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Although your will or revocable trust governs the distribution of many or most of your assets, certain assets — such as retirement plans, insurance policies, and bank or brokerage accounts — require you to name a beneficiary (or beneficiaries). This can be an advantage, because when you die, the funds can pass directly to your beneficiaries without going through probate. But to avoid unpleasant surprises, it’s critical not only to...

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January 07, 2022

You may pay out a bundle in out-of-pocket medical costs each year. But can you deduct them on your tax return? It’s possible but not easy. Medical expenses can be claimed as a deduction only to the extent your unreimbursed costs exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income. Plus, medical expenses are deductible only if you itemize, which means that your itemized deductions must exceed your standard deduction. Qualifying costs...

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January 04, 2022

If you’re married and have children from a previous marriage plus children or stepchildren from your current marriage, your family is considered a blended family. And because you’ll likely wish to pass your wealth on to all of your biological children but also provide for your spouse and perhaps any stepchildren, estate planning can get tricky. Two estate planning strategies to consider involve a qualified terminable interest property (QTIP) trust...

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January 04, 2022

If you’re paying back college loans for yourself or your children, you may wonder if you can deduct the interest you pay on the loans. The answer is yes, subject to certain limits. The maximum amount of student loan interest you can deduct each year is $2,500. Unfortunately, the deduction is phased out if your adjusted gross income (AGI) exceeds certain levels, and as explained below, the levels aren’t very...

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January 04, 2022

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