Required minimum distributions can be confusing

By Nathan Vinson, Partner English, Lucas, Priest and Owsley, LLP Recently, a colleague asked me what I thought was a simple question about the required minimum distributions that those over 70 ½ must take each year from their retirement accounts. In the course of doing the research to… Read More


Treasury Department announces new limitations for pension and retirement plans, other changes for 2018

Each year, the Treasury Department examines the cost of living in the U.S. and adjusts limitations for retirement plans and many other similar items that affect taxpayers throughout the U.S. As has happened previously, the Treasury raised the limits for contributions to pensions and other retirement plans such as 401(k)s, 403(b)s and most 457 plans.  All of this helps today’s workers save for retirement with pre-tax dollars, which is a tremendous benefit. Our tax code requires the Secretary of the Treasury to make this adjustment. The biggest news is that the contribution limit to employer-sponsored retirement plans, such as the above-mentioned 401(k)s, etc., has gone from $18,000 for calendar 2017 to $18,500 for calendar 2018. If you were bumping up against this limit in 2017, you can now adjust and put in just a little bit more, which is always good news. Read More


Change beneficiaries on your accounts when you change your will

By Elizabeth McKinney, Attorney English, Lucas, Priest and Owsley, LLP Many people believe that if you have a will, that document controls who receives every asset you own. But that’s not necessarily true. A will or other similar documents, such a trust, can dictate who gets most assets, but beneficiary designations for certain assets, such as 401(k)s and life insurance, as well as transfer on death or payable on death designations on bank or brokerage accounts, supersede that. Those accounts should be reviewed periodically, but particularly after a major life change such as a death or a divorce. For example, if you change your will to indicate your new spouse should receive your assets after your death, as you probably should, but you didn’t change the beneficiary for your Individual Retirement Account (IRA), your ex could end up with the proceeds of that account, much to the surprise of your new spouse.  Most people set up those accounts and never revisit the information attached to it, which is where problems come in. Read More


Titling a bank account: why it matters

Estate law By Nathan Vinson Attorney, ELPO Law It’s a fairly simple act to add someone as a second account holder on a bank account. Usually, a visit to the bank with both persons and signing a few pieces of paperwork is all it takes. We often see clients add an adult child as a co-owner of a bank account, thinking this will make things easier for them should the child ever need to pay bills on their behalf. There’s a problem, though, with adding someone as an equal account holder. Upon your death, the survivor can keep all of the money in that account. It bypasses probate and does not become part of the estate. Read More