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In memoriam of Jane Schuck

Brentmark® Software provides personal financial planning products and services for professionals with a focus on estate, financial, and retirement planning software. Software products include Retirement Plan Analyzer, Estate Planning Tools, PFP Notebook™, Retirement Distributions Planner, Kugler Estate Analyzer™, Income Strategy Generator™, Charitable Financial Planner, Estate Planning QuickView, and Savings Bond Toolkit. All Brentmark software programs run on current desktop versions of Windows.

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On-line Brochure for Brentmark Products

Brentmark's best-selling products:
Estate Planning Tools
Retirement Plan Analyzer
PFP Notebook
Retirement Distributions Planner

2019 Basic Exclusion Amount for Estate Tax

The 2019 Basic Exclusion Amount for Estate Tax was announced as $11,400,000 on 11/15/2018 in Rev. Proc. 2018-57. It will be updated in the version 2019 program releases.


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Online Ordering

Most Brentmark programs are available for immediate download.
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Latest Releases from Brentmark Software

Anew2.gif (813 bytes) Retirement Plan Analyzer v. 2018.00 was released on 4/9/18 with v. 2018.01 released on 8/24/18. A version 2018.00 to 2018.01 patch file is available. Retirement Plan Analyzer is one of Brentmark's best-selling programs. The program is compliant with the Pension Protection Act of 2006.
Retirement Plan Analyzer includes comprehensive Roth IRA conversion features. Roth IRA conversions in any one or multiple years may be modeled. Retirement Plan Analyzer may be used to evaluate various strategies (showing up to 4 alternatives at one time) of taking distributions from IRAs, Roth IRAs, Roth 401(k)s, and other qualified retirement plans. It takes into account federal estate tax, state death taxes, and income tax. The program handles the 2002 final regulations (as well as the 2001 proposed regulations and the pre-2001 rules) for required minimum distributions and pre-59½ distributions.
     Retirement Plan Analyzer handles pre-
59½ distributions that avoid the 10% penalty, Roth IRA conversions, valuation of stretchout, and much more. Retirement Plan Analyzer may be licensed for $595 (download now) with six months maintenance coverage included. After the first six months, maintenance is priced at $179 annually.  A downloadable demo is available.

Retirement Distributions Planner v. 16.00 was released on 1/6/17. The program offers exhaustive treatment of required minimum distributions and pre-59½ distributions. The program handles up to five beneficiaries either after the death of the plan owner or after the death of a spouse after a spousal rollover. Reports show annual distributions and the life expectancy for each beneficiary as well as total distributions to each beneficiary and yearly distributions to all beneficiaries. The Retirement Distributions Planner may be licensed for $249 (download now) with six months maintenance coverage included. After the first six months, maintenance coverage is priced at $79 annually. A user manual is available for download in PDF file format. Now available: Case Studies and Sample Reports.

The Income Strategy Generator v. 3.00 (previously known as Retirement Income Navigator™) was released on 11/5/08.  Income Strategy Generator™ offers a methodology for managing money during the income drawdown period of retirement. It uses an asset allocation approach (the ISG™ methodology) for optimizing retirement income. It offers many advantages over traditional strategies which do not handle market variability issues very well. The authors have an ISG Planning web site that explains the ISG methodology. The program may be licensed for $299 (download now). The 4th edition (dated 1/29/11) of the authors' book/user manual is available to download.

Estate Planning QuickView v. 2018.00 was released on 3/22/18. It includes the State Death Tax Manager feature which handles state death tax calculations (estate taxes and inheritance taxes) for all 50 states and D.C. It allows you to download the latest state death tax calcs so that you will always have current state death calculations. The program may be licensed for $349 (download now). After the first six months, maintenance is priced at $99 annually. 

The Brentmark Update System v. 2010.00 is available as a download. It displays program specific information on changes (such as new features and bug fixes) found in available downloadable patch files as well as information on impending upgrades. It is recommended that all users of Brentmark software products install Brentmark Update System v. 2010.00. If you received your Brentmark software product by mail, you have most likely already installed v. 2010.00 of the Brentmark Update System.  If you downloaded your Brentmark software, you should download and install the Brentmark Update System.  It is recommended that you run the Brentmark Update System at least once a month to be assured that you are running the most recent version of your Brentmark program. 

Estate Planning Tools version 2018.00 was released on 3/12/18 with v. 2018.01 released on 6/15/18. A version 2018.00 to 2018.01 patch file is available. Estate Planning Tools includes over 100 estate and financial planning models. A prior user manual is available to download.
     Estate Planning Tools
is particularly popular for its exhaustive coverage of GRATs. Other popular program areas include GRUTs, QPRTs, Private Annuities, Split Interests, Charitable Remainder Trusts, and Generation Skipping Transfers. Estate Planning Tools has more users than any other Brentmark program. The program may be licensed for $595 (download now). After the first six months, maintenance is priced at $179 annually. 

PFP Notebook generates a complete personal financial plan. Version 2018.00 was released on 5/10/18 with v. 2018.01 released on 7/9/18. A version 2018.00 to 2018.01 patch file is available. The program may be licensed for $595. The PFP Notebook Quick Start Guide and user manual are available to download. 

Kugler Estate Analyzer v. 2018.00 was released on 3/14/18. The program handles comprehensive estate planning using a building blocks approach. This approach allows you to show the effect of adding planning techniques (such as GRATs, Rolling GRATs, charitable trusts, QPRTs, Family Limited Partnerships, GST Trusts, and many more). The program may be licensed for $695 (download now) with six months maintenance coverage included. After the first six months, maintenance is priced at $229 annually. A demo program is available to download.

Charitable Financial Planner v. 2018.10 was released on 6/28/18. In addition to handling split-interest charitable transfers, the program also covers QPRTs, GRATs, and GRUTs. A downloadable demo is available. The user manual is available to download. Charitable Financial Planner licenses for $495 (download now). After the first six months, maintenance is priced at $149 annually. 

For a list of pension planning and other publications by Seymour Goldberg, click here.
Titles include:
Practical Application of the Retirement Distribution Rules, $69 plus $5 shipping. 

Now Only $99:
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rentmark's Savings Bond Toolkit v. 2019.00 was released on 12/10/18. Savings Bond Toolkit allows you to easily organize and manage a client's savings bond portfolio. It makes retitling bonds a simple task since it automatically fills in and prints the government's reissue forms: Forms 1455, 1851, and 4000. The user manual is available to download. The program may be licensed for $99 (download now) with six months maintenance coverage included. After the first six months, maintenance is priced at $69 annually which includes the two updates issued each year. 

On-line Brochure for Brentmark Products

Other Product Information:
EPLAN™, 709 System, 706 System

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Applicable Federal Rates

The rates under §7520 (AFRs for determining the present value of an annuity, an interest for life or a term of years, or a remainder or reversionary interest) for recent months are as follows (with the 120% Annual Mid-Term rates in parentheses):
  • December 2018, 3.6% (3.69) 
  • November 2018, 3.6% (3.65)
  • October 2018, 3.4% (3.40)
  • September 2018, 3.4% (3.44)
  • August 2018, 3.4% (3.37)

Note:  The December rate was added to this site on 11/17/18.

The §7520 rates (or the precise 120% Annual Mid-Term AFRs, which are then automatically rounded by the program) are entered in the rates table found in Estate Planning Tools, Charitable Financial Planner and Kugler Estate Analyzer:

The 120% Mid-Term Applicable Federal Rates for Pre-59½ retirement plan distributions:

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Retirement Planning

Stretch IRA Limits Proposed

Most non-spouse beneficiaries would lose the ability to stretch out their IRAs under a provision included in a transportation funding bill.  See the article, Congress May Crush Key Tool for IRA Inheritors, by Deborah Jacobs (Forbes, 2/8/12) and the pdf for the Description of the Chairman's Modification to the Proposals of the "Highway Investment, Job Creation and Economic Growth Act of 2012".  Senate leaders indicated on 2/17/12 that they would abandon the the IRA proposals in the transportation funding bill.

Retirement Planning Taxation Issues

The 8/13/07 issue of Forbes included an article, Tax-Free in the Rust Belt, by Ashlea Ebeling, (registration is required to access the article online although a Google search for the article title can also find it).  The article discusses numerous tax issues for retirees including state income taxes on retirement plans, Roth 401(k) issues, real estate taxes, and state estate taxes.  

Roth IRA Issues

The Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 added the Roth IRA. The Roth IRA allows contributions without a tax deduction. However, the withdrawals are tax-free and not subject to minimum distribution rules during the life of the participant. The participant can continue to contribute to the IRA until his death.

Existing IRAs may be converted to Roth IRAs starting in 1998. Prior to 2010, conversions could only be done in a year in which one's AGI was less than $100,000. The amount converted is subject to income taxation.

The attractiveness of converting to the Roth IRA greatly depends on your assumptions on growth, taxes, ages and many other variables. You need to run the numbers to see if it makes sense in a particular case.

The 2/27/12 issue of Forbes included an article, Roths For The Rich, by Ashlea Ebeling, which discusses how to fund a Roth IRA even if one does not qualify for directly funding one.  This approach involves first contributing after-tax money to a traditional IRA, transferring pre-tax contributions and earnings from existing IRAs to a 401(k), and then transferring the after-tax IRA funds to a Roth IRA.

Pension Planning Source Material

Be sure to check out the Retirement Distributions Planning Book List. Titles worth checking out include Ed Slott's The Retirement Savings Time Bomb. . .and How to Defuse It and his earlier Your Complete Retirement Planning Road Map: The Leave-Nothing-to-Chance, Worry-Free, All-Systems-Go GuideClick here for information on Ed Slott's upcoming lectures and appearances.

Rules for §72(t) Distributions

The rules for pre-59½ distributions under §72(t) that determine substantially equal periodic payments as described in IRS Notice 89-25 were substantially modified by Rev. Rul. 2002-62Rev. Rul. 2002-62 allows a one-time change from any existing method to the minimum distributions method.  The ruling also limits allowable life expectancy tables to the current IRS tables and requires the reasonable interest rate to be no higher than the 120% mid-term rate.  The result of these two changes is to dramatically reduce the amount of permissible withdrawals.  The IRS press release is at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-news/ir02-104.pdf and the IRS ruling in a PDF file is at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/rr-02-62.pdf.  In late November, the IRS released FAQs regarding Revenue Ruling 2002-62 which added calculation variations (which are included in version 6.30 and later of the Pension Distributions Planner and the Pension Distributions Calculator). See Brentmark's Discussion of IRS' FAQs Regarding Revenue Ruling 2002-62.

For a discussion of short period distributions (such as monthly payments starting after January), see the article §72(t) Substantially Equal Periodic Payments Made More Frequently than Annually.  This article concludes that a distribution of a full year's amount (when the fixed amortization or annuitization method is used) for a short period is a violation of the "substantially equal periodic payments" requirement.

Required Minimum Distributions Rules

The final retirement plan distribution regulations were published on 4/17/02 in Treasury Decision 8987.  The final regulations replace the current life expectancy tables used to calculate required minimum distributions with updated tables.  The new tables are mandatory for 2003 with 3 different required distribution methods allowable for 2002: the final regs with the new tables, the 2001 proposed regs with old tables, and the pre-2001 (1987 proposed regs) methods with old tables.  Click here for the 2002 final regs.

Also available: Sy Goldberg's Planning Analysis: Working with the 2002 IRS Final Distribution Rules.

Click here for the article, Required Minimum Distributions: Calculations under the Final Regulations.

Click here for info on the prior 2001 Proposed Regs.

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Estate Tax Changes and Estate Planning

The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 was signed into law on 1/2/13. It included a new maximum estate tax rate of 40% and made permanent the other estate tax changes from the 2010 Tax Relief Act.

he 2010 Tax Relief Act was signed into law on 12/17/10.  It included a new maximum estate tax rate of 35%, a new equivalent exemption of $5,000,000 (adjusted for inflation starting in 2012), portability of the unused maximum exclusion between spouses (resulting in a total exclusion of $10,000,000 for the two estates), and a unified gift and estate tax exclusion. These changes applied to 2011 and 2012. The Exclusion Amounts are now as follows: 

        2011: $5,000,000
        2012: $5,120,000 ($5M inflation-adjusted)
        2013: $5,250,000 ($5M inflation-adjusted)
        2014: $5,340,000 ($5M inflation-adjusted)
        2015: $5,430,000 ($5M inflation-adjusted)
        2016: $5,450,000 ($5M inflation-adjusted)
        2017: $5,490,000 ($5M inflation-adjusted)
        2018: $11,180,000 ($10M inflation-adjusted)
        2019: $11,400,000 ($10M inflation-adjusted)

The Joint Committee on Taxation technical explanation of the 2010 Tax Relief Act JCX-55-10 (12/10/10)
Statutory Language:  H.R. 4853

he Economic Growth and Tax Relief Act Reconciliation Act of 2001 (which was signed into law on 6/7/01) includes equivalent exemptions for estate tax purposes as follows:

2002 & 2003: $1,000,000
2004 & 2005: $1,500,000
2006 to 2008: $2,000,000
2009: $3,500,000
2010: N/A (taxes repealed)
2011: $1,000,000*

*This amount would have applied in 2011 had the 2001 tax bill been allowed to sunset.

For information on state death taxes, go to StateDeathTax.com which has information and links on the status of state death taxes.

Prior to the passage of the The Economic Growth and Tax Relief Act Reconciliation Act of 2001, the equivalent exemptions for estate and gift tax purposes were as follows:

1998: $625,000
1999: $650,000
2000 & 2001: $675,000
2002 & 2003: $700,000
2004: $850,000
2005: $950,000
2006+: $1,000,000

The 2010 Tax Relief Act was signed into law on 12/17/10.  It includes a new maximum estate tax rate of 35%, a new equivalent exemption of $5,000,000 (adjusted for inflation starting in 2012), portability of the unused maximum exclusion between spouses (resulting in a total exclusion of $10,000,000 for the two estates), and a unified gift and estate tax exclusion.  These changes apply to 2011 and 2012.  The estate tax and income tax changes were added to the following software products in their v. 2011.00 releases:  Estate Planning Tools (released on 1/19/11), Retirement Plan Analyzer (released on 2/11/11), Kugler Estate Analyzer (released on 3/1/11), Estate Planning QuickView (released on 4/22/11), Charitable Financial Planner (released on 4/29/11), and PFP Notebook(released on 5/5/11).

The IRS released new actuarial value tables based on a new life expectancy table (Table 2000CM) for income, estate and gift tax purposes.  The new actuarial values are applicable starting May 1, 2009 for valuing annuities, life estates, remainders, and reversions.  According to T.D. 9448, either Table 90CM or Table 2000CM may be used during the transition period for May and June 2009.  To handle this change, Brentmark released updated versions of Estate Planning Tools (5/8/09), Charitable Financial Planner (5/13/09), and Kugler Estate Analyzer (7/6/09). 

For the 2009 changes to the RMD rules (which provided for temporary relief from the RMD rules), check out Brentmark's NewRMD.com web site.

In a December 2000 GRAT valuation case (Audrey J. Walton v. Commissioner), the Tax Court agreed with the taxpayer's position that a term GRAT should be valued as a term GRAT and not as a shorter of term or life GRAT as per Example 5 [Sec. 25.2702-3(e), Example (5)] of the gift tax regulations.  Furthermore, the court found Example 5 of the regulations to be invalid.  The case is also available as a PDF file at the Tax Court web site at www.ustaxcourt.gov.

Click here for more details on The Economic Growth and Tax Relief Act Reconciliation Act of 2001 and for information on when Brentmark software programs were updated.

Click here for information on estate tax changes in 1997 and 1998.

The IRS issued Table 90CM to replace Life Table 80CNSMT effective 5/1/99.

Estate Planning Source Material

We look forward to reading every issue of the Probate Practice Reporter which is published monthly (at $295 per year) by Probate Practice Reporter, LLC, USC School of Law, Greene and Main Streets, Columbia, SC  29208 (Phone: (803) 777-7465).

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Check out our Links to other web sites with estate, tax, and retirement planning content.

Other Software

We often get requests for software on topics for which we have not developed a product. Topics include IRS Interest & Penalties and Social Security Benefits (the latter software being available for free!). We have put together a list of Recommended Software covering those topics. For information on QP-SEP Illustrator and SIMPLE Illustrator, click on GSL Galactic Computing.

Free Demo Disks

Demo versions are available for the following Windows programs:  Retirement Plan Analyzer, Estate Planning Tools, Kugler Estate Analyzer, Charitable Financial Planner, Retirement Income Navigator, Estate Planning QuickView, Savings Bond Toolkit and PFP Notebook. All the demos are working models (with some values locked-in).  Demos for the programs highlighted in black above are available to download now.

Check To request case studies for any of the programs and a free CD of Brentmark demos, please e-mail your request (with the word Demos in the subject line and be sure to include your postal address) or call 1-800-879-6665. All Brentmark demos are now available on one CD.

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Contact Information

Following are ways to reach Brentmark:

1-800-879-6665 or 803-781-9595
Postal address
          415 Gallatin Cir, Irmo, SC  29063-8066
Electronic mail
Technical support:
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Brentmark is a registered trademark of Brentmark Software, Inc.
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Last modified: October 25, 2018