Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Friday, January 17, 2020

'Death with Dignity' Bill Proposed in Indiana

IndianaIndiana Democratic Representative Matt Pierce out of Bloomington has presented a bill that would terminally ill patients with 6 months or less to live the option to die on their own terms. But this is not the first year that he has done it. He has proposed the bill every year since 2016 - the year a popular blogger from Indiana passed away after a 2 year battle with ovarian cancer.

Pierce says that the bill is modeled after the current bill in Oregon. The patient must request the medication twice, in writing, with a 15-day waiting period between the requests, plus be subject to psychological evaluations to determine that they are mentally competent.

"Why can't I have some control over my own dignity and my own body? Why can't an individual have that option if they want to exercise it," Pierce said. He also commented that some Republican colleagues are afraid to talk about the topic because it is controversial and may not sit well with social conservatives that believe that any type of assisted suicide is morally wrong.

See Jennie Runevitch, 'Death with Dignity' Bill Proposed in Indiana, WTHR.com, January 16, 2020.

January 17, 2020 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, New Legislation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

CLE on The SECURE Act: Who Are You and What Have You Done With My Minimum Distribution Rules?

CLEThe American Law Institute is holding a webcast entitled, The SECURE Act: Who Are You and What Have You Done With My Minimum Distribution Rules?, on Thursday, February 13, 2020 from 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm Easter. Provided below is a description of the event.

Why You Should Attend

The minimum distribution rules that apply to many IRAs and retirement plans have been around over 30 years. They have been challenging to interpret and apply, but the tax and estate planning community has gradually learned to work with them. During this period total U.S. IRA and retirement plan assets grew to nearly $25 trillion, accounting for 36% of household financial assets. Most of these funds are income tax deferred, representing significant potential tax revenue.

The SECURE Act that was signed into law on December 20, 2019 is the most significant retirement plan legislation in many years. The SECURE Act made many changes to retirement plan rules that have been touted as providing benefits to individuals and small businesses. How did Congress decide to pay for these changes? By curtailing the post-death deferral period under the minimum distribution rules, thus tapping into that $25 trillion nest egg more quickly.

If you’re a tax or estate planning practitioner, you need to get up to speed on these new rules right away. Register today for this 90 minute webcast and learn when to apply the new rules and when the old rules still apply.

What You Will Learn

A faculty of highly experienced estate planning practitioners and ACTEC Fellows will address:

    • Why age 72 is the "new" 70-½
    • The new post-death rules for "designated beneficiaries"
    • Special rules that apply to certain "eligible designated beneficiaries"
    • New trust rules grafted on top of existing see-through trust rules
    • Planning for the spouse as beneficiary
    • Planning for children as beneficiaries
    • Planning for chronically ill and disabled beneficiaries, including special needs trusts
    • Building flexibility into trusts to make use of the post-mortem planning window
    • Effective date rules
    • What practitioners should consider in reviewing and updating existing plans

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

Who Should Attend

Estate planners, tax advisors, and other related professionals will benefit from this webcast jointly offered by ALI CLE and ACTEC.

January 15, 2020 in Conferences & CLE, Current Affairs, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, New Legislation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

New SECURE Act Affects Estate Planning for Retirement Plans

SecureactpiggybankThe Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act (SECURE Act) went into effect January 1st of 2020 and for the foreseeable future drastically changes estate planning with retirement plans. Prior to the Act, beneficiaries could stretch out the distributions from an inherited IRA over thir lifetime to get the tax-deferred benefits. That is no longer the case and many may need to review their plans.

Now most inherited retirement plans must be fully distributed within 10 years of the participant's death, unless they fit into these 5 categories: (1) the participant's spouse; (2) the participant's minor children; (3) disabled beneficiaries; (4) chronically ill beneficiaries; and (5) beneficiaries less than 10 years younger than the participant. A surviving spouse can also still roll over inherited benefits into their own IRA.

Conduit trusts may become a relic under the Act as they could cause punitive income tax consequences. Also, trusts with conduit provisions no longer provide the long-term control or protection of retirement benefits and their proceeds for beneficiaries that many plan participants previously expected. An accumulation trust could still be an option for plan participants which allows the required distributions to collect inside a trust, with the trustee maintaining discretion regarding distributions to trust beneficiaries. The retirement account must still be fully distributed to the trust within 10 years.

See Sarah B. Bowman and Catherine (Cat) N. L. Connell, New SECURE Act Affects Estate Planning for Retirement Plans, K&L Gates Hub, January 13, 2020.

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

January 14, 2020 in Current Affairs, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, New Legislation, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, January 10, 2020

CLE on 2020 Tax Updates for Trusts and Estates

CLEThe National Business Institute is holding a video webcast entitled, 2020 Tax Updates for Trusts and Estates, on Thursday, January 30, 2020 from 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM central. Provided below is a description of the event.

Get the Latest Information and Tools to Save Clients on Taxes

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!

    • Clarify recent changes in tax law and regulation and prepare for their potential effects.
    • Analyze the most important case law of the year to glean future threats and opportunities for your clients.
    • Hear about new tax tools to add to your arsenal.
    • Get an advance look at future developments coming down the pike.

Who Should Attend

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

Course Content

    • Current Relevant Federal Tax Laws, Rates, Exemptions
    • Trust Tax Deductions under TCJA: Core Changes and Clear Guidance
    • IRS Tax Forms and Procedures Updates
    • Unpacking the Section 199A Changes and Opportunities
    • SECURE Act and Its Effect on IRA Planning
    • Current IRS Guidance and Enforcement Initiatives
    • Cross-Border Tax Issues Every Estate Planner Needs to Know
    • Reassessing and Repairing/Replacing Old Tax Planning Techniques
    • Legal Ethics and Tax Planning
    • Looking Ahead

January 10, 2020 in Conferences & CLE, Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Income Tax, New Legislation, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Fewer than 2,000 Households Will Pay Estate Tax This Year, so Your Inheritance is Probably Safe

EstatetaxOpponents of the federal estate tax refer to it as the "death tax," carrying a more negative connotation, arguing that the income should not be taxed again since it was taxed when earned. Proponents argue that this is a fair and reasonable tax when money changes hands since otherwise the new "owners" of the assets would receive them scot free - essentially an unearned windfall.

Since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017, only estates worth more than $11.4 million (per person, $22.8 million for a married couple) have to file an estate tax return and may the required tax. Any estates under that threshold are not liable for federal estate tax, though they may be responsible for a state tax depending on where they resided. 18 states and the District of Columbia have their own estate tax.

Prior to 2017, the exemption amount was less than half this amount per person. Due to this increase, approximately 2,000 households are expected to pay the federal estate tax this year, compared to a whopping 52,000 in 2000. If an estate is required to pay the estate tax, the representative must file a form 706 within 9 months from the date of death. Depending on how much the estate exceeds the exemption amount, the estate could be liable from 18% to 40% of the estate's value.

See Eric Rosenberg, Fewer than 2,000 Households Will Pay Estate Tax This Year, so Your Inheritance is Probably Safe, Business Insider, January 9, 2020.

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

January 9, 2020 in Current Affairs, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, New Legislation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Article on What are the Comparative Legal, Procedural and Substantive Consequences in Private International Law that Affects, the Doctrine of Renvoi and European Union Member States, Under the Brussels IV Regulation (650/2012) and her 'Opt-Outs'?

EUEkia Gilbert Kum recently published an Article entitled, What are the Comparative Legal, Procedural and Substantive Consequences in Private International Law that Affects, the Doctrine of Renvoi and European Union Member States, Under the Brussels IV Regulation (650/2012) and her 'Opt-Outs'?, Wills, Trusts, & Estates Law eJournal (2019). Provided below is an abstract of the Article.

European Union citizens are all legal entities that dispose personal rights and responsibilities which emanate from the principles of EU substantive and procedural laws. These varies from voting, free movement and establishment rights, and to succession, marriage and adoption rights, within her Member-States. Such harmonised rights allows EU citizens to behave substantively, in upholding their various societal interests as if they were all a single person. It is for such a reason why, a brief analytical and historical presentation of the EU integration project will be discussed in this article.

However, certain Member-States do exercise their “opt out” positions in some EU policy areas which they do not wish to participate. This shall be seen in the case of the question in focus of this Article whereby, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland and Denmark have “opted-out” from the EU Brussels IV Regulation on succession (No: 650/2012). Researcher is interested in comparatively analysing and investigating on how the citizens of Brussels IV Regulation and those of the “opt out” EU Member States, with habitual residence and possessing assets within their jurisdictions are affected. The legal consequences on the doctrine of Renvoi, under the Brussels IV Regulation on succession will be important to be discussed as well.

Researcher will arrive at a conclusion whereby, he will advise all EU citizens on the measures to be taken in order to protect their assets and property interests within the EU Member States, before their demise. This will be followed by a reform proposal on the best possible solution that should be adopted or inserted to the Brussels IV Regulation. Such a reform proposal presented by researcher, will be henceforth put forward to all the EU Members States citizens for approval through a referendum, before its application.

January 9, 2020 in Articles, Estate Planning - Generally, New Legislation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Older People Need Geriatricians. Where Will They Come From?

GeriatricsAs the population of the country ages, the need for geriatricians - doctors that specialize in caring for the elderly - also increases. Geriatrics became a board-certified medical specialty only in 1988, and though the demand for this type of physician is getting higher, the supply of them unfortunately is not. The number of fellowships that train geriatricians has not increased by much and therefore is virtually stagnant.

A federal model estimates that one geriatrician can care for 700 patients with complicated medical needs. Following this guideline, the country will need 33,200 of these doctors by the year 2025, and currently America has 7,000 - half of which do not practice full time.  It is estimated that 30% of Americans over the age of 65 needs a geriatrician, especially those that suffer from 3 or more chronic conditions and have reached the age of 85. Geriatricians earn on average $233,564 a year, much less than what anesthesiologists, radiologists, and cardiologists are compensated. This may be due to Medicare paying less than traditional insurances and often slower pay outs.

A miraculous influx of doctors specializing in geriatrics is highly unlikely, and thus geriatricians are taking an alternative approach. Dr. Mary Tinetti, chief of geriatrics at the Yale School of Medicine, says that the "most important thing geriatricians can do is make sure all their other colleagues” understand these patients’ needs, she said, including nurse-practitioners, physician assistants, therapists and pharmacists. Currently cardiologists and oncologists often focus on older patients. The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions voted to reauthorize a $41 million program that educates health professionals in geriatrics just last month and is awaiting a floor vote.

See Paula Span, Older People Need Geriatricians. Where Will They Come From?, New York Times, January 3, 2020.

Special thanks to Lewis Saret (Attorney, Washington, D.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.

January 5, 2020 in Current Affairs, Disability Planning - Health Care, Estate Planning - Generally, New Legislation | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Estate Planning New Year’s Resolutions: Resolve To Plan Better

NYE2020Many people are determined to abide by their New Year's resolution, whether it be working out, sticking to a diet, or generally being a better person. But there is one resolution that person should stick to - plan better for the future.

  • Resolve to plan before the election. If the Democratic party gains enough traction, whether it be in the Senate or in the Oval Office, a severe estate tax bill may be coming. Meet with an estate planning professional to make sure your assets are safe, just in case
  • Resolve not to repeat the biggest 2012 planning mistake. In the last year of uncertainty, many people transferred large assets into irrevocable trusts and then immediately had a decent amount of remorse. There are other tools that estate planners possess that can get assets out of your estate that will not cause buyer's remorse.
  • Resolve to evaluate all existing life insurance trusts. Currently, the annual exclusion gift amount is $15,000 per donee, but depending on the election results, that may change to $20,000 per donor. If the $20,000 cap is enacted, you might have difficulty funding your life insurance premiums by gifts to the trust. 
  • Resolve to review appreciated assets inside every grantor revocable trust. Given the run-up in the stock market over the past decade, if you have not recently reviewed appreciated assets inside your trust, you should to avoid your estate obtaining a step-up in the income basis of those assets.
  • Resolve to review tax reimbursement clauses (or not) in your revocable grantor trusts.
  • Resolve to talk to your entire planning team about the secure act.
  • Resolve to fund your trusts.
  • Resolve to revise your documents, including power of attorney.

See Martin Shenkman, Estate Planning New Year’s Resolutions: Resolve To Plan Better, Forbes, January 1, 2020.

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

January 2, 2020 in Current Affairs, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Gift Tax, Income Tax, New Legislation, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 30, 2019

Ed Slott's IRA Advisor: Tax & Estate Planning For Your Retirement January 2020

IRASeymour Goldberg, senior partner at Goldberg & Goldberg, a law firm in Melville, NY, has written two practitioner guides for the American Bar Association on IRA compliance issues. He is concerned about IRA trust violations under the IRS rules. An IRA trust is a trust that is the beneficiary of an IRA.

The issue involves timely delivery of certain paperwork to the institution that maintains the decedent’s IRA account after the death of the IRA owner. According to Goldberg’s conversations with the SEC, that issue is an IRS compliance issue, over which the SEC has no jurisdiction.

For more information, see here.

December 30, 2019 in Articles, Current Affairs, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, New Legislation, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 26, 2019

CLE on Effective Use of IRA Assets in Tax and Estate Planning After the Secure Act (Includes IRS Compliance Issues)

CLESeymour Goldberg is presenting a seminar entitled, Effective Use of IRA Assets in Tax and Estate Planning After the Secure Act (Includes IRS Compliance Issues), on Wednesday, January 29, 2020 at Melville Corporate Center III, Master Conference Room, at 324 South Service Road, Melville, NY. Provided below is a description of the event.

Many taxpayers have accumulated a considerable amount of assets in their retirement accounts. These assets may be in their 401(k), another type of qualified plan, a 403(b) arrangement, a 457 governmental plan, a traditional IRA and a Roth IRA.

Estate and income tax planning are more important than ever, especially under the Secure Act, when advising a client that has substantial retirement type assets. This program covers many of the rules that you need to know when implementing an estate plan for the client that has substantial retirement assets. IRS Compliance is now a major issue in retirement distribution planning for IRA owners and IRA beneficiaries.

Some topics included in this program:

    • Brand new world of retirement distribution planning
    • Effective date of changes in the rules
    • Transition rules and partial retroactive rule provisions
    • Retroactive effect on IRA trusts throughout the United States that have not been amended or redone
    • No grandfather rule for IRA trusts for IRA owners who pass away on or after January 1, 2020
    • Effective use of Roth IRA trusts going forward to save the day
    • New required beginning date o Special rules for special categories of beneficiaries
    • Use of 10 year trusts for designated beneficiaries
    • Use of a life expectancy trust plus 10 year bonus payout period for eligible designated beneficiaries
    • The 10 year rule versus the life expectancy rule plus the 10 year bonus rule (without trusts)
    • Repeal of maximum age rule for making traditional IRA contributions
    • The federal age of majority rule for children
    • Potential massive IRS penalties for not tracking the new rules
    • Need for new practitioner specialty (IRA Compliance Specialist)
    • Default beneficiary issues

For more information on how to attend the event, see here.

December 26, 2019 in Conferences & CLE, Current Events, Disability Planning - Property Management, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, New Legislation | Permalink | Comments (0)