Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Book on McCouch's Federal Income Taxation of Estates, Trusts, and Beneficiaries in a Nutshell

BookGrayson M.P. McCouch recently published a book entitled, McCouch's Federal Income Taxation of Estates, Trusts, and Beneficiaries in a Nutshell (2017). Provided below is a description of the book:

This comprehensive guide can serve either as a course supplement or as a refresher for members of the bar. Expert commentary summarizes the law and offers critical perspectives on the federal income taxation of estates, trusts, and beneficiaries, including the decedent’s final income tax return; classification of estates and trusts; income in respect of a decedent; distributable net income; simple and complex trusts; distributions; grantor trusts; charitable trusts; and foreign trusts. Additional chapters cover basic income, gift and estate tax concepts, accumulation distributions, and specially treated trusts.

June 21, 2017 in Books, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax, Gift Tax, Income Tax, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Interview with Steven J. Oshins, Esq.

NingSteven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) is an award-winning attorney practicing in Las Vegas, Nevada. He maintains clients throughout the United States. Oshins recently sat down for an in-depth interview covering a variety of topics. Part I of his interview considers the use of the Nevada Asset Protection Trust. Part II focuses on the Hybrid Nevada Asset Protection Trust, and Part III looks at the Nevada Incomplete Non-Grantor Trust. Part IV discusses Nevada Dynasty Trusts and reviews recent developments regarding these trusts.

See On Nevada Asset Protection and Trust Planning: A Conversation with Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) Part III, First American Trust.

June 20, 2017 in Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax, Gift Tax, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 12, 2017

IRS Provides Simplified Method to Request an Extension of Time to Make a Portability Election

Irs shakedownOn Friday, the IRS issued taxpayer-friendly guidelines allowing certain estates to make a late portability election if they had previously failed to make a timely election (Rev. Proc. 2017-34). Portability elections allow surviving spouses to use a decedent’s unused exemption amount for estate and gift taxes purposes. Previously, the IRS provided a simplified method for obtaining an extension for filing, but that grieving-spouse-friendly method expired at the end of 2014. Since then, the regulations available for filing an extension have been onerous and time-consuming. The new method for filing an extension provided under Rev. Proc. 2017-34 demands much less time and effort.

See Sally P. Schreiber, IRS Provides Simplified Method to Request an Extension of Time to Make a Portability Election, Journal of Accountancy, June 9, 2017.

Special thanks to Jerome Borison (Professor at University of Denver Sturm College of Law) & Kevin Staker for bringing this article to my attention.

June 12, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax, Gift Tax, New Legislation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Article on A Tax Dead on Arrival: Classical Liberalism, Inheritance, and Social Mobility

ZzÅsbjørn Melkevik recently published an Article entitled, A Tax Dead on Arrival: Classical Liberalism, Inheritance, and Social Mobility, Wills, Trusts, & Estate Law eJournal (2017). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

Historically, it is safe to say that very few laws did as much to stoke inequality as laws touching descents and hereditary transmissions. This paper attempts to see if the classical liberal tradition can endorse inheritance taxation so as to further fair equality of opportunity, as well as to lessen inequality of undeserved wealth. It argues that fair equality of opportunity is a necessary feature of market societies to make sure that they remain competitive. Hence, inheritance taxation is most likely necessary from a classical liberal point of view as an instrument of social mobility to counter notable problems of social immobility, say hereditary vocational stratification, which a system of private property rights creates.

Special thanks to Robert H. Sitkoff (John L. Gray Professor of Law, Harvard Law School) for bringing this article to my attention.

June 10, 2017 in Articles, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax, Gift Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Transfer Tax Rules for the Non-Citizen Spouse

KimTransferring wealth to a spouse that is not a citizen of the US can create complex tax challenges. An example, a resident alien domiciled in the US may have an estate that is subject to taxes in another nation in which he is a citizen. If the real estate is owned in a third jurisdiction, there may be even more taxes owed. Most countries have tax treaties that must be thoroughly examined at death and for certain taxable events. The provisions in these tax treaties are usually complex, but transfer tax planning for non-citizens cannot occur until all applicable treaties have been examined.

See Kimberly Stogner, Transfer Tax Rules for the Non-Citizen Spouse, Womble Carlyle, May 23, 2017.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.

June 6, 2017 in Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax, Gift Tax, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, May 20, 2017

10 Tips for Tumultuous Tax Times

RK_Post_-_Death_and_Taxes_1024x1024The only things that ever seemed to be certain were the inevitability of death and the persistent and ever-present burden of taxes. Now, taxes are coming into question (sort of). President Trump and the Republican-dominated congress are expected to change the laws concerning estate and gift taxes. Unfortunately, for estate planners, neither the extent nor the scope of these changes are actually known. John O. McManus, founder of an estate planning firm in New York, has some helpful strategies to deal with the uncertainty. McManus’ friendly tips push flexibility in planning and he says these strategies work in both the long and short term, and are beneficial for the mass affluent as well as the ultra-wealthy.

See Karen Demasters, Fidgety About Tax Reform? Here Are 10 Things Estate Planners Can Do Now, Private Wealth, May 12, 2017.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.

May 20, 2017 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax, Gift Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 3, 2017

Trump Administration Sets Sights on Tax Reform

Uncertain taAfter the United States House of Representatives recently failed to pass the American Health Care Act, President Trump and his administration will have their sights set on new legislation for tax reform. Consequently, insurance companies and estate planners are taking notice, as their clients will be greatly affected. In lieu of repealing the estate tax, a capital gains tax could be imposed, while the fate of the gift tax is still unclear. These uncertainties make for a hazy tax-planning environment.

See Warren S. Hersch, Now in the GOP’s Crosshairs on Capitol Hill: The Estate Tax, Think Advisor, March 27, 2017.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.

April 3, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax, Gift Tax, Income Tax, New Legislation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Article on a Carryover Tax Basis Regime

CarryoverRichard Schmalbeck, Jay A. Soled & Kathleen DeLaney Thomas recently published an Article entitled, Advocating a Carryover Tax Basis Regime, Notre Dame L. Rev. (Forthcoming 2017). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

For close to a century, an important (but unfortunate) feature of the Internal Revenue Code has been a rule that the tax basis of any asset is made equal to its fair market value at death. Notwithstanding the substantial revenue losses associated with this rule, Congress has retained it for reasons of administrative convenience.

But from three different vantage points, pressure has been mounting to change what is commonly referred to as the “step-up in basis rule.” First, politicians and commentators have historically tied the step-up in basis rule to the estate tax on the theory that income be taxed only once, rather than twice. However, with the recent emasculation of the transfer tax regime, no estate tax is levied in most cases, while taxpayers routinely capitalize on the step-up in basis rule. On another front, technological advances have greatly simplified tax basis identification and record keeping, making a carryover tax basis regime eminently feasible, which it previously was not. Finally, in an era of growing income inequality, retention of a rule that primarily benefits the wealthy seems wholly unjustified, necessitating reform.

Congress essentially has two different reform options to consider, namely, a deemed realization rule or a carryover tax basis rule. While a deemed realization rule has many advantages, it appears to be politically unachievable, at least for the time being, due to liquidity and administrative concerns. On the other hand, in light of the fact that a carryover tax basis rule is widely utilized, vetted, and accepted in the related context of inter vivos gift giving, extending its application to transfers at death appears entirely feasible. Its institution would have many virtues, including improved administrability, equity, and revenue generation.

March 29, 2017 in Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Article on How to Deal with the Repeal of the Estate Tax

Estate and gift taTodd A. Flubacher recently published an Article entitled, How to Deal with Repeal: Dynasty Trust Planning Will Be an Essential Tool, Tr. & Est. 18 (March 2017). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

Once again, it appears there’s a strong possibility that the federal estate tax and generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax may be repealed. President Donald J. Trump and the Republican majority in the House and Senate all support a repeal of the “death tax.” One must only revisit the last time Republicans held control of the House, Senate and the White House in 2001 to identify the last time the estate and GST taxes were repealed under the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (EGTRRA). EGTRRA was former President George W. Bush’s tax plan that gradually increased the gift, estate and GST tax exemptions from $675,000 to $3.5 million and lowered the tax rates from 55 percent to 45 percent, culminating in a single year of outright estate and GST tax repeal in 2010, followed by a “sunset” of the entire law on Jan. 1, 2011, returning the transfer tax system to its draconian pre-EGTRRA state. The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (2010 Tax Act), signed into law on Dec. 17, 2010, established a $5 million exemption and 35 percent estate and GST tax rate beginning Jan. 1, 2011. However, heirs of wealthy individuals who died during 2010 benefited greatly from the only period in the last 100 years when our nation had no federal estate or GST tax. 

Unless Congressional Democrats have a dramatic change of heart, or Republicans pick up eight additional Senate seats in 2018, it’s safe to assume that any bill that includes estate tax repeal will sunset in 10 years. Without the vote of 60 Senators, the only way repeal can pass without getting blocked by a filibuster is to enact the law as a “reconciliation” bill, which, under Senate procedure, can’t last beyond 10 years. Of course, it’s also possible that repeal could be undone in as little as four years if enough Democrats are elected to the White House and Congress. Thus, any future transfer tax relief is likely to be only temporary, lasting as few as four and not more than 10 years. 

 

March 8, 2017 in Articles, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 20, 2017

How Will We Make Up for the Estate Tax Repeal?

Estate tax repealAs we all know, President Trump has promised to repeal the estate tax, claiming that the tax is just plain wrong. It is easy to say that our country should repeal the estate tax, considering so few families actually pay the tax, but other tax areas will have to give in order to make up for the loss. The estate tax has two siblings—the gift tax and the generation-skipping tax. As of now, it is unclear how President Trump will balance the three taxes. His campaign website sketched out a plan that involved replacing the estate tax with a tax on all capital gains and no mention of the other two taxes. Ultimately, with the estate tax only generating 0.005% of annual tax collections, the tax incites more of a political debate than a federal revenue one. 

See Brian J. O’Connor, Once Again, the Estate Tax May Die, N.Y. Times, February 18, 2017. 

Special thanks to Joel Dobris (Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.

 

February 20, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax, Gift Tax, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)