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

9 Ways to Gift Your Assets to Charity

Charity1Donating to charity can be done for a multitude of reasons: giving back to society, tax saving, creating or extending a family legacy, or standing behind a specific cause or foundation. Whatever the purpose behind the giving, it is important to understand the various ways you can give to maximize impact while reaping the applicable benefits.

Here are a number of avenues to donate your assets to charity.

  1. Outright Gifts of Cash, Securities and Real Estate
    • This is the easiest way, and the majority of charities accept this method.
  2. Giving Tangibles
    • Art and other collectibles are governed by different rules, and many charities may not be equipped to accept the gifts. If the organization is able to accept the gifts, the associated income tax deduction also depends on other factors.
  3. Charitable Gift Annuity
    • This arrangement is part charitable gift, part purchase of an annuity contract with a term equal to the life of the donor.
  4. Donor-Advised Funds
    • DAFs are accounts set up within a charitable organization, and the donor contributes personal assets to the account where the contribution can be invested and grow tax-free until a grant is made to a qualified charity.
  5. Retained Life Estate
    • The donor can gift a home, farm, or other form of property to a charitable organization but retain a life estate. When the donor dies, the property passes to the charity.
  6. Family Foundations
    • Foundations require significant administrative oversight, and the average person may not be able to create one. For those clients than can create a foundation, they can maintain complete control and pass that control on to others.
  7. Charitable Remainder Trust
    • This is an irrevocable trust where the grantor or other non-charity receives a certain stream of income during the term of the trust, then the remainder passes to a charitable organization when the trust ceases to exist.
  8. Charitable Lead Trust
    • This is an irrevocable trust where a charity or charities receive a certain amount during the term of the trust, then the remainder passes to the donor's heirs and the culmination of the trust.
  9. Charitable LLC
    • This is a new method, and is governed by applicable state corporate law. The LLC is not tax-exempt, but the income tax liability as well as deductions and losses are passed through.

See Catherine Schnaubelt , 9 Ways to Gift Your Assets to Charity, Forbes, January 9, 2019.

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

January 15, 2019 in Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Gift Tax, Income Tax, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

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)

Friday, January 11, 2019

Article on Fiduciary Litigation in Louisiana: Litigation Against the Mandatary (Agent), Executor, and Trustee

LsuElizabeth Ruth Carter recently published an Article entitled, Fiduciary Litigation in Louisiana: Litigation Against the Mandatary (Agent), Executor, and Trustee, Wills, Trusts, & Estates Law eJournal (2018). Provided below is an abstract of the Article. 

These materials were created and presented in connection with LSU's annual Estate Planning Seminar. The paper explores the various types of fiduciary litigation in Louisiana that arises in the estate planning and administration setting. The paper considers the various types of actions and remedies available, the types of proceedings, and the parties with standing.

January 11, 2019 in Articles, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Gift Tax, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Where Not to Die in 2019

TaxlawThough the estate tax exemption now only applies to the wealthiest of individuals, there are still 17 states and D.C. that impose state either an state tax or an inheritance on their citizens. Some states apply the tax for all estates, some are only for larger estates. Maryland is the only state that applies both taxes. Several states rebelled when the exemption increased drastically, and have their own amounts far below the federal level. If you are in a state that has a minimum and you are nearing the cliff of having to pay out, proper estate planning is vital.

In New York state, individuals can make deathbed gifts starting in 2019 without the assets being applied toward the decedent's estate. The exclusion amount in New York is $5.47 million, approximately half of what the increased federal estate tax exemption is under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. So to stay under the exemption amount, a New Yorker no longer has to gift items three years out - in can be at the time of their demise.

Connecticut is the one state that could potentially have an exemption amount that’s higher than the federal exclusion amount—in 2026. For 2019, it’s set at $3.6 million, then scheduled to increase to $5.1 million in 2020, $7.1 million in 2021, $9.1 million in 2022, and to match the federal exemption amount in 2023.

See Ashlea Ebeling, Where Not to Die in 2019, Forbes, December 12, 2018.

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

January 8, 2019 in Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Gift Tax, New Legislation, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Big Changes in Tax Law: New Rates Likely to Affect Everyone

TaxesThough having to pay taxes is a constant of life, the particulars of the tax law changes with every year. 

“The biggest tax law change in 30 years is in effect for 2018. Everyone, whether their tax situation is simple or complex will be impacted,” says ENJ Financial Tax Manager Whitney Gum, CPA. The major changes are larger brackets and a drop in rates, meaning the same taxable income last year will be at a lower rate.

Some itemized deductions may be limited, but could include medical expenses, state and local taxes, mortgage interest and donations to charities. The local and state tax deductions have a cap at $10,000, and corporate tax rate has decreased to a flat 21%.

“Another huge change, is the implementation of the Qualified Business Income Deduction (QBID),” Gum said. “This is a 20% deduction equal to the amount of qualified business income of sole proprietorships, partnerships, and S corporations. This is an area where planning is very important to make sure the taxpayer is receiving the maximum benefit of this deduction.”

See Dawnita Fogleman, Big Changes in Tax Law: New Rates Likely to Affect Everyone, Woodward News, January 1, 2019.

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

January 6, 2019 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Gift Tax, Income Tax, New Legislation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 27, 2018

CLE on Planning Techniques for Larges Estates

CLEThe American Law Institute is holding a conference entitled, Planning Techniques for Larges Estates, on Wednesday - ‎Friday, ‎April ‎3 - ‎5, 2019 at the Hilton Resort & Villas in Scottsdale, Arizona. Provided below is a description of the event.

Why You Should Attend
A successful planning strategy for high-net-worth clients involves advanced estate planning techniques that minimizes taxes, protects assets and preserves wealth. Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to keep up to date on the most innovative wealth transfer strategies from a faculty of leading large estate planners and tax experts!

Here’s what past course attendees have said:

"Very good speakers and content. The lunches provided easy networking opportunities."

"Excellent and substantive as usual, thank you for a great program!"

"Very well presented and the written materials will be useful."

"Wonderful program. Learned a lot. Will take it again in the future."

What You Will Learn
Attend this highly-rated course and get the latest sophisticated planning strategies specifically for large estates. Learn, network, and strategize with your peers and a highly experienced faculty of trust and estate practitioners from across the country. Each panel provides real examples and practical applications that will help you develop a plan for your clients to efficiently transfer wealth to their heirs and favorite charities, protect their family and businesses, grow assets, and minimize taxes.

This year’s estate planning and strategic wealth transfer topics include:

Sales to IDITs, GRATs, etc.
Life Insurance as a integral part of a well thought-out estate plan
Best way to pass assets using GST
Incorporating trusts into retirement plans
Advantages of charitable giving
Using entitites in estate planning

December 27, 2018 in Conferences & CLE, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Gift Tax, Income Tax, Trusts, Wills | 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)

Saturday, December 22, 2018

CLE on Advanced Estate Planning Practice Update: Winter 2019

CLEThe American Law Institute is holding a webcast entitled, Advanced Estate Planning Practice Update: Winter 2019, on Tuesday, February 12, 2019, at 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Eastern. Provided below is a description of the event.

Why You Should Attend
Join us in February to see why attorneys across the country tune in for this must-attend program three times a year!

This popular, advanced program covers significant recent developments and how they affect estate planning practice. Featuring a nationally renowned faculty of estate planning lawyers, as well as Professor Jeffrey N. Pennell, this webcast is designed for sophisticated practitioners who need to stay up-to-date on changes in the field!

What You Will Learn
This unique program captures late-breaking important opinions and legislative and regulatory developments, as determined by the faculty at the time of the presentation. Check back here in January for a list of the topics we anticipate addressing.

In addition to superb teaching, a favorite feature of past registrants is the comprehensive outline that all registrants get ahead of the program. It provides summaries written by the faculty on every topic discussed during the program, in the order in which it is addressed!

Who Should Attend
Experienced estate planning attorneys, trust administrators, and financial and tax professionals who provide guidance and strategies for transferring wealth and reducing estate taxes should attend this accredited CLE on advanced estate planning developments.

December 22, 2018 in Conferences & CLE, Current Affairs, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Gift Tax, Non-Probate Assets, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

CLE on Capital Gains and Income Tax Planning for Trusts, Estates, and Grantors

CLEThe National Business Institute is holding a webcast entitled, Capital Gains and Income Tax Planning for Trusts, Estates, and Grantors, on Tuesday, January 12, 2019, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. Central. Provided below is a description of the event.

Program Description
Minimize Key Tax Burdens for Your Clients
Since the virtual elimination of estate tax considerations from estate planning, the main focus has shifted to income and capital gains tax planning. This practical legal course offers you essential strategies to advise clients on NIIT, trust income taxation and capital gains tax saving. Register today!
Explore effective approaches to making the best use of the basis step-up.
Tackle NIIT planning head on.
Adopt practical strategies for minimizing the capital gains tax burden.

Who Should Attend
This legal guide is designed for attorneys. It will also benefit accountants, trust officers, estate planners, wealth managers, investment advisers, tax professionals, and paralegals.

Course Content
Capital Gains Tactics
Basis Step-Up Strategies
Income Tax Planning Techniques for Individuals and Estates
Planning to Mitigate Tax on Net Investment Income/Passive Activities
Trust Income Taxation Tactics
Planning with and for Closely Held Businesses

December 18, 2018 in Conferences & CLE, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Gift Tax, Income Tax, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)