Governor Signs Tenancy by the Entirety Joint Trust into Law

Update: Click here to read more about the law.

I wrote about this new law in a prior post (click here to read). Its official, the law has now been signed into law by Governor Haslam and will come into effect on July 1, 2014.

Click here to read the law: Public Chapter 829.

Stay Tuned.

Rob Malin

Tennessee Small Estate Affidavit Increased to $50,000

Signed into law by Governor Haslam on April 29, 2014, the small estate affidavit procedure will now cover substantially more small estates.

The Small Estate Affidavit is an abbreviated procedure in Tennessee that avoids the necessity of a formal probate administration in certain qualifying estates.  The affidavit is a “one and done” probate process—it can be handled in a single court filing and appearance.

The new law qualifies estates that are less than $50,000 for this less costly process.  Formerly, only estates with less than $25,000 qualified.

Click here to read the new law.  The relevant portion is on page 3 at Sections 8 and 9:

SECTION 8. Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 30-4-102(5), is amended by deleting the language “twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000)” and substituting the language “fifty thousand dollars ($50,000)”.

SECTION 9. This act shall take effect on becoming law, the public welfare requiring it.

Stay tuned.

Rob Malin

Practitioners Beware: Modifying or Decanting a GST Grandfathered Trust can cause the Loss of GST Exemption

danger thin iceCare must be taken when decanting or modifying older trusts.  This is especially true if the goal is to extend the term of the trust.  In truth, it should generally be avoided.

Modifying or decanting an irrevocable trust can cause a trust that is exempt from the GST because it was irrevocable prior to the effective date for the GST in 1986 (known as a “Grandfathered Trust”) to lose its exempt status.

Administrative modifications such as changing trustees is generally OK.  What should generally be avoided is shifting benefits to a lower generation.  You should carefully review Treasury Regulation section 26.2601-1 before making any changes whatsoever.

Such trusts may nevertheless be decanted or modified for purposes of extending the term of the trust.  However, the longest time that such a trust may be extended is the latter of: Continue reading Practitioners Beware: Modifying or Decanting a GST Grandfathered Trust can cause the Loss of GST Exemption

Teaching that Old Trust New Tricks: Modifying, Amending or Terminating an Irrevocable Trust

Old Dog New TrickArkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee have each adopted the Uniform Trust Code (or some form of it).

One of the many things that the Trust Code has enabled practitioners to do is to change or perhaps simply “freshen” an old irrevocable trust.  With the Death Tax exemptions being so high, many of these old trusts are no longer needed—at least not for their original purpose.  Some of these changes require judicial approval, but many do not.

Modify to Achieve Income Tax Savings.  Lets take that old trust set up under Dad’s Will to use his tax exemption for Mom (still living).   Maybe Mom’s estate is not going to incur death taxes even if you took Dad’s trust into account.  Maybe the trust holds assets with low tax basis.

Continue reading Teaching that Old Trust New Tricks: Modifying, Amending or Terminating an Irrevocable Trust