These Hardworking Doctors Had an Intimate Wedding at Willowdale Estate

Wedding Inspiration

The ceremony was full of warm and personal touches, including a private vow reading and customized Converse sneakers.

September 14, 2019
Willowdale Estate
Topsfield, Massachusetts

Photo by Erica Ferrone Photography


When they began dating during their second year of medical school, Jenna Binkhorst and Lolo Officer quickly became lovesick. Their journey to the altar, however, took a little longer. After Lolo popped the question in 2017, the couple spent the next two years focusing on completing their degrees and landing jobs while planning a celebration at Topsfield’s Willowdale Estate. “It was a lot of rushing from the hospital to the dress fitting in my scrubs,” Jenna says with a laugh. “We went to a tasting after Lolo had worked overnight the night before, and he fell asleep at the table.”

Despite the challenges of juggling RSVPs and residency, the pair says their September 2019 wedding went off without a hitch. Among their favorite memories? Letting loose with loved ones on the dance floor to the tunes of Stevie Wonder and Lizzo. “There were a few moments when we were just jumping up and down together,” the bride remembers. The groom agrees: “Feeling how much love there was between not only us, but everyone there, was great.”


Photo by Erica Ferrone Photography

First Look
With their bridal party watching from the windows above, the pair shared an intimate first look in the Willowdale courtyard.

Photo by Erica Ferrone Photography

The Made with Love dress, which was the first one Jenna tried on, won the bride over with its vintage lace, low back, and form-fitting style. She paired it with Converse sneakers featuring the date of the wedding written on the back. “I am not a heels person,” she says.

Photo by Erica Ferrone Photography

The couple envisioned natural and unmanicured blooms, so Greenlion Design arranged bunches of seasonal wildflowers to accent the property’s sprawling greenery.

Photo by Erica Ferrone Photography

Prior to the ceremony, Jenna and Lolo read their handwritten vows in the presence of close family members and their bridal party. They also signed a modern version of the Ketubah, a Jewish marriage contract.

Photo by Erica Ferrone Photography

Standing under a chuppah with their immediate families, Lolo and Jenna said “I do” in a ceremony officiated by their fathers. “We wanted each member of our family to have some role,” Jenna explains.

Photo by Erica Ferrone Photography

“We knew from the beginning that we really wanted to get married outside,” the bride says, and the rustic charm of Willowdale Estate fit the bill. For the reception, the lovebirds migrated to a canopied Sperry tent adorned with ivy and string lights.

Photo by Erica Ferrone Photography

First Dance
The couple chose the Beatles’ “In My Life” for their first dance. “We were actually dancing in

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Thanksgiving Shopping to Shift to E-Commerce: The Impact on Real Estate Investors

When we think about holiday shopping, especially during major events like Black Friday, we tend to picture packed parking lots, customers lined up early to get into stores, and a host of shoving and elbowing to snag the best deals of the season. This year, however, shoppers will be doing things differently. According to Deloitte’s 2020 pre-Thanksgiving pulse survey, consumers plan to spend 38% of their holiday budget in stores — and a whopping 62% online.

But here’s a trend worth noting: For the first time in the survey’s history, more consumers plan to shop online (61%) than in stores (54%) on Black Friday, which is often the single biggest shopping day of the year. Furthermore, among consumers who plan to shop during the Thanksgiving period, 95% say they’ll do so online.

In fact, for the entire Thanksgiving period, the year-over-year share of in-store spending is likely to decline to 37% (compared to 43% in 2019), while the share of online spending is likely to increase to 62% (up from 53% in 2019).

Given that 57% of consumers are nervous to do their shopping in physical stores due to the pandemic, this shift isn’t surprising. But it’s also a whirlwind of potentially bad news for real estate investors.

The big fear this Thanksgiving season is that spending will be generally sluggish due to the pandemic and general economic crisis it’s spurred. And if consumers slash their spending, retailers, which have been struggling since March, could end up filing for bankruptcy in droves in the coming year and taking stores down with them.

There’s a strong likelihood consumer spending will decline this year, whether due to general economic uncertainty, personal financial constraints, or a lack of in-store shopping, which commonly lends to impulse buys — bad for personal budgets but a boon to retailers. In fact, those who feel anxious about shopping in stores anticipate spending less ($386) than those who feel safe shopping in stores ($477) during the Thanksgiving shopping rush.

But let’s assume consumers don’t cut back on spending too drastically. Even if that ends up being the case, a major shift to online shopping could be seriously bad news for mall operators. If retailers see the bulk of their holiday revenue stem from online sales, it could drive them to close underperforming retail locations in 2021, even in the absence of a notable cash crunch. That, in turn, could leave mall operators grasping for tenants in light of the many retailers that have already declared bankruptcy and are making plans to permanently close up shop.

Of course, when malls struggle, mall REIT, or real estate investment trust, investors stand to feel the pain, which is why this year’s Thanksgiving shopping season may, unfortunately, end up being a lose-lose situation for them. In fact, the best news real estate investors might get coming out of the Thanksgiving rush is a surprisingly positive level of in-store sales and foot traffic. But given the health crisis at play, that’s unlikely to

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Booming Healthcare Real Estate a Career Opportunity for Women, People of Color

“When you look at base salary, men still make about 10% more than women, but with annual commissions and bonuses, men on average earn $144,000 while women only earn $42,000,” said Gorham.

Healthcare real estate has been growing in recent years, but that growth has not been shared equally, as there remains a dearth of women and people of color in the sector. According to Christine Gorham, president of CREW Network (Commercial Real Estate Women), studies show the disparity in gender commissions and bonuses is a good entry to understanding the upside and lost opportunity for women and minorities.

“It’s a significant number,” says Gorham. “When you look at base salary, men still make about 10% more than women, but with annual commissions and bonuses, men on average earn $144,000 while women only earn $42,000,” a 70% gap, according to the 2020 Benchmark Study Report on Gender and Diversity CREW Network conducts with the MIT Center for Real Estate every five years. The total compensation gap between men and women is 37% for the healthcare real estate sector, compared to 34% in all of commercial real estate.

Reasons for the large commission and bonus gap in healthcare weren’t part of the study, but Gorham suggested the gap may be due to gender bias in hiring and teaming within brokerage firms, and the tendency for men to share the larger deal referrals with their male friends.

Another reason for the gap could also be due to the lack of women in senior positions, where pay is higher and compensation decisions are being made. Women represent approximately 80% of entry-level frontline workers and providers in healthcare, such as nursing positions. However, this representation decreases across the pipeline, with women making up only about 30% of line roles in the healthcare C-suite. In commercial real estate, women occupy just 9% of C-suite roles.

“If women are not in senior positions, it’s harder to effectuate change by bringing females up through the ranks and sponsoring their directions,” she said. “We need to make employers and executives aware of these startling differences—and have them look at the entire compensation package, not just salaries—to get the whole picture and take action to correct the disparities.”

Career Opportunities in Healthcare RE

Gorham, who is the director of development for CADDIS® Healthcare Real Estate, a Dallas-based top ten development, management and investment firm focused solely on healthcare, urges women and minorities to consider specializing in healthcare real estate. While COVID-19 has temporarily slowed healthcare development and has caused hospitals and physician groups to reevaluate their capital plans, acquisitions are strong, redirected capital from other real estate silos is flowing in, technology is improving the outpatient care options and the future of the sector overall is very bright, she said.

While senior-living has taken a bit of a hit as a result of the virus, much of the growth in the sector is still pegged to the 71.6 million baby boomers, who she notes are expected possibly to

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How To Use Irrevocable Gift Trusts To Take Advantage Of Your Estate And Gift Tax Exemptions

Before the presidential election, many wealthy taxpayers were worried that a “blue wave” would mean a reduction of their $11.58 million estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer tax exemption. That’s because the Democrats were expected to propose lowering those exemptions back down to the $3.5 million to $5 million range they were before President Trump signed the 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act.

Even though that blue wave was more like a blue ripple, it’s still possible that the Democrats could gain control of the Senate. Right now, the Senate is split 50-48 between the GOP and Democrats, and we won’t know who won the final two seats until the run-off elections in Georgia on January 5. If both Democratic candidates prevail, a 50-50 Senate will tilt to the Democrats because the vice president casts the deciding vote in the event of a tie. In the face of this uncertainty, it could make sense to move some assets out of your estate now to ensure you reap the benefits of the higher exemptions.

One of the best ways to do that is to put the assets into an irrevocable gift trust, which enables you to make large gifts without giving up control and enjoyment of those assets.

For example, let’s say you and your spouse have a net worth of $60 million, which consists of both marketable and private investments, as well as your primary residence, vacation home, and personal assets such as cars and dogs. Also, assume that you still have $20 million of your joint $23.16 million estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer tax exemption left.

Although you may not want to give that $20 million to your children now, if a new tax law reduces the current exemptions, you and your spouse would each end up paying an additional $2 million to $3 million in gift and estate taxes. By putting that $20 million into an irrevocable gift trust, you essentially move those assets from one pocket to the other in a way that shields them from the 40% estate and gift tax.

How Irrevocable Gift Trusts Work

When properly structured, an irrevocable trust enables you to avoid additional estate and gift taxes while preserving the hallmarks of asset ownership: control and enjoyment. Control means you have the power to decide how to invest those assets, such as whether to buy, sell, or hold shares of stock, or to give them to someone else. Enjoyment is the ability to use the income or other proceeds from the assets as you see fit.

An irrevocable gift trust allows you to retain control of the trust assets through your choice of trustee. You can name your spouse, sibling, friend, or trusted advisor as the trustee, enabling you to retain indirect control of the assets by influencing their decisions. In some circumstances, you can make yourself the trustee, which gives you sole discretion over what happens

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Ulta Beauty Opening Inside Target: What Is the Impact for Real Estate Investors?

There’s a running joke about shoppers walking into Target (NYSE: TGT) to buy milk and a couple of household cleaners and leaving $200 poorer. Fans of the superstore know how easy it is to go overboard on the shopping front with Target’s immense, varied offerings. But now, consumers will have even more reason to spend money at Target: The retail giant just announced a partnership with Ulta Beauty (NASDAQ: ULTA) to open makeup and skin care shops inside its giant stores.

Beginning in the second half of 2021, Target shoppers will find mini Ulta stores inside more than 100 Target stores. Ulta beauty products will also be available on Target’s website. Each Ulta shop within a Target store will feature about 1,000 square feet of cosmetics, hair care products, and fragrances. Shoppers will have the option to purchase Ulta goods in store, have them delivered same-day, or collect them via curbside pickup.

Best of all, Target shoppers won’t have to shop for makeup without guidance. Ulta plans to train Target employees to serve as beauty consultants.

A strategic move

Target hasn’t exactly been hurting for revenue. Though many retailers have struggled during the coronavirus pandemic, Target’s profits rose 80% in 2020’s second quarter compared to a year prior.

Being an essential business helped Target avoid store closures when nonessential businesses were forced to shutter earlier in the year. But let’s not forget consumers come to Target not only to buy groceries but just about anything, so those who shopped for food during the early stages of the pandemic were also able to browse their usual Target aisles for everything from makeup to leggings to toys for their stuck-at-home kids. So it’s not surprising Target fared well when so many retail chains struggled.

Ulta, on the other hand, was hit hard by the pandemic. Being a nonessential business, it had to shutter its beauty shops earlier this year. Once Ulta was able to reopen, the demand for its product waned, with about 70% of consumers scaling back on makeup use this year.

Given the number of people working from home, not socializing, and wearing masks that cover half their faces, it’s no wonder makeup sales dropped off. All told, Ulta Beauty saw its same-store sales decline by 26.7% year over year during 2020’s second quarter, and while they’ve gradually improved, Ulta still has some recovering to do. By teaming up with Target, Ulta can peddle its product to a wider audience and boost its revenue.

Target stands to benefit, too. Now more than ever, consumers need to do one-stop shopping to minimize trips outside the home and limit their COVID-19 exposure. And post-pandemic, customers are apt to appreciate the convenience of being able to shop for higher-end makeup and beauty products inside a Target store. As such, both Target and Ulta could really benefit financially by pairing up.

What’s in it for real estate investors?

At first glance, a Target and Ulta partnership may not seem all that newsworthy from a

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Here’s What Fashion, Retail And Real Estate Executives Want You To Do

The fashion, retail and real estate industries are looking to President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris to revive the economy and quell the COVID-19 pandemic, which has been raging with the number of new cases hitting record highs in several states.

President-elect Joe Biden today announced a 13-member COVID-19 task force as Pfizer
revealed that a coronavirus vaccine it’s been testing is 90 percent effective. If the vaccine passes other hurdles and is approved by the Federal Drug Administration for emergency use authorization, it could be widely available in the third quarter of 2021.

The economy and the pandemic are inexorably linked. Millions of Americans remain unemployed, and retailers and restaurants – those lucky enough to have found ingenious ways of serving consumers with contactless delivery, curbside pickup and outdoor dining – are operating at a fraction of their full capacity.

Working remotely has given rise to and the so-called Zoom wardrobe, which doesn’t bode well for fashion brands, which is why designers are focusing on casual offerings.

Here’s what members of the fashion, retail and real estate communities have to say to the President- and Vice President-elect.

“It’s not the most fun time at retail,” said Stacy Bendet, chief executive officer and creative director of Alice & Olivia. “This is the year of being able to be nimble and pivot. It’s also, the story of how do we encourage women to continue to work. Women are falling out of the work force right now.

“I know a lot of women who decided not to work this year,” Bendet said. “I’m launching an entire casual line for that reason. We launched a beautiful line of workwear in December of 2019. We have to launch chic casual clothes for the woman who’s working from home home now.”

Bendet in June introduced on LinkedIn, Creatively, a platform for creatives to post their resumes and portfolios. “If you’re in the early part of your career and exit now, I worry about the barrier to reentry,” she said, adding, “The country needs positive leadership for the millions of people who are unemployed. We need get through the next several months of the COVID-19 pandemic. I don’t think we’ve even seen the worst yet.”

Rent relief and free trade would go a long way toward improving retailers’ fortunes, Bendet said, adding, “We need to eliminate all the tariffs that were implemented on imports. All the tariffs and drama with China needs to be over. We need free trade.

“We’re going to need some assistance for the retail industry to be able to afford rent this year,” she added. “We’re going to need some Federal assistance, where the government helps the real estate industry or fashion brands or restaurants or hotels. There will have to be assistance to make up for the lack of tourism and lack of overall traffic.

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How to Make Sure You Never Pay Any Gift or Estate Tax

Many people regularly make gifts to their family members without even thinking about the possibility that they might owe taxes on those gifts. In this video from the Motley Fool Financial Planning series on Motley Fool Live, longtime Fool contributor and Director of Investment Planning Dan Caplinger discusses the various dollar limits on making gifts. He also talks about what you need to do to comply with IRS rules while still avoiding gift and estate taxes when you give money to your loved ones.

Listener: You just mentioned, Dan, a lifetime limit on gifts to family members, as part of that question on lifetime charity donations. Can you elaborate on what that gift limit is?

Dan Caplinger: I can. There are a number of gift tax implications to gifts. It takes a little bit of time to run through it, so bear with me for a minute. There are different exclusions.

Basically, the idea behind the gift tax is, potentially any gift that you give to anybody is subject to gift tax. The IRS doesn’t want to have to worry about what happens when Bro gives me a $20 gift certificate for my birthday. So what they did, they created some exemptions where ordinary stock, people don’t have to worry about the ordinary stock.

Now the most common thing people use is called the Annual Gift Tax Exclusion. That, for 2020, is $15,000, and it says that you can give up to $15,000 to whoever you want this year, and it will not be subject to gift tax. You can make as many of those $15,000 gifts to different people as you want. Give me some, give Bro some. Fifteen grand a piece, you can make $30,000 in gifts that way. Again, it’s a per person, per recipient limit. If you have a bunch of recipients, you can get a lot of money moved to other people using just that annual gift tax exemption.

If you do that, it does not count against your lifetime exemption. This is a totally separate thing. Now it’s only if you make gifts above that annual amount that you have to worry about the lifetime limit. The lifetime limit as of 2020, I’m going to check my records here, $11.57 million. So what that says is, if $15,000 wasn’t enough, and you want to make a really, really big gift to somebody, you can give an extra up to $11.57 million in 2020 and still no gift tax. You’re going to have to file a gift tax return in that case, but there’s not going to be any tax due because you have that exemption amount.

Basically, this number has gone up and up and up recently. It was as low as $1 million back in the early 2000s and that was low enough that it actually captured some estate transfers from folks that weren’t necessarily super rich. But over time that’s moved up, and so the impact has been that fewer

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IRS Announces Higher Estate And Gift Tax Limits For 2021

The Internal Revenue Service announced today the official estate and gift tax limits for 2021: The estate and gift tax exemption is $11.7 million per individual, up from $11.58 million in 2020. That means an individual could leave $11.7 million to heirs and pay no federal estate or gift tax, while a married couple could shield $23.4 million. 

But what if former vice president Joe Biden is elected president? That could mean an end to the staggeringly high estate and gift tax exemption amount enacted as part of President Donald Trump’s signature tax overhaul. Trump’s tax overhaul doubled the then-$5 million per person base level exemption amount to $10 million, from 2019 through year-end 2025, with a flat tax rate of 40%.(The $10 million is indexed for inflation; that accounts for the $11.7 million figure.) Republican death tax foes vow to make the doubled exemption amount permanent. By contrast, criticizing the Trump tax cut as a giveaway to the wealthy and citing economic inequality, Biden has proposed restoring estate and gift taxes to their 2009 level: $3.5 million per person for the estate tax, $1 million for the gift tax, and a top rate of 45%. 

The IRS announced the new inflation-adjusted numbers in Rev. Proc. 2020-45. Forbes contributor Kelly Phillips Erb has all the details on 2021 tax brackets, standard deduction amounts and more. We have all the details on the 2021 retirement account limits, including the higher $58,000 overall 401(k) limit, too.

If you’re rich and you’re worried about the estate and gift tax exemption amounts going down, the time to start a gifting plan is now. The IRS finalized rules last year saying that it wouldn’t claw back lifetime gifts if/when the exemption is lowered.

The annual gift exclusion amount for 2021 stays the same at $15,000, according to the IRS announcement. What that means is that you can give away $15,000 to as many individuals—your kids, grandkids, their spouses—as you’d like with no federal gift tax consequences. A husband and wife can each make $15,000 gifts, doubling the impact. Separately, you can make unlimited direct payments for medical and tuition expenses.

When you’re doing advanced estate planning—making gifts in excess of $15,000 annual exclusion gifts—you’re using your lifetime gift/estate tax exemption. With the new 2021 numbers, a couple who has used up every dollar of their exemption before the increase has another $240,000 of exemption value to pass on tax-free. For folks who are worried that that’s a lot to give, there are newfangled spousal lifetime asset trusts (aka a SLATs). They’re also IRS-tested advanced estate-freeze strategies like grantor-retained annuity trusts (GRATs) and installment sales to grantor trusts, where you give away the upside of assets transferred to the trust taxfree. For planning tips, see Trusts In The Age Of Trump.

Keep in mind the $23.4 million number per couple isn’t automatic. An unlimited marital deduction allows you to leave all or part

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Why Progressives Should Push To Scrap The Estate And Gift Tax

During the 2020 Presidential campaign Democratic candidates have made many proposals for changes to the tax code, ranging from changes to the tax rates to the imposition of new 5% excise tax and a national sales tax. As the Democratic Nominee for President, Joe Biden has a tax plan that includes the following proposals:

·        Eliminate the step-up of the cost-basis for inherited property,

·        Increase estate and gift tax rates by an unspecified amount (it is now 40%), and

·        Decrease the estate tax exemption from $11.58 million to $3.5 million, and the gift tax exemption from $11.58 million to $1 million.

The proposal for changes to the Estate and Gift taxes reverses the long-standing policy on reforms to the tax code made ever since the Estate tax was enacted to pay for the costs of World War One. Both Republicans and Democrats have supported raising the exemption amount, cutting the tax rates and closing loopholes as the means of reform. Biden’s proposal reverses this with a dramatic decrease in the exemption, an elimination of the step-up in cost basis and an implied, but unspecified, increase of the gift and estate tax rates.

What effects these changes will have on you depends on why you transfer assets in the first place. The transfer might be an “accident,” in the sense that you have accumulated assets for retirement or long-term care costs, but you die before you use up those assets. The transfer may be motivated by your altruism toward your children or other people you care for. The transfer may be motivated by the sheer joy you have from of giving to a charity or other cause. The transfer may represent a sort of payment by you, as a parent, to your children for their health or education, or later in exchange for the children’s help and attention. Some of these transfers are taxable and some are not. When the transfers are taxable, the estate and gift tax is a progressive tax. This is because inheritors of significant wealth have significant incomes as well. It is also an unequal tax – how much you pay depends on how you transfer assets not on the wealth or income of your inheritors. It is not an efficient means of reducing economic inequality from accumulated wealth and taxing someone at their death is a ghoulish concept. It is more efficient to avoid excessive accumulation of wealth in the first place.   

Higher gift and estate taxes are bad because they foster tax avoidance. Since income tax laws are different from estate and gift tax laws, there are many techniques that, legally, reduce your estate and gift tax. Higher taxes are also bad because they foster anxiety among owners of family assets like a family business or a family farm, which has large emotional resonance far greater than the

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Selling Estate Jewelry – Helpful Tips on Valuing Estate Jewelry

Are you interested in selling estate jewelry? If you have inherited some jewelry or if you just have a bunch of used gold jewelry that you are wanting to turn a quick profit on, there are several things that you should consider before you sell your jewelry. You might have even found some jewelry at an estate sale or a yard sale and are wondering how you can turn a quick profit where someone has overlooked its real value. Hopefully I can point you in the right direction so that you can get the most money.

How do you determine the value of your estate jewelry?

Obviously, you should sort through all of the jewelry to determine if it is made of precious metal or not. A lot of your estate jewelry is probably costume or fake jewelry. Large gaudy stones are usually a dead giveaway on determining if the jewelry is genuine or not. This type of jewelry has some inherent value, but usually not a whole lot. You might consider selling the costume jewelry on an online auction site.

The next thing to do is to give your estate jewelry the magnet test. Simply take a magnet and pass it across the jewelry. Some of the jewelry that is not made of precious metal will stick to the magnet. Again, these pieces probably don’t have a lot of value.

Now that you have sorted through most of the pieces, take a close look at the jewelry to see if it has a hallmark stamp somewhere on the piece. The hallmark for gold will be the karat stamp. The karat stamp will usually be on the inside of rings, on the clasp of necklaces and bracelets, or on the post of earrings. The karat stamp will be 10k, 14k, or 18k. The higher the karat, the more valuable it is. Silver will usually be marked with “sterling” or “sterling silver”. If you have any stones that look like they may be diamonds, take those to a jeweler to have them inspected.

Now that you have sorted out the jewelry that is real, you are halfway there. These types of pieces are where the real value lies in estate jewelry. Most people have no idea how much value there is in their gold and silver jewelry, so you need to make sure that you do your research before you sell any of it.

So where can you sell your estate jewelry for the most money?

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