There is much discussion these days about income tax reform. The tax code has historically been completely reformed about every thirty years and the last reform was about thirty years ago.
There has also been significant speculation as to whether the Federal Estate (a/k/a the Death Tax) is on the chopping block. Will repeal happen? When will repeal happen?
Given the dysfunction that is Washington these days, all anyone can do is speculate. So let me speculate…
Replace? The short version is that Donald Trump Continue reading Death Tax: Repeal or Replace?
Care 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
Arkansas, 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
First, let me say that the Death Tax no longer affects the vast majority of Americans. You probably do not have to worry about this. I wish you did, because that would mean you were doing pretty well in life. First world problems!
Continue reading The Death Tax: A primer on Federal and State Estate and Gift Taxes.