Is It Time to Reevaluate Your Clients’ Trust-Owned Life Insurance Policy?

By Michael W. Halloran, CFP®, AEP®, ChFC®, CLU® Whether owned in a revocable or irrevocable trust, many practitioners have used life insurance over the years. Depending upon the type of policy as well as current economic conditions, some problems could arise with many existing Trust Owned Life Insurance (TOLI) policies. The majority of problems with TOLI policies lie in irrevocable trusts. Many times the trustee places the policy in the trust without checking with the company to see if the policy is sustainable for the intended purpose of the trust. The coverage needs to stay in-force until the death of…

Beneficiary Designation Problems with IRAs: More Than Just the RMD Rules!

  By Kristen M. Lynch, J.D., AEP, CISP, CTFA with Robert S. Keebler, CPA, MST, AEP (Distinguished) In the world of estate and retirement planning, I have been fortunate enough to have been cross-trained as both a trust officer and an attorney.  As a trust officer, I was charged with being the divisional manager and administrator for all of the IRAs within a large regional bank’s trust department.  In that role, I was responsible for ensuring that the bank’s IRA clients took their required minimum distributions (“RMD’s”), coordinated estate planning and post-mortem issues with the IRA client’s legal and tax…

How “Electronically” Organized Are You?

By Kristina Schneider & Megan DeLaGarza, Executive Assistants In last month’s newsletter, we discussed the top tips to get yourself more organized in your office space and through your daily workload, but your organization isn’t just about what’s on the outside.  How about your electronic files on the computer?  If you’ve ever spent more than five minutes looking for a file or trying to find an e-mail to respond to, then you might not be as electronically organized as you should be in order to be an effective and efficient assistant. As a follow-up to last month’s article, here are some…

Five Simple Tips for Being a More Organized Assistant

By Kristina Schneider & Megan DeLaGarza, Executive Assistants Being an organized assistant is important when supporting a busy professional advisor or attorney, especially one that may be meeting with multiple clients and managing multiple projects and priorities (like most professionals are doing).  Organization isn’t just about how your office looks, but it is also how you manage yourself and ultimately what can become your thoughts and actions.  However, sometimes just the act of organizing your surrounding environment is enough to help organize some of the rest of your chaos.  Staying organized with your paperwork, your desk or office space and…

Advise Clients to “Shift” Opportunities Rather than Grab It Themselves

By Jeremy Spackman, Esq. Opportunity Shifting is a technique where a client’s parent, grandparent or other person sets up a beneficiary controlled Dynasty Trust for the benefit of the client and the client’s descendants.  The client, as trustee of the Dynasty Trust, uses the gift made by the parent or grandparent to invest in a hot business or investment opportunity inside the Dynasty Trust, thereby protecting the opportunity from estate taxes, creditors and divorcing spouses for the duration of the trust. BENEFICIARY CONTROLLED DYNASTY TRUST Before explaining the steps involved in an opportunity shifting transaction, it is important to understand a beneficiary…

“Contextualizing” Life Insurance

By Jason Oshins, Financial Advisor, MBA Context is everything, and an important component of a financial advisor’s job is to contextualize the decision-making process to enable clients to make more effective decisions with a greater likelihood of long-term success. When planning for a couple’s retirement, I frequently begin by reviewing a life expectancy chart, emphasizing two components: (1) the potential gap between the first and second deaths and (2) the potential length of time before the second death is likely to occur.  Assuming a healthy 40-something couple, the gap can be 10, 15, or 20 years, if not more, and…

“Green Book” Proposals and Income Tax Planning

By Robert S. Keebler, CPA, MST, AEP (Distinguished) On April 13, the Treasury Department issued its annual Revenue Raising Proposals, commonly referred to as the“Green Book”. In this column we will summarize the key income tax proposals and suggest some planning ideas. These proposals include: (1)  Implementing the Buffett Rule by imposing a new “Fair Share Tax;” (2)  Reducing the value of certain income tax deductions and exclusions; (3)  Limiting the total amount a taxpayer can accrue in tax favored retirement plans; (4)  Shortening the deferral period for inherited IRAs; and (5)  Taxing carried interests as ordinary income. INCOME TAX…

Fight Back Against “Commoditization” and Low-Priced Competition

Download Printable Article By Philip J. Kavesh, J.D., LL.M. (Taxation), CFP®, ChFC, California State Bar Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law (UPDATED JULY 2015) The estate planning profession, and in particular the basic Living Trust-centered practice, has been hammered by new challenges.  There’s the proliferation of Internet “zoom” document providers and do-it-yourself trust kits (Suze Orman and the like).  There are non-attorney trust mills increasingly grabbing market share (often in violation of the state statutes prohibiting the unauthorized practice of law).  And there are bargain-priced, low-end attorneys (many of whom have jumped aboard the Living Trust craze…

Tax Planning for 2013 Under the New Laws

By Robert S. Keebler, CPA, MST, AEP (Distinguished) As you probably know all too well, tax rates increase substantially in 2013 and later years for high income taxpayers. Not only did the top income tax rate increase from 35% to 39.6%, but a 3.8% Medicare surtax is now imposed on net investment income (NII). The 39.6% rate now applies to taxable income over $450,000 for married taxpayers and $400,000 for single taxpayers. In addition, net investment income is subject to a new 3.8% Medicare surtax to the extent modified adjusted gross income exceeds $250,000 for married taxpayers and $200,000 for…

New Private Letter Ruling Approves NING Trust

By William D. Lipkind, J.D., LL.M. (Taxation) & Steven J. Oshins, J.D., AEP (Distinguished) For many years, practitioners have used the so-called DING Trust to save substantial state income taxes for their clients.  “DING Trust” is short for Delaware Incomplete Gift Non-Grantor Trust.  It’s an irrevocable trust that the settlor sets up for the benefit of himself and other discretionary beneficiaries.  Transfers to the trust are not completed gifts for gift tax purposes, yet the trust itself is the owner of the assets for income tax purposes.  Because the trust pays the income taxes, a settlor who lives in a…