PBMares Accounting Blog

Louise Clayton-Kastenholz

Recent Posts

Keeping Your Estate Plan Current

Posted by Louise Clayton-Kastenholz on Dec 12, 2017 3:15:14 PM


There is a great scene in the first "Back to the Future" movie in which Michael J. Fox, as Marty McFly, takes over for an injured band member and introduces the tune "Johnny B Goode" to the audience, just a little before it is supposed to show up on the music scene. He tells the rest of the band "This is a blues riff in B, watch me for the changes and try to keep up."

Sometimes that is how life feels; we're watching for the changes and trying to keep up. In the movie, the band keeps up beautifully and the music is well received, until Marty gets a little too futuristic for them, and they drop out and leave Marty to go it alone.  That also feels like life; sometimes the changes get ahead of us and we drop out, wondering what's happening.

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Topics: Tax Planning, Estate Planning

Planning a Future to Look Forward To

Posted by Louise Clayton-Kastenholz on Dec 5, 2017 4:06:11 PM


Back in the spring, I wrote about ways to look forward to tax filing by making positive changes in our planning and small adjustments to our behavior. Those strategies can really help our mindset when we think about our financial and tax planning each year. Applied to the longer term, they can make a big difference in the way that we look toward our futures.

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Topics: Tax Planning, Estate Planning

Six Strategies For Your Tax Playbook

Posted by Louise Clayton-Kastenholz on May 23, 2017 10:59:42 AM

I’m looking forward to tax day. No, I’m not in a time warp.  I do know that April 15th is behind us, and most people I talk to are relieved that they don’t have to think about taxes for another year (or in the case of those who extended their returns, until that last piece of paperwork shows up).  Often that sense of relief is due not just to the sense of getting through the process of the paperwork, but the whole thought process of dealing with the topic. 

But right now, now that it’s all over, is the best time to think about taxes, while the effects of this last filing season are fresh in the mind.  In sports, the coach looks at the team’s performance after each game and studies the strategies for weaknesses while the results are still fresh and the team has time to prepare for the next game.  Here we are with almost eight months left in 2017 to improve our game. 

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Topics: Tax Planning, Estate Planning

The Sandwich Generation – taking a bite out of the burden

Posted by Louise Clayton-Kastenholz on Mar 10, 2017 1:53:39 PM

They call us the Sandwich Generation, the middle layer between grown or growing children who depend on us and parents who also depend on us.   Being in this position can sap a family’s resources physically, emotionally, and, of course, financially. 

Fortunately, if you are providing for an elderly parent or other family member, there are some potential tax breaks available to help ease the burden. First of all, there is the dependency exemption, allowing a deduction of up to $4,050 per dependent.  For a family in the 25% tax bracket, that translates to a savings of just over $1,000.

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Topics: Tax Planning, Estate Planning

New Item on the Vacation Planner - Pay Taxes

Posted by Louise Clayton-Kastenholz on Feb 16, 2017 8:15:38 AM

It's February and you're thinking about that dream vacation to an island in the sun, or an exciting discovery of another country's history and culture.   That's great, but before you book that ticket and renew your passport, make sure that you are up to date on your taxes.

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Topics: Tax Planning

New Year’s Resolution: Create a Financial Plan

Posted by Louise Clayton-Kastenholz on Dec 29, 2016 9:25:06 AM

Does it feel like just a few weeks ago that we ushered in 2016?  It seems that every year goes by more quickly than the one before.  And each year we make a few promises to ourselves that for a variety of reasons never come to fruition.  So perhaps we should make a resolution to keep at least one resolution this coming year.

The usual resolutions seem to revolve around a few general themes:  The physical (to lose weight or to end a bad habit), the philosophical (to be more generous or to be a better person in some way), or the practical (to get organized or to achieve a goal).   Some people might consider financially-oriented resolutions to be in a separate category, but I think that they more properly belong in the categories I’ve already listed.  In fact, I think that the resolution that is most worth keeping this year is to stop putting our financial affairs in some category by themselves.

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Topics: Tax Planning, Estate Planning

In the Spirit of Giving

Posted by Louise Clayton-Kastenholz on Dec 19, 2016 1:39:53 PM

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Topics: Tax Planning, Estate Planning

The Difference between Probate and Non-probate Assets (And why it Matters)

Posted by Louise Clayton-Kastenholz on Sep 15, 2016 8:29:00 AM

Most Americans do not have a written will, but they all have an estate plan. Some individuals do have written wills and even written trust documents, but still have plans in place that aren't exactly what they had in mind.

People who do not write a will in their lifetime will die intestate, which means that their probate estates will pass based upon the intestacy laws of their state of domicile. These laws have layers of beneficiaries, depending on which relatives are still alive, usually starting with spouse and children.  The assets the person owns and how they are titled, and who their family members are, will determine the estate plan for those individuals.

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Topics: Tax Planning, Estate Planning

Starting the Estate Planning Conversation

Posted by Louise Clayton-Kastenholz on Sep 7, 2016 8:30:00 AM

I recently heard of someone who did not want to write a will because it would make you more likely to die. I found the humor in that bit of logic heartwarming.  There is no way to change the likelihood of death, but there is a natural tendency to try to avoid thinking or talking about it.

With this kind of feeling toward the concept, it is not surprising that 55% of adults in America do not have a will. Although those people without wills may not realize it, they do have an estate plan in place, but they have elected not to have any control over it.

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Topics: Tax Planning, Retirement Planning, Estate Planning

Three Income-Tax-Smart Gifting Strategies

Posted by Louise Clayton-Kastenholz on Apr 12, 2016 9:05:00 AM

Tax-smart_gifting.jpgIf your 2015 tax liability is higher than you’d hoped and you’re ready to transfer some assets to your loved ones, now may be the time to get started. Giving away assets will, of course, help reduce the size of your taxable estate. But with income-tax-smart gifting strategies, it also can reduce your income tax liability — and perhaps your family’s tax liability overall:

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Topics: Tax Bites, Tax Planning