A will is a legal document that transfers what you own to your beneficiaries upon your death. It also names an executor to carry out the terms of your will and a guardian for your minor children, if you have any.
Your signature and those of two witnesses make your will authentic. Witnesses don't have to know what the will says, but they must watch you sign it and you must watch them witness it.
One of new products that came out of the Budget Reconciliation Act of 1996 is the Coverdell ESA. The Coverdell ESA offers the potential for tax-free growth when you use the account to fund a child's qualified higher education expenses.
In addition to providing qualified plans to employees, many business owners implement nonqualified alternatives in order to supplement retirement benefits. These selective benefit plans are generally offered to key employees and owners. One popular nonqualified benefit is deferred compensation.
If you want to invest in the stock market but don’t have a large enough portfolio to achieve the diversity you want through individual stock purchases, mutual funds may provide the solution you are looking for. Mutual funds are a collection of stocks designed to meet a stated investment objective or strategy. For instance, you may be able to choose between a fund that holds small- or mid-sized companies, large blue chip companies, or government bonds. Some funds are designed to provide growth, others to give you income.
The federal government imposes a substantial tax on gifts of money or property above certain levels. Without such a tax someone with a sizable estate could give away a large portion of their property before death and escape death taxes altogether. For this reason, the gift tax acts more or less as a backstop to the estate tax. And yet, few people actually pay a gift tax during their lifetime. A gift program can substantially reduce overall transfer taxes; however, it requires good planning and a commitment to proceed with the gifts.
College should be considered a lifetime investment rather than just a four-year expense. It requires financial planning and personal sacrifices. The earlier you start saving and investing, the less money you will have to save and invest later.
Furthermore, the earlier you start saving, the less risk you'll have to take in your investment choices because long-term investing generally carries less risk.
There are many investment alternatives suitable for college savings. Here is a partial list of some such investments:
If you have existing retirement assets in a traditional IRA, you may want to consider converting those assets to a Roth IRA. Possible benefits of converting include tax-free distributions at retirement, no required minimum distributions at age 70 ½, and leaving income tax-free assets to your heirs in the event of your death.
A 529 plan is a state-sponsored education savings program that allows an individual to save in a tax-deferred account to pay for a beneficiary's post-secondary education at any accredited school in the United States. Unlike Coverdell Education Savings Accounts, which excludes joint filers with adjusted gross incomes (AGIs) above $220,000 and single filers with AGIs above $110,000, there are no income restrictions on those contributing to the plan.