A personal finance to-do list for the year’s end
News from Salt Lake Tribune:

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., on Monday, Nov. 12, 2012. U.S. stocks trimmed gains as technology and financial shares weighed down the market after an earlier rally boosted by takeover activity. Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg

Advice » Tips for last-minute moves could save you money, lower taxes.

Even as the hours slowly tick down toward 2013, there still is time to make last-minute moves to enhance your finances and lower your taxes for the year, according to financial planners.

Sharla Jessop, a vice president and private wealth management consultant at Smedley Financial Services in Salt Lake City, said that if you’re thinking about giving cash to a favorite charity, you may instead consider donating stock that has appreciated in value.

“Provided [you] have held those shares for at least a year and a day, [you] can donate the stock before the end of the year and not have to pay any capital gains,” Jessop said.

She also noted that parents holding stocks that have appreciated may want to give them to their children as a gift before year’s end……………. continues on Salt Lake Tribune

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Personal Finance: Wealthy preparing for higher estate tax
News from Naples Daily News:

The federal government’s hunt for new tax dollars has thrown a twist into this season of gift giving and philanthropy.

It’s not unusual for people to give money or appreciated assets like stock to charity this time of year so they can reduce their annual taxes. But this year, there’s a greater sense of urgency among the wealthy and especially those with multimillion-dollar estates to unload some of their wealth.

The push comes because estate taxes — or those paid after a person dies — are expected to shoot up considerably next year.

Now, estates of $ 5.12 million per individual are exempt from the tax, or $ 10.24 million for a couple. But at the end of this year that’s supposed to change automatically unless Congress intervenes. Next year only $ 1 million will be exempt for individuals, or $ 2 million for couples. The changes restrict the gifts people can give away to lessen the value of their estates, and the taxes will be as high as 55 percent.

So people have been busy moving wealth out of their estates — giving money and other assets to children, grandchildren and charitable organizations before year-end. Estate planning attorneys have been inundated by people interested in setting up trusts that can shelter assets for future generations.

“People are concerned that this could be the end of the opportunity to shelter $ 5.12 million per p…………… continues on Naples Daily News

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