After writing a will, create an estate plan

By: Jason R. Cross

Most people have a will. But a simple will often doesn’t cover some complex issues facing your heirs, which is why I recommend an estate plan. I work with doctors, accountants and other professionals, small-business owners, and people getting ready to retire. They may have a will and a trust for their children, but an estate plan answers three fundamental questions: What you want... READ MORE

Will doing your own estate plan cost heirs?

By: Liz Weston

Estate planning mistakes can be expensive to fix — that is, when they can be fixed at all. That’s the thought that haunts New York attorney Mari Galvin, whether she’s creating an estate plan for a client or confronting the aftermath when people didn’t properly plan. “People think, ‘Oh, I have a simple life,’ but you have to understand (that if) you make a mistake and you ... READ MORE

Reporting a tax-free transfer from your IRA to charity

By: Kimberly Lankford

Question: I have to take a $20,000 required minimum distribution from my Vanguard IRA this year. I’d like to give $5,000 tax-free to a charity and withdraw the remaining $15,000 for myself. A Vanguard rep said it would send me a check for $15,000 payable to me as well as a $5,000 check made payable to the charity that I could forward. The rep said that at the end of the year it would... READ MORE