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…

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…

Hard to Figure: The Critical Importance of Current Continuous Estate Planning

By Jonathan G. Blattmachr, Esq. & Martin M. Shenkman, CPA/PFS, AEP (Distinguished), MBA, J.D. Reproduced with Permission by and Courtesy of Leimberg Information Services, Inc. (LISI). For information about how to subscribe to LISI, click here.   “The ‘politics’ of the estate tax have been unstable for a long time. That certainly is the case now.  Regardless of whether the estate tax is repealed next year, it might well return by reason of a sunset provision or a change in control of the White House and Congress.  Unless a client is certain to die while the estate tax is not…

Trump Wins: A Brave New World for Estate Planners

By Jonathan G. Blattmachr, Esq. & Martin M. Shenkman, CPA/PFS, AEP (Distinguished), MBA, J.D. Reproduced with Permission by and Courtesy of Leimberg Information Services, Inc. (LISI). For information about how to subscribe to LISI, click here. “The election of Donald J. Trump as our 45th President was largely unexpected. It is difficult to forecast what that will mean during his term, and, perhaps, his second term. However, he has proposed wide-ranging changes to the nation’s tax system which will affect virtually all Americans and their advisors. Estate planners in particular face a dramatic impact on their practices.” EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The…

Feeling the Burn: The Importance of the Tax Burn in Estate Tax Planning

Download Printable Article By Steven J. Oshins Esq., AEP (Distinguished) Decades ago, Jane Fonda made the phrase “feel the burn” popular in her highly successful aerobic exercise videotapes.  More recently, “feel the Bern” became popular as the de facto slogan during Bernie Sanders’ presidential bid. But in advanced estate tax planning, we feel a different kind of burn called the “tax burn”.  Very simply, our client transfers assets to an Intentionally Defective Grantor Trust (“IDGT”) and continues to pay all income taxes on income produced by the transferred assets, including capital gains taxes on sales of those assets. By continuing…

ABA Heckerling Reports from the 2016 Heckerling Institute

For the past 17 years, the American Bar Association Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law with the permission of the University of Miami School of Law, releases several extensive reports highlighting the various lectures and proceedings of the Heckerling Institute, one of the nation’s largest estate planning conferences, held every year in January. This past January 2016, marked the 50th Annual Heckerling Institute.  To view, download and access these extensive reports, please click here to visit the ABA’s website. Further, at the above website, you can also access reports from prior Heckerling Institutes as well. We, at The…

Should You Leave Assets in Trust for a Financially Savvy Beneficiary?

Download Printable Article By Jeremy Spackman, Esq. Absolutely! Traditionally, leaving assets to a beneficiary in trust, especially a financially savvy beneficiary, has been viewed as restricting the access and control the beneficiary would have over his or her inheritance. The common thought was that only spendthrifts should receive their inheritance in trust (with a third party in control of the trust), while the financially savvy beneficiary should receive his or her inheritance outright. This is not ideal since receiving an inheritance outright exposes those assets to the beneficiary’s creditors, including divorcing spouses. Instead, clients should leave assets to financially savvy…

Traps of Swap Powers

Download Printable Article By Martin M. Shenkman, CPA, MBA, PFS, AEP, JD Swap powers have proliferated like Tribbles (you are a Trekkie aren’t you?). Most trusts that are created are structured to be grantor trusts so that the income is taxed to the settlor creating the trust. That continues to reduce the settlor’s estate by the tax paid on income inside the trust. Grantor trusts often include a swap or substitution power that permits the settlor to swap cash into the trust for appreciated trust assets. Swaps are a key to obtaining the new tax planning holy elixir of basis…