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Michael E. Lehr
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“Financial planning is an ongoing process that examines your goals, situation and finances, in order to determine if and how these goals can be met. It’s not a product-centric process, but often we use financial products like mutual funds, annuities and/or life insurance to achieve goals in the most efficient... Continue reading
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“Iowa Senator Charles Grassley is among those in Congress calling for a crackdown on elder abuse crimes in the country.” The witnesses of loved ones affected by elder abuse incidents testified at a recent Senate Finance Committee hearing in Washington. Those witnesses included Pat Blank, longtime Iowa Public Radio host,... Continue reading
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Life insurance is the bedrock of many people’s financial plan. There are more nuances to life insurance than just buying a policy and paying premiums. It’s not the most fascinating topic, unless you’re in the business, but understanding the basics about life insurance can have big implications for you and... Continue reading
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There was a time when most people had three sources of income in retirement. One was their savings, the second was Social Security and the third was their pension from work. Today, very few workers enjoy the security of a pension and retirement income is dependent on each person’s ability... Continue reading
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You may know that there are tax traps when IRA withdrawals or rollovers are done incorrectly. However, did you know that an investment portfolio could contain a tax trap that could ruin your IRA status? The most frequently occurring IRA tax trap comes from tax bills through the Unrelated Business... Continue reading
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It is possible that certain strategies or language in your estate plan may no longer work, or may have unintended consequences, if it was created before the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was signed into law in December 2017. Anytime there is a major change in your life or in... Continue reading
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Writing your own will is a lot like trying to do your own dental work. You can brush, floss and even use a water flosser, but the rest is best left to the trained professional. It’s a fairly common question: “Why can’t I download a form and create my own... Continue reading
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Gun owners, you may own guns to protect your family or because you admire the workmanship or history of firearms. However, without a gun trust, your heirs may face a surprising consequence. Mistakes with inherited IRS accounts can become expensive, but the penalty is financial. Inherit a gun collection without... Continue reading
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Following the adoption of new rules, there will now be options for veterans to appeal their disability benefits. The hope is that these three new processes will speed up cases. It took more than a year and a half, but the Department of Veterans affairs has announced that new appeals... Continue reading
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While there’s a time limit on this great opportunity for tax-free giving—2025, unless Congress makes some changes—this is a good time to take advantage of minimizing your tax liability through generosity. There’s a new big break for top-dollar wealth transfers, thanks to the new tax law. Basic rule: the more... Continue reading
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On the short list of why you need a will: your family won’t know how you wanted to distribute your possessions or what kind of funeral you wanted. They may also fight over the distribution. The cost in legal fees and taxes will also take a big bite out of... Continue reading
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How do you divide a nearly trillion-dollar empire when a divorce occurs and the CEO doesn’t have a prenup? Investors are wondering and watching to see. With a 16% stake in the Amazon, how will founder Jeff Bezos’ divorce impact the company? There’s no prenup in place, and since MacKenzie... Continue reading
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Was 2018 the year you finalized your divorce? Many people did all they could to finalize their divorces before New Year’s Eve, because there are new tax rules that will impact ex-spouses in 2019. There’s bad news for those who did not get their divorce finalized by the end of... Continue reading
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Since the financial recession of 2008, many baby boomers changed their thinking about their retirement savings. They aren’t as optimistic as they once were and don’t expect to retire debt-free. The recession took the wind out of many baby boomer’s financial sails. These 75 million Americans have more debt in... Continue reading
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Most donations are made in December, and charities of all shapes and sizes make the most of the holiday spirit. However, by taking a bit of time to plan out charitable giving, including doing some research and talking with your family about your legacy, your giving could have a greater... Continue reading
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World-class tax planning has had a big impact on the Bush family, with earned and inherited money stretched as far as possible. The Bush dynasty has had excellent financial advice, and it shows, by virtue of being almost invisible. The whole point of multi-generational family wealth when properly handled is... Continue reading
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By giving licenses to at least ten nursing home owners who had a history of poor patient care in other facilities that they owned in the Buffalo area, New York State has failed to protect its seniors. Buffalo area advocates for nursing home residents are battling to protect seniors by... Continue reading
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Do your heirs understand the history and value of your livestock? If not, start educating them now, including discussing how they fit into your estate plan. Assets like the family home and land are what most ranchers think about, when they are talking with their estate planning attorney about dividing... Continue reading
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People start thinking in more concrete terms about retirement when the concept becomes a reality, often about ten years out. That’s when the planning has to get real. Both football and retirement planning have a “red zone,” where the game is won or lost, says Investopedia in a recent article,... Continue reading
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If someone wanted to give you a gift that would make your life less stressful and help you save a lot of money and time, we bet you’d welcome it. Consider starting a new tradition with your family, suggests the Brainerd (MN) Dispatch in the article “Give the gift of... Continue reading
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An end-of-year decision from the IRS about the new tax law and gifting has given people with generous spirits and hefty bank accounts reasons to be cheerful about gifting. Increases to basic estate and gift tax exemptions were welcomed by many when the new tax law details were unveiled. However,... Continue reading
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The battle between three of Glen Campbell’s eight children and his widow has ended with them agreeing to dismiss their pursuit of a portion of their father’s estate. With the resolution of this outstanding claim, the estate of Glen Campbell can now be resolved, reports The Tennessean in “Glen Campbell’s... Continue reading
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Don’t have a medical directive, or don’t remember the last time you reviewed it? That means it’s time. We never know when an emergency or sudden onset illness will strike. The biggest problem with medical directives, is getting people to confront the concept of being incapacitated or near death. Once... Continue reading
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More than a dozen health care and provider organizations are working with law makers in an attempt to preserve financial protection for spouses of seniors, who are receiving long-term care at home or in community settings under Medicaid. All the years of saving and planning for retirement, and now your... Continue reading
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Remember that estate planning is not just for the wealthy, and now that the federal exemption is so high, not just for the billionaires either. Estate planning is also much more than a will. Your estate plan has a lot of work to do for you, both while you are... Continue reading