Planning Potpourri

Roth IRA Conversions and Charity: They’re the rage. But you can do good too while planning your conversion. When converting you IRA or qualified plan to a Roth make a donation to charity to offset much of the income tax cost generated by the conversion. Example: Convert over 5 years so spread the tax cost and make a corresponding charitable gift reducing the tax.   Example:  Instead of an outright gift contribute to a charitable remainder trust (CRT) sufficient appreciated non-IRA assets to reduce your Roth conversion tax and increase your yearly cash flow. Example:  Combine the Roth conversion with grandchildren as beneficiaries and life insurance held in an insurance trust (ILIT) to provide more inheritance for your children to make up for the converted Roth being stretched for your grandchildren. Thanks to Henry Rubin of Yeshiva University, NYC.

Power Roths. Not a new kind of Roth, just a headache that will hit some. So when you convert your IRA you first split your regular IRA into say 5 smaller IRAs and convert each separately. Each post-conversion Roth is invested in a different asset class. You then use hindsight on your extended income tax return to determine which to leave converted and which to choose to recharacterize. See Practical Planner November 2009. If you’re disabled when recharacterization has to happen, will your wealth manager respond to your agent? Do you have a durable power of attorney that expressly authorizes an agent to reconvert? What does it say about naming beneficiaries? Some wealth management firms continue to refuse to respect powers of attorney other than their own forms. The forms we’ve seen have never expressly addressed Roth conversions. Could this become a problem?

New Charity. A new charitable/educational endeavor, RV4TheCure. See and join our Facebook page (search “rv4thecure”) in Facebook. Our mission is simple: educate professional advisers (CPAs, attorneys and financial planners) on estate, tax and financial planning for those living with chronic illness. Courtesy of Lorman Education Services we’ll be able to give free CPE, CLE and CFP credits for most programs. NAPFA has joined us and is encouraging members to host our programs around the country. AICPA-PFP division hosted a free webinar on the topic (the podcast will be posted on and will be hosting on October a free webinar for consumers on October 6. Sample forms, power points, planning memos and more have been posted to the website for your use.  We’re NOT asking anyone for money, just support in spreading the word, hosting or attending programs, and using our materials to run your own seminars for your prospective clients so you can help us disseminate helpful planning information to the public.

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