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Monthly Archives: April 2017

Apr 11, 2017 - Articles

Sharing the Road: Six Tips for Motorists and Cyclists From a Personal Injury Lawyer

As a Doylestown personal injury attorney, this time of year brings with it awareness of an increased number of bicycles riders out on the country roads of Bucks County. Sharing the road with bicyclists, whether riding alone or as part of a cycle club, can be a challenge for many motor vehicle drivers. We thought this would be good time for both drivers and riders to be reminded of several tips in order to avoid accidents involving bicycles. Tips For Sharing the Road 1. Remember that operators of pedalcycles, including bicycles, when ridden on public roads have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers of motor vehicles. While cyclists cannot ride on freeways (limited access highways), they can on all other roads. Moreover, while cyclists have to ride on the right side of the road, they do not have to ride on the far right or shoulder of the road, unless they are moving slower than the prevailing speed of traffic at the time. Cyclists are not permitted to ride more than two abreast on any roadway. 2. Motor vehicle operators should always reduce their speed when approaching and passing a cyclist. Allow a sufficient amount of space, at least 3 feet or more between your vehicle and a cyclist. Be especially careful when approaching a hill or incline. Wait to pass a cyclist, only after you have determined that you can adequately see approaching traffic and yield appropriately. Always allow for an adequate distance when merging back into the desired […]

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Apr 6, 2017 - Estate Planning

WAYS TO AVOID OR REDUCE FEDERAL ESTATE TAXES THROUGH ESTATE PLANNING

The primary techniques to reduce or eliminate federal estate taxes in 2017 are as follows: 1. The Unlimited Marital Deduction. This technique avoids any federal estate tax on a transfer of property between spouses; however, the effect is often to merely postpone the tax to the death of the second spouse. 2. Credit Shelter Trust. By use of this technique, both spouses can fully utilize each of their $5,459,000 estate tax exclusion amounts (i.e., each can use their unified credit) and thus spouses can pass up to a combined total of $10,998,000 federal estate tax free. A less effective way to utilize both spouses’ unified credits is through a “portability” election at the death of the first spouse. 3. Lifetime Exclusion Giving. Every person is entitled to gift up to $14,000 per donee, to an unlimited number of donees, during any calendar year, without such gifts being subject to federal gift or estate tax, without the requirement to file a gift tax return, and without impacting a person’s lifetime unified credit amount. Through a technique known as “gift splitting,” married couples can give up to $28,000 of jointly held property per donee per year. Gifts can be made in cash, or through other creative techniques, such as gifting shares in a Family Partnership set up for that purpose. (The $14,000 gift exclusion amount applies in 2017 and will be adjusted in future years to take inflation into account.) 4. Charitable Gifts. You get a deduction for federal estate tax purposes […]

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Apr 6, 2017 - Estate Planning

THE IRREVOCABLE LIFE INSURANCE TRUST AS PART OF YOUR ESTATE PLAN

A very effective tool for dealing with the federal estate tax is the Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust. This type of Trust is fundamentally different from a Revocable Living Trust. Because it is irrevocable, an Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust cannot be changed or revoked even while you are living. However, as a result, any assets transferred by you to the Irrevocable Trust are effectively removed from your taxable Estate. An Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust is usually funded with a single asset. Often that asset is a “permanent” (whole life or universal life) life insurance policy, where the premiums are paid over a period of 7-15 years. Upon your death, the insurance proceeds are exempt from federal estate tax because the proceeds are not included in your taxable estate. However, the Trust will permit the proceeds to be used to pay the federal estate tax liability incurred by your estate. EXAMPLE: John and Sara’s estate has grown to $12,000,000. They can effectively shield and transfer up to $11,000,000 (in 2017) of that estate to their children by utilizing a Credit Shelter Trust. However, $1,000,000 of their estate will still “exposed” to federal estate tax, and will suffer a federal estate tax liability of approximately $400,000. John and Sara set up a joint Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust, specifying that the trustee will buy a $500,000 policy on the joint lives of John and Sara. (Joint life policies tend to be considerably less expensive than a life insurance policy insuring the life of one […]

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Apr 6, 2017 - Estate Planning

Will I Have to Pay Federal Estate Tax?

Most estates are exempt from federal estate tax and are not required to file a Federal Estate Tax Return on Form 706 or pay any Federal Estate Tax. The current (2017) exemption amount is an inflation-adjusted 5,490,000. A married couple can shield up to double that amount (i.e., $10,980,000) in transfers by careful planning.  The Republican Congress has introduced bills to repeal the Federal Estate Tax (House: H.R. 631, 115th Cong., 1st Sess. (Jan. 24, 2017); Senate: S. 205, 115th Cong., 1st Sess. (Jan. 24, 2017)), but there is no assurance that such repeal legislation will ever become law.  The federal estate tax is the “grand-daddy” of all taxes, as the applicable current tax rate starts at 40%.  At Drake, Hileman & Davis we work hard to reduce or eliminate the federal estate tax burden of our clients through careful lifetime estate planning strategies (such as use of credit shelter trusts, marital deduction trusts and so-called “portability” elections) as well as post-mortem (after death) tax planning (such as by use of qualified disclaimers). If a federal estate tax return is required, we have a very knowledgeable team ready and able to correctly and efficiently prepare and file your federal estate tax return. Call us if you have a large estate or if you have questions about Federal Estate Taxes. We can help you quickly determine if the estate is subject to federal estate taxes. We can help find ways to reduce or eliminate federal estate taxes. We can help you prepare […]

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Apr 3, 2017 - Pedestrian Accidents

Pedestrian Safety

Each year thousands of pedestrians are injured and killed in accidents with vehicles.  These accidents are tragic but often preventable.  Drivers and pedestrians need to take steps to ensure everyone’s safety.  Contact an Allentown injury law attorney at Drake, Hileman & Davis, PC today by calling 888-777-7098 if you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a pedestrian-related accident. Pedestrian Injury Statistics The statistics surrounding pedestrian-related vehicle accidents are extremely sobering.  A recent survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found sobering statistics relating to pedestrian accidents.  In the year surveyed: There were 4,735 pedestrians killed in traffic. On average, a pedestrian was killed every 2 hours and injured every 8 minutes in crashes. Pedestrian deaths accounted for 14 percent of all traffic-related deaths. 26 % of pedestrian fatalities occurred in the evening hours. 69% of the pedestrians killed in traffic crashes were males. Alcohol involvement (driver and/or the pedestrian) was reported in 49% of all fatal accidents. Unfortunately, the survey also found that one-in-five of the pedestrians killed were struck in crashes that involved hit-and-run drivers.  These statistics make it clear that pedestrians must take steps to protect themselves. Please contact one of the personal injury attorneys at Drake, Hileman & Davis, PC today if you have been injured in a car accident.  Getting us involved early in the process is critical to ensuring you get full compensation for your injuries. How Can Pedestrians Protect Themselves? The Centers for Disease […]

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