The Internet offers many online calculators useful to estate planning practitioners and readily available at no, or modest, cost.  (The calculators listed are free unless otherwise mentioned.)  But Web resources tend to be moving targets.  I last addressed the Latest in Internet Calculators on Aug. 11. 2009, and much has changed since then.  So, here are updates, corrections and the latest links to web-based calculators. These and many other calculators are also listed and categorized in my ebook, The Electronic Practice.

Often you can use these quick, standalone calculators without having to launch larger, more comprehensive estate or financial planning programs.  Included are resources that you may wish to suggest to clients for their personal use.  

Online calculator functions vary from simple numeric calculations to more elaborate Java-based graphic presentations.  Such online calculators include mathematical, business and tax calculations.  Java-based calculators require the simple installation of the Java technology on your computer.

Generic calculators

Moffsoft FreCalc is a free, downloadable, calculator that offers a virtual tape display, keeps track of your calculations and can be printed, copied or saved to a text file. It also features a visible memory value (status bar).  It has several color schemes to choose from and an option to run in the Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7 system tray.  The more advanced Moffsoft Calculator 2 software has additional financial and business functions and is priced at $19.95.

Martindale’s Calculators On-Line Center is the mother lode of calculators.  It has thousands of calculators for every conceivable math, financial, business and statistics calculation.

Calculators.com provides links scientific calculators and a variety of calculators for special industries and special purposes, including financial calculations.

Amortization schedules

Time Value Software offers the TValue V. 5.30 amortization software, the ultimate amortization program that does sophisticated loan amortization calculation and amortization schedule preparation and also addresses other loans and investments.  It now includes troubled debt restructuring.  Pricing begins with the single-user edition at $149, with annual service at $35 per user. What’s New in TValue Amortization Software since Version 4.0.

Interest.Com lists a variety of online and shareware loan and mortgage, interest and savings calculators, including a 401k calculator.

Mortgage-Calc.com presents free convenient/basic web-based mortgage, amortization and financial calculators.

Collections of mortgage, financial and tax calculators 

ThomsonReuters offers the Quickfinder Tax & Financial Tools, targeted tax and utility tools–tax calculators, tax worksheets, Affordable Care Act tools, client handouts and organizers, financial calculators, forms and flowcharts. A license for 5 users at one location is $99.

Pine Grove Software provides web-based investment, loan, personal finance and retirement calculators, as well as various time value and amortization fee-based software products.  Features and pricing are on their Product Comparison page.  Pine Grove also offers a variety of free online calculators.

Financial Planning Toolkit has a variety of mortgage, retirement planning, savings and tax planning calculators, with line charts and schedules.  It also offers some estate planning forms.

The Giamarco, Mullins & Horton website presents calculators for business valuation, personal finance (HSA, life insurance needs, savings), loan amortization and comparison, college saving, retirement (savings, IRAs, MDRs, Social Security and others) and estate tax planning, with detailed explanations of calculations and concepts and helpful graphic displays.

Fiscal Agents Financial Tools offers a number of retirement, mortgage and loan calculators, as well as personal financial planners.  The site is Canadian, but many of the calculators are generally useful.

The Colorado State Bank and Trust Calculators address home financing, saving for college, saving for retirement (including 401(k) and Roth IRA conversion) and investing.

CalcXML presents personal finance calculators for a number of purposes, including auto, cash flow, college, credit, home and mortgage, tax, insurance, paycheck, qualified plans, retirement, saving and investment.  Their products include consumer calculators to present on your website.  They also publish the Financial Portal planning tool.

Time Value Software, TCalc Online Financial Calculators has many online mortgage, personal, investment, retirement and lease calculators for consumers, including personal financial planning, future/present value, IRAs, savings, loans, leasing, etc.  Any of these calculators may be purchased for integration into your own website.

Bloomberg.com offers free calculators for currency conversion, mortgages, retirement and 401(k) savings.

MoneyChimp has calculators for future value adjusted for inflation, compound interest, social security contributions, investing methodologies, bond yields, Social Security and Medicare contributions and Roth IRA income and contribution limits.

Bank Rate presents free mortgage payment, savings, CD interest, life insurance need calculators and a variety of investment, retirement and financial planning calculators.

Mortgage Loan.com features numerous calculators that perform nearly every conceivable mortgage-related calculation.  It also has calculators for home equity, CD/investment returns, debt/credit optimizing and payoff, student loans, personal finance, income tax and retirement (401(k), minimum distribution requirements (MDRs), 72t, Roth and traditional IRAs). The calculators are available as widgets that can be added to your website.

DailyFinance has calculators for consumer calculation of mortgage/auto loans, retirement (including Roth IRA), college planning, savings and a variety of personal finance issues.

Boggleheads Tools and calculators provides numerous links to online calculators that include college savings, IRA, life expectancy (lifestyle & IRS), loan and mortgage, retirement, social security, required minimum distribution, portfolio tools and taxable equivalent yields.  It also includes explanations of many of the calculations.

Financial management calculators

Wachowicz’s Web World presents a wide variety of financial management calculators, spreadsheets and links, including securities valuation, intermediate and long-term financing and tools for financial analysis and planning (search for "calculators").

Cpisitesolutions.com has a wide variety of interactive financial problem solvers. Enter your criteria to generate dynamic graphs and personalized reports.

The FINRA website provides interactive financial tools and calculators.

Cost of living calculators  

The Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics supplies the Consumer Price Indices.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis website compares the worth of a dollar between years using the Consumer Price Index.

Tom’s Inflation Calculator lets you choose U.S. Price Inflation, U.S. Wage Inflation or U.S. Medical Cost Inflation data sets to compare between years.

The Measuring Worth web page provides a variety of ways to calculate the relative value of U.S. dollars and British pounds over time and provides currency exchange rates.

Compound interest calculations

Pine Grove Software offers a number of calculators, including the Compound and Simple Interest Calculator, which calculates compound interest, including days between dates.  Free to non-commercial users. These calculators may be linked to from your website.

The MoneyChimp website offers a free periodic and continuously compounding interest calculator with formulas explaining the calculations.

Capital gain

Moneychimp also provides a free capital gains calculator.

Corporate income tax calculations

The Denver Tax  Software C Corp Tax Calculator computes regular corporate tax, uses personal service corporation (PSC) rates, handles capital loss carry forwards to the current year and computes what any capital loss carry forward would be to future years, treats Section 1231 gains as capital gains and Section 1231 losses as ordinary losses, allows NOL (Net Operating Loss) carry forwards and computes the charitable deduction limitation if needed.  It’s a free download.

Quick income and estate tax estimates 

Docstoc income tax calculator features linked information and rules.

John Hancock Life Insurance furnishes a basic estate tax and gift tax calculators.

A simple calculator for federal Estate tax at the current year rates is available at CalcXML.

Other tax calculations

KJE Computer Solutions, Financial Calculators supplies a simple calculator for estimating self-employment tax.

The Internal Revenue Service offers its Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) Assistant to determine whether a given taxpayer is subject to AMT.  It’s an electronic version of the AMT Worksheet in the 1040 Instructions.

The TimeValue TaxInterest program (one user license $149) performs all types of IRS penalty and interest calculations.

Social Security

The Social Security Administration has online quick benefit calculators that also generate charts, and a Retirement Estimator that computes benefits based on an individual's exact retirement history.

Bankrate.com has a Java based Social Security monthly benefit estimator that is the best of this type of calculator.

CalcXML presents How Much Of My Social Security Benefit May be Taxed?, which estimates the income tax increment resulting from Social Security benefits.

Life expectancy

Living to 100 asks 40 questions and states that it ”uses the most current and carefully researched medical and scientific data in order to estimate how old you will live to be.”

Dean P. Foster (professor, Department of Statistics, Wharton University of Pennsylvania) publishes a life expectancy calculator using both current life expectancy tables and adjustments for life style.

IPhone & iPad Calculators

A wide variety of calculators for the Iphone and iPad are available at AppsGoneFree.

The Windows 7 Calculator

The Windows 7 calculator is analyzed in Kaelin, The Hidden gems found in the Windows 7 calculator (12/18/2011 TechRepublic) with a gallery of its functions.  It includes standard, scientific and statistics calculators and keeps a history of your calculations.  It has unit conversions, mortgage and vehicle lease worksheets and calculates the difference between two dates.  See also, How to use the calculator in Windows 8 (WikiHow).

 Summary

Cost and convenience are major factors in selecting computing facilities.  Online calculators often perform frequently needed calculations that aren’t included in commercial software packages or that would require your firing up a major program.  They also may provide a way to check calculations made by other software.  A number of the listed calculators may be incorporated into your website as a service to your clients.

Trusts & Estates magazine is pleased to present the monthly Technology Review by Donald H. Kelley—a respected connoisseur of the software and Internet resources wealth management advisors use to further their practices.

Kelley is a lawyer living in Highlands Ranch, Colo., and is of counsel to the law firm of Kelley, Scritsmier & Byrne, P.C. of North Platte, Neb. He is the co-author of the Intuitive Estate Planner Software, (Thomson – West 2004). He has served on the governing boards of the American Bar Association Real Property Probate and Trust Section and the American College of Tax Counsel. He is a past regent, and past chair of the Committee on Technology in the Practice, of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel.

Trusts & Estates has asked Kelley to provide his unvarnished opinions on the tech resources available in the practice today. His columns are edited for readability only. Send feedback and suggestions for articles directly to him at don@dhkelley.com.