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…

The Spousal Lifetime Access Trust

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) Imagine that there is a type of trust that you can set up where you can transfer assets and not only protect them from creditors and estate tax, but also have access to them through your spouse.  No, this is not a hypothetical world where there are rainbows and unicorns!  This world really does exist! This trust is often called a Spousal Lifetime Access Trust, or “SLAT” for short.  Most people are aware of the completed gift version where estate tax avoidance is the primary motivating factor.  However, there are really two different…

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…

ABA Heckerling Reports from the 2018 Heckerling Institute

For the past 19 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 past January 2018, marked the 52nd Annual Heckerling Institute.  To view, download and access these extensive reports, please click here to visit the ABA’s website. Further, at the above website, you can also access reports from prior Heckerling Institutes as well. We, at The…

Tax Reform is Here: What You Need to Know to Advise Your Clients

By Jeramie Fortenberry, J.D., LL.M. (Taxation) Director of Education WealthCounsel, LLC The most significant tax reform package of this generation is now awaiting the President’s signature and is widely expected to be signed into law at any time. The new tax law changes the tax planning landscape, creating both pitfalls and opportunities for attorneys and the clients they serve. It is critical for business and estate planning attorneys to understand these changes and how they affect their clients. In this Thought Paper, Jeramie Fortenberry, JD, LLM, provides actionable guidance for planning under the new and different tax landscape. It includes…

Impact of Potential Tax Reform on Business Owners and Possible Steps to Take in 2017

By Edwin P. Morrow III, J.D., LL.M. (Tax), CFP®, CM&AA® On November 2, 2017, the Speaker of the House, with the backing of the President, finally introduced the long-awaited bill that represents Republican efforts at comprehensive tax reform, to be titled the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act”. Of course, the Senate will propose significant changes, and there is opposition from both parties about the direction of the bill and the trillions it could add to the national debt. That said, there is a very strong chance of something close to the bill being passed this year or early next year. What are…

Crowdsource Funding to Help Victims of the Las Vegas Massacre

By Martin M. Shenkman, CPA, MBA, PFS, AEP, JD, Bernard A. Krooks, JD, CPA, LLM (Taxation), CELA, AEP® (Distinguished)., and Jonathan G. Blattmachr, Esq. Introduction One of the authors just received a call to assist those helping one of the hundreds of victims of the Las Vegas shooting with some questions concerning a crowdfunding effort. What initially seemed like a simple question, which that might help one victim struggling with unfathomable challenges, following an equally unfathomable mass shooting, grew into something more. The questions grew and it became clear that they may affect the hundreds of victims of the Las…