Gift It While You Can – Assuming You Are The Top Of The 1 Percent

Beginning in 2018, the exemption amount for estate and gift tax doubled to $22.4 million for a married couple, up from $11.2 million.  Thus, affluent taxpayers can remove more assets from their taxable estates and avoid estate tax in perpetuity for the benefit of their children and future descendants.  Many of these taxpayers should take… Read »

Self-Settled Trusts

Self-settled Trusts allow an individual to transfer assets to a Trust, protect the transferred assets from lawsuit and the transferor’s creditors, and yet receive assets as a Trust beneficiary. This assumes that the asset transfer is not a “fraudulent conveyance,” i.e., a transfer that did not render the transferor insolvent nor was it done with… Read »

Substantiating your Charitable Contributions

Many taxpayers made charitable contributions in 2017 ahead of the 2018 law change that limits itemized deductions – and hence charitable deductions.  With tax returns due next week, it is a reminder that taxpayers who claim income tax deductions for charitable contributions must request and obtain the written acknowledgement from the done-charity of the donation… Read »

What To Expect At Our First Meeting

I am often asked, “what should I bring to our first meeting?” Although you have no homework, doing the following will help: Watch this video I have created to provide an overview of the issues we will discuss when we meet. Print the pre-interview form and bring it with you. Regarding your assets, in addition to having… Read »

Funding Revocable Trusts – Part IV

In the three prior posts, we provided an overview of the background and rationale for using and funding your Revocable Living Trust.  How specifically do you do so? Of course clients and facts differ, but let’s assume Ozzie and Harriet Client have been married many years and they desire to leave assets to each other… Read »

Funding Revocable Trusts – Part III

A critical objective of any estate plan is funding your Revocable Trust to avoid probate. Funding Revocable Trusts I and II discussed the importance of doing so. But transferring assets into a Trust during your lifetime begs the following questions: What am I giving up? Am I losing control? Am I adding complexity and compliance… Read »

Funding Revocable Trusts – Part II – How Do Assets Pass Upon Death?

In funding Revocable Trusts Part I, we discussed the importance of avoiding probate. We also pointed out Revocable Trusts are the tool of choice rather than Wills because of probate avoidance. However, a basic question prior to directing assets into your Revocable Trust upon death, is how do assets pass upon death? First, if an… Read »

Funding Revocable Trusts – Part I

Perhaps the most complicated, but fundamental, estate planning aspect for most clients is funding their Revocable Trust. Often times a Revocable Trust is established, primarily to avoid probate. However, if assets are not transferred into the Revocable Trust probate is not avoided. Probate is the process whereby the county where you live at your death… Read »