Why Does Probate Take So Long? (In California)

Posted on

In California probate proceedings are governed by the Probate Code which sets forth certain time limits. Once a petition for probate is filed, you will receive a date for the first hearing in which an administrator or executor is appointed. The hearing is often 2-3 months after the petition has been filed. Once the representative has been appointed, notice has to be given to creditors of the decedent. Creditors have four months after publication of the notice of probate or 60 days after receiving actual notice, whichever is later to file a claim. Then the process begins of collecting and valuing the decedent’s entire asset, paying the debts, taxes, possibly liquidating some assets, and finally distributed the assets to the heirs or beneficiaries.

The normal time for probate in San Diego County is between 9 months and 18 months. There are a number of factors that may make the probate process take longer. Some of these are:

1. Many beneficiaries 2. Beneficiaries that cannot be found 3. A will contest brought to dispute the validity of the will. If a contest is filed, it will have to be decided before the estate can be distributed. Sometimes this can take years if there are depositions that have to be taken and either mediation or a trial. 4. Disagreements among the beneficiaries such as who should be the administrator, whether the accounting is accurate, whether there are beneficiaries that should be disqualified, or having to set up a guardianship of the estate for minors. Each time a petition or motion is brought in the probate matter to resolve a disagreement; it lengthens the time for closing the estate. 5. A taxable estate. If the estate has to pay federal estate tax, this can delay closing the estate. This is not a problem for decedents who passed away in 2010, however in 2011, if the Legislature does not act, the federal estate tax threshold will revert to $1 million making many more estates subject to estate taxes. 6. A complicated estate with unusual assets. Typical estates consist of real property, bank accounts, investment accounts, etc. If one of the assets is a business, however, it can take time to appraise such an asset. The same is true of oil or mineral rights or other unusual assets. If there are many assets, it can also take additional time to appraise all the assets and liquidate them if they need to be.   Roy M. Doppelt

Mechelle McNair Asks Probate Court for Over $3.7 Million to Pay Estate Tax Bills

Posted on

On March 30 Jonula "Mechelle" McNair, the widow of murdered NFL quarterback Steve McNair, asked a Tennessee probate court to allow the dispursement of over $3.7 million from her husband's estate to pay nearly $2.9 million in estate taxes owed to the IRS and over $860,000 in estate taxes owed to the state of Tennessee.

The motion filed with the probate court stated that the tax payments were due on or before April 5. In fact, both federal and Tennessee estate taxes are due nine months after the date of death, but since McNair died on July 4 and April 4 fell on a Sunday, the estate had an extra day to pay. Strangely enough the motion that sought release of the funds was filed on March 30 and the judge signed the order granting the motion on the same day, leaving not a minute to spare.

The motion does state that both the federal and Tennessee estate tax returns will need to be amended once Mechelle McNair's share of the estate is finally determined. But since the estate clearly has the cash necessary to pay the estimated tax bills, Mechelle McNair apparently decided to pay the bills on time in order to avoid interest that would begin to accrue on any unpaid portion due and owing after April 5.

The really sad thing in all of this is the fact that 100% of both federal and Tennessee estate taxes could have been avoided if Steve McNair had simply taken the time to do proper estate planning. This would have meant over $3.7 million in the pockets of his heirs instead of in the pockets of the IRS and the Tennessee Department of Revenue.

 

Overview of Rhode Island Estate Tax Laws

Posted on

Understanding How Rhode Island Estate Taxes Affect an Estate
By Julie Garber, About.com Guide

NOTE: State laws change frequently and the following information may not reflect recent changes in the laws. For current tax or legal advice, please consult with an accountant or an attorney since the information contained in this article is not tax or legal advice and is not a substitute for tax or legal advice.

If you live in Rhode Island, then you live in one of the remaining states that collects a state estate tax or a state inheritance tax. The estates of Rhode Island residents, as well as the estates of nonresidents who own real estate and/or tangible personal property located in Rhode Island, are subject to a state estate tax under the following guidelines.

When is a Rhode Island Estate Tax Return Required to be Filed?

For a Rhode Island resident, a Rhode Island Estate Tax Return, Form 100A, must be filed if the decedent's gross estate plus adjusted taxable gifts exceeds $675,000 in 2009, $850,000 in 2010, $859,350 in 2011, $892,865 in 2012, or $910,725 in 2013.

For a nonresident, the estate must file Form 100A if the estate includes real or tangible personal property located in Rhode Island and the gross estate plus adjusted taxable gifts exceeds $675,000 in 2009, $850,000 in 2010, $859,350 in 2011, $892,865 in 2012 or $910,725 in 2013.

A signed copy of the federal estate tax return, IRS Form 706, United States Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return, must accompany Form 100A if the estate is required to file Form 706.

Note: The Rhode Island estate tax exemption increased from $675,000 to $850,000 on January 1, 2010, and has been indexed for inflation beginning in 2011.

When is the Rhode Island Estate Tax Return and Any Payment Required Due?

Form 100A must be filed and any tax due must be paid within nine months of the decedent's death.

An extension of time to file Form 100A may be requested, however, even if an extension is granted it won't delay the time for payment of any tax due.

Where is the Rhode Island Estate Tax Return Filed?

Mail the Rhode Estate Tax Return (Form 100A), a $25.00 filing fee, any payment due, and all other required forms to:

Rhode Island Division of Taxation Estate Tax Section
One Capitol Hill
Providence, RI 02908

Make checks payable to "RI Division of Taxation."

What is the Rhode Island Estate Tax Rate?

The tax rate is a progressive rate that maxes out at 16% for the amount above $10,040,000.

Are Transfers to a Surviving Spouse Taxable?

Outright transfers to a surviving spouse are not taxable.

For married couples who have used traditional AB Trust planning to reduce their federal estate tax bill, a Rhode Island estate tax may be due on the B Trust after the first spouse's death since there is a gap between the Rhode Island estate tax exemption and the federal estate tax exemption (for example, the gap in 2012 is equal to a whopping $4,107,135). A married decedent's estate is, however, authorized to make an election on Form 100A to treat property as marital deduction qualified terminable interest property ("QTIP") for Rhode Island purposes, so married Rhode Island couples can defer payment of both Rhode Island estate taxes and federal estate taxes until after the death of the surviving spouse by using an ABC Trust scheme instead of AB Trust planning.

Do Nontaxable Estates Have to File Any Forms?

For gross estates valued at the exemption amount or less, Form 100, Estate Tax Credit Transmittal, can be filed to obtain discharge of the automatic statutory lien that attaches to all Rhode Island real estate a person owns at death, to obtain a Notice of No Tax Due for probate administration purposes, and to allow the sale of Rhode Island securities, including Rhode Island incorporated stock, Rhode Island state and municipal bonds, and mutual funds organized as business trusts that do business in Rhode Island.

Form 100 should be signed by the executor, administrator, trustee or heir at law of the deceased person. It should be mailed along with a death certificate and $25.00 filing fee to the address listed above for Form 100A.

Note: As mentioned above, the Rhode Island estate tax exemption was increased from $675,000 to $850,000 on January 1, 2010, and was then indexed for inflation beginning in 2011. Does Rhode Island Impose a Lien on the Deceased Person's Property?

Form T-77, Discharge of Lien Form, must be filed along with Form 100A or Form 100 if the decedent had any interest in real estate located in Rhode Island. Form T-77 must be filed in triplicate and the description of the real estate must be stated as the tax assessor's description which can be found on the property tax bill issued by the applicable city or town.

Form T-79, Estate Tax Waiver Form, must be filed along with Form 100A or Form 100 if the decedent had any interest in a security of a Rhode Island incorporated business requiring an estate tax waiver. Form T-79 must be filed in duplicate.

Where Can I Find Additional Information About Rhode Island Estate Taxes?

For more information about Rhode Island estate taxes, refer to the Rhode Island Division of Taxation website.

Overview of Massachusetts Estate Tax Laws

Posted on

Understanding How Massachusetts Estate Taxes Affect an Estate
By Julie Garber, About.com Guide

If you live in Massachusetts, then you live in one of a handful of states that still collect a state estate tax. The estates of Massachusetts residents, as well as the estates of nonresidents who own real estate and/or tangible personal property located in Massachusetts, are subject to a state estate tax under the following guidelines.

NOTE: State laws change frequently and the following information may not reflect recent changes. For current tax or legal advice, please consult with an accountant or an attorney since the information contained in this article is not tax or legal advice and is not a substitute for tax or legal advice.

When is an estate subject to the Massachusetts estate tax?

For Massachusetts residents, an estate may be subject to the Massachusetts estate tax if the value of the gross estate, plus adjusted taxable gifts, exceeds the applicable exclusion amount in the Internal Revenue Code in effect on December 31, 2000. The applicable exclusion amounts for Massachusetts estate tax purposes are $700,000 for 2003, $850,000 for 2004, $950,000 for 2005, and $1,000,000 for 2006 and later years. Thus, in general, under current law an estate may be subject to the Massachusetts estate tax if the value exceeds $1,000,000. For nonresidents of Massachusetts, an estate may be subject to the Massachusetts estate tax if it includes real estate or tangible personal property having a taxable situs within the state of Massachusetts and the value of the gross estate exceeds $1,000,000 under the criteria set forth above.

What Massachusetts estate tax forms must be filed?

The estate representative of an estate that is subject to the Massachusetts estate tax must first complete a federal estate tax return, IRS Form 706, with a revision date of July 1999 and all applicable schedules. Once the federal return is completed, the estate representative can prepare the Massachusetts Estate Tax Return, Form M-706.

In addition to IRS Form 706 with a revision date of July 1999 and a Form M-706, the following documents may be required to be filed:

A Federal Closing Letter submitted to the Massachusetts Department of Revenue within two months of receipt, if the filing of a federal Form 706 is required. This includes both the federal letter of acceptance and line adjustments, if any. Copies of federal changes must be accompanied by an Application for Abatement/Amended Return (Form CA-6), or by an amended Form M-706, as appropriate. No Massachusetts Estate Closing Letter will be issued without a copy of the Federal Closing Letter.

A Certificate Releasing Massachusetts Estate Tax Lien (Form M-792) in triplicate for each parcel of real estate where a release of lien is required. A copy of the deed or certificate of title, and the purchase and sale agreement (or mortgage commitment), if any, should be provided.

A Massachusetts Nonresident Decedent Affidavit (Form M-NRA) for the estates of nonresident decedents.

Are transfers to a surviving spouse taxable?

Outright transfers to a surviving spouse are not taxable.

For married couples who have used AB Trust planning to reduce their federal estate tax bill, a Massachusetts estate tax may be due on the B Trust as a result of a gap between the Massachusetts exemption and the federal exemption. In 2013, that gap is $4,250,000. Nonetheless, a married decedent's estate can make a Massachusetts-only election to treat a trust of which the surviving spouse is the sole beneficiary as "qualified terminable interest property" ("QTIP Trust" for short) for purposes of calculating the Massachusetts estate tax. Thus, since there is a significant gap between the Massachusetts estate tax exemption and the federal exemption and a state-only QTIP election is allowed, married Massachusetts residents can defer payment of both Massachusetts and federal death taxes until after the death of the surviving spouse using ABC Trust planning.

When are the Massachusetts estate tax return and tax payment due?

The Massachusetts estate tax return must be filed, and any estate tax due must be paid, within nine months after the decedent's date of death.

By submitting an "Application for Extension of Time to File Massachusetts Estate Tax Return" (Form M-4768), an extension of time to file Form M-706 may be granted for a reasonable period, provided the application is made on or before the original due date of the return and 100% of the estimated amount of Massachusetts estate tax is paid. Failure to pay at least 80% of the amount of estate tax finally determined to be due on or before the due date will void any extension of time to file, and the return will be subject to the late filing penalty and, possibly, the late payment penalty. Interest will accrue on any unpaid tax from the original due date.

By filing an "Application for Extension of Time to Pay Massachusetts Estate Tax" (Form M-4768A), an extension of time to pay Massachusetts estate taxes may be granted for a reasonable period, but not to exceed six months. However, when an extension of time to pay is granted, interest on any unpaid tax accrues from the original due date. An extension is granted only for reasonable cause. An extension of up to three years from the due date may be granted upon a showing of undue hardship.

Where are the Massachusetts estate tax return filed and tax payment made?

Payment of the Massachusetts estate tax must be made by a check payable to the :Commonwealth of Massachusetts." Enter the decedent’s full name and Social Security number in the memo portion of the check. The executor signing the return is personally liable for payment of any tax shown on the return if it is not otherwise paid.

The return and the tax payment should be sent to the following:

Massachusetts Estate Tax Unit
P.O. Box 7023
Boston, MA 02204

What is the Massachusetts estate tax rate?

Effective for dates of death on or after January 1, 2003, the Massachusetts estate tax for the estates of residents and nonresidents is computed with reference to the allowable federal estate tax credit for state death taxes allowed in the Internal Revenue Code in effect on December 31, 2000.

If an estate consists solely of property subject to Massachusetts estate taxation, it pays to Massachusetts an amount equal to the federal credit for state death taxes computed using the Internal Revenue Code in effect on December 31, 2000.

In the case of a resident of Massachusetts who owned or transferred real estate or tangible personal property located outside of Massachusetts, Massachusetts grants a credit for estate or inheritance taxes properly paid to other states.

In the case of a nonresident of Massachusetts who owned or transferred real estate or tangible personal property located in Massachusetts, the amount of the Massachusetts nonresident estate tax is the proportion of the allowable credit from the federal estate tax return that the gross value of the Massachusetts property bears to the entire federal gross estate wherever situated.

For an explanation and examples on how to calculate the Massachusetts estate tax, refer to following information listed on the Massachusetts Department of Revenue website: A Guide to Estate Taxes (Applicable to dates of death on or after January 1, 2003).

When is a release of Massachusetts estate tax lien required?

For dates of death on or after January 1, 1997, if the amount of the gross estate requires the filing of a Massachusetts estate tax return, a "Certificate Releasing Massachusetts Estate Tax Lien" (Form M-792) is required for real estate that is owned jointly with rights of survivorship or as tenants by the entirety, real estate that is held in a trust and other real estate that is not part of the probate inventory but is includible in the taxable gross estate. Form M-792 may be required for probate real estate where there is a sale pending (or mortgage commitment), and no closing letter has been issued.

For estates of decedents dying on or after January 1, 2003 that are not required to file M-706, an affidavit of the executor, subscribed to under the pains and penalties of perjury, recorded in the applicable Registry of Deeds and accurately stating that the value of the decedent's gross estate does not require a Massachusetts estate tax filing, is required to release the gross estate of the lien. The Massachusetts Department of Revenue does not publish blank affidavits for filing in the Registry of Deeds, although some Registries may publish sample affidavits and provide them to the public.

For the estates of decedents dying on or after January 1, 2003 that equal or exceed the Massachusetts filing requirement for the year of death, the Commissioner of Revenue will release the lien with respect to property if the Commissioner is satisfied that the collection of the tax will not be jeopardized. The Commissioner will release the lien by issuing Form M-792, "Certificate Releasing Massachusetts Estate Tax Lien."

Where can I find additional information about Massachusetts estate taxes?

For more information about Massachusetts estate taxes, refer to the Massachusetts Department of Revenue website: A Guide to Estate Taxes (Applicable to dates of death on or after January 1, 2003).

Overview of Maryland Estate Tax Laws

Posted on

Understanding How Maryland Estate Taxes Affect an Estate
By Julie Garber, About.com Guide

If you live in Maryland, then you live in one of a handful of states that still collect a state estate tax. In addition, Maryland is one of six states that collects a state inheritance tax (New Jersey is the only other state that collects both an estate tax and an inheritance tax.)

The estates of Maryland residents, as well as the estates of nonresidents who own real estate, tangible personal property, and/or one or more business entities located in Maryland, are subject to a state estate tax under the following guidelines.

NOTE: State laws change frequently and the following information may not reflect recent changes. For current tax or legal advice, please consult with an accountant or an attorney since the information contained in this article is not tax or legal advice and is not a substitute for tax or legal advice.

When is an estate subject to the Maryland estate tax?

For Maryland residents, an estate may be subject to the Maryland estate tax if the federal gross estate, plus adjusted taxable gifts, plus property for which a Maryland qualified terminal interest property (QTIP) election was previously made on a Maryland estate tax return filed for the estate of the decedent's predeceased spouse, equals or exceeds $1,000,000.

For nonresidents of Maryland, an estate may be subject to the Maryland estate tax if it includes real estate or tangible personal property having a taxable situs within the state of Maryland and the value of the federal gross estate equals or exceeds $1,000,000 under the criteria set forth above.

What Maryland estate tax forms must be filed?

The estate representative of an estate that is subject to the Maryland estate tax must first complete a federal estate tax return, IRS Form 706, for the year of the decedent's death, even if the estate is not required to file a federal estate tax return. Once the federal return is completed, the estate representative can prepare the Maryland Estate Tax Return, Form MET-1.

Are transfers to a surviving spouse taxable?

Outright transfers to a surviving spouse are not taxable.

For married couples who have used AB Trust planning to reduce their federal estate tax bill, a Maryland estate tax may be due on the B Trust as a result of a gap between the Maryland exemption and the federal exemption. In 2013, that gap is $4,250,000. Nonetheless, a married decedent's estate can make a Maryland-only election to treat a trust of which the surviving spouse is the sole beneficiary as "qualified terminable interest property" ("QTIP Trust" for short) for purposes of calculating the Maryland estate tax. Thus, since there is a gap between the Maryland estate tax exemption and the federal exemption and a state-only QTIP election is allowed, married Maryland residents can defer payment of both Maryland and federal death taxes until after the death of the surviving spouse using ABC Trust planning.

When are the Maryland estate tax return and tax payment due?

The Maryland estate tax return must be filed, and any estate tax due must be paid, within nine months after the decedent's date of death.

An automatic six-month extension of time to file the Maryland estate tax return and related forms may be requested on Form MET-1E (or up to one year if the person required to file the return is located outside of the U.S.); however, this will not extend the time to pay the tax, and interest will accrue during the extension period. In addition, a penalty of up to 10% will be assessed if the estate tax bill is not paid by the estate tax return due date.

Where are the Maryland estate tax return filed and tax payment made?

For Maryland residents, the Maryland Estate Tax Return, Form MET-1, should be filed with the Register of Wills of the county where the decedent's probate estate is being administered or, if no probate estate is required, then in the county where the decedent resided at the time of death.

For nonresidents, file the Maryland Estate Tax Return, Form MET-1, with the Register of Wills of the county where the nonresident owned real estate or tangible personal property.

For links to all 24 Maryland Register of Wills websites, refer to the Office of the Register of Wills website.

Mail the estate tax payment directly to the Comptroller of Maryland on or before the due date of the Maryland estate tax return at the following address:

Comptroller of Maryland Estate Tax Section
P.O. Box 828
Annapolis, MD 21404-0828

What is the Maryland estate tax rate?

According to the Maryland Comptroller's website, there is no Maryland estate tax rate table. Instead, the Maryland estate tax tax is calculated using the maximum allowable credit for state death taxes under §2011 of the Internal Revenue Code, as computed for Maryland purposes, less any Maryland inheritance tax paid to the Register of Wills. For decedents dying after December 31, 2005, the tax cannot exceed 16% of the amount by which the decedent’s taxable estate exceeds $1,000,000. If the Maryland inheritance tax is equal to or exceeds the federal credit for state death taxes, no Maryland estate tax is due.

For an explanation and tips on how to calculate the Maryland estate tax, refer to following information listed on the Comptroller of Maryland's website: Maryland Estate Tax Calculation Method.

Where can I find additional information about Maryland estate taxes?

For more information about Maryland estate taxes, refer to the Comptroller of Maryland's website: Maryland Estate and Inheritance Tax.

Call the Maryland Comptroller's Office with your Maryland estate tax questions at 410-260-7850 from Central Maryland or 1-800 MD TAXES from elsewhere, Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. EDT.

You can also e-mail your Maryland estate tax questions as well as fiduciary tax questions to taxhelp@comp.state.md.us. How have the Maryland estate tax laws changed over the past few years?

On May 22, 2012, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley signed the "Family Farm Preservation Act" into law. This legislation, which was passed by unanimous votes in both the House and Senate, reduces the Maryland estate tax rate assessed against Maryland farms valued over $5 million from 16% down to 5% when the property passes to someone who agrees to continue to use it for agricultural purposes. If the property is then taken out of agricultural use within 10 years of the owner's death, the estate tax will be recaptured. The law went into effect on July 1, 2012 and applies to deaths occurring after December 31, 2011.

 

Connecticut Estate Tax Laws

Posted on

Connecticut, Land of Both Estate and Gift Taxes

NOTE: State laws change frequently and the following information may not reflect recent changes in the laws. For current tax or legal advice, please consult with an accountant or an attorney since the information contained in this article is not tax or legal advice and is not a substitute for tax or legal advice.

Connecticut residents, as well as nonresidents who own real estate and/or tangible personal property located in Connecticut, are subject to gift taxes and state estate taxes under the following guidelines.

What is the Connecticut taxable estate?

The Connecticut taxable estate is the sum of (1) the total value of the decedent’s federal gross estate less allowable deductions other than the deduction for state death taxes; and (2) the aggregate amount of Connecticut taxable gifts made by the decedent during his or her lifetime for all calendar years beginning on or after January 1, 2005.

When is an estate subject to the Connecticut estate tax?

If the Connecticut taxable estate as determined above exceeds $2,000,000, then Connecticut estate tax is due and payable on the value of the taxable estate, including the first $2,000,000. Note: For deaths occurring on or after January 1, 2010 and on or before December 31, 2010, the state estate tax exemption was increased from $2,000,000 to $3,500,000.

What Connecticut estate tax forms must be filed?

All estates subject to the Connecticut estate tax must file Form CT-706/709, Connecticut Estate and Gift Tax Return, with the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services, and also file a copy of Form CT-706/709 with the appropriate Connecticut probate court.

Are transfers to a surviving spouse taxable?

Outright transfers to a surviving spouse are not taxable.

For married couples who have used AB Trust planning to reduce federal estate taxes, Connecticut estate tax may be due on the B Trust after the first spouse's death. A married decedent's estate is authorized to make an election on Form CT-706/709 to treat property as marital deduction qualified terminable interest property ("QTIP") only for purposes of calculating the Connecticut estate tax (this is called a "state QTIP election"). What this means is that if the estate is passing to a surviving spouse through an ABC Trust scheme, then the payment of both Connecticut and federal estate taxes can be deferred until after the death of the surviving spouse.

Do Connecticut nontaxable estates have to file any tax forms?

If the sum of the Connecticut taxable estate is $2,000,000 or less for deaths occurring before January 1, 2010 or after January 1, 2011, or $3,500,000 for deaths occurring between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2010, then no Connecticut estate and gift tax return will be due. However, all Connecticut estates must file Form CT-706 NT, Connecticut Estate Tax Return (For Nontaxable Estates), with the appropriate Connecticut district probate court. Do not file Form CT-706 NT with the Department of Revenue Services. Form CT-706 NT must be filed with the appropriate Connecticut district probate court.

When is the Connecticut estate tax return and any payment required due?

For deaths occurring before July 1, 2009, Form CT-706/709 for the Connecticut estate tax is due within nine months after the date of the decedent's death unless an extension of time to file is requested.

For deaths occurring on or after July 1, 2009, Form CT-706/709 for the Connecticut estate tax is due within six months after the date of the decedent's death unless an extension of time to file is requested.

Use Form CT-706/709 EXT, Application for Estate and Gift Tax Return Filing Extension and for Estate Tax Payment Extension, to apply for an extension of time to file.

Payment of the Connecticut estate tax is due at the same time as Form CT-706/709 unless an extension of time to pay has been granted.

Where is the Connecticut estate tax return filed?

Mail the Connecticut estate tax return, Form CT-706/709, and all other required forms to:

Department of Revenue Services
P.O. Box 2978
Hartford, CT 06104-2978

Do not mail your Connecticut nontaxable estate return, Form CT-706 NT, to the Department of Revenue Services. Instead, this form gets filed with the appropriate Connecticut district probate court. What is the Connecticut estate tax rate?

The Connecticut estate tax rate is a progressive one that starts with 5.085% of the first $100,000 over the $2,000,000 threshold and rises to 16% for the amount above $10,100,000.

Where can I get more information about Connecticut estate taxes?

For more information on Connecticut estate taxes, refer to Connecticut Estate Tax Resources From the Department of Revenue Website.

What about other states that collect estate taxes or inheritance taxes?

For information about other states that collect estate taxes, refer to the State Estate Tax and Exemption Chart.

For information about state inheritance taxes, which are different from state estate taxes, refer to the State Inheritance Tax Chart.

About.com

After The Fiscal Cliff

Posted on

Fiscal CliffWhat has Changed in the Estate and Gift Tax Laws? By Geri McHam

Congress passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012’’ (“ATRA”) that made the federal estate tax exemption permanent on January 1, 2013.  In a last minute move before we went over the “fiscal cliff”, in an 11th hour tax law passed by the Senate on New Year’s Eve, and by the House of Representatives one day later, mostly what Congress did was to make permanent the system that has been in effect for the past two years.  I am just thankful that we now have permanence that has been missing for the last 12 years.

What’s most important to us as planners is how the “fiscal cliff” deal changes will affect our clients’ existing estate plans and whether any changes are necessary.

Most estate planning documents deal with non-tax issues, including the very valuable benefit of structuring assets to avoid the probate process at death and to provide creditor protection for beneficiaries.  The Power of Attorney, Conservator, and healthcare documents are all extremely important and necessary.  These documents are critical to avoid unnecessary court oversight and expense, delay, and intrusion.

What are the provisions of the ATRA that will affect my estate planning practice or clients?

Top gift, estate and GST tax rates are set at 40%. ATRA 2012 establishes the top gift, estate, and GST tax rates at 40% for gifts made and decedents dying in 2013 and thereafter. This top rate is higher than the 2012 rate of 35%, but lower than the 55% rate that would have come into effect on January 1 in the absence of legislation. This top rate will apply to transfers exceeding the exemption amounts.

Exemption amount:  Permanently set at $5,000,000 per client, indexed for an inflation adjustment beginning 2012 ($5.12 million in 2012).   The estate tax exclusion amount for deaths in 2013 will be $5.25 million.

Gift Tax Rate:  The estate and gift taxes will remain unified, so the $5 million exemption also applies for gift tax purposes, and will follow the estate tax rate.  The rate was permanently set to 40% of the amount over the exemption.  In addition, the annual gift exclusion amount was raised to $14,000 per person this year.

Generation Skipping Tax Rate:  The generation skipping tax exemption follows the estate tax rate.  The rate was permanently set to 40% of the amount over the exemption.

Portability made permanent:  Further, the deal continues the estate tax portability provisions that allow a surviving spouse to take advantage of his or her deceased spouse’s unused exemption amount. This provision allows a surviving spouse to avoid complicated estate planning by recognizing that gifts between spouses are typically tax free and allowing the exemption to be portable between both spouses.  In order to utilize this, a 706 tax return MUST be filed within 9 months, so in my opinion, portability is less than optimal in many cases.

Use of the A/B/Bypass Trust:  Some of the discussion since passing this legislation has focused on the use of A/B trust structure, and whether planning is better without the credit shelter trust.  I still am in favor of estate planning with an A/B/C trust, especially to preserve a decedent’s share in case of a remarriage of the survivor spouse, and also to allow the flexibility of state estate tax planning.  As long as the trust is flexible enough to allow the options of funding the various sub-trusts to the survivor spouse, which ours does, you still have the benefit of planning that gives the most flexibility to the survivor.  We will review the provisions in our trust as a precaution

Upside to IRA Planning in ATRA

Hidden in the law — along with the typical year-end riders attached to a last minute piece of legislation, including tax breaks for NASCAR and the alternative fuel industry — were a couple of tangible impacts to the retirement world, though one may offer just short-term benefits. First, it looks as though folks hoping to roll over their regular 401(k)s to Roth 401(k)s may get an opportunity for a long-term tax break — lord knows you’re going to need one, as your taxes really are going to go up.  A new provision in the package will allow 401(k), 403(b) and 457(b) participants to make the leap to a Roth 401(k) without waiting for the traditional qualifying events (retirement, reaching age 59 1/2 or changing jobs).  Why? Because doing so immediately sends that tax deferral — which you’ll have to pay up front — to Washington, rather than waiting until your far-off retirement day, and Washington wants your taxes. It’s a huge opportunity for regular folks to make that Roth conversion – provided they have the financial wherewithal to pay those taxes much sooner than later.

Potential future legislation. It is important to note that there may be a push for additional revenue-raising legislation as political debates continue. The current administration has expressed its desire to limit the advantages of GRATs, grantor trusts, GST-exempt dynasty trusts, and transfers in family entities that qualify for valuation discounts. Clients who might consider employing those techniques may wish to do so sooner rather than later.

Our History

Posted on

OUR HISTORY

In the beginning…

This company began as a corporation called The Estate Plan founded by Henry Abts, III. He came up with the idea to help others out of his own personal suffering through the unforeseen process of probate that his mother had to bear. It was such a traumatic experience that he figured there had to be an alternative, something that he and others could do to avoid it. During this time he was pursuing a career in financial and personal estate planning and discovered the Living Trust was the key to avoiding probate. The beginning of The Estate Plan thus was created, a business model that had two objectives; educate the public about alternatives to probate; and second, supply clients with the solution of a proper estate planning program. It then grew into creating a set of living trust documents designed to cover the majority of circumstances in the general public but with the ability to tailor to each person’s individual needs. These documents could be used by attorneys very easily in their practice by assessing the client’s needs and applying them to the ready-made living trust. It was a win-win with the attorneys providing a quality trust and Henry peace of mind that the people are being served well.

The Living Trust book was created

After he met with more than a thousand clients from coast to coast he decided to write a book. The Living Trust book was created in 1989 and has since sold over 1 million copies and is considered the “bible of the industry.” The Estate Plan was now the only nationwide Living Trust Company whose trust documents were valid in all 50 states and has produced over 60,000 trusts.

The Institute for Estate Preservation was formed

Approximately 10 years ago Henry decided he wanted to train those who used the Living Trust documents (attorneys) not only to create a consistency and understanding of the documents throughout the company but in his high quality standards and ethics.  What he created is still being practiced today, The Institute for Estate Preservation in both basic and advanced levels. These institutes are typically viewed as just another training institute by those who’ve never attended; however, they are quite the contrary. There is rarely someone who attends that says it was not helpful or that they did not learn something new. Both The Estate Plan staff and Henry himself taught at the Institutes, he was always very passionate about his idea of reaching out to everyone who would listen.

Transitioning into the digital age

Unfortunately, in July of 2010 Henry passed away in his sleep at his home in Incline Village, Lake Tahoe. Although Henry was in his 80′s he was still very passionate about “Taking the Message to All Who Will Listen” his infamous quote amongst his community. He left this for us to carry forward which we are excited to not only carry forward but expand in new and better ways.

We are now in a digital age where it’s essentially “out with the old and in with the new.” What used to work is now obsolete regarding so many aspects in this industry. We are working diligently to transition by first, creating this robust website which hosts a wealth of estate planning information, knowledge, tools and tips and second, re-writing our current proprietary software into a cloud solution allowing our estate planning back office document model to be accessible online as well as including all new features to satisfy the end user in a way never thought possible. We are certain with both in place; we will be well beyond all of our competitors and will have created an entirely new way of doing business in this industry.

 

You’re Young; Do You Need an Estate Plan?

Posted on

While the trend these days is for people to live well into their 80s and 90s, I'm hearing more and more about the unexpected deaths of people in their 30s, 40s, and 50s. During my 15 years of practice I've met with my fair share of young widows or widowers or the parents of a child who died unexpectedly, and in all cases but one there wasn't any estate planning done. And even in the one estate where the deceased husband did have a will, it had been written while he was still single and lived in New Jersey and it hadn't been updated after the birth of his child, his second marriage, or even after the couple moved to Florida. What a mess that was to deal with and I hate to say this, but in the big picture the young family probably would have been better off without any will at all instead of an extremely old and out of date will. I can't emphasize enough how important it is for everyone, young and old alike, to have an estate plan. But as my example of the young husband who failed to update his will after major changes in his life demonstrates, that's really not enough. You also need to make sure that all of the important documents that are included in your estate plan - wills, trusts, powers of attorney, advance medical directives - are kept up to date and change as your family, finances, and the law change. This will require a yearly meeting with your estate planning attorney, but that's OK because you need to understand that estate planning is not a one shot deal but an ongoing process. And the time to start the process or continue the process is now.

In a 2004 survey conducted by Lawyers.com, the two most frequent reasons adult Americans cited for not having an estate plan were insufficient assets and not being old enough to need a plan. Sadly, those who hold these beliefs are greatly mistaken. With life's ups and downs comes the need for basic estate planning for both the young and old alike. Here are six estate planning tips for young singles and couples that can nonetheless be used by singles and couples of all ages.

1. Don't Rule Out a Prenuptial Agreement If you are young and do not think that you need a prenuptial agreement before getting married, think again. Many circumstances warrant at least considering a prenuptial agreement, including being involved in a family-owned business or owning your own business; having part of your paycheck stashed away in a 401(k) or other retirement plan; the possibility of inheriting assets from your family; owning a residence that will be used as the marital home; or marrying someone who has already accumulated a large amount of debt. A prenuptial agreement can protect what assets you currently have or significant assets that you expect to inherit, and can also protect you from your spouse-to-be's debts acquired before the marriage.

2. Make an Estate Plan for Medical Emergencies Twenty-six year old Terri Schiavo of Florida certainly did not anticipate slipping into a coma in 1990 and then having her husband and parents fight over her medical care and ultimate wishes for the next 15 years. Planning for medical emergencies is a must for everyone and should include the signing of two important legal documents called a Living Will and an Advance Medical Directive.

3. Make an Estate Plan for Financial Emergencies If you are out of the country on business and your spouse is at home trying to sell the house, or if you are in an accident and expected to fully recover but will be in the hospital for a while, then you will need a Durable Power of Attorney to allow your spouse or other person of your choice to manage your finances and sign legal documents on your behalf.

4. Make an Estate Plan for an Untimely Death Planning for an untimely death is important, particularly if you are in a committed relationship and/or have young children. If you fail to make an estate plan, then the state where you live at the time of your death will make one for you and in most situations the plan will not be what you would have wanted had you taken the time to make your own plan. Aside from this, assets titled in your individual name will need to be probated to transfer them into your beneficiaries' names after you die. Having at least a basic Last Will and Testament in place that puts someone in charge of settling your estate and names your preferred beneficiaries and a guardian for your minor children will give your loved ones peace of mind during a difficult time.

5. Make an Estate Plan for Your Minor Children Even if you do not think that you have enough money or property to need an estate plan, you will need to make a plan if you have minor children. If you do not, then control of the minor's inheritance will be taken over by a court-supervised guardian or conservator. Then, depending on the laws of the state where the minor lives, when the minor reaches the age of 18 or 21 all of the remaining guardianship funds will be turned over to the young adult, free and clear of any guidance or strings attached. Aside from this, if you and the other parent of your children both die while the children are still minors, then the children will become wards of the court until a judge can decide who the children should live with until they become adults.

6. Buy Term Life Insurance When you are young, term life insurance is really cheap and can offer your family financial security if you were to die prematurely. The insurance proceeds can be used for things such as paying off your outstanding medical and credit card bills; paying off your mortgage; replacing your lost income; paying for your children's care and education; and/or paying for a live in nanny, day care or after school care. Term life insurance is also easy to buy these days with services like Intelliquote, Quickquote and Reliaquote. Or, if you are offered term life insurance at work, buy it.

Everyone Needs an Estate Plan

Estate planning is not just for older or wealthy people. Younger people, especially those with minor children, need to have a will and estate plan in place in order to give instructions to their loved ones to follow in the event of a debilitating accident or untimely death. Celebrities like Heath Ledger, Anna Nicole Smith (also known as Vickie Lynn Marshall), Princess Diana, John F. Kennedy, Jr., Janis Joplin, Michael Jackson, and, most recently, Brittany Murphy, all died unexpectedly, and yet each and every one of them had a will and estate plan. It's just common sense.

Julie's Wills & Estate Planning Blog

Top 5 Estate Planning Mistakes

Posted on

I recently read a report that suggested that only about 20 percent of the population has a formal estate plan. After reviewing the points below, please take a minute to consider whether it's time for you to create or update your estate plan.

Here are five estate planning mistakes that people make that can be avoided.

1. Dying without a will or trust - If you die without a will or trust, the state in which you reside and the IRS will simply make one for you.  Of course, they have no interest in avoiding or reducing estate taxes, minimizing estate administration costs or protecting your family and legacy. The distribution of your assets will just be turned over to the Probate Court. The probate process is needlessly time consuming, frustrating and expensive. It is also open to the public, meaning creditors, predators or anyone else will have complete access to all information about your estate. For the vast majority of people, the benefits far outweigh any initial costs.

2. Having an "I love you" will – An”I love you” will is one in which all the decedent's assets have been left to the spouse. On paper, it might seem to be a caring, thoughtful gesture, but the reality is quite different, because such a will simply passes the complex issues and problems associated with transferring and protecting wealth onto the spouse or other loved ones.  It creates more problems than it solves, particularly for future generations.

3. Giving property outright to your children - Here is another solution that might sound good at first, but ignores several important realities. For instance, what if the child in question is too immature to handle the responsibility of a large sum of money on his or her own? What if the child suffers a severe financial setback that puts the inheritance at risk to creditors?  What if the child marries a fortune-hunter, is addicted to drugs or alcohol, gets divorced or remarried? You may need to protect your children and heirs from their own poor decisions.  These assets are also gifted assets which carry potentially large IRS penalties if not handled properly.

4. Owning property jointly - There are two types of joint ownership, Joint Tenancy with Right of Survivorship (JTWROS) and Tenants in Common (TIC).  Problems with JTWROS include postponement of probate only until last tenancy, the loss of the double step-up in tax basis creating more to pay in capital gains taxes, and outright distribution.  With TIC, you also lose the double step-up in tax basis where it's available, and your property is subject to the estate plan of each tenant as well as probate for each tenant.

5. Not having a trust - A trust is the single most effective estate planning tool available. There are many different types of trusts.  Among the better known and more commonly used are revocable trusts, irrevocable trusts and testamentary trusts. A Trust protects your privacy, and will help you leave what you want, to whom you want, in the way you want at the lowest possible cost overall.  The additional advantage is that you avoid Probate altogether, which means that the settlement of the living trust will be done swiftly, without court or attorney's involvement, in contrast to having only an "I love you" Will.

Read This Column Before You Die

Posted on

The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time. - Mark Twain

It can be both comforting and horrifying to think that our time on earth is a nano-blink of an eye, a sliver of time that passes slowly when tax forms are being prepared and quickly when the sun is shining.

Death is something we all try not to think about, yet it is our ultimate goal, the ending of every book, if life were an autobiography. We mostly shrug it off because, after all, we can’t avoid it.

But we can make the most of the inevitable. How? By planning ahead, not only for the sake of our families, but for ourselves. We’ve written before about the importance of making financial goals, but life goals are also essential. And, as with financial goals, you can’t meet them if you don’t have them.

The ultimate plan

Whether you’re getting on in age, have a terminal illness or are young and healthy, no one knows what will happen tomorrow, so prepare today. But what should your ultimate plan entail?

Make a "bucket list." The co-author of the book, "100 Things to Do Before You Die," died in an accident when he was 47. According to his writing partner, he had completed about half of his "to do" list when he died. Because he had a list and was determined to achieve his goals, he did many things he never would have done otherwise.

However, his co-author also noted that he traveled alone, so he could move through his list quicker. Sadly, the author missed an important point - it really isn’t about the list. Your list should be a guide to living life to the fullest. If you’re going through a list just to cross something off, why bother?

Whether you’re planning to go skydiving and want to visit the seven wonders of the world, like Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman did in "The Bucket List," or you have more modest goals, like learning a foreign language or cooking a gourmet meal, keep in mind that it’s important to savor the moment - and shouldn’t you be savoring the moment with a loved one or friend?

When you make out your bucket list, be certain that everything on it is something you can accomplish. Although you never know until you try, dating Angelina Jolie or winning an Olympic gold medal are about as realistic for most of us as winning the lottery. While it is important to believe in yourself, you need to know your limitations.

It’s also important to give your list some thought. Many of us don’t really know what we want. Sitting and planning out your life - and beyond - is not something you should do one day during your lunch break. Take your time and really think about what you want to do. Then develop a plan for achieving everything on your list.

Update your financial goals. Ideally, you could plan for retirement first and then plan for the next phase when you’re retired. But, since no one knows when the next phase will begin, you need to plan for it now.

What do you want to happen after you’re gone? Is there a charity you would like to help? Do you want to fund your grandchildren’s college education? Think beyond your retirement and write out your goals.

Plan your estate

Estate planning is not just for the very wealthy. It’s true that current law allows an exemption of assets worth up to $5 million from federal estate taxes, but in Massachusetts any estate with a value greater than $1 million is subject to estate taxes.

If you reside in Massachusetts and your estate exceeds $1 million in value, including the value of your home, your investment portfolio, your life insurance benefits and other assets, it will be subject to state taxation at a rate of up to 16 percent.

However, because Massachusetts has no gift tax, gifts can be made during your lifetime to reduce your taxable estate. It’s been said that death and taxes are the only certainties, but with careful planning, sometimes one of the two can be avoided.

Of course, there’s more to estate planning that reducing taxes. It’s also important to have a will, which determines how your property will be divided after your death. Without this essential legal document, your property may not be divided according to your intentions. Most likely, it will also become tied up in Probate Court and it may take years before your survivors have access to your assets.

Make certain you seek the assistance of an attorney with experience making out wills. Having a will that is not legally valid can be worse than having no will at all because it may be disputed. Also, be certain to update your will periodically.

Keep in mind that retirement accounts and life insurance policies are not covered by your will, as you designate beneficiaries when you sign a contract for these assets. Make certain that you have designated individuals you truly want to be your beneficiaries and you have not unintentionally excluded anyone, such as a child born after you initially designated your beneficiaries. Plan your legacy assets. Most people consider their financial assets in planning their estate. You also have accumulated many other assets during your lifetime. Some of the best assets are the memories of special events or family gatherings. Many of these are recorded photographically and able to be passed on to heirs.

However, the asset value of the wisdom garnered, the valuable experiences received, the life lessons learned, the appreciation of others that have helped you along the way are all assets available for sharing.

Similar to a will that administers your financial assets, you can prepare a separate letter, memoranda or formal ethical will to pass on to your family and others.

Get organized

Your death will likely be difficult on your family. You can ease the burden by planning your funeral and letting your wishes be known. Do you have a cemetery plot? Have you picked out a casket? Is there a charity to which you would like contributions sent?

If you take care of every detail, your children and your spouse won’t have to. Clean out your attic and your closet and get rid of unwanted items. Give away anything you won’t use. Go through your photos and organize them. Determine if you need to change their medium to an electronic format.

People often tell me that they do not want to be a burden to their children. It can be painful for your family to have to deal with these issues; dealing with them yourself will make it easier on them.

Also, be certain to choose an executor for your will. Talk to your executor and make certain that he or she has a true understanding of your wishes and will carry them out to the last detail. Many times writing a letter of instruction to your executor or trustee is helpful for those matters not easily handled by the formal document.

You may not care what happens after you die, but keep in mind that your decisions today will have an eternal impact and could affect how you are remembered.

Seek balance

Death and taxes may be inevitable, but the more time you spend preparing for either, the better the outcome is likely to be. If you were to die tomorrow, that would be tragic. The tragedy would be compounded, though, if your family had to deal with matters without knowing your wishes. Regardless, in the process of planning for the future, don’t forget to live for today. Carrying out your bucket list is more important - and more fun - than preparing it.

Ask yourself what you are doing today that you would change. Is your career fulfilling? Do you have a secret ambition, like writing a book or taking a special trip? Act on your passions and interests today, before it is too late. Plan for the future, but enjoy life today. Carpe diem!

Darrell J. Canby

The Living Trust book

Posted on

The Living Trust book, by Henry Abts, III
"The Bible on How to Avoid Probate"
Over 1 million copies sold

The Living Trust book was written by Henry Abts III, founder of The Estate Plan. The Living Trust did not just materialize overnight. The seeds germinated for many years, he was influenced by situations that he encountered through personal experiences as well as a host of situations specific to his clients. Meeting with thousands of clients gave Henry the opportunity to address their technical questions in terms they could understand. When the clients asked for written information to forward to their parents in Florida, or to their children in New York, he began writing his experiences down. As the years passed, many of Henry’s clients, and eventually a publishing agent, asked him to write a book about the Living Trust in layperson’s terms. They felt he had a way of explaining complex concepts in simple and understandable terms. The Living Trust took four years of writing and a year of editing and was first published in June 1989. The book immediately became a nationwide success. It was updated in 1993, 1997, and in 2002, and more than one million copies have been sold.

The Living Trust : The Failproof Way to Pass Along Your Estate to Your Heirs

• The Living Trust makes the old-fashioned will obsolete
• Includes information on the estate tax, the gift, and the generation-skipping tax
• Eliminates estate-devouring probate charges and attorneys' fees
• Guarantees a timely distribution of funds to your heirs
• Assures that no one may contest or overturn your wishes regarding disposition of your estate
• Shows how to protect your business, savings, and retirement from frivolous lawsuits
• Legally valid in all fifty states

A Living Trust is a simple, inexpensive legal alternative that eliminates the costs and delays of probate and ensures that your loved ones will receive their inheritance promptly and exactly as you intended. The Living Trust- the bible on how to avoid probate- will show you how to take full advantage of this critical estate planning tool. The updated edition of The Living Trust includes the latest information on trust formations, tax changes, distribution rules, and more. It also offers:

• Insight into abuses within the probate system
• Advice on how to protect your business, savings, and retirement funds from frivolous lawsuits.
• The effects of the Economic Growth and Tax Reconciliation Act of 2001 on estate tax, gift tax, the generation-skipping tax, and stepped-up evaluation.

Sample and ancillary documents, including estate preservation and tax-saving documents, a living will, and costs of a Living Trust, all updated to reflect the latest tax changes and Living Trust requirements.

You may think your heirs have been well provided for, but did you know that:

• Your loved ones may have to wait more than two years before receiving a penny from your estate- even though you left a legally valid will?
• Costs of probating your will may eat up more than 10 percent of your estate- money your heirs will never receive?
• The specific instructions of your bequest may be contested or changed completely- even though clearly spelled out in your will?
• A will cannot help you in life. If you become incapacitated or your judgment comes into question, it becomes a matter for the courts to decide and is a very public process.

OUR GIFT TO YOU

View a portion of the book by clicking on the links below.

Chapter 1 - Lest We Forget

Chapter 2 - The Agony Of Probate

Appendix A

~ "The Living Trust is unquestionably the layman's most nearly complete source on living trusts...Recommended reading for anyone who wants to maximize his net estate left to heirs, speed asset distribution after death, avoid will challenges, minimize estate costs, and maintain privacy." -Robert Bruss, Esq., and nationally syndicated real estate columnist, Chicago Tribune

Click Below to Get Your Copy Now! 

Document Solutions

Posted on

Comprehensive Estate Planning Documents - Revocable Living Trusts - Will Package - Ancillary Documents

What Gives Our Documents the Leading Edge?

Detailed and comprehensive, these documents have been developed through nearly 30 years of hands-on improvement by hundreds of attorneys throughout the US resulting in thousands of satisfied clients. They are drafted to ensure accuracy with current state and federal laws, and are updated as changes occur.

The Revocable Living Trust contains over 222 carefully worded provisions so that the trust can accommodate a client’s changing circumstances and to cover additional contingent situations without needing to be legally modified.  The trust is also universal; that is applicable in all 50 states, for a client may eventually own property in or even move to another state.

I Would Like an Advisor to Contact Me to Discuss My Estate Planning Needs

Here is a list of what our package includes:

  • 1 set of Ancillary Documents per person (DPOA for assets, DPOA for healthcare or Advanced Directive, Living Will, Nomination of Conservator, Appointment of Guardian, and Anatomical Gift)
  • Abstract of Trust
  • Trust Certification
  • Pour-Over Will
  • Assignment of Furnishings and Personal Effects
  • 1 three-ring professional quality binder with tabs and inserts
  • 1 set of quality documents with Plain English summaries
  • Funding Manual

We offer a wide variety of estate planning solutions and documents customized at your direction.

Nationally Transportable Living Trusts

Single A Trust
Married A Trust
Married/Unmarried AB Trust
Married ABC Trust
A Q-TIP Trust (for married person)
Partner AA Trust
Partner AB Secure Trust (for Domestic Partners)
Complete Amendment
Partial Amendment

Vital Ancillary Documents

There are a number of other legal documents that are not legally required parts of the Living Trust but which should be included in or with the Trust to provide for future contingencies. Our ancillary documents offer you additional control over your person or assets. These documents are so vital; they are included, at no additional charge as part of your comprehensive document package.

Pour-Over Will
Living Will
Durable Power Of Attorney For Health Care
Durable Power Of Attorney For Assets
Nomination Of Conservator/Guardian
Appointment Of Guardian
Anatomical Gift

Advanced Planning Vehicles

Because many individuals have needs that go beyond basic estate planning, we offer numerous Advanced Estate Planning Solutions that can be incorporated into your overall estate plan. These documents should be considered as a supplement to your Living Trust to shelter your hard-earned estate from unnecessary estate taxes.

■Asset Management Trust (Spendthrift Trust)
■Beneficiary Trust (Dynasty)
■Buy/Sell Agreement
■Catastrophic Illness Trust (Medicaid Planning Trust)
■Charitable Remainder Trust
■Family Catastrophic Illness Trust
■Gift Trust
■Insurance Preservation Trust- Spousal Support (ILIT)
■Insurance Preservation Trust (ILIT)
■IRA/Qualified Plan Trust
■Land Trust
■Special Needs

“A POORLY WRITTEN TRUST IS WORSE THAN NO TRUST AT ALL.” Henry Abts, III

A poorly drawn trust can become a restrictive nightmare for the surviving spouse or successor trustee and beneficiaries. As long as the clients are living, it does not matter what a Living Trust says, because it can always be revoked. However, upon the death of the client, these poorly written Trusts are going to end up in probate court, with petitions being presented to revise or clarify the Trust wording. (Even though the main advantage of a Living Trust is to avoid probate, a Trust falls under the legal jurisdiction of the probate code; any need for clarification of a Trust therefore must be handled in the probate courts.)

One size does not fit all – no two people or families are alike! Your family’s needs, dynamics, personalities, and values are unique. If you use a form kit, you are asking for problems. Even LegalZoom.com reveals that 80% of people who fill in blank forms to create legal documents do so incorrectly. Plus, if your Will or Living Trust is not executed properly, it becomes invalid. If you overlook the opportunity to write specific instructions about how you want to provide for your spouse and children, your family will receive whatever the “cookie cutter” document provides, and you may not know of other options. The only estate plan you rely on is the one that is custom prepared by a qualified estate planning professional attorney.

A well-written comprehensive trust document comes about only through extensive experience. The Estate Planning Source’s trust documents are the result of more than 28 years of working together with legal counsel to cover every imaginable contingency.

I would like an Advisor to contact me to discuss my Estate Planning needs

I would like to view more on The Estate Planning Source’s Advisor Network

I would like to view more on The Estate Planning Source’s Attorney Network

Training & Education

Posted on

THE ADVANCED INSTITUTE FOR ESTATE PRESERVATION

LIVE ADVANCED INSTITUTE - AUGUST 14-16, 2017 - RENO NEVADA

The Advanced Institute is a professional training course that offers an extensive education on current topics affecting your estate planning practice.  Each subject is presented by an expert in the industry.  An example of training topics are Medicaid and Veterans Planning, When a Corporate Trustee is Necessary, The Power of Trust Provisions, IRA Trust Planning, Settling the Estate, and more.  The Basic Institute course is preferred prior to attending this course.

THE BASIC INSTITUTE FOR ESTATE PRESERVATION

The Basic Institute is a professional training course that offers a solid education on living trusts, solutions for clients and higher net worth clients using advanced planning concepts, how to properly execute and fund a revocable living trust, steps for estate settlement, available marketing materials and how to use them, and where to look to potentially unlock new business and more.

TOPICS YOU WILL LEARN IN THE BASIC ESTATE PRESERVATION TRAINING INSTITUTE

The History of the Living Trust and Its Relevance Today
The Dangers of Probate
The Revocable Living Trust System
The Revocable Living Trust – 222 Provisions
Ancillary Documents in a Good Trust System
The Planning Team and Avoiding the Unauthorized Practice of Law
Client Generation, Marketing, and New Internet Systems
Advanced Planning Vehicles
The Estate Planning Client Process
Building Estate Planning Office Systems
Working with The Estate Planning Source
Putting Your Plans in Motion
Case Studies

ONLINE TRAINING & EDUCATION

Various information, training and educational material available to network professionals

About Us

Posted on

About Us

As a leading national document fulfillment organization, The Estate Planning Source (TheEstatePlanningSource.com) offers one the finest revocable living trust document packages available, matured through more than 1,000 Network attorneys.

Acting as a "back office" for attorneys, the associates at The Estate Planning Source prepare requested documents, customizing, printing, and assembling a trust package. To date, the company has finalized over 60,000 trusts. Detailed and comprehensive, these trust documents have been developed through years of hands-on improvement by hundreds of attorneys throughout the United States resulting in thousands of satisfied clients. They are drafted to ensure accuracy with current state and federal laws, and are updated as changes occur.

The Estate Planning Source has a national Network of attorneys and financial planners, making its business model one of the most unique in the industry. Together, advisors and attorneys work as a team to help their clients obtain the best documents for their estate. This team aspect helps attorneys strengthen their business, while the advisor is able to support their client from start to finish by assisting with the non-legal aspects of the estate planning process.

Based in Reno, Nevada, the company continues to both streamline the living trust documentation process and educate the general public in choosing trusts as an alternative to traditional wills through TheEstatePlanningSource.com.

We strive to protect our fellow Americans from the evils of probate. We do so by recruiting and training reputable, knowledgeable and experienced Network Attorneys and Financial Advisors and provide them with the most comprehensive and up-to-date estate planning documents so they can offer all-inclusive estate planning services to the American public from concept through final settlement.

TheEstatePlanningSource Disclaimer