Impact of Potential Tax Reform on Business Owners and Possible Steps to Take in 2017

By Edwin P. Morrow III, J.D., LL.M. (Tax), CFP®, CM&AA® On November 2, 2017, the Speaker of the House, with the backing of the President, finally introduced the long-awaited bill that represents Republican efforts at comprehensive tax reform, to be titled the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act”. Of course, the Senate will propose significant changes, and there is opposition from both parties about the direction of the bill and the trillions it could add to the national debt. That said, there is a very strong chance of something close to the bill being passed this year or early next year. What are…

Top 5 Dumbest Comments Made by Estate Planners

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) Having practiced estate planning for more than two decades, I have seen and heard my share of comments and representations that are true head-scratchers that often make you roll your eyes.  This epidemic seems to have gotten much worse through the years, possibly because of the pressure to perform and thrive in a very competitive environment.  This article will highlight some of my favorites. DUMB COMMENT #1: “Bad facts make bad law!” The “bad facts make bad law” excuse has been around for many years.  Obviously, every case that has a result we…

Do You Know What You Are Doing?

By Philip J. Kavesh, J.D., LL.M. (Taxation), CFP®, ChFC, California State Bar Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law It’s a bit curious how you can vividly recall just a few, brief occurrences in your life that have had an unexpected but profound and long lasting effect on you. I remember one day speaking with a businessman on a plane about what I do as an estate planning attorney and he asked, “What’s your customer service process?” I was immediately taken aback because I hadn’t thought of what I did with clients as a process, nor could I…

Crowdsource Funding to Help Victims of the Las Vegas Massacre

By Martin M. Shenkman, CPA, MBA, PFS, AEP, JD, Bernard A. Krooks, JD, CPA, LLM (Taxation), CELA, AEP® (Distinguished)., and Jonathan G. Blattmachr, Esq. Introduction One of the authors just received a call to assist those helping one of the hundreds of victims of the Las Vegas shooting with some questions concerning a crowdfunding effort. What initially seemed like a simple question, which that might help one victim struggling with unfathomable challenges, following an equally unfathomable mass shooting, grew into something more. The questions grew and it became clear that they may affect the hundreds of victims of the Las…

Supply and Demand of Advanced Estate Tax Planning

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) The federal estate tax exemption was increased to $5 million plus annual inflationary increases earlier this decade. “The sky is falling!  The sky is falling!  The sky is falling!”  Those were the words of many estate planners who realized that there would be a substantially smaller pool of prospective clients who need advanced estate tax planning.  At that point, not considering state estate taxes, only individuals with estates greater than $5 million and married couples with estates greater than $10 million needed any advanced estate planning done.  Today, in 2017, those figures are…

The Curious Case of the Exponential Growth of the NING Trust to Save State Income Taxes

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) It’s the year 2017.  The tax world seems to be relatively similar to that of 2016.  But one tax-saving technique seems to have certainly taken on a life of its own this year.  This technique is called a NING Trust. In prior years, although there were plenty of individuals creating NING Trusts, this technique was relatively unknown throughout the estate planning industry.  However, it seems that 2017 has been the Year of the NING as many tax practitioners have noticed the exponential growth of this strategy!  Suddenly, a technique that hadn’t yet gone…

Why Every Estate Planning Attorney Needs a “Coach” and Key Features Their Coaching Program Should Have!

By Kristina Schneider, Executive Assistant Having spent the last 13 years working side-by-side estate planning attorneys throughout the country – – with various levels of experience and types of practices – – it is very clear to me that just about every single estate planning attorney that is running his or her own practice needs coaching.  The truth is, just about any business owner could benefit from some kind of coaching. I went to one of the top 50 universities in the U.S. and I got my degree in Business Administration.  None of the courses that I took through college…

The Client ISN’T Always Right – Tips on When and How to “Fire” a Client

By Philip J. Kavesh, J.D., LL.M. (Taxation), CFP®, ChFC, California State Bar Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law Some of the first jobs that I ever had were in the retail and customer service industries.  I can recall, in much of the training that I received, being told the old adage that the “customer is always right”.  Having run my own practice now for over 36 years (we’ll be celebrating our 37th Anniversary next month!), I can tell you that, although the old saying is usually true (or at least should be your guiding principle), there are…

California Supreme Court Weakens Protection for Spendthrift Trusts

By Edwin P. Morrow III, J.D., LL.M. (Tax), CFP®, CM&AA® In Carmack v. Reynolds (Frealy), released March 23, 2017, the California Supreme Court, asked by the Ninth Circuit to clarify a point of California law applicable to an ongoing bankruptcy case on appeal, held that California law does not limit a bankruptcy trustee to 25% of distributions from a third-party created spendthrift trust, but includes any past distributable amounts “due and payable”. Most estate and tax professionals were probably unaware that a bankruptcy trustee could even include 25% of a trust’s distributions in a bankruptcy estate, much less more.  Under most…

7 of the Most Common Life Settlement Situations

By Daxton Fryer, Senior Life Settlement Broker A life settlement can be a great alternative to accepting the insurance company’s surrender value, if any, for a policy that is about to be lapsed or surrendered. While there are many reasons a policy may be terminated, certain scenarios are the most common. Keeping an eye out for these situations is one more way for you to help your clients. 1. The sale of a business or other illiquid asset.   A policy bought for a buy-sell agreement or estate liquidity may become unnecessary. Compounding the problem is that the business was typically paying for…