Heckerling 2023 Reports from the ABA

The Phillip E. Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning is the nation’s premier conference for estate planning professionals, offering unparalleled educational and professional development opportunities for all members of the estate planning team. The 2023 Heckerling Institute was held in-person in Orlando on January 9-13 and marked the conference’s 57th year.  Over the course of the conference’s five days, numerous timely topics of interest to estate planners of all designations—including, but not limited to, attorneys, trust officers, accountants, charitable giving professionals, elder law specialists, wealth management professionals, and nonprofit advisors. As they have done for many years, the American Bar Association…

The HUGE Problem with DAPT Jurisdictions that Require Affidavits of Solvency

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) At the time of this writing, there are twenty states that have enacted Domestic Asset Protection Trust (“DAPT”) statutes. However, not all of these states have superior laws.  This article describes just one of many differences among the various states’ DAPT statutes.  Specifically, it explains the Affidavit of Solvency differences among these states. What is an Affidavit of Solvency? An Affidavit of Solvency is a sworn statement that indicates that the transfer of assets an individual is about to make will not render that individual or entity bankrupt or insolvent. Attorneys generally have…

The “L” in SLAT: “Lifetime” or “Limited”?

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) Some articles call it a Spousal Lifetime Access Trust, while others call it a Spousal Limited Access Trust. Which is it?  It can’t be both!  It depends upon how it’s drafted. Spousal “Limited” Access Trust When I draft a SLAT, it’s a Spousal Lifetime Access Trust because distributions aren’t “limited”.  Why would the draftsman want to limit distributions?  One of the objectives is for the settlor to be able to indirectly live out of the trust via distributions to the settlor’s spouse who can then share them with the settlor. Drafting in substantial…

Bloodline Trusts: No, No, No, No and No!!!

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) People sometimes talk about so-called “bloodline trusts” – trusts that specifically disinherit anyone and everyone who doesn’t share the blood of the settlor. Although in theory this sounds like a great idea, it actually isn’t.  The problem is that it often cuts out the wrong people.  This article focuses on two specific problems with bloodline trusts. The Worst Problem of All The worst problem is the assumption that adopted children should be treated as though they are strangers. The best way to describe this travesty is by example. Assume that Client sets up…

Why Nine of the Domestic Asset Protection Trust Jurisdictions Have a Big Problem

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) Nineteen domestic jurisdictions have statutes that allow a person to set up a Domestic Asset Protection Trust (“DAPT”). A DAPT is an irrevocable trust set up by a person (the “settlor”) for the benefit of him/herself and other beneficiaries. Under the statutes of each of those jurisdictions, after a certain waiting period, the assets transferred to the trust by the settlor should be protected from the settlor’s creditors. Affidavit of Solvency Asset protection planners will generally have their clients sign an Affidavit of Solvency which essentially says that the client isn’t making a…

Estate Planning Attorneys – Stop Sending Your Clients Drafts!

By Kristina Schneider, Practice Success Coach At just about every single Ultimate Level event that we hold, the issue of sending clients drafts of their estate planning documents comes up.  There’s always at least one, but usually several, attorneys that have a regular practice (or as part of their estate planning process) to send clients drafts of their estate planning documents prior to signing them. It is to no surprise that these attorneys then also complain about some (or all!) of the following challenges: Trouble reaching clients to get them to move forward An enormous amount of questions Hours of…

Are You Spending Too Much Time (and Money!) to Bring In New Clients?

By Philip J. Kavesh, J.D., LL.M. (Taxation), CFP®, ChFC, California State Bar Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law I recently conducted not one, not two, but three different coaching consultations in a single week with fellow colleagues who all expressed to me the same major challenge in their practice.  If three firms, in such a short period of time, happened to share this same issue with me, then I thought there must be others out there who must be grappling with it too!  Hence, this article. All of these firms complained about spending far too much time…

Google Me! Fame in Estate Planning

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) Google me! Come on, I said Google me! No, really — Google me! Read my bio!  Read all about me and my accolades all over the internet! Marketing Yourself: Being Famous You have to market yourself.  This article is about the importance in doing so and how to do so. Don’t be shy.  Don’t be passive.  The more you market yourself, the more famous you become.  This concept applies not only to estate planners, but also in every profession. You might be the most technically skilled estate planner with an extraordinary understanding of…

Did You Know That Nevada Has Laws Allowing for Larger Valuation Discounts Than in Every Other State?

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) Estate planners have been rushing to help clients make large gifts before the gift and estate tax exemption drops in half at the end of 2025. But are estate planners truly maximizing the wealth transfer for their clients? Most are not doing so, simply because they’re failing to take advantage of a legislation I authored that passed and became law in Nevada’s 2009 legislative session. This was likely overlooked because the gift and estate tax exemptions exponentially increased soon after that thereby making it unnecessary for the smaller net worth clients to fully…

Steve Oshins Releases the 8th Annual Non-Grantor Trust State Income Tax Chart!

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) State income tax avoidance planning has become a necessary area of expertise for all estate planners. After all, how can an estate planner design a trust without first analyzing the income tax effects of selecting residents of different states as trustees? The 8th Annual Non-Grantor Trust State Income Tax Chart The 8th Annual Non-Grantor Trust State Income Tax Chart is a summary of the state income tax rules for non-grantor trusts and highest state income tax rate from state to state.  It simplifies the analysis by summarizing each state’s taxing rules and providing…