Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Monday, November 12, 2018

Discussing the Issue of Aging Parents

DinnerThe recent changes in the tax law may induce several families to bring up the uncomfortable topic of aging parents this holiday season. But these types of conversations can offset the possibility of any unpleasant surprises in the future.

The decision will ultimately be up to the parents, but even if children are to be the ones that bring up the subject, preparation and research should be done beforehand. Durable power of attorney, health care agent and executor are all positions that have certain responsibilities and requirements. Each one should be discussed with family members or close friends, or if those parties are not acceptable (or they decline), other arrangements should be considered.

A frank discussion of parental assets may make it easier for children to understand the overall planning objectives and decision-making process. An understanding of parental assets can also help with long and short term planning, ranging from tax strategies and charitable giving to options in the event of a long-term care illness. The increase in the standard deduction many people will no longer itemize deductions, and the increased federal estate tax exemption of $11,180,000 may make some charitable donations obsolete - for tax benefit purposes. Beneficiaries may also benefit from a step-up basis for highly appreciated assets, thus saving in capital-gains taxes.

See Kristin Shirahama, Discussing the Issue of Aging Parents, Financial Advisor, November 6, 2018.

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

November 12, 2018 in Current Affairs, Disability Planning - Health Care, Disability Planning - Property Management, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Gift Tax, New Legislation, Wills | 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)

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Article on The Social Meaning of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

Tax actLinda Sugin recently published an Article entitled, The Social Meaning of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Tax Law: Tax Law & Policy eJournal (2018). Provided below is an abstract of the Article.

This Essay exposes the moral messages implicit in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). It argues that the legislation reflects values that were not openly debated or discussed in the legislative process, but are crucial to the distributional effects of the law. The TCJA reduces progressivity and increases deficits because it favors traditional families, prefers capital to labor income, treats people as detached from each other, makes charity the narrow concern of the rich, and privileges the acquisition of assets. Fairness in taxation depends on explicitly identifying social values that produce economic justice and purposely designing the law to achieve fairness

October 30, 2018 in Articles, Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Gift Tax, New Legislation, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Gift Tax Return Trap and How to Avoid it

IrsEven though the gift and tax exemption was increased drastically in 2018 to almost $11.2, it does not mean that a person that does not have a large estate should not file a gift tax return. The annual tax exclusion is $15,000 per beneficiary before it starts to count against a person's lifetime exemption. The Internal Revenue Service can still impose a penalty for not filing the gift tax return at all, even in the case of not being close to the annual exclusion for a particular year or having an estate valued well below the exemption.

Gifts above the annual gift tax exclusion amount made during the year generally must be reported on Form 709. The gifts might not be taxed, because of the lifetime gift tax exclusion. But the gifts reduce the lifetime exclusion and must be reported so the IRS can track your use of the lifetime exclusion amount. When the gift is a joint gift from a married couple, each spouse must file a tax return to show that they consented to the gift.

How would the IRS know about gifts if a person never files a gift tax return when they made a gift? The agency began clamping down on unfiled gift tax returns by searching for gifts that should have been reported, both during a person's lifetime and through an audit of an estate after a person's death.

See Bob Carlson, The Gift Tax Return Trap and How to Avoid it, Forbes, October 23, 2018.

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

October 30, 2018 in Current Affairs, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Gift Tax, New Legislation, 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)

Monday, October 15, 2018

How to Incorporate Philanthropic Giving into Your Estate Plan

Charity2Philanthropy is often considered in estate planning for tax purposes, but it does not have to be. Philanthropic giving can be a great marker for your legacy, and a guiding light for your children and other generations.

The first step is deciding which cause or set of causes is meaningful to you and your family and knowing how many causes or organizations you can afford to donate to. What issues in your community concern you? What do you worry about for future generations? And, how do you wish to be remembered?

Once you and your family realize the causes that are most dear, the next step is to identify the type of assets they you are willing to donate. All organization typically accept cash donations, some more-sophisticated charities can accept other financial and physical assets, such as privately-held securities, real estate and even artwork.

The final step is to identify the method of donation. You can make charitable gifts in your will but you may not realize all of the tax benefits that other methods potentially provide. Donor-advised funds and community foundations allow many options in terms of the assets you can donate and the charities you can support, but you may have to give up part of the control of dictating how your gifts are directed.

No matter your motivations for giving, philanthropy can be simultaneously personally fulfilling and financially beneficial, while allowing you and your family to leave a legacy that reflects your passions, values and priorities.

See Catherine Schnaubelt, How to Incorporate Philanthropic Giving into Your Estate Plan, Forbes, October 11, 2018.

October 15, 2018 in Estate Planning - Generally, Gift Tax, 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, October 1, 2018

Projected 2019 Tax Rates, Brackets, Standard Deduction Amounts and More

IrsInflation and cost-of-living adjustments are routinely included in tax legislation, thus the reason there are changes every year to standard deduction amounts, federal gift tax exemptions, and others. Because a higher consumer price index pushes the brackets upward and increases the standard deduction and exemption amounts, the taxes due on the same income will decrease.

Capital gains rates will not change for 2019 but the break points for the rates will change.

Personal exemptions used to further decrease your taxable income before you determined your tax. A person was generally allowed one exemption for themselves, but under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act there will not be a personal exemption for 2019. But standard deductions were typically doubled for many taxpayers for 2018, and with inflation, the standard deductions are projected to be increased for next year.

For more tax predictions, refer to the article.

See Kelly Phillips Erb, Projected 2019 Tax Rates, Brackets, Standard Deduction Amounts and More, Forbes, September 14, 2018.

 

October 1, 2018 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Gift Tax, Income Tax, New Legislation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

CLE on 2018 Tax Updates for Trusts and Estates

CLEThe National Business Institute is holding a webinar entitled, 2018 Tax Updates for Trusts and Estates , on Monday, December 17, 2018, at 9:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Central. Provided below is a description of the event:

Program Description

The Latest Information and Tools to Minimize Clients' Tax Burdens

This incisive course will get you up to speed on the year's developments in estate planning and asset protection tax laws so you can make tactical decisions and provide cutting-edge representation. Let our esteemed faculty guide you through ongoing legislative developments, key laws and rulings so you can enhance your tax planning strategy and ensure compliant returns - register today!

  • Review the latest developments in federal estate, gift, GST and income tax laws and regulations.
  • Gain summaries of the most important court rulings of the year - and understand how they impact your practice.
  • Get ahead of the game: discover how you can prepare yourself for changes that are just on the horizon.

Who Should Attend

This essential update is for attorneys. Accountants, tax professionals, wealth managers, trust administrators/officers and paralegals will also benefit.

Course Content

  1. TCJA Update: Unpacking Its Many Practical Implications
  2. IRS Tax Forms and Procedures Updates
  3. Current IRS Guidance and Enforcement Initiatives
  4. Federal and State Case Rulings to Keep an Eye on
  5. Looking Ahead

Continuing Education Credit

Continuing Legal Education

Credit Hrs State
CLE 3.00 -  AK
CLE 3.00 -  AL
CLE 3.00 -  AR
CLE 3.00 -  AZ
CLE 3.00 -  CA
CLE 4.00 -  CO
CLE 3.00 -  CT
CLE 3.00 -  DE
CLE 3.50 -  FL*
CLE 3.00 -  GA
CLE 3.00 -  HI
CLE 3.00 -  IA
CLE 3.00 -  ID
CLE 3.00 -  IL
CLE 3.00 -  IN
CLE 3.50 -  KS
CLE 3.00 -  KY
CLE 3.00 -  LA
CLE 3.00 -  ME
CLE 3.00 -  MN
CLE 3.60 -  MO
CLE 3.00 -  MP
CLE 3.00 -  MS
CLE 3.00 -  MT
CLE 3.00 -  NC
CLE 3.00 -  ND
CLE 3.00 -  NE
CLE 3.00 -  NH
CLE 3.60 -  NJ
CLE 3.00 -  NM
CLE 3.00 -  NV
CLE 3.50 -  NY*
CLE 3.00 -  OH
CLE 3.50 -  OK
CLE 3.00 -  OR
CLE 3.00 -  PA
CLE 3.50 -  RI
CLE 3.00 -  SC
CLE 3.00 -  TN
CLE 3.00 -  TX*
CLE 3.00 -  UT
CLE 3.00 -  VA
CLE 3.00 -  VT
CLE 3.00 -  WA
CLE 3.50 -  WI
CLE 3.60 -  WV
CLE 3.00 -  WY

Continuing Professional Education for Accountants

Credit Hrs State
CPE for Accountants 3.50 -  AZ
CPE for Accountants 3.50 -  NY*
CPE for Accountants 3.50 -  WA
CPE for Accountants 3.00 -  WI

 * denotes specialty credits

September 26, 2018 in Conferences & CLE, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Gift Tax, Income Tax, New Legislation, 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)