August 2007 | Posted By Rick Hill

Preparing to transfer your assets is an important task. As you know, dividing your assets between you and your spouse/partner is an important step in the estate planning process if you are to obtain the maximum probate avoidance and estate tax savings from your Trusts.

There are numerous factors you should consider when dividing your assets between your respective Trusts, including income tax issues, balancing the Trusts for income and estate tax purposes, as well as for creditor protection and effective division of your assets in the event of a subsequent divorce or separation.

Under the current law, each of you can transfer up to Read More

Estate Planning Reminder

Under current law, each of you can transfer up to $2,000,000 in assets free of estate taxes at death (reduced by any taxable gifts made during your lifetimes). This amount will be changing over the next few years as follows:

2007 and 2008 — $2,000,000
2009 — $3,500,000
2010 — repeal for one year
2011 — $1,000,000

Generally, we suggest equalizing the ownership of your assets between your two trusts so that, if possible, each of your Trusts will own a minimum of $2,000,000 in assets at your death (based on the current law). This will enable each of you to take advantage of the $2,000,000 tax exempt amount, regardless of which of you may be the first to die. In Community Property states assets are considered split between spouses, and therefore, one trust may only be needed.

Although it is not possible to change the ownership of IRAs and retirement plans, it is generally preferable to name one’s spouse as the primary beneficiary and then to name one’s Trust as contingent beneficiary. This can be done through beneficiary designation forms that we provide.

August 2007 | Posted By Matt Hall

For the seventh consecutive year, Wealth Manager Magazine has compiled a national ranking of wealth management firms working with truly wealthy clients. The magazine strives to highlight those working with the highest of the high-net-worth audience. Hill Investment Group made the top tier with a ranking of #131. Not bad, considering there are roughly 400,000 investment advisers in the United States.

We thank our current clients for their support. Our focus has been and will continue to be on you.

January 2007 | Posted By Matt Hall

The year 2006 was a good one for equity investors around the world as stock prices rose in 46 of the 50 countries whose equity market returns are reported by MSCI. Among these, only Israel, Jordan, Thailand, and Turkey saw their local stock market indexes slump for the year. Total return for US stocks was 15.32% according to MSCI, placing it next-to-last among 23 developed markets (in dollar terms) and 42nd out of 50 countries in all. There were 36 markets with a total return greater than 20% (in dollar terms), and 19 had a total return greater than 40%. Nine of the top ten were emerging markets.

October 2006 | Posted By Matt Hall

Yale University recently announced a 23 percent return on its investments, swelling its endowment to a whopping $18 billion. The man behind that investment success is David Swensen. He’s made an average 16 percent annual return over 21 years — better than any portfolio manager at any other university.

Mr. Swensen has become passionate about trying to teach individual investors how best to save for retirement. When Mr. Swensen set out to write a book (Unconventional Success) explaining how the average investor could replicate his success at Yale, the research showed him that the odds of beating the market in an actively managed fund are less than one in 100.

We invite you to listen to or read this recent interview to learn more about Mr. Swensen’s experience and his advice. Many of the lessons should sound familiar. Click here for the article and audio.

September 2006 | Posted By Matt Hall

We were recently discussing the cable television show “Mad Money” because it takes a lively and entertaining perspective on the typical format of a show that dispenses financial advice/information. However, as with all such hot news, by the time the information has been disseminated, it is already incorporated into stock pricing within our highly efficient markets, and thus no longer useful information on which to base decisions about trading. Instead, we would suggest that, rather than following recommendations that may or may not match an individual’s ability, need and willingness to take risk, prudent investors continue to adhere to their well-developed plan based on their long-term financial objectives.