Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

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)

Monday, September 24, 2018

CLE on New Tax Basis Reporting Requirements in Estate Administration

CLEThe National Business Institute is holding a teleconference entitled, New Tax Basis Reporting Requirements in Estate Administration, on Wednesday, November 7, 2018, at 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 pm. Central. Provided below is a description of the event:

Program Description

Are You Following the New Tax Rules?

The way tax basis of assets is reported during estate administration has changed. Are you confident in your knowledge of the basis consistency rules to ensure every estate is administered correctly? Clarify the new rules and get practical tax-saving tips from experienced faculty - register today!

  • Compare the new basis consistency rules and the old law.
  • Adopt your tax planning and reporting practices to reflect the new requirements.
  • Determine what asset valuation method to use for basis reporting purposes.

Who Should Attend

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

Course Content

  • New Basis Consistency Rules vs. the Old Law
  • What Executors/Personal Representatives Need to Know NOW
  • New Information That Must be Included
  • Valuation of the Assets for Basis Reporting Purposes
  • Reporting to Beneficiaries

Continuing Education Credit

Continuing Legal Education

Credit Hrs State
CLE 1.50 -  AK
CLE 1.50 -  AL
CLE 1.50 -  AR
CLE 1.50 -  AZ
CLE 1.50 -  CA*
CLE 1.50 -  CO
CLE 1.50 -  CT
CLE 1.50 -  DE
CLE 2.00 -  FL*
CLE 1.50 -  GA
CLE 1.50 -  HI
CLE 1.50 -  IA
CLE 1.50 -  ID
CLE 1.50 -  IL
CLE 1.50 -  IN
CLE 1.50 -  KS
CLE 1.50 -  KY
CLE 1.50 -  LA
CLE 1.50 -  ME
CLE 1.50 -  MN
CLE 1.80 -  MO
CLE 1.50 -  MP
CLE 1.50 -  MS
CLE 1.50 -  MT
CLE 1.50 -  NC
CLE 1.50 -  ND
CLE 1.50 -  NE
CLE 1.50 -  NH
CLE 1.80 -  NJ
CLE 1.50 -  NM
CLE 1.50 -  NV
CLE 1.50 -  NY*
CLE 1.50 -  OH
CLE 2.00 -  OK
CLE 1.50 -  OR
CLE 1.50 -  PA
CLE 1.50 -  RI
CLE 1.50 -  SC
CLE 1.50 -  TN
CLE 1.50 -  TX
CLE 1.50 -  UT
CLE 1.50 -  VA
CLE 1.50 -  VT
CLE 1.50 -  WA
CLE 1.50 -  WI
CLE 1.80 -  WV
CLE 1.50 -  WY

Continuing Professional Education for Accountants

Credit Hrs State
CPE for Accountants 1.50 -  AZ
CPE for Accountants 1.50 -  NY
CPE for Accountants 1.50 -  WA
CPE for Accountants 1.50 -  WI

Financial Planners – Financial Planners: 1.50

National Association of State Boards of Accountancy – CPE for Accountants/NASBA: 1.50 *

* denotes specialty credits

September 24, 2018 in Conferences & CLE, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax, Gift Tax, Income Tax, New Legislation, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 10, 2018

Top 10 Estate Planning Mistakes We See and How to Avoid Them

Top10The authors decided to explain 10 estate planning mistakes instead of focusing on one. Explaining each mistake facially rather than diving in depth may make it easier for many to distinguish the errors they are making in their own estate plans.

  • Joint Accounts.
    • The presumption of a joint account is that the funds will belong to the other owner once the first owner passes away, which may have not been their intent. A power of attorney registered for the account is a more viable option.
  • I Love You Wills.
    • Though the gift and estate exemption is portable, the generation skipping transfer (GST) tax is not, and the spouse that inherits all of the deceased's assets may not be able to transfer assets tax free to the next generation.
  • Receiving an Inheritance Outright.
    • Inheriting through a trust may be able to solve a slew of issues, from benefit qualifications to creditors.
  • Failing to Update Beneficiary Designations.
    • For assets that do not pass through a will or trust, updating beneficiary designations are a must. Change occur in a lifetime, and the designations have the ability to reflect that.
  • Naming an Estate as Beneficiary of an IRA or Qualified Retirement Plan Benefit.
    • A preference is to generally afford clients this flexibility by naming a revocable trust as beneficiary instead.
  • Failing to Title Out of State Real Estate to a Revocable Trust.
    • An ancillary probate can be avoided in the other state if the real estate is owned by a client’s revocable trust, rather than in the client’s name.
  • Not Considering a Roth IRA Conversion.
    • If an individual does not plan to use all of the funds in their IRA, converting to a Roth IRA can be beneficial to pass on to heirs and compound their funds tax-free.
  • Delaying Large Charitable Gifts Until Death.
    • It is usually better for clients to make significant gifts to charity during their lifetimes rather than wait until their deaths.
  • Gifting Highly Appreciated Assets During Lifetime.
    • This can avoid the step-up basis for capital gains for heirs or beneficiaries.
  • Failure to Create an Estate Plan.
    • This is the number one mistake, and truly everybody needs an estate plan.

See Rebecca Rosenberger Smolen and Amy Neifeld Shkedy, Top 10 Estate Planning Mistakes We See and How to Avoid Them, The Legal Intelligencer, September 4, 2018.

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

September 10, 2018 in Current Affairs, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)