Protect Against Potential Retroactive Estate Tax Changes

By Martin M. Shenkman, CPA, MBA, PFS, AEP (Distinguished), J.D. The Biden Administration may reduce the exemption retroactively, perhaps even to January 1, 2021!  It’s best to protect against a retroactive tax change. Retroactive tax changes sound unfair! Even Taylor Swift said: “It’s hard to fight when the fight ain’t fair.” But we’ll tell you how to fight that unfair tax fight! The law permits a retroactive tax change. See: Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation v. R. A. Gray & Co., 467 U. S. 717 (1984); United States v. Carlton, 512 U.S. 26 (1994). The need for revenue, or the desire…

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Oshins: Staggered Distribution Trust versus Dynasty Trust

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 this article, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Oshins tackle the differences between a Staggered Distribution Trust and a Dynasty Trust. As expected, Mr. Oshins will provide a different view…

Drowning in E-mail? Tips to Save Time and Be More Efficient!

By Kristina Schneider, Practice Success Coach Electronic mail, otherwise known as e-mail, has become a vital and primary form of communication for most businesses.  In fact, it’s the very reason you’re probably reading this newsletter article. While e-mail has become a very efficient way to communicate and handle business, it can also become a source of major inefficiency and time-wasting in the office.  Think about how much time is spent sifting through all of your daily e-mail.  Double or triple that when you come back from the weekend.  And let’s not even talk about how much e-mail we come back…

A Conversation About Perceived Value

By Melinda Merk, J.D., LL.M. (Taxation), CFP®, AEP® (Distinguished) This time of year, we tend to see an uptick in estate and trust administration and guardianship cases. All too often, we see situations where the deceased or incapacitated person did their estate planning on the cheap, did it themselves or, worst of all, did nothing. Unfortunately, their families and loved ones are now bearing the added cost and emotional burden of a court-supervised probate or guardianship proceeding and other unintended consequences, which could have been alleviated had the proper planning and documents been in place, working with an experienced estate…

Business Owners: No Divide in 2021

By David Giuliano, Business Coach There’s no denying that over the last 12 months, we have all experienced unprecedented change and uncertainty.  What’s interesting to me is that the results are all over the spectrum.  While some businesses have been affected terribly, others have flourished and are busier than ever. Like many, I am concerned about the great division in the country right now, and I’m sorry to say your business is far from immune to the impact created by it.  By all means, this is not a new problem, but it’s one that has been undeniably exacerbated by the pandemic…

The Beneficiary Controlled Trust as the Centerpiece of the Estate Plan

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) INTRODUCTION Most estate planning attorneys draft trusts that make mandatory distributions to the beneficiaries upon reaching certain ages.  For example, many trusts pay out one-third upon the beneficiary reaching age 25, one-half of the balance upon the beneficiary reaching age 30 and the balance upon the beneficiary reaching age 35. This is commonly known as a Staggered Distribution Trust since the distributions are staggered over different time periods. The philosophy used in this type of trust design is that the beneficiaries have multiple opportunities to learn from their mistakes. However, Staggered Distribution Trusts…

Which Type of Trust is Most Important for Top 1% Financial Advisors to Know About?

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) Are you a financial advisor? If so, you’re likely compensated in large part based on assets under management. Therefore, your interests are aligned with those of our clients. The better you do for them, the better you do for yourself. THE STATE INCOME TAX DRAG Just as it is frustrating for our clients in states with a state income tax to pay that tax on taxable dividends and capital gains, it must be nearly as frustrating for the financial advisor whose income is also adversely affected by this state income tax drag. What if…

Top 6 Strategies for Managing Interruptions in the Workplace

By Kristina Schneider, Practice-Building & Marketing Specialist According to a study, the average time spent per day by employees being interrupted and trying to refocus is 2.1 hours. Interruptions at the workplace is estimated to cost businesses in the U.S. over half a trillion dollars each year!* While interruptions at the workplace are inevitable, it doesn’t mean that they cannot be minimized or reduced. Below are what I consider to be the top ten strategies for managing (and reducing) the amount of interruptions at the workplace. Strategy #1: Evaluate (and change) your physical workspace. One of the biggest eye-openers for…

Free Checkup Meetings Generate Lots of Revenue!

By Philip J. Kavesh, J.D., LL.M. (Taxation), CFP®, ChFC, California State Bar Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law In a prior article, we discussed the “free service package” alternative to an annual maintenance fee program.  The package included a free attorney checkup meeting every three years. You may be wondering, “How do you get your existing clients to come back in for these checkup meetings and actually generate additional revenue from them?” (Before I address these questions, let me first note that, even if you do have and decide to keep your current maintenance plan, periodic checkup…

Situs Your Trust in a First-Tier Trust Jurisdiction

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) and Mark Dreschler Not all jurisdictions have favorable trust laws. In fact, most jurisdictions’ trust laws are inferior in comparison to those of the first-tier trust jurisdictions. Despite the limitations found in most trust jurisdictions laws, estate planners generally limit their planning to the client’s home jurisdiction. This article will provide multiple reasons not to do so and will explain some of the opportunities that are lost by failing to consider a top trust jurisdiction. COMMON REASONS TO SITUS A TRUST IN A TOP-TIER TRUST JURISDICTION Following are some of the common reasons…