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…

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Oshins – Chapter III (First-Tier Trust States)

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) Testing his theory that in every man dwells a good and an evil force, the reserved Dr. Jekyll develops a formula that separates the two, turning him into an argumentative estate planning attorney named Mr. Oshins who tells it like it is.  Dr. Jekyll soon realizes he is becoming addicted to his darker self as he unleashes his opinions on the estate planning industry. In Chapter II, Dr. Jekyll tackled the issue of whether Foreign Asset Protection Trusts are better than Domestic Asset Protection Trusts.  In Chapter III, Dr. Jekyll tackles the issue…

What Can You Sell to Existing Clients?

By Philip J. Kavesh, J.D., LL.M. (Taxation), CFP®, ChFC, California State Bar Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law In last month’s newsletter, I discussed an often overlooked marketing strategy that many estate planning attorneys are missing – – bringing back in existing clients for a review of their plan.  The topic seems to have resonated quite a bit with our readers and my fellow colleagues, several of whom took us up on our offer to schedule a consultation with our Executive Director, Kristina Schneider, to go over how to put together a review process in place for…

Reviewing a Life Insurance Policy: The Owner as a Pilot

By Jason Oshins, Financial Advisor, MBA The role of a pilot is not limited to take-off and landing.  Even while flying on autopilot, the pilot still must monitor the flight.  The same can be said of the owner of a life insurance policy.  The owner must monitor the insurance. Typically, life insurance is owned by an Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT), a revocable trust, or outright by the insured.  When owned by an ILIT[1], the death benefit is out of the grantor’s estate and thus not subject to either estate tax or income tax.  When owned by a revocable trust[2]…