Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Friday, November 9, 2018

CLE on Top Ten Estate Planning Techniques After the 2017 Tax Act

CLEThe New York City Bar is holding a conference and webcast entitled, Top Ten Estate Planning Techniques After the 2017 Tax Act, on Wednesday, November 14, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. at the New York City bar in New York City, New York. Provided below is a description of the event:

When attorneys meet with clients to discuss estate planning, there is an assortment of ideas that are considered, discussed, and presented to clients. This program covers the ten estate planning techniques that the speakers most frequently consider. The goal of the program is to discuss how each technique works, including some of the more pressing (or troublesome) technical considerations, who it works for, as well as the salient planning considerations. Some of the techniques covered include lifetime planning, GRATs, QPRTs, sales to IDITs, Family Limited Partnerships, CRUTS, CLATs, insurance trusts, and a few other common planning techniques.

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

November 9, 2018 in Conferences & CLE, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Income Tax, New Legislation, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

A To-Do List for Widows, and How to Protect the Identity of a Dead Loved One

Calla-liliesWidows and widowers are often facing debilitating grief while attempting to get their lives, futures, and finances in order. Having an effective plan and to-do list in place could make this difficult time more emotionally manageable. Also, having a deceased loved one's identity stolen can be a painful reminder of their absence, and a great violation to their memory, so taking steps to prevent it are important.

  • Inform Social Security of the loved one's death and notify all credit bureaus as well to freeze the person's credit.
    • Death Certificate and letters testamentary will be required.
  • Notify tax preparer, and financial institutions.
    • In the event that there is a non-qualified account then there should be a step-up in basis on at least 50% of the account and possibly 100% of the account, depending on the circumstances.
    • And IRA can be treated as a rollover account for a spouse
  • Review life insurance policies and see your options so you can decide what makes the most sense based on cash flow needs.
  • Meet with an estate planning attorney if there was a will or trust to understand the loved one's final wishes.
  • Have a tax projection prepared.
  • Sign proper forms for all brokerage accounts and new account forms in order to reflect the new ownership and title.

See Karin Price Mueller, A To-Do List for Widows, and How to Protect the Identity of a Dead Loved One, NJ.com, November 6, 2018.

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

November 9, 2018 in Current Affairs, Elder Law, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Income Tax, Non-Probate Assets, Trusts, 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


  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


  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)

Friday, November 2, 2018

CLE on Estate Planning in Depth 2018

CLEAmerican Law Institute is presenting a webcast on demand entitled, Estate Planning in Depth 2018. The program contains nine separate segments, or can be purchased as a full course. There are also MP3 downloads.

November 2, 2018 in Conferences & CLE, Elder Law, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Income Tax, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

U.K. to Roll Out First-of-Its-Kind Digital Tax

MatrixThe U.K. said it will move ahead with plans to introduce a tax on locally generated revenue by large technology firms. Several other countries are attempting to implement similar legislation on digital services that provided by large companies such as Facebook and Google.

At issue is how governments collect taxes from the handful of tech firms that have morphed into global, digital consumer-services giants, many of which are based in the United States. It has been a question on how to form a standardized tax for these types of companies for years. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a forum of wealthy countries, has been leading the international digital-tax talks. The U.K. said they were tired of waiting, and plans to start taxing the tech firms by 2020.

The proposal would affect businesses generating U.K. revenue from services including search engines, social-media platforms and online marketplaces. That makes the ad-selling businesses of Google and Facebook particularly vulnerable. It would only target large companies that have a global revenue of at least half a million pounds, for $641 million, and apply a 2% to income accrued in the U.K. Though it may seem like a negligible amount to these giants, it is the first concrete step towards taxing these types of business in any country they generate income in.

See Paul Hannon & Nina Trentmann, U.K. to Roll Out First-of-Its-Kind Digital Tax, Wall Street Journal, October 29, 2018.

October 30, 2018 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Income Tax, New Legislation, Travel | 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)

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Dissecting Trump’s Inheritance and Tax History

Trump2New York Times reporter Susanne Craig was one of the authors of the 14,000 word expose of President Donald Trump's supposed $413 million inherited fortune and alleged tax evasion. She explains that she is disappointed that the story did not stay in the national spotlight for very long, but that she expects the investigative work the Times put in to play a role in his upcoming bid for reelection.

“We were able to get hundreds of thousands of tax returns, tens of thousands of pages of financial documents,” she said. “And that quest that lasted a year-plus allowed us to attack the foundational lie that Donald Trump is a self-made billionaire.”

POLITICO’s Jack Shafer also had a say on why the story did not dominate headlines. “It’s just that, for want of a better word, it just was not a sexy topic. There are no mistress payoffs. There are no stolen elections. What you have is just a fundamental accountant’s fantasy.”

See Ben White, Dissecting Trump’s Inheritance and Tax History, Politico, October 17, 2018.

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

October 17, 2018 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Income Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 15, 2018

A Lawyer’s Guide to 199A

Ragano  RyanThe following post entitled A Lawyer's Guide to 199A was provided as a courtesy to this blog by Ryan Ragano CPA, the founding member of Ragano, CPA PLLC in New York.

When reading through the new proposed regulations under Section 199A, the tax rate disparities between different professions become apparent. After the IRS Regulation Rules release on August 8th, many professional services firms are crying foul as to what they perceive as unfair treatment for their profession. The new statutes address who will qualify as a Specified Service Trade or Business, or SSTB. Professions such as medicine, law, accounting, consulting, athletes, performers, and financial service companies are not able to take the 199A deduction if their personal Adjusted Gross Income, or AGI, exceeds $207,500 and filing single, or $415,000 and filing jointly.

 If you are a self-employed lawyer with an annual of $150,000 in income and filing single, you will receive the full 20% passthrough-deduction. If you are a lawyer who files jointly, and your combined household AGI is at or below $315,000, you will receive the full 20% passthrough-deduction. The occupational discrimination does not occur unless your AGI exceeds these amounts. Every self-employed individual receiving passthrough income will qualify for the full 20% passthrough-deduction if their AGI falls below $157,500 filing single or $357,500 filing jointly. Self-employed lawyers frequently report income above these thresholds, and they will be at a significant occupational advantage as a result. Section 199A explicitly lists the following legal-related occupations as SSTBs: lawyers, paralegals, legal arbitrators, and mediators. In most states mediators do not need to be licensed lawyers. They will still be deemed SSTB due to the nature of their work.

 One must understand that the determination of what qualifies as SSTB income is based upon whether unique and specialized skills are leveraged in order to perform a particular service. Some individuals who work within the legal field but are not considered to be leveraging specialized skills include printing, delivery services, and stenography services. Individuals who are self-employed and generate income from these activities would potentially be able to take advantage of the full 20% passthrough deduction regardless of their AGI. If a law firm provides both specialized legal services and non-specialized services, it may be in their interest to separately structure these parts of their businesses.

 For example, Robert Lawyer may wish to establish a separate management company that provides stenography, billing, and printing services, for his legal firm. This income-generating management company can be owned by separate trusts for his two children, who each earn under $157,500. “Section 678” trusts, which are treated as being owned by the children for income tax purposes may be an optimal tax setup given the circumstances. There is no mention within the released rules as to whether trustee, executor, title insurance, and other services that do not usually require a legal license are classified as SSTB.

Many are curious as to why the government would provide professions such as engineering and architecture with far greater opportunity to take advantage of the pass-through deduction than lawyers, doctors, and other professional services. I often hear vague suggestions/complaints that they have stronger lobbies. Proponents of the law argue that they are giving advantages to industries that “produce capital that is most beneficial to society”. This is to say that working to design new technologies, agriculture, and building infrastructure are more societally productive uses of human capital than doing legal work, being a doctor, or accounting. This concept may be an uncomfortable one, and has been discussed infrequently.


October 15, 2018 in Income Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Estate Planning and Your Pursuit of Happiness

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2018-10-10/f27c2961-7591-4cfb-b8bf-a20f455ab648.pngPhilosopher John Locke's original quotes was "life, liberty, and property," but Thomas Jefferson purposefully changed the word property to "pursuit of happiness." The debate remains of what those three words mean together, as happiness is subjective and cannot be measured numerically. Some think it could be as simple as owning property or possessing wealth, but both can be meaningless without purpose.

Your ”estate” is your property. Your “legacy,” on the other hand, is your life spent in pursuit of happiness. The wealth management industry is becoming more "goal-oriented," with the achievements being measured by life goals rather than digits and commas. Estate planners and lawyers, however, are still more interested in the transfer of property and tax avoidance than what makes the client happy in life. As a counselor of the law, the focus may need to be in part on the client's pursuit of happiness.

Recent studies show that traditional estate planning results in a 70% chance your wealth will be gone by the second generation and a 90% chance it will be gone by the third generation. This is because the estate planning attorney only focuses on your death, your property, and the taxes. The numbers could go down if the attorney would integrate the client's individuality into the plan, their goals beyond this life, and ultimately becoming legacy planners.

See Daniel Scott, Estate Planning and Your Pursuit of Happiness, Forbes, October 10, 2018.

October 10, 2018 in Current Affairs, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Income Tax, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, October 7, 2018

CLE on Inherited IRAs: What the Practitioner Must Know

CLEKaplan Financial Education is holding a conference entitled, Inherited IRAs: What the Practitioner Must Know, on Wednesday, November 28, 2018, at the New York City Bar Association in New York City, New York. Provided below is a summary of the event:

Retirement assets often represent a substantial portion of a taxpayer’s wealth. The retirement assets may be accumulated in a 401(k) plan, 403(b) arrangement, in another kind of qualified plan, or in an IRA. Regardless of the retirement arrangement involved, the tax consequences of making the right move at the right time can be financially beneficial – or, conversely, financially hazardous – for the taxpayer and the taxpayer’s family.

This program will help you avoid common errors when dealing with retirement assets during your client’s lifetime and after your client’s death. Tax planning with retirement assets including integrating retirement assets in an estate plan will be discussed.

Prerequisites and Why You Should Attend

Prerequisites-Basic knowledge of tax planning with retirement assets.

Who should attend - CPA's, attorneys or financial planners who have clients with substantial retirement assets.



Some topics included in this continuing education program:

  • Common Errors in Retirement Distribution Planning
  • How to handle a Non Compliant client who has violated the required minimum distribution rules
  • Statute of Limitations on IRA penalty issues
  • How to use Form 5329 to request a waiver of the required minimum distribution 50% penalty tax
  • Personal liability of fiduciary who knows about the penalty
  • Why many beneficiary forms are defective
  • How the Inherited IRA rules work
  • Overview of the Spousal IRA rules 
  • Application of One-Per-Year Limit on IRA Rollovers, with examples
  • Inherited IRAs after the 2014 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Clark v. Rameker
  • Recent court case of first impression holding that inherited IRAs are not protected against creditors under New York State law
  • Use of IRA trusts after the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

 You will also receive an electronic copy of the presentation as a PDF, which is your reference manual, at no additional cost. 


Continuing Education Credits

CFP -  

Kaplan Financial Education is a CFP Board CE Sponsor.  This course has been accepted by the CFP Board for 4 CE hours.


This program qualifies for up to 4 CPE credits in Taxation.

CPE Certificate of Completion: All attendees will receive a certificate of completion to document attendance at the end of each program. Walk-ins will receive their certificate within 5 days of the program date. These programs comply with the Standards for Formal Group Programs published by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Loscalzo Associates, Ltd. has been approved as an acceptable sponsor of Continuing Professional Education Programs by NASBA - Sponsor #103266; New Jersey State Board of Accountancy - Sponsor #116; and New York State Board for Public Accountancy - Sponsor #000143. For more information regarding administrative policies such as complaints and refunds, please contact our office.

Note: If you lose your CPE Certificate and require a new one, a $25 per certificate fee will be charged


CLE credit for 4 hours in Professional Practice, nontransitional. The CLE course provider is IRG Publications. You will receive an electronic copy of the presentation in advance of the program, which is your reference material. Certificate of Attendance from IRG Publications, the CLE course provider, will be sent to attorney attendees electronically within 20 days after the program, using the New York CLE Certificate of Attendance. If an attendee is attending from a state other than New York, it will be the responsibility of the attendee to verify with their local State Bar Association regarding the acceptance and amount of individual courses for CLE credit.

Special thanks to Seymour Goldberg (Goldberg & Goldberg, P.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.

October 7, 2018 in Conferences & CLE, Elder Law, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Income Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)