Top Ten Asset Protection Mistakes Attorneys Make

By Steven J. Oshins Esq., AEP (Distinguished) Asset protection has become one of the hottest areas of practice, especially over the last decade.  Although asset protection planning should be a fixture in every estate planner’s repertoire, there are still many asset protection opportunities that are missed.  This article describes ten asset protection opportunities that are often overlooked. Asset Protection Mistake #1: Not discussing asset protection planning. Nearly every estate planning attorney makes a will and revocable trust discussion a given in every estate planning meeting, yet asset protection is often merely an afterthought.  For many attorneys, unless the client or…

Form 8960—The Net Investment Income Tax

By Robert S. Keebler, CPA, MST, AEP (Distinguished) | Volume 2, Issue 2 (February 2014) In 2013, a new tax planning focus area, the net investment income tax (NIIT), was added to the already long list of hot topics all trust and estate practitioners must understand– charitable trusts, gain harvesting, loss harvesting, income smoothing strategies, income shifting strategies, asset protection trusts, tax-aware investing, decanting, portability, advanced strategies for clients with taxable estates, etc. While the NIIT is far from clear in some areas, parts of this new tax planning focus area have recently been clarified through the release of the…

Is Your Receptionist Losing You Business?

By Kristina Schneider, Executive Assistant | Volume 2, Issue 2 (February 2014) In a time when a lot of people utilize e-mail communication, the telephone is still, by far, one of the most common forms of communication for businesses.  In a personal service industry such as estate planning – – regardless of whether you’re an attorney, financial advisor, CPA, life insurance agent, trust officer or some other kind of advisor to clients – – telephone communication plays an even bigger role for having a successful business. So, why is that we see so many estate planning professionals have flawed systems…

Whole Life as a Unique Planning Tool

By Jason Oshins, Financial Advisor, MBA | Volume 2, Issue 1 (January 2014) Given the financial condition of many families today, we’d be remiss not to explore whether more powerful retirement strategies exist than the ones typically employed. The traditional retirement strategy involves funding various financial vehicles during working years and then living off the income generated by these assets during retirement.  As a result, each year retirees spend only the interest earned on their assets because they fear running out of money or preserving adequate legacy.  At some point, they either sacrifice principal to maintain lifestyle or sacrifice lifestyle to…

The End of the Great Migration Into Bonds (Part 1 of 3)

A Once in 30-Year Opportunity to Build Your Practice in 2014 By Jeffrey Dunham, Financial Advisor | Volume 2, Issue 1 (January 2014) As The End of the Great Migration into BondsSM continues, it is presenting financial advisors with a unique opportunity to build their practice while simultaneously helping investors avoid a destruction of wealth that we feel may rival the 2008/2009 financial crisis. This opportunity exists because of two very simple yet crucial facts. The recognition of these facts can be the difference between a financial advisor having an average year or making 2014 a career year. First, is the vast…

The Net Investment Income Tax (NIIT)—After the Final Regulations

  By Robert S. Keebler, CPA, MST, AEP (Distinguished) | Volume 2, Issue 1 (January 2014) The Final Regulations for Section 1411 and the NIIT were released on December 2, 2013. Along with the release of the Final Regulations, new 2013 Proposed Regulations were also released. While the Final Regulations generally made the 2012 Proposed Regulations final, there were some very interesting changes and additions made in both the Final Regulations and the 2013 Proposed Regulations. This article will point out some of the more interesting aspects of the Regulations. Properly Allocable Deductions Although the Final Regulations retained the requirement…

Top Ten Reasons Why People with Even Modest Estates Need Estate Planning

By Heidi C. Freeman, J.D. | Volume 2, Issue 1 (January 2014) The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (actually passed on January 1, 2013), permanently increased the gift, estate and generation-skipping transfer tax exemptions to $5 million per person.  In 2014, adjusted for inflation, the amount is actually $5.34 million per person ($10.68 million for a married couple).  Due to the increased exemption amounts and the addition of portability, significantly fewer clients are in need of transfer tax planning.  This article provides ten reasons why clients who do not have a transfer tax concern still have compelling estate planning…

2013 Year-End Tax Planning Ideas (Part 3)

By Robert S. Keebler, CPA, MST, AEP (Distinguished) As we near the end of 2013, year-end tax planning again takes center stage. In the last two newsletters we covered two of the most important year-end planning strategies in detail—loss harvesting and Roth IRA conversions. In this newsletter we summarize a number of other strategies that may produce substantial tax savings. Making Trust Distributions The tax brackets for trusts are much more compressed than the tax brackets for individuals. Trusts begin being taxed at the top rate of 39.6% when income rises above $11,950. By contrast, individuals filing joint returns don’t…

Kick-Start Your Boss’ Calendar in the Right Direction for 2014

By Kristina Schneider & Megan DeLaGarza, Executive Assistants It’s hard to believe that it’s already December.  What this time of year typically means for us is that we are usually preparing Phil’s calendar for the next year so that we can maximize the best uses of his time, while also making sure that we don’t overlook important items that need to get onto his calendar.  Here are some tips for laying out the 2014 calendar for your boss so that he or she can kick-start 2014 in the right direction. Calendar the Basics The first thing you will want to…

Top Ten Reasons to Decant an Irrevocable Trust

By Steven J. Oshins, J.D., AEP (Distinguished) Trust decanting is the act of distributing assets from one trust to a new trust with different terms.  Just as one can decant wine by pouring it from its original bottle into a new bottle, leaving the unwanted sediment in the original bottle, one can pour the assets from one trust into a new trust, leaving the unwanted terms in the original trust. For many years, practitioners have struggled to find ways to change the terms of an irrevocable trust.  However, through common law and through the decanting statutes that have been enacted…