A living trust is among the most common additions to a typical estate plan. One reason for this is that a living trust can be used to further a variety of estate planning goals, including probate avoidance, incapacity planning, and asset protection for spouses, children and others who might inherit from you. One concern clients often express to me during an estate planning consultation is the expense involved in administering a living trust. It turns out that the expenses of administering a … [Read more...] about A Living Trust can significantly reduce costs of Administration.
I stress to clients that a comprehensive estate plan should do more than focus on what happens after they are gone. In fact, a successful estate plan should contemplate planning for your possible incapacity as much as for your death. I've spent more than twenty-five years of my legal career on estate planning, and over time, have come up with the following as the best definition for estate planning: Estate Planning is about planning in advance for when you are not in control, so the people you … [Read more...] about A Living Will brings Clarity to your Estate Plan.
My good friend Steve Hartnett, the Director of Education for the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, has created a three part series of blogs intended to help people understand the basics of the taxation of trusts. This post, the last in the series, discusses the tax reporting for grantor and nongrantor trusts. Read on to learn more. … [Read more...] about Tax Reporting with Trusts
My good friend Steve Hartnett, the Director of Education for the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, has created a three part series of blogs intended to help people understand the basics of the taxation of trusts. This post discusses “Nongrantor” trusts. This kind of trust is not taxed to a "substantial owner" pursuant to the grantor trust rules, but rather has its own separate tax life. Such a trust must file its own tax return and the income of the trust would be taxed to it, … [Read more...] about Taxation of Nongrantor Trusts
My good friend Steve Hartnett, the Director of Education for the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, has created a three part series of blogs intended to help people understand the basics of the taxation of trusts. This post discusses Grantor trusts are trusts which are income taxed to the “substantial owner” of the trust. Usually, the substantial owner is otherwise known as the “grantor” or “trustor.” Grantor trusts can be quite useful in tax planning. Read on to learn more. … [Read more...] about Advantages of Using a “Grantor Trust” in Planning
Given the high cost of nursing home care, I often discuss with clients how to protect and manage their estates in the face of this risk. Some clients may need to count on Medicaid to help cover those expenses at some point. The plain fact is that qualifying for Medicaid could threaten your retirement nest egg. All of us have received the advise for years that the best way to save retirement is to maximize tax deferral by funding work related retirement accounts or an Individual Retirement … [Read more...] about Plan Early to Protect Your IRA in Advance of a Possible Medicaid Application
Many of my clients wish to make lifetime or testamentary gifts to minors as part of their estate planning. One tool to know about when transferring assets to minors is the Uniform Transfer to Minors Act (UTMA). This is probably the easiest, abut least favored approach to transferring funds to minors. Almost every year I speak with someone who set up an UTMA account without our assistance and now wishes they had not. Nevertheless, it has its place. The History of the UTMA The Uniform … [Read more...] about What Is the Uniform Transfer to Minors Act?
At Clarity Legal Group, our clients often choose to incorporate one or more trusts into their estate plan. Although each trust agreement is uniquely tailored to the needs of the Settlor (the trust creator), one thing all trusts have in common is the need to appoint a Trustee to oversee the administration of the trust. This makes the role of Trustee one of the central responsibilities in the planning. Most of my clients use family members or close friends to serve in the various fiduciary … [Read more...] about Should I Appoint a Family Member or Professional to Undertake the Responsibilities of Trustee?
The loss of a spouse is one of the most emotional experiences you might go through. Most people naturally understand there is the "business" of dealing with their spouse's estate, but thinking about updating their own estate plan is often not on their agenda. It turns out that their are changes you need to make, and from a standpoint of time, attention and cost, it makes sense to update your plan in concert with working on the administration of your deceased spouse's estate. Overlooking you … [Read more...] about What Estate Plan Changes Do I Need to Make Following the Loss of My Spouse?
Clients often ask me what estate planning documents they will need beyond a Last Will and Testament. While no two plans are the same, I frequently suggest adding a revocable living trust to a comprehensive estate plan. Understanding how a trust might fit into your planning should help you get the planning puzzle right. 5 Reasons to Create a Revocable Living Trust To help your estate avoid probate. Probate is the legal process that is required for the administration of the assets controlled by … [Read more...] about How implementing a Living Trust helps you get planning right.