Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Monday, August 7, 2017

Hated Estate Tax Valuation Rules On Trump's Hit List

6bd08f12115b5a9d70be6ce51169107bFamily business owners and their allies are trying to block rules proposed during the Obama-era that would curb valuation discounts and lead to increased estate taxes. Proponents for the rules claim it would end a loophole for the wealthy. With the discounts, family businesses are able to value their assets at reduced levels. This allows them to pass on their hard-earned wealth to beneficiaries free from some estate and gift taxes. Much of the conversation would be moot if President Trump is able to get rid of the estate tax. With this, the safest course of action is to undertake valuations based on current law. Even if repeal were to occur, it is not guaranteed to be permanent.

See Ashlea Ebeling, Hated Estate Tax Valuation Rules On Trump's Hit List, Forbes, August 1, 2017.

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

August 7, 2017 in Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax, Gift Tax, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

A Short Story of Jack, The Beanstalk and Survivor IRAs

JackBeanstalkIt is possible to leave IRAs, 401ks, and other qualified plans to beneficiaries upon death. If done correctly, it is possible to avoid substantial portions of income and other various taxes. When placed in a trust, an initial $500,000 distribution from a qualified plan can pay out $1.5 million over a beneficiary’s lifetime. The assets from the qualified plan are not taxed when rolled over to the trust, but only when distributed to the beneficiary of the trust. This type of planning can be complex and it is best to seek professional advice for help.

See George, A Short Story of Jack, The Beanstalk and Survivor IRAs, Fox+Mattson, June 19, 2017.

August 2, 2017 in Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax, Gift Tax, Income Tax, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Article on Diagnosing the GST Tax Status of a Trust

Crazy_person_by_nothingstockAdvisors commonly overlook the generation-skipping tax (GST) when creating an estate plan.. This leaves many existing estate plans less tax-efficient than they could be. Dealing specifically with trusts, for GST tax purposes, any trust will be either GST exempt, GST non-exempt, or a mix of these two options. A trust can be totally exempt from GST tax in one of the following five ways: 1) it was grandfathered in, 2) it is a Gallo trust, 3) by transfers, 4)  through affirmative allocation, or 5) a GST exemption was allocated to the trust. If a trust is not exempt from GST, the advisor must then determine the trust's inclusion ratio. This ratio essentially dictates what percentage of a trust will be subject to GST. Wading through these steps is technically onerous and can be difficult. Breaking down the process in this simplified manner may alleviate some of the complexities of the overall analysis.

See Nathan R. Brown & Brandon A. S. Ross, Diagnosing the GST Tax Status of a Trust, Probate & Property Magazine, July 2017.

July 15, 2017 in Articles, Estate Planning - Generally, Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

CLE on Representing Estate and Trust Beneficiaries and Fiduciaries 2017

The American Law Institute is holding a CLE entitled, Representing Estate and Trust Beneficiaries and Fiduciaries 2017, which will take place July 13-14, 2017, at the Sheraton Boston Hotel in Boston, Massachusetts. Provided below is a description of the event:

Why You Should Attend

Join us for an in-depth look at the divergent interests of trust and estate beneficiaries and fiduciaries! This unique program examines the ever-changing landscape that representatives of trust and estate beneficiaries and fiduciaries must navigate, focusing on industry practices that are, or are likely to be, the basis of complaint or conflict. Hear the perspectives of a broad-based faculty and get practical strategies for representing the interests of settlors, fiduciaries, and beneficiaries in controversies that can arise when administering complex trust and estates.

Updated for 2017, this year’s program devotes equal parts to the latest tax, litigation, liability, and fiduciary developments. Topics include:

Strategies for advancing fiduciary interests, without “crossing the line”

Techniques for advancing beneficiary interests, without enormous legal cost

The accounting strategy for the defender and the objector

The ethics of usual, if questionable, practices

New developments in state and federal law

The fiduciary litigation landscape—and potholes

Three areas where liability lays in wait

Investment management agreements, referral relationships, releases, reduced standards of care, and other trustee-friendly arrangements

Investment management tools and risk assessment metrics

No-contest clauses

Tax avoidance

Fixing the broken trust

The impartiality fallacy

What You Will Learn

If you advise fiduciaries or beneficiaries, look no further for sophisticated analysis and practical advice to skirt risk and provide a superior outcome for your clients.

Representing Estate and Trust Beneficiaries and Fiduciaries 2017 examines developments in the estate and trust world from the wide-ranging perspectives of settlors, fiduciaries, and beneficiaries. An outstanding national faculty of trust and estate practitioners, wealth managers, and trust administrators addresses such key topics as:

Fiduciary litigation developments

Non-tax developments

Litigation tactics

Practical ethics

Postmortem planning

Tax planning and state taxation of trust income

Liability in existing trusts

Modeling and metrics for monitoring trust issues

Register today! Hear from some of the best in the business in an environment that promotes formal discussion, as well as personal connections, with faculty and other experienced trust and estate professionals from across the country. Get the insights you need to advise your clients and respond to their toughest questions.

Study Material

Going green in 2017! Course materials will be available in electronic format for download the week before and during the course. Print materials will not be distributed. All registrants are advised to bring laptops or tablets to the course to view the course materials, including updates.

Register two or more and SAVE! Register one person for the in-person course at full price and save 50% on all additional in-person registrations for this course from your organization. Separate discounts are also available for group webcast registrations. Click on "Group Rates" for more information. (Offers valid on new registrations only; discounts may not be combined.)
Tuition for this Live Course is $1,699.00.
 
Tuition for this Video Webcast is $1,299.00.

Tuition for the webcast includes a set of electronic course materials and access to the webcast.

This course is available in individual webcast segments

 

June 28, 2017 in Conferences & CLE, Estate Planning - Generally, Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax, Gift Tax, Income Tax, Professional Responsibility, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

New Edition of "McCouch's Federal Income Taxation of Estates, Trusts, and Beneficiaries in a Nutshell" Released

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)