Educational Alerts

Will Invalid Due to Undue Influence

Mar 08, 2016

Seniors often want to reward caregivers for services by giving the caregiver a gift or bequest. Because a caregiver is in a position of power and trust, such gifts or bequests are often scrutinized and found to have been induced by undue influence. Such was the case with Eva Barnes and her caregivers, Michelle and Dennis Wells.

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New Basis Reporting Requirements

Mar 08, 2016

The filing requirements for Form 8971, causing an executor or trustee to report tax basis for assets distributed to beneficiaries from an estate or trust, have now become a reality. Read further to finds out more about this new requirement for executors and trustees and the consequences of not complying...

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State Court Decisions Not Binding on IRS

Dec 02, 2014

Trust reformations have become more popular to correct mistakes of the attorney and/or the trustors, especially with the adoption of the Uniform Trust Code by many states. However, just because a state court agrees to reform a trust doesnt mean that the IRS will respect the trust reformation. In this months Alert, we discuss several PLRs and cases where the IRS either accepted or DID NOT accept the rulings of the state courts in reforming the trust.

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Do-It-Yourself Estate Plans: Unintended Results

Nov 03, 2014

Download educational eAlert template A in Microsoft Word format Download educational eAlert template B in Microsoft Word format With the rise of companies such as Legal Zoom, TotalLegal, LawDepot, and, more and more consumers are attempting to create their own estate plans without the assistance of a lawyer.

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Failure to Divide Trust Cost over $400,000

Jul 31, 2014

This months alert provides a cautionary tale. It shows how failure to administer a trust according to its terms can cost the remainder beneficiaries hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes, even when everyone agrees that the way the trust was administered was what was intended by the surviving trustor.

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Planning for Retirement Assets Can be Difficult

Mar 29, 2013

This months Alert examines the rules regarding distributions from IRAs and retirement plans. In particular, it examines reasons to make a trust the beneficiary and rules regarding who is the measuring life for minimum required distribution purposes.

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More Reasons for Clients to Review Their Estate Plans

Jan 31, 2013

This months Alert examines how the fiscal cliff legislation could result in changes for estate plans. Depending on the couple, it might mean they could simplify their plan. However, there are many non-tax reasons that they may want to keep a more complex plan.

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Estate Planning for LGBT Couples: Possible Changes on the Horizon

Nov 30, 2012

This months Alert gives an overview of developments affecting estate planning for same-sex couples. It recounts how recent elections approved same-sex marriages in several states. It also examines several cases which address the constitutionality of bans on same-sex marriage, including the Defense of Marriage Act.

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Last Chance for Estate Tax Savings?

Oct 31, 2012

This months alert focuses on the narrowing window to lock-in the current $5.12 million estate and gift tax exemption by gifting prior to year-end. The alert also examines why it may not be possible to wait and do this planning at the last minute.

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Tax Changes for 2012

Jan 31, 2012

This month's Alert reviews the inflation adjustments applicable to federal taxation in 2012. It examines changes in the estate, gift, and generation skipping transfer taxes, as well as income taxes.

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IRS Issues Instructions for Estate Tax Returns for Decedents Dying in 2011 and 2012

Sep 30, 2011

This month's Alert examines the IRS recent release of instructions regarding how to ensure portability of the applicable exclusion amount at the death of the first spouse. Many surviving spouses may see an estate tax return at the death of the first spouse to be unnecessary. This alert shows why advisors should document that they advised the filing of an estate tax return.

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A "Do-It-Yourself" Mystery: The Case of the Neighbor Girl and the Well-Meaning Widow

Aug 31, 2011

Clients occasionally attempt do-it-yourself estate planning. Sometimes they use software assistance, borrow from others documents, or amend their professionally prepared documents themselves. This months Alert looks at one such story and the havoc it wrought. In the end, the clients goals were not achieved and her loved ones were pitted against each other in court.

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Doing It Yourself Can Sometimes Lead to Disaster

May 31, 2011

Nowadays, a growing number of consumers attempt to prepare estate planning and other documents of legal significance without professional assistance. These do-it-yourselfers are penny-wise and pound-foolish. This Alert examines several cases in which the decedent attempted to create or modify his own estate plan, with disastrous results.

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Creditor Protection Extended to Inherited IRAs by More Courts

Apr 29, 2011

IRAs and Qualified Plans are an increasing portion of our clients wealth. The advantages of the income tax deferral are well-known. This months Alert looks at developments regarding the creditor protection such plans provide, not only for the contributor, but also for those who inherit them.

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Annuity Maximization

Feb 28, 2011

This Alert examines how a tax-deferred annuity may not be the best solution for senior clients. It demonstrates how a single premium immediate annuity, or SPIA may be a better alternative for clients, especially if the client is in a lower tax bracket than the children who will inherit it.

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TRA 2010 Creates Opportunity for New Planning Strategy - The FlexTrust

Jan 31, 2011

The question of whether to fund a credit shelter trust has long been a central question in estate planning. With the new tax law and its temporarily increased exemption, the question is all the more relevant. This months alert discusses a new method of adding flexibility to your clients trust. The FlexTrust allows an independent Trust Advisor to decide whether and to what extent the credit shelter trust should be funded.

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