Saving State Income Taxes: NING Trusts and Completed Gift Non-Grantor Options

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) Prior to the Trump Tax Act, state income taxes paid were deductible against federal income tax. However, the Trump Tax Act limits the amount of the federal income tax deduction for state income taxes paid, real property taxes paid and sales taxes paid to a cumulative (yes, cumulative!) total of $10,000 per year. The $10,000 is used up for property taxes only for many of our clients. Therefore, state income taxes paid are essentially no longer deductible! This is why state income tax avoidance planning has arguably become the hottest area of estate…

The 2022 Biden Estate Tax Cliff: Preparing After the 1/1/2013 and 1/1/2021 Cliffs

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) If you are an estate planner, you likely had your best revenue ever in 2012.  Then you likely annihilated your previous revenue record in 2020.  This happened because of the so-called “fear of missing out” with different tax “cliffs” expected to occur at the end of those two years, thereby causing a commotion among the wealthy. JANUARY 1, 2013 FISCAL CLIFF Rewind back to the year 2012.  President Obama was in office and the $5 million estate and gift tax exemption was scheduled to expire and roll back to only $1 million at…

Protect Against Potential Retroactive Estate Tax Changes

By Martin M. Shenkman, CPA, MBA, PFS, AEP (Distinguished), J.D. The Biden Administration may reduce the exemption retroactively, perhaps even to January 1, 2021!  It’s best to protect against a retroactive tax change. Retroactive tax changes sound unfair! Even Taylor Swift said: “It’s hard to fight when the fight ain’t fair.” But we’ll tell you how to fight that unfair tax fight! The law permits a retroactive tax change. See: Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation v. R. A. Gray & Co., 467 U. S. 717 (1984); United States v. Carlton, 512 U.S. 26 (1994). The need for revenue, or the desire…

Which Type of Trust is Most Important for Top 1% Financial Advisors to Know About?

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) Are you a financial advisor? If so, you’re likely compensated in large part based on assets under management. Therefore, your interests are aligned with those of our clients. The better you do for them, the better you do for yourself. THE STATE INCOME TAX DRAG Just as it is frustrating for our clients in states with a state income tax to pay that tax on taxable dividends and capital gains, it must be nearly as frustrating for the financial advisor whose income is also adversely affected by this state income tax drag. What if…

Situs Your Trust in a First-Tier Trust Jurisdiction

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) and Mark Dreschler Not all jurisdictions have favorable trust laws. In fact, most jurisdictions’ trust laws are inferior in comparison to those of the first-tier trust jurisdictions. Despite the limitations found in most trust jurisdictions laws, estate planners generally limit their planning to the client’s home jurisdiction. This article will provide multiple reasons not to do so and will explain some of the opportunities that are lost by failing to consider a top trust jurisdiction. COMMON REASONS TO SITUS A TRUST IN A TOP-TIER TRUST JURISDICTION Following are some of the common reasons…

Trustasaurus: The Gradual Extinction of the Age 25, 30 and 35 Trust

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) Read nearly every trust drafted by nearly every law firm and you’ll see provisions that make mandatory distributions at staggered ages. Why is this done? I have no idea. Maybe because their standard “form” trust agreement does that??? Is it good planning? Absolutely not! STAGGERED DISTRIBUTION TRUST A “Staggered Distribution Trust” is a trust that makes mandatory staggered distributions upon the beneficiary reaching staggered ages. The most widely-used provisions distribute one-third at age 25, one-half of the balance at age 30 and the balance at age 35. The philosophy of doing this is…

The Biden Estate Tax Cliff: Gifting Like it’s 2012 All Over Again!

By  Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) Those estate planning attorneys who were in practice in 2012 surely remember the last few months of the year when prospective clients were calling and emailing all day long every day literally begging us to take “just one more client”! There was a mad rush to make $5 million gifts before the estate tax exemption was going to drop back down when the clock struck midnight at the end of 12/31/2012. Most of the experienced attorneys were so busy that they stopped taking new clients in October or November. FAST FORWARD TO 2020…

The SECURE Act: Everything You Need to Know (and How to Advise Your Clients!)

On December 20, 2019, President Trump signed a spending bill which had attached to it a piece of legislation that much of the estate, tax and financial world has been anxiously awaiting for an update on called the “Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019” (or “SECURE Act”). The SECURE Act went into effect January 1st, 2020 and is set to dramatically impact retirement planning for you and your clients! As many are aware, the most important provision of the SECURE Act to impact our clients and the planning we do for them includes the elimination of…

Top Six Opportunities to Use a Corporate Trustee

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) Corporate Trustee A corporate trustee is generally either a bank trust department or a trust company.  The employees at these companies have been trained to know how to administer trusts, how to account for their actions and to deal with beneficiaries.  They are licensed and bonded and therefore there is often recourse if something goes wrong. The Argument for Corporate Trustees Individuals will often neglect to take care of their responsibilities such as paying bills on time or following the rules required by the language in their trust agreements.  Individuals also sometimes steal. …

The 2010-2019 All-Decade Estate Planning Awards

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) This past decade has arguably seen more changes in the estate planning industry than ever before. This article will highlight many of these changes by handing out awards in a number of different categories. #1. MOST SUBSTANTIAL CHANGE IN THE LAW AWARD WINNER: SUBSTANTIAL INCREASE IN ESTATE TAX EXEMPTION. The change in the law that has been the most significant was the substantial increase in the federal estate tax exemption. No other change in the law played such a prominent role in the way estate planners plan since this essentially turned estate tax planners…