Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

CLE on Current Developments in Estate and Tax Planning 2019

CLEThe National Business Institute is holding a webcast entitled, Current Developments in Estate and Tax Planning 2019, on Thursday, December 5, 2019 at 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Provided below is a description of the event.

Why You Should Attend

Do you want to provide your estate planning clients with the best possible advice going into the new year? Are you up-to-date on the most significant developments to have come out of 2019? Set aside just 90 minutes to gain valuable insights on emerging trends in estate and tax planning, and learn how the newest cases, IRS guidance, and proposed regulations will impact your practice and your clients’ estate plans.

What You Will Learn

The faculty, all Fellows of The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and highly-experienced estate and tax planning practitioners, anticipate discussing:

• Inflation adjustments
• IRS Priority Guidance Plan
• Court decisions of significance, including: Kress, Jones, Dieringer, Kaestner / Fielding
• Presidential candidate proposals
• SECURE Act
• Anti-clawback regulations
• Estate and gift tax proposed legislation
• Uniform basis PLRs
• PLR on §1041 & grantor trusts
• Regulations on 170 SALT limitation workaround
• IRS Chief Counsel Advice on high/low trading prices

Additional breaking topics may be added as we get closer to the date of the program.

All registrants will receive a set of downloadable course materials to accompany the program.

Who Should Attend

Estate planners and other related professionals will benefit from this CLE on estate and tax planning developments jointly offered by the ALI CLE and ACTEC.

November 13, 2019 in Conferences & CLE, Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Gift Tax, New Cases, New Legislation, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 3, 2019

CLE on 45th Annual Trust and Estate Conference at USC Gould School of Law

CLEThe University of Southern California Gould School of Law is holding a conference entitled, 45th Annual Trust and Estate Conference, on Friday, November 22, 2019 at The Westin Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles, California. Provided below is a description of the event.

why attend?

High-Quality Education

For over 40 years, USC Gould’s Trust and Estate Conference has provided high-quality continuing education customized for trust, estate planning, probate and elder law professionals.

Practical and Realistic Solutions

The Conference has a proven track record of teaching practical and realistic solutions to everyday and unexpected problems in estate planning, trust administration, probate, trust and estate litigation, elder law and client relationships. Speakers often share “howto” techniques and forms used in their practices.

Unrivaled Networking

Over 500 of your peers registered for the Conference last year for an unrivaled networking and learning opportunity from both the speakers and your professional colleagues.

who should attend?

The Conference is specially tailored for trust, estate planning, probate and elder law professionals including attorneys, paralegals, trust officers, accountants, financial institution executives, private professional fiduciaries, wealth management professionals, fiduciary officers, underwriters and insurance advisors.

what’s included?

Registration includes all sessions, continental breakfast, networking breaks, luncheon presentation, continuing education credit, and print and downloadable copies of the practical Conference Syllabus including the popular Resource Guide, a Trust and Estate Professional Directory covering Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties.

Free WiFi and an Event App will also be available for attendees at the Conference!

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

October 3, 2019 in Conferences & CLE, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax, Gift Tax, New Cases, New Legislation, Non-Probate Assets, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Old Estate Plans May be Harmful to Your Health

WillThe main reason that many people do not update their estate plan or will is because they believe that "nothing has changed" in their lives. The passing of time may seem monotonous, but it is still unlikely that an event has not occurred that alters some aspect of your life, no matter how small. Even if you still do not believe that anything has overtly changed in your realm, the tax laws may have still changed. If you have not looked at your estate plan since the 2017 Tax Cuts and Job Act overhaul, you may be shocked to see that "everything" may have changed.

Here are a few other things that may trigger a change in your estate plan, even if you did not think so on the face:

  • Marriage, either yours or an heir/beneficiary
  • Death of an heir/beneficiary or other person named in documents
  • Birth/adoption of a new child or grandchild
  • Move to a new state
  • Significant change in economic situation
  • Change in jobs (make bring changes in beneficiary designations)
  • Change in wishes
  • Health issues that are new, worsening or even getting better
  • Change in relationship with anyone named in documents
  • New lawsuit or resolution of a lawsuit
  • Change in life insurance policies
  • Change in state laws that could effect any aspect of your estate plan

See Martin Shenkman, Old Estate Plans May be Harmful to Your Health, Forbes, September 27, 2019.

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

September 29, 2019 in Current Affairs, Disability Planning - Property Management, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Gift Tax, New Legislation, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Inflation Adjusted 2020 Figures Announced

IrsThe Internal Revenue Service has announced the inflation adjustments for the estate and gift tax exclusion, the generation-skipping transfer tax exemption, the gift tax exclusion and other estate planning rates for 2020.

  • The federal estate and gift tax exclusion amounts will increase by $180,000, from $11.4 million to $11.58 million.
  • The generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax exemption will also going to be $11,580,000.
  • The annual gift tax exclusion will remain the same at $15,000 per donor per donee per calendar year.
  • Trust and estate income tax rate brackets have also been released.
    • If income is less than $2,600, the tax is 10% of taxable income.
    • If income is over $2,600 but not over $9,450, the tax is $260 plus 24% of what is over $2,600.
    • If income is over $9,450 but not over $12,950, the tax is $1904 plus 35% of what is over $9,450.
    • The highest bracket comes in at amounts over $12,950, in which the tax is $3,129 plus 37% of the excess over $12,950.

See James V. Roberts, Inflation Adjusted 2020 Figures Announced, JamesVRoberts.com, September 25, 2019.

September 25, 2019 in Current Affairs, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax, Gift Tax, Income Tax, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (2)

Monday, September 23, 2019

For Noncitizen Spouses, Beware Estate and Gift Taxes

DeathtaxesOften times a couple can come in for a basic consultation that seems simple, but then a situation arises that has serious tax repercussions. For Sean Wilson, a senior director in the product and portfolio solutions and distribution area of TIAA Wealth Management in New York, one such couple dealt with a husband that was an American citizen while the wife was a French citizen.

Married couples that are both US citizens get to enjoy the benefit of the unlimited marital deduction, while a couple that has parties of different citizenships do not. Well, the American spouse can receive gifts from their spouse without fear of paying gift or estate taxes, but the noncitizen cannot. For those married to noncitizens, the maximum amount they can gift to their spouse tax-free each year is limited; in 2019 the cutoff is $155,000 and any gifts in excess of that require filing a gift tax return. At the death of the citizen spouse, estate taxes may come in to play. Because the noncitizen spouse does not qualify for the unlimited marital deduction, any amount that is over the federal exemption amount would be subject to federal estate tax.

Not all hope is lost, however, as there are some options to save a multi-citizenship couple from suffering from estate taxes. One is an irrevocable life insurance trust (ILIT), a type of living trust that's designed to hold a life insurance policy. The trust would be named the beneficiary, with the noncitizen spouse as the beneficiary of the trust, and the assets in the trust are not taxable. The other option is a qualified domestic trust (QDOT), a special kind of trust that allows surviving noncitizen spouses to take the full marital deduction on estate taxes. One trustee must be an American citizen or qualified domestic corporation.

See Ben Mattlin, For Noncitizen Spouses, Beware Estate and Gift Taxes, Financial Advisor, September 19, 2019.

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

September 23, 2019 in Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Gift Tax, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

CLE on Probate Process, Procedures and Documents: All the Forms and Checklists in One Place

CLEThe National Business Institute is holding a webcast entitled, Probate Process, Procedures and Documents: All the Forms and Checklists in One, on Tuesday, October 15, 2019 at 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM Central. Provided below is a description of the event.

Navigate Probate with Confidence

When the client is no longer there to make his or her voice heard, the task of interpreting his/her wishes to accurately settle the estate falls on your shoulders. Do you have all the tools you will need? This program will provide you with a comprehensive overview of the probate process, equipping you with the checklists, forms and documents you will need to guide your clients through each time-sensitive procedure. Learn what to do and when to do it, from the initial petition to the final accounting. Register today!

    • Don't miss a step - learn how to map out the entire probate process by utilizing a master checklist.
    • Examine the essential content of the initial petition and understand the procedure for filing it.
    • Receive practical tips on valuing and recording assets to be included in the estate inventory.
    • Handle creditor notices and responses.
    • Understand key provisions of trusts and their impact on the probate process.
    • Learn what must be included in the final accounting and review sample tax returns.

Who Should Attend

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

Course Content

    • Probate Process and Executor Duties: The Master Checklist with Deadlines
    • Wills: Key Provisions, Validity, Interpreting Unique Instructions
    • Initial Petition and Letters of Authority: Content and Procedure
    • Estate Inventory: Valuing and Recording Assets
    • Creditor Notices and Responses
    • Trusts: Key Provisions, Trustee Duties, and the Trust's Impact on Probate
    • Final Accounting: What Must and Should Be Included
    • TAX Returns and Schedules for the Estate and the Decedent: Forms, Deadlines, Exentions (With Sample Returns)
    • Estate Closing and Distributions: Notices of Proposed Action, Petition to Discharge the Fiduciary, and Other Key Documents
    • Ethical Practice Considerations and Concerns in Probate

September 17, 2019 in Conferences & CLE, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax, Gift Tax, Income Tax, Non-Probate Assets, Professional Responsibility, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

From Hobby to Investment: How to Plan for Collectibles in Your Estate

CollectiblecarCollectibles may start off as a hobby, then evolve into a passion that amasses quite the value. Here are a few tips to preserve your investment:

  • Avoid a Fire Sale: Don’t Let Taxes Catch Your Heirs by Surprise
    •  Talk with a estate planning professional to determine the best method of to reduce the tax burden of your collection, whether it be gifting during your life or at death.
  • Put It on Paper: What Do You Own, Where Is It, and How Much Is It Worth?
    •  It would be prudent to group authentication paperwork, records of purchases, and any information regarding the history of the item to establish its provenance (chain of ownership) altogether with your estate planning documents.
  • Have a Backup Plan: Who Will Protect Your Collection if You’re Not Able?
    • If you become incapacitated or otherwise unable to manage your own affairs, a power of attorney allows a designated person to act as your agent, ensuring your collection is handled according to your wishes
  • Share Your Passion: Does Your Family Know Why You Collect?
    •  Do not just pass along the collection itself - explain to your family why it is so important to you, why it is your passion.
  • Preserve Your Collection: Find an Executor Who Knows How to Maintain It
    •  Having an executor that understands the particulars of your collection is extremely important, especially since they may need to find experienced appraisers for the items.
  • Reduce Taxes: Leave Your Treasures in the Hands of a Deserving Charity
    • When loved ones simply do not share your enthusiasm for a collection, or it becomes impossible to divide it equitably, a better choice may be donating it to charity and leaving other assets to your heirs.
  • The Takeaway: To Preserve the Value of Your Collection, Think Ahead

See From Hobby to Investment: How to Plan for Collectibles in Your Estate, Fiduciary Trust, September 4, 2019.

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

September 17, 2019 in Disability Planning - Property Management, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Gift Tax, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Why You Should Change Your Will Now

WillIf you have made the adult decision to create a will, you have taken a step in the right direction. But even if you think that your estate is modest or you life has not changed much since you signed your will, it is still a good idea to review - just in case.

Federal laws regarding wills and estates are ever-changing, especially from one administration to another. State laws regarding inheritance and gift taxes can also be updated. You may have also written your will before a large promotion or before your parents died, leaving you a portion of their own estates. Often, parents want to protect their children from themselves. If your child is currently in a rebellious stage or not making the best choices, you may have to create a trust to ensure their assets are safe.

A person's estate plan should grow with them, and if you have not look at yours in a while, the time is now.

See Christine Fletcher, Why You Should Change Your Will Now, Forbes, August 27, 2019.

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

August 29, 2019 in Current Affairs, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Gift Tax, New Legislation, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Beware, the IRS is Eyeing Your Inherited Money

TaxlawThose that attained their wealth through inheritance are always on guard in case laws change that can affect their taxes. Two recently passed legislative measure may cause wealthy individuals an appropriate level of paranoia.

The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act of 2019 passed the House of Representatives almost unanimously, with a vote of 417-3. The Act says that its intention is to encourage more businesses to offer retirement plans and expand opportunities for workers to invest their retirement account funds. It increases the age that a person must take out required minimum distributions (RMDs) from their IRAs, from 70.5 to 72. All that sounds good, but here is the nefarious part: instead of using an IRS table to allow a beneficiary to drain an inherited IRA, non-spouse beneficiary must eliminate the IRAs funds within 10 years of the person's death.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act dramatically increased the federal gift and estate tax exemption, and each following year until 2026 will be adjusted for inflation. But the exemption is scheduled to revert back to the much-lower pre-TCJA level in 2026. What tax ramifications would there be for large gifts made during this time? Proposed IRS regulations issued late last year would provide some protection by stipulating that folks who make large gifts while the exemption is in place would not be penalized if the exemption reverts back.

See Beware, the IRS is Eyeing Your Inherited Money, Wealth Advisor, July 15, 2019.

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

August 11, 2019 in Current Affairs, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Gift Tax, New Legislation, Non-Probate Assets | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

5 Key Tax Questions for Buying a Vacation Home Abroad

BeachThe allure and prestige of purchasing a vacation home in a foreign land is easy to understand. But there are several tax questions that must be asked to determine if the purchase is a prudent one.

  • Will buying a vacation home in a foreign country impact my U.S. income taxes?
    •  As long as a vacation home is purchased in an individual capacity and is not used to produce rental income, it should not trigger U.S. income tax.
  • Is the mortgage interest on my foreign vacation home deductible?
    • Yes, interest on up to $750,000 of principal is deductible as long as the debt was used to “acquire, construct or substantially improve” a primary residence or one secondary home. After 2025, the principal amount jumps up to $1 million.
  • If I incur foreign real estate taxes, are they deductible?
    • As of right now no, but starting 2026, the itemized deduction for foreign real estate taxes is scheduled to return.
  • I have a U.S. will and testament. Will it sufficiently address the eventual transfer of my foreign home to family or friends?
    • Different countries can have very different estate planning laws, so it is best to work with a tax attorney and an advisor to possibly create a foreign estate plan.
  • Do I risk exposure to double taxation from a wealth transfer perspective?
    • The U.S. estate and gift tax calculation includes the value of all your assets, including real estate abroad. If those foreign countries also impose a gift or estate tax, there may very well be double taxation.

See 5 Key Tax Questions for Buying a Vacation Home Abroad, Northern Trust, June 13, 2019.

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

August 7, 2019 in Current Affairs, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Gift Tax, Travel, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)