Things To Consider, When Gifting To Avoid Estate Tax

Question:  I am single and fortunate to have substantial assets.  In planning for my estate to avoid paying state taxes, I want to begin giving money to my children and grandchildren, while I am alive.  What should I be aware of?

Answer:  For single individuals, a gifting strategy is the primary method of reducing one’s estate below the $1,000,000 Massachusetts estate tax threshold.  If you have above $5.25 million, you have even greater motivation to reduce your estate to avoid federal estate taxes.

When gifting, you should normally keep the amount of money under $14,000 per year Continue reading

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New Mortgage Disclosure Rules, Déjà vu?

This week the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced its new information disclosure rules for mortgage lenders and closing attorneys.  These new rules are intended to make mortgage loan information easier to understand, fixing 2011’s confusing changes imposed by the Federal Reserve Bank.  Michael Jackson’s nose saw less reconstruction.  Continue reading

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Government Shutdown May Delay Mortgages

Question:         I am supposed to sell my home next week.  There is talk of the government shutdown affecting mortgage closings.  Should I book my movers, or expect delays?

Answer:  I honestly thought it would settle quickly, but both political parties have dug in for a prolonged fight over the government shutdown.  Looking at which government entities are affected, it is reasonable to expect a ripple effect with certain mortgages.

The primary issue relates to the IRS.   Continue reading

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No Fake Online Reviews

Politicians do it.  Celebrities do it.  Even online daters do it.  But now, if you run a business website, and post fake reviews on sites like Google, Yelp, or Travelocity, you may get busted.  Continue reading

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Revenge Porn Law Long Overdue

 For readers not familiar with the term “Revenge Porn”, let me first explain.  The last ten years of technological advancement has brought many positive developments.  Thanks to smartphones young folks now come equipped with a video camera, constantly available.  Thanks to the internet, any video clips can be shared with the world in an instant.

 Times may have changed on the technology front, but young people still act the same.  Continue reading

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Borrowing Stability Important During Mortgage Application

Question:  We are applying for a mortgage, while shopping for a new home.  Our lender yelled at us for applying for financing with our furniture purchase.  Did we mess up our mortgage application?  

Answer:   As if deciphering your credit score wasn’t complex enough – while applying for a mortgage, you need to essentially freeze your borrowing.  All you did was elect the furniture store’s “no payment for one year” option.  However, Continue reading

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It’s Curtains For This Buyer…

Q:        I am buying a home next week.  We drove by and see the seller has disconnected and removed the custom window drapes.  We loved those drapes and are wondering if they need to stay with the house?

A:        Pull out your P&S contract to help us determine if the drapes are included with the sale of the house.  Continue reading

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