The Kaestner Case and the New Emphasis on Using Non-Grantor Trusts to Save State Income Tax

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) Estate planners are constantly looking for additional ways to save taxes for their clients.  One often-overlooked concept is to use trusts to save state income taxes, especially for those clients who reside in a state with a high state income tax.  Ironically, income tax savings is generally the most appreciated work we do for our clients given that they can personally enjoy the savings, but yet the planning opportunities are frequently missed. Different states have different rules as to what creates a “resident trust” that is subject to taxation in that state.  States…

Using a Corporate Trustee to Obtain Jurisdiction in a First-Tier Trust State

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) There is a misconception that using a corporate trustee, such as a bank or trust company, is difficult and costly.  However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.  This misconception causes roughly 99% of estate planners to avoid using other states’ more favorable trust laws which therefore harms their clients and the families of their clients. There are only a handful of first-tier trust jurisdictions.  Trusts sitused in these jurisdictions can often avoid state income taxes on undistributed taxable income and are often better protected from creditors of the beneficiaries, including divorcing spouses….

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Oshins: DAPTs vs. Hybrid DAPTs

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 issue of whether a resident of a state that has no Domestic Asset Protection Trust (“DAPT”) statute should use…

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Oshins: Nevada vs. Delaware Dynasty Trusts

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 tackles the issue of which trust jurisdiction is superior for Dynasty Trusts, Nevada or Delaware. As expected, Mr. Oshins will provide a different view…

What Trust Jurisdictions Other than Alaska, Delaware, Nevada and South Dakota Are Best?

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) Some of these jurisdictions are up-and-comers and others are underrated.  This article focuses on the “Other Four States”. Most practitioners focus on Alaska, Delaware, Nevada and South Dakota as the Big Four States when it comes to selecting a trust situs.  These four states collectively receive a substantial amount of the out-of-state trust business, in part because of their spectacular laws and in part because of their longevity as trust heavyweights. However, there are other states that are more than respectable and worthy of praise.  And in many aspects they are competitive with…

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…