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Olympic medals come with a price tag: Why this matters in estate planning

The Olympic medals don’t come free. Every medal winner in Sochi, from Sage Kotsenburg who won gold in snowboard slopestyle to Julia Mancuso who won bronze in skiing super combined, will owe the U.S. government as much as $10,000 in taxes just for bringing home a medal. The U.S. is one of only a handful of developed countries who tax the world’s best athletes on their success.

Why does this matter in estate planning? Every financial decision has an estate planning impact and a tax consequence.

When planning your estate, three potential taxes need to be taken into account—income tax, gift tax, and estate tax.

Income tax. In general an inheritance is not considered “income” to a beneficiary. In other words if an adult child inherits $500,000 from their parents via life insurance, a residence, and investment accounts, the child does not have to report that he or she “made” $500,000 in income that year. The glaring exception is if a beneficiary inherits a qualified retirement account. Funds in a retirement account have not yet been reported as “income” to the government, and no freebie is permitted simply because the account owner has passed away.

There are potential major pitfalls if a beneficiary accepts a retirement account with exploring the income tax consequences and variety of choices on how to actually receive the funds. Check out Bonnie’s article on the good and the bad when leaving a retirement account to a minor.

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Article contributed by Wills & Wellness.

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