Posts by: Patti S. Spencer, Esq.

“Big Daddy… What is it that makes him so big? His big heart, his big belly, or his big money?”

– Brick Pollitt, character in the play
Last week my husband and I saw Tennessee Williams’ play “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” at the Fulton Theatre. The theme of truth vs. mendacity runs […]

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“Who is rich? He who is happy with his lot.”
– Pirkei Avos (4:1)

At my seminars on the New Tax Act, I told the audiences about the unprecedented estate planning opportunity over the next two years of making gifts. The Estate Tax, Gift Tax and Generation-Skipping Tax exemptions are all at $5 million. […]

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Estate planning aims at the transfer of wealth from one generation to another in a way which minimizes taxes and maximizes economic gain. It usually involves parents making gifts to their children, grandchildren, or charities. The problem is that while many clients spend hours with attorneys, accountants, and financial advisors crafting an estate plan, they […]

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If a business makes payments of bartered services to another business (except a corporation) of $600 or more in the course of the year, these payments are reported on Form 1099-MISC.For example, an attorney represents a painter for nonpayment of business debts in exchange for painting the attorney’s law offices. The amount reportable by each […]

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“The propensity to truck, barter and exchange one thing for another is common to all men, and to be found in no other race of animals.”

Adam Smith

Bartering is the trading of one product or service for another. Usually there is no exchange of cash. Barter may take place on an informal one-on-one basis […]

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You may be interested in reading Tangible Property Myths, Part 1 by Patti S. Spencer. 

3. I gave it to him so I get it back. It’s very common for family members to try to reclaim gifts that they made to the deceased. Again, there is absolutely no legal basis for this. If you […]

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“But Grandma said I was to have her diamond ring!”

Since before Jacob tricked Esau out of his birthright and his father Isaac’s blessing, families have argued, fought, and become embittered over inheritances. Some of the most bitter disputes are over things – cars, silver, guns, china, clocks, and in one case I know of […]

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President Obama, Nov. 2, signed into law the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, a two-year budget deal. The legislation raises the federal debt limit and is paid for in part by provisions eliminating two Social Security retirement benefit claiming strategies, a provision to prevent a significant increase in Medicare Part B premiums for some, and […]

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On Friday, December 18, 2015 President Obama signed the 2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act into law. Among its many provisions it is the permanent extension of the ability for a taxpayer to make qualified charitable distributions (QCDs) from individual retirement accounts (IRAs).

In the legislation signed by the President on December 18, 2015 the IRA charitable […]

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While my children are barely old enough to hold a job (other then summer camp counselor) I am often asked by clients how to manage requests from their adult children for money.  Some parents always say yes and their children are accustomed to the supplemental funds. Other parents would never dream of it and deny all […]

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