Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

California Estate Tax: Gone Today, Here Tomorrow?

RobinhoodRecently, California State Senator Scott Wiener introduced a bill that would impose estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer tax on any transfers, both during life and at death, after December 31, 2020. California law dictates that if the legislation passes any new bill that imposes transfer tax, the law does not go into effect unless the voters approve it. So if the bill passes the California Legislation, the bill will be on the November 2020 ballot.

Under the proposed bill, taxpayers will be subject to a 40% tax rate of all transfers, same as the federal rate. There will be a credit for transfer taxes paid to the federal government to avoid double taxation. But where the federal basic exclusion amount for each type of transfer is $11,400,000 and is adjusted for inflation, the California exclusion amount will only be $3,500,000 and will not be adjusted for inflation. Among several of the issues and complexities that accompany the bill, with a full credit for federal transfer taxes, only estates between $3,500,000 and $11,400,000 will be subject to the California tax. Essentially, an estate of a Californian worth $100,000,000 would pay the same California estate tax as someone with an estate of $11,400,000. There is also no marital deduction in the current draft, but this is most likely an oversight and should be resolved.

All of the monies generated from the bill, including the transfer taxes themselves, interest, and penalties would fund the proposed Children’s Wealth and Opportunity Building Fund, which will fund programs to help address socio-economic inequality.

See California Estate Tax: Gone Today, Here Tomorrow?, National Law Review, April 4, 2019.

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

April 16, 2019 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax, Gift Tax, New Legislation, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 21, 2019

ING Trusts: The Hot Trend in HNW Estate Planning

TrustsThe tax reforms reflected in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act continue to influence high net-work clients, especially the increased estate tax exemption, which at the moment is temporary until 2026. Incomplete Non-Grantor trusts, or ING trusts, can generate significant savings both in income taxes and in overall transfer taxes, meaning that it can be worthy to explore the ING trust strategy.

Central to the ING trust strategy is the presence of an “adverse party or parties" that have the ability to control the distributions of the trust to its beneficiaries. The parties can often include the creator of the trust or even the adult children of the creator. In many states - except New York - ING trusts enjoy reduced income taxes or even no state income tax at all. ING trusts are usually created in states that do not tax trust assets regardless of where the client lives.

Both the proposed and final Section 199A regulations complicate many non-grantor trust strategies by adding a new provision that requires aggregation of two or more trusts in certain circumstances. This is generally required when the trusts have substantially the came beneficiaries or grantors. For tax saving purposes, ING trusts will be most valuable to clients who have multiple natural beneficiaries who can each serve as beneficiary of one trust.

See Robert Bloink and William H. Byrnes, ING Trusts: The Hot Trend in HNW Estate Planning, Think Advisor, February 13, 2019.

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

February 21, 2019 in Current Affairs, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax, Gift Tax, New Legislation, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, January 17, 2019

CLE on The Probate Process From Start to Finish

CLEThe National Business Institute is holding a conference entitled, The Probate Process From Start to Finish, on Tuesday, March 26, 2019 at the Embassy Suites by Hilton in Portland, Maine. Provided below is a description of the event.

Program Description
Your Fundamental Guide to Probate
So your client wants you to handle a probate case - do you know where to start? Do you know the proper procedures to use, as well as the law? At this seminar, our experienced faculty will give you detailed, step-by-step information to confidently and ably navigate the system. Gain the confidence you need to reach a favorable outcome for your client when litigating in probate court. Enroll today!
Get a step-by-step walkthrough of a probate case complete with practice tips from seasoned practitioners.
Implement a complete estate timetable in order to know what needs to be done - and when.
Effectively guide the executor and the administrator through their various duties.
Avoid problems arising from creditors' claims and insolvency with our powerful strategies.
Know the secrets to confidently handling a spouse's elective share.
Forestall disagreements between beneficiaries: adhere to the guidelines of precedence in case of intestacy.
Get results for your client! Explore successful strategies for litigating in probate court.
Follow thorough closing procedures so accounting is complete before distribution takes place.

Who Should Attend
This basic level seminar will provide those who have limited probate experience with tips on successfully handling a probate case. This comprehensive seminar will benefit:
Attorneys
Paralegals
Accountants
Tax preparers
Trust officers
Financial planners
Estate planners

Course Content
Taking the First Step: Filing an Estate in Probate Court
Understanding the Role of the Personal Representative in Probate
Managing the Inventory
Administering the Estate Effectively
Maintaining an Ethical Balance in Probate Practice
Determining if Spouse's Elective Share is a Reasonable Option
Uncovering the Laws of Intestacy and How They May Apply
Litigating the Case in Probate Court
Putting the Case to Rest: Closing the Estate

January 17, 2019 in Conferences & CLE, Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax, Gift Tax, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Spinning Straw into Gold: Modifying Irrevocable Trusts

TrustsIrrevocable trusts have been part of estate planning for years. They have been used for a variety of purposes, such as to remove assets from a person's estate in order to reduce taxes, to protect assets from creditors, and to provide management of assets for beneficiaries. Historically, these trusts could run for perhaps 100 years or so, but often terminated much earlier than that. More recently, many states have eliminated or modified their laws so as to allow trusts to run forever, or at least for periods that are, for all practical purposes, forever. In addition, creditor protection has become much more important to some persons given the litigious nature of our society. The larger generation-skipping tax exemption has also fueled an increased interest in keeping assets in trust to avoid future taxes. Thus, there are now many more trusts that will run for very long periods than used to be the case.

Many clients wish to have the benefits of an irrevocable trust but do not like the idea that the trust is actually irrevocable. Estate planners have also sought ways to modify trusts that are irrevocable as a result of changed circumstances or because the planner's client is the beneficiary who objects to the terms of the trust. In response to this, state laws have been evolving over time to permit changes to what were once instruments that could not be modified. These changes raise several issues, both legal and otherwise.

For fiduciaries, this brave new world can be a minefield, exposing the fiduciary to possible litigation for making, or perhaps for not making, a change that state law now permits.

See Sarah Change & Scott Bieber, Spinning Straw into Gold: Modifying Irrevocable Trusts, ThompsonCoburn.com, January 8, 2019.

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

January 15, 2019 in Articles, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax, Gift Tax, Income Tax, New Legislation, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 24, 2018

CLE on Estate Planning and Administration: The Complete Guide

CLEThe National Business Institute is holding a conference entitled, Estate Planning and Administration: The Complete Guide, on Wednesday, January 23, 2019 - Thursday, January 24, 2019, at the Hilton Garden Inn San Diego Mission Valley/Stadium in San Diego, California. Provided below is a description of the event.

Program Description
Find Out How Key Estate Planning Tools are Drafted and Implemented


Every client's estate is unique in its assets composition, family dynamics and future needs, but all are ruled by the same principles and are subject to the same tax and legal limitations. In this comprehensive legal guide, experienced attorney faculty will guide you through the process of estate planning and administration and show you how to select the best trust instruments and wield them skillfully to avoid mistakes at probate. They will also teach you how to properly administer the estate and tackle potential mistakes of improperly drafted documents, changed circumstances and newly arising conflicts. Become fully prepared to protect your client's legacies - register today!


Get an update on the current tax regime and other key regulations.
Get the case off on the right foot with a thorough and thoughtful client intake.
Compare key trust structures and their effect on the grantor and beneficiary tax future burdens.
Help clients plan for and fund long-term care.
Ensure confidentiality before and after the client's death.
Get useful checklists for key dates and tasks in estate administration.
Clarify what can be distributed through non-probate transfers and how to do it correctly.
Explore creditor issues in estate administration and get trouble-shooting tips from the pros.
Find out how much planning can still be done after the client's passing.
Discuss the duties and powers of fiduciaries, their limits and real-life application.
Get tips for closing the estate to prevent future disputes.

Who Should Attend
This basic-to-intermediate level seminar on estate planning and administration is designed for:
Attorneys
Accountants and CPAs
Paralegals
Tax Managers
Trust Officers
Certified Financial Planners
Investment Advisers

Course Content
DAY 1: ESTATE PLANNING AND TRUST BASICS
Key Laws and Client Intake/Goal Setting
Planning for Long-Term Care and End-of-Life Decisions
Testamentary Documents - Drafting Do's and Don'ts
Common Trust Structures and When They're Used
Transfers During Life and Inter-Vivos Trusts
Tax Consequences of Trusts


DAY 2: PROBATE AND ESTATE ADMINISTRATION
Probate Process Overview
Marshalling Assets and Dealing with Creditors
Post-Mortem Tax Planning Options
Legal Ethics in Estate Practice
Trust Administration and Termination Basics
Closing the Estate

December 24, 2018 in Conferences & CLE, Current Events, Disability Planning - Property Management, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax, Gift Tax, Non-Probate Assets, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

CLE on Taxes in Estate Administration

CLEThe National Business Institute is holding a teleconference entitled, Taxes in Estate Administration, on Thursday, December 27, 2018, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Central. Provided below is a description of the event.

Program Description
Discover how to reduce tax burdens in estate administration
Gain practical tools for managing the tax liability of the decedent and the estate and learn how to accurately complete and properly file all the necessary returns to make certain the estate closing is on time. Clarify all deadlines and request extensions. Enhance your estate administration practices - register today!
Get an update on the current tax rates, exemptions and deductions.
Understand when and how to report the tax basis of assets in estate administration.
Learn when asset valuation is needed and how to conduct it properly.
Get practical tips for completing the decedent's and estate's income tax returns.
Find out how to claim portability for clients and tackle other estate, gift and GST tax issues.

Who Should Attend
This tax course is designed for attorneys. It will also benefit accountants, tax professionals, trust officers, estate planners, and paralegals.

Course Content

  • Current Tax Rates and Exemptions
  • Understanding Tax Basis and Step-Up at Administration
  • Tax Issues in Distribution to Minors and Trusts
  • Accurate and Inclusive Valuation of Assets
  • Decedent's Final Income Tax Returns: Forms, Deadlines, Filing, Supporting Docs
  • Estate's Income Tax Returns: Forms, Deadlines, Filing, Supporting Docs
  • Tax on Income Earned by Estate After Decedent's Death
  • Estate Tax: Portability, Elective Share, Disclaimers and More
  • How the Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax Affects the Estate and the Heirs
  • Sales of Real Property

December 11, 2018 in Conferences & CLE, Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax, Gift Tax, Income Tax, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Beating GST Tax with HEETs

GstFor the client that wishes to leave assets to their grandchildren, they are often hindered by the generation skipping transfer tax, or GST tax. This tax is the IRS's method of taxing this special type of transfers, but advisors and attorneys have their own method of assisting their clients with this predicament.

A Health and Education Exclusion Trust (HEET), as the name implies, can only pay for the medical and/or educational needs of the clients’ grandchildren and their descendants. But there is also another catch: one of the designated beneficiaries is required to be a charitable organization, and it is recommended to transfer 6-10% of the trust income to the charity annually. This stipulation allows the trust to be different than other generation-skipping trusts and  pass IRS scrutiny.

Unlike a 529 plan, a HEET can be used to fund education at any level, from kindergarten to graduate school. Though the trust cannot directly benefit the grandchild, it can do so by taking away this particular financial burden from the grandchild's parents. The trust can also pay insurance premiums, so another load off of a parent's shoulders.

See Beating GST Tax with HEETs, Wealth Counsel, October 26, 2018.

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

November 6, 2018 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 5, 2018

CLE on Estate Planning and Administration: The Complete Guide

CLEThe National Business Institute is holding a conference entitled, Estate Planning and Administration: The Complete Guide, on Wednesday, January 23, 2019 - Thursday, January 24, 2019 in San Diego, California. Provided below is a description of the event.

Program Description

Find Out How Key Estate Planning Tools are Drafted and Implemented

Every client's estate is unique in its assets composition, family dynamics and future needs, but all are ruled by the same principles and are subject to the same tax and legal limitations. In this comprehensive legal guide, experienced attorney faculty will guide you through the process of estate planning and administration and show you how to select the best trust instruments and wield them skillfully to avoid mistakes at probate. They will also teach you how to properly administer the estate and tackle potential mistakes of improperly drafted documents, changed circumstances and newly arising conflicts. Become fully prepared to protect your client's legacies - register today!

  • Get an update on the current tax regime and other key regulations.
  • Get the case off on the right foot with a thorough and thoughtful client intake.
  • Compare key trust structures and their effect on the grantor and beneficiary tax future burdens.
  • Help clients plan for and fund long-term care.
  • Ensure confidentiality before and after the client's death.
  • Get useful checklists for key dates and tasks in estate administration.
  • Clarify what can be distributed through non-probate transfers and how to do it correctly.
  • Explore creditor issues in estate administration and get trouble-shooting tips from the pros.
  • Find out how much planning can still be done after the client's passing.
  • Discuss the duties and powers of fiduciaries, their limits and real-life application.
  • Get tips for closing the estate to prevent future disputes.

Who Should Attend

This basic-to-intermediate level seminar on estate planning and administration is designed for:

  • Attorneys
  • Accountants and CPAs
  • Paralegals
  • Tax Managers
  • Trust Officers
  • Certified Financial Planners
  • Investment Advisers

Course Content

DAY 1: ESTATE PLANNING AND TRUST BASICS

  1. Key Laws and Client Intake/Goal Setting
  2. Planning for Long-Term Care and End-of-Life Decisions
  3. Testamentary Documents - Drafting Do's and Don'ts
  4. Common Trust Structures and When They're Used
  5. Transfers During Life and Inter-Vivos Trusts
  6. Tax Consequences of Trusts

DAY 2: PROBATE AND ESTATE ADMINISTRATION

  1. Probate Process Overview
  2. Marshalling Assets and Dealing with Creditors
  3. Post-Mortem Tax Planning Options
  4. Legal Ethics in Estate Practice
  5. Trust Administration and Termination Basics
  6. Closing the Estate

November 5, 2018 in Conferences & CLE, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax, Gift Tax, Income Tax, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 25, 2018

CLE on Tax Reform: The Big Changes You Need to Know

CLEThe National Business Institute is holding a video webcast entitled, Tax Reform: The Big Changes You Need to Know, on Thursday, November 15, 2018, at 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Central. Provided below is a description of the event:

Program Description

Don't Miss Out on This Critical Update!

The new tax law is the most significant change to the federal tax code in the past several decades, ushering in sweeping impacts for businesses and individuals alike. Do you know how it will impact your clients? How can you help clients take advantage of the new regime? Our seasoned faculty will detangle the tax changes and explore how you can apply them to your practice. Start planning now and help clients minimize their tax liability - register today!

  • Find out what we know about the tax code changes, as well as what the unexpected results may be.
  • Discover what businesses should do to adjust to the new tax law.
  • Learn what the new changes mean for real estate and buying and selling a business.
  • Delve into estate planning implications for high-net-worth individuals.
  • Find out what tax reform means for LLCs and other pass-through entities.
  • Explore the impacts of tax reform on families and average Americans.

Who Should Attend

This program is designed for attorneys. Accountants, paralegals and other professionals may also benefit.

Course Content

  1. Overview
  2. Individual Income Tax Provisions
  3. What Tax Reform Means for LLCs and Other Pass-Through Entities
  4. Corporate Tax Provisions
  5. The New Tax Law's Effects on Real Estate, and Buying and Selling a Business
  6. Estate, Gift and GST Tax Provisions
  7. Legal Ethics: Attorney Fiduciary Liability, Fraud and More

October 25, 2018 in Conferences & CLE, Current Affairs, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax, Gift Tax, Income Tax, New Legislation, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, October 13, 2018

CLE on Estate Planning: The Ultimate Guide

CLEThe National Business Institute is holding a webcast entitled, Estate Planning: The Ultimate Guide, on Tuesday, December 11, 2018, at 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Central. Provided below is a description of the event.

Program Description

Grow a Successful Estate Planning Practice

Are you ready to grow your own successful estate planning practice or looking for a practical refresher? This program will become your go-to guide. From client intake through will, trust and tax planning, you will receive tips, sample forms and answers to your most pressing questions to help you excel. Gain insight on everyday issues estate planning attorneys face - register today!

  • Learn how to clarify client goals and develop a sound estate planning strategy.
  • Get practical will and trust drafting skills to speed up the process and give the testator's last wishes power.
  • Explore the functions and mechanics of major trust structures - and make certain you choose the right tool for each job.
  • Walk through the basics of tax planning with simple and useful tips.
  • Give each provision full power with precise word choices - get sample forms to speed up the process.
  • Help your clients make the tough medical decisions regarding long-term care, end-of-life and organ donation.
  • Stave off conflicts of interest with a clear determination of who your client is from the start.

Who Should Attend

This program is designed for attorneys. It will also benefit estate planners, trust officers, accountants and CPAs, paralegals, and tax professionals.

Course Content

  1. CLIENT SCREENING AND INTAKE
  2. KEY ELEMENTS OF EFFECTIVE WILLS
  3. BASIC TAX PLANNING
  4. DOCUMENTING LONG-TERM CARE, INCAPACITY AND END-OF-LIFE DECISIONS
  5. TRUSTS 101
  6. WHO IS THE FIDUCIARY?
  7. ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS

Continuing Education Credit

Continuing Legal Education

Credit Hrs State
CLE 6.00 -  AK*
CLE 6.00 -  AL*
CLE 6.00 -  AR*
CLE 6.00 -  AZ*
CLE 6.00 -  CA*
CLE 7.00 -  CO*
CLE 6.00 -  CT*
CLE 6.00 -  DE*
CLE 7.00 -  FL*
CLE 6.00 -  GA*
CLE 6.00 -  HI*
CLE 6.00 -  IA*
CLE 6.00 -  ID*
CLE 6.00 -  IL*
CLE 6.00 -  IN*
CLE 7.00 -  KS*
CLE 6.00 -  KY*
CLE 6.00 -  LA*
CLE 6.00 -  ME*
CLE 6.00 -  MN*
CLE 7.20 -  MO*
CLE 6.00 -  MP
CLE 6.00 -  MS*
CLE 6.00 -  MT*
CLE 6.00 -  NC*
CLE 6.00 -  ND*
CLE 6.00 -  NE*
CLE 6.00 -  NH*
CLE 7.20 -  NJ*
CLE 6.00 -  NM*
CLE 6.00 -  NV*
CLE 7.00 -  NY*
CLE 6.00 -  OH*
CLE 7.00 -  OK*
CLE 6.00 -  OR
CLE 6.00 -  PA*
CLE 7.00 -  RI*
CLE 6.00 -  SC*
CLE 6.00 -  TN*
CLE 6.00 -  TX*
CLE 6.00 -  UT*
CLE 6.00 -  VA*
CLE 6.00 -  VT*
CLE 6.00 -  WA*
CLE 7.00 -  WI*
CLE 7.20 -  WV*
CLE 6.00 -  WY*

Continuing Professional Education for Accountants

Credit Hrs State
CPE for Accountants 7.00 -  AZ
CPE for Accountants 7.00 -  NY*
CPE for Accountants 7.00 -  WA
CPE for Accountants 7.00 -  WI

 * denotes specialty credits

October 13, 2018 in Conferences & CLE, Current Affairs, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax, Gift Tax, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)