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Umbrella Liability Insurance

Umbrella Liability Insurance

When your local weather forecaster tells you that it's going to rain, what do you do? That's easy--you reach for your umbrella. So why not purchase an umbrella that can protect you in stormy financial weather? Umbrella liability insurance (ULI) can do just that. By providing liability protection above and beyond the basic coverage that homeowners/renters and auto insurance policies offer, ULI can protect you against the catastrophic losses that can occur if you are sued. Although ULI can be purchased as a separate policy, your insurer will require that you have basic liability coverage (i.e., homeowners/renters insurance, auto insurance,…
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ABCs of Financial Aid

ABCs of Financial Aid

It's hard to talk about college without mentioning financial aid. Yet this pairing isn't a marriage of love, but one of necessity. In many cases, financial aid may be the deciding factor in whether your child attends the college of his or her choice. That's why it's important to develop a basic understanding of financial aid before your child applies to college. Without such knowledge, you may have trouble understanding the process of aid determination, filling out the proper aid applications, and comparing the financial aid awards that your child may receive. But let's face it. Financial aid information is…
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Asset Protection in Estate Planning

Asset Protection in Estate Planning

You're beginning to accumulate substantial wealth, but you worry about protecting it from future potential creditors. Whether your concern is for your personal assets or your business, various tools exist to keep your property safe from tax collectors, accident victims, health-care providers, credit card issuers, business creditors, and creditors of others. To insulate your property from such claims, you'll have to evaluate each tool in terms of your own situation. You may decide that insurance and a Declaration of Homestead may be sufficient protection for your home because your exposure to a claim is low. For high exposure, you may…
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Taxation of Investments

Taxation of Investments

It's nice to own stocks, bonds, and other investments. Nice, that is, until it's time to fill out your federal income tax return. At that point, you may be left scratching your head. Just how do you report your investments and how are they taxed? Is it ordinary income or a capital gain? To determine how an investment vehicle is taxed in a given year, first ask yourself what went on with the investment that year. Did it generate interest income? If so, the income is probably considered ordinary. Did you sell the investment? If so, a capital gain or…
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529 Plans: The Ins and Outs of Contributions and Withdrawals

529 Plans: The Ins and Outs of Contributions and Withdrawals

529 plans can be powerful college savings tools, but you need to understand how your plan works before you can take full advantage of it. Among other things, this means becoming familiar with the finer points of contributions and withdrawals. How much can you contribute? To qualify as a 529 plan under federal rules, a state program must not accept contributions in excess of the anticipated cost of a beneficiary's qualified education expenses. At one time, this meant five years of tuition, fees, and room and board at the costliest college under the plan, pursuant to the federal government's "safe…
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