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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Jan. 3, 2006 / 3 Teves, 5766

Joint ownership not always in the spouse's best interest

By Jan L. Warner & Jan Collins


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Q: My wife is 72, and I am 78. Of late, she has been complaining to me that not enough of our property is in her name. While we don't have enough to be paying any estate taxes, during our 47-plus years of marriage, for one reason or another, most of the assets we have acquired have been put in my name. I have tried to explain to her that if I die before she does, my will provides that she gets everything, and if she dies first, our two children get it all. I can't seem to get it through her head that it makes no difference how the property is titled because the survivor of us gets it all. Am I missing something here?


A: Yes. First of all, after 47-plus years of doing it your way, your wife is having understandable issues with financial security — that is, if you die or become incapacitated and she has nothing in her name, how will she pay her bills?


The solution: If you sign a durable power of attorney giving your wife access to the accounts and assets in your name and allowing her to use these to provide for herself (should you become unable to manage your affairs), part of her concern will probably be alleviated.


Her other concern, we believe, is that if you die first and your estate goes through the probate process, she will have no control over the funds and will not be able to pay her bills. The solution here is to either establish one or more bank accounts in her name alone, or make gifts to her of joint interests in your assets. By making gifts to your wife of joint interests in property titled in your name, you will probably not create any gift or estate tax consequences because of the unlimited marital deduction; however, you may be creating unintended income tax implications if you place her name on assets that have appreciated in value — such as stock, real estate, and almost anything other than cash.


While the primary advantage of creating a joint interest in property with your spouse is to avoid the probate process, the potential disadvantages, we believe, outweigh the advantages. Here's an example:


If you gift to your wife a joint interest in your stock portfolio that has a cost basis of $10,000 and is now worth $100,000, your wife will receive her half interest at half of your cost basis, or $5,000.


If you die before she does, because your half interest would be included in your estate, it would pass to your wife at a stepped-up basis of $50,000. This means that if your wife then chose to sell the portfolio after your death for $100,000, she would pay capital gains taxes on $45,000 ($100,000 sales price less her basis of $5,000 less the stepped-up basis of your half of $50,000).


On the other hand, if your wife died first and had not held the half interest you gave her for at least one year, you would get her half back without a step-up in basis, meaning that if you sold the portfolio for $100,000, you would pay taxes on a $90,000 gain. If she died first and had held the asset for more than a year, your basis would be $55,000 and you would pay capital gains taxes on $45,000.


However, if you left all of the portfolio in your name and you predeceased her, she would receive the entire portfolio at the stepped-up cost basis of $100,000, meaning that if she sold the stocks for that price, she would pay no capital gains taxes.


The same rationale is true with real estate, including personal residences, where the value is more than the capital gains exclusion for a single person of $250,000.


Creating joint ownership of assets may make sense from the perspective of income taxes when the spouse receiving the appreciated asset has a shorter life expectancy than the spouse who owns the account, but is expected to live for at least a year after the transfer. Since you have a shorter life expectancy than she does, and since statistics tell us that you will probably die before she does, your wife may be better off not owning all assets jointly with you.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JAN L. WARNER received his A.B. and J.D. degrees from the University of South Carolina and earned a Master of Legal Letters (L.L.M.) in Taxation from the Emory University School of Law in Atlanta, Georgia. He is a frequent lecturer at legal education and public information programs throughout the United States. His articles have been published in national and state legal publications. Jan Collins began co-authoring Flying SoloŽ in 1989. She has more than 27 years of experience as a journalist, writer, and editor. To comment or ask a question, please click here.

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