a $1,000,000 exemption gifted during lifetime, Minnesota residents will pay a flat tax of 10%. Some other changes that may become important as other states look for ways to raise revenues: There is now a 3 year look back for gifts transferred within 3 years of death.  […]

Happy Memorial Day from the Altman Team!


This weekend and always, we remember and honor the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country.  We wish all of you have a happy and safe weekend.  Please note that our office will reopen on Tuesday morning, normal business hours. Best, The Altman Team

The Cost of Dying without a Will


Recently, a client came to me with the following story.  A relative of his died without a Will.  A search firm found my client and told him that he was a 75% heir of the relative and would receive 75% of his estate, after expenses, if he signed an agreement with them to locate all […]

Estate of Harvey Evenchik: A Reminder of What NOT to Do!


Numerous times, we have written blogs warning of the dangers of self-service estate planning, or for that matter, self-service in a variety of disciplines where an individual would be truly challenged to know the right decision.  Every individual has a different expertise or basis of knowledge.  For medical problems, you see a doctor.  When an […]

Planning Tips for Your 2013 Personal Taxes


New changes to tax laws require taking an early look at your tax planning for 2013.  A couple of items in particular: Personal Exemptions A previous tax rule based on adjusted gross income (AGI) has been reinstated for 2013: the phase-out of the deduction for personal exemptions. Your deduction for yourself, your spouse, and your […]

Irrevocable Trusts Facing Higher Tax Liability in 2013


As I have previously discussed, with the enactment of the new tax laws that took effect on January 1, 2013, most irrevocable trusts will face a higher tax liability.  This is because Trusts with more than $11,950 in income in 2013 must pay the top tax rates for income, dividends and capital gains.  In contrast, individual […]

Pat Summerall: How a Man of Such Few Words Left a Lasting Impact


Athlete, Sportscaster, Humanitarian and Ambassador are just a few of the many words used to describe Pat Summerall after his death on April 16, 2013.  Best known for his 20+ years broadcasting the NFL with John Madden, Pat Summerall could describe an epic sports moment in just a handful of words.  For example, one of […]

IRS Announces Closures Due to Furloughs


FYI, the IRS has announced five specific dates that it will be closed due to government spending cuts. On May 24, June 14, July 5, July 22 and August 30, IRS employees will be placed on unpaid leave with all “public-facing operations” closing on those dates, including toll-free operations and taxpayer-assistance centers. According to the […]

Remember When the Federal Estate Tax of $5 Million Was Deemed “Permanent”? Maybe the Definition of Permanent Has Changed!


If you haven’t yet heard, on Wednesday, April 10, the Obama Administration released its proposed budget for fiscal year 2014 (October 1, 2013-September 30, 2014).  The budget contains an anticipated mix of old propositions and new proposals aimed at tightening restrictions on estate planning measures, specifically when it comes to retirement planning.  Below are a few […]