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During these uncertain times, it’s also important to regularly review your estate plan.
If Congress allows current rates and exemptions to expire at the end of 2012 as scheduled, your family could lose significant amounts of wealth to gift, estate and generation-skipping transfer (GST) taxes. But Congress may extend current exemptions and rates or take other action.
Because of this uncertainty with estate tax laws, you need to make sure you’re on the right track. If your estate exceeds $1 million — or you and your spouse’s estates combined exceed $2 million — consider whether you should make gifts this year.
As long as you don’t exceed your $5.12 million exemption (less any taxable gifts you’ve previously made), you won’t owe any tax on the gifts. This likely will remove the assets from your taxable estate and, at minimum, will remove their future appreciation. Note, though, that in certain circumstances gifts made in the past might be included in your estate. So it’s important to understand the consequences of making the gift. And, before making a gift, be sure that doing so won’t jeopardize your own financial security.
During these uncertain times, it’s also important to regularly review your estate plan. Make sure it takes maximum advantage of current estate tax law, and yet still has the flexibility to adapt to future estate tax law changes.
For example, if your estate plan includes a credit shelter trust to protect both you and your spouse’s estate tax exemptions, make sure the plan allows you to take maximum advantage of the available exemption while still providing the surviving spouse sufficient assets to maintain his or her lifestyle.
Minimizing taxes is only one aspect of estate planning, but it can help you achieve other goals as well — such as providing for loved ones or supporting charity. That’s why it’s important to make the most of available tax breaks and be prepared for future estate tax law changes.
In a May 14, 2102 press release issued in the Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch, Walgreen has announced the launch of its national Retail Employees with Disabilities Initiative (REDI). The in-store training program helps people with disabilities gain retail and customer service skills, and works closely with community organizations and providers. A similar initiative at Walgreens distribution centers resulted in 10 percent of the workforce composed of people with disabilities at all levels.
In 2010, the drugstore chain piloted REDI in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, partnering with store managers and job coaches. After more than 66 percent of REDI graduates were recommended for hire, the program grew to more than 150 stores throughout Texas, New York and Connecticut.
“We are committed to helping customers live well, stay well and get well, and to do that you need team members who are dedicated to excellent customer service,” said Mark Wagner, Walgreens president of operations and community management. “This program highlights ability and gives candidates the tools to be successful in any retail setting.”
The first phase of REDI will begin in parts of Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington and Wisconsin, with plans to reach all states by the end of 2013.
According to the Disability Scoop, Walgreens’ efforts to expand disability employment have become a model for other employers. Last year, Proctor & Gamble said it would follow in the drugstore’s footsteps when they announced that at least 30 percent of employees at a new packaging facility in Maine would be people with physical or developmental disabilities.
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