2019 ABA Heckerling Reports from 53rd Annual Heckerling Institute

For the past 22 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 week in Orlando, Florida, the 53rd Annual Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning took place.  To view, download and access these extensive reports (which are still being updated and added), see below. Further, at the above website, you can also access reports from prior Heckerling…

Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts for the Large Estate

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) The federal estate and gift tax exemption is at an all-time high, thereby leaving only a tiny percentage of people who have taxable estates.  This shift in demand for advanced estate tax planning has similarly reduced the number of estate planners who handle advanced estate tax planning, an expected result of supply and demand.  Even if an estate planner doesn’t personally practice in the high-net-worth area, the planner absolutely must be aware of certain estate tax-saving techniques such as the Grantor Retained Annuity Trust (“GRAT”). A GRAT is an irrevocable trust into which…

529 Misconceptions About 529 Plans

By Alan S. Gassman J.D., LL.M. (Taxation), Florida State Bar Certified Specialist in Wills, Trusts & Estates, AEP (Distinguished) Internal Revenue Code Section 529 was enacted in 1996 to allow interest, dividends, and capital gains that occur under mutual fund-like wrappers to be tax-free if the entire fund is spent on qualified educational expenses. The 2017 Tax Act expanded qualified educational expenses to include up to $10,000 per year for kindergarten through 12th grade tuition, beginning in 2018. There are many misconceptions and thousands of mistakes made with respect to 529 plans.  The following list and explanation should be helpful to many. #1. …

The Beneficiary Controlled Trust

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) The Beneficiary Controlled Trust name was first introduced to the estate planning industry by my father and I in our two-part article, “Protecting & Preserving Wealth into the Next Millennium,” published in the September and October 1998 issues of Trusts & Estates magazine.  [Portions of this article were taken from the 1998 article.]  Since that time, the Beneficiary Controlled Trust concept has been widely used by estate planners all over the country.  This article describes this philosophy. Background Most trust scriveners draft trusts that make mandatory distributions to the beneficiaries upon reaching certain…

CHECKLIST: 2017 Tax Act & Recent Developments

By Martin M. Shenkman, CPA, MBA, PFS, AEP (Distinguished), J.D. Summary: The 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act has changed almost every aspect of planning.  Consider the following. √ Sec. 199A: The 20% QBI deduction applies for 2018 – 2025. Consider the sunset of this tax bennie when evaluating the cost of planning to enhance whatever benefits you can get. Example: Before restructuring a business, will the payback over the years remaining be worth the cost? √ Charity: The new doubled standard deduction may eliminate any tax benefit from donations. Consider setting up a non-grantor trust to salvage that deduction. Example: You create an irrevocable…

Dynasty Trust Situs Battle Royale

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) A “Dynasty Trust” is an irrevocable trust that continues for as long as the applicable state law allows.  For as long as it continues, the trust assets can be protected from estate taxes and, depending upon the choice of situs and how the trust is drafted, can also be protected from divorcing spouses and other creditors. The jurisdictional competition for Dynasty Trust supremacy is alive and well.  In this cut-throat industry where billions of dollars are being passed through Dynasty Trusts, the stage is now set for the Dynasty Trust Situs Battle Royale….

The LeBron of Asset Protection Trusts

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) What does LeBron Symbolize? LeBron James is the greatest current basketball player on the planet.  In fact, he is arguably the greatest of all time.  [If this article were written 20 or 30 years ago, it would have been called, “The Michael of Asset Protection Planning Trusts” to recognize Michael Jordan’s similar greatness.] LeBron symbolizes greatness.  In the asset protection industry, there are a number of different techniques, but only one technique can be the greatest.  That technique is simply the LeBron of asset protection techniques. The Different Asset Protection Options There are…

Identifying an Asset Protection Trust Candidate

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) If I had a Nickel for Every Time… If I had a nickel for every time an estate planning advisor called or emailed me with a prospective client that they deem to be an absolutely perfect asset protection trust candidate “because they’re in a lot of trouble”, I would be a rich man! This is How the Conversation Often Goes Bernie the Attorney:  Hi, Steve.  I have the perfect referral for you for an asset protection trust. Steve Oshins:  Great!  Tell me a little about the referral. Bernie the Attorney:  Well, my client…

IRS Notice 2018-54 Warns Taxpayers to Avoid State Work-Arounds $10,000 SALT Deduction Cap

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) The $10,000 SALT Deduction Section 11042 of The Tax and Jobs Act limits an individual’s State and Local Tax Deduction (“SALT” deduction) to $10,000 per calendar year. Adoption of State Proposals to Work Around the SALT Deduction Limitations In response to this new limitation, some state legislatures are considering or have adopted legislative proposals that would allow taxpayers to make transfers to funds controlled by state or local governments, or other transferees specified by the state, in exchange for credits against the state or local taxes that the taxpayer is required to pay. …