Insight on Estate Planning - October/November 2014

Oct 06, 2014

By Douglas C. Lawrence | Related Practice: Estate Planning & Administration

Here's a brief glance at what you'll find in the October/November issue…

The Crummey trust: Still relevant after all these years

Traditionally, trusts used in estate planning contain "Crummey" withdrawal powers to ensure that contributions qualify for the annual gift tax exclusion. Now that the gift and estate tax exemption has reached a higher level, fewer people have to worry about gift and estate taxes. Nevertheless, there are still important reasons to make annual exclusion gifts, and, by converting a future interest into a present interest, a Crummey withdrawal power can allow trust assets to be eligible for the exclusion. This article discusses the details, while a sidebar explains that it's important to avoid granting withdrawal rights that are too large in relation to the size of the trust. Read more...

Now's the time for a charitable lead trust

Affluent families who wish to give to charity while minimizing gift and estate taxes should consider a charitable lead trust (CLT). These trusts are most effective in a low-interest-rate environment, so conditions for taking advantage of a CLT currently are favorable. This article examines how a CLT works and the two types of CLTs: a charitable lead annuity trust (CLAT) and a charitable lead unitrust (CLUT). Read more...

Good intentions: Don't let asset transfers run afoul of the law

With the current estate tax regime of a high gift and estate tax exemption amount and low estate tax rates, transferring wealth is becoming the focus of estate planning rather than reducing estate tax liability. And with asset values still relatively low, it's an ideal time to transfer wealth to loved ones. But it's important to be familiar with fraudulent transfer laws. Simply put, a creditor can challenge gifts, trusts and retitled property as fraudulent transfers. This article discusses not only actual fraud, but "constructive" (unintended) fraud, and how to guard against creditor challenges. Read more...

Estate Planning Pitfall: Watch out for IRA traps

An IRA can be a valuable estate planning tool, offering tax-deferred growth (tax-free in the case of a Roth IRA) and asset protection. But two recent developments create traps for the unwary: the "one-rollover-per-year" rule and an inherited IRA's exposure to creditors in the event of bankruptcy. This article looks at the details of each. Read more...

Gift Tax Exclusion for Payment of Qualifying Medical and Tuition Expenses

Certain tuition and medical expenses paid directly to the educational or medical institution may qualify for an unlimited exclusion from gift tax. Such payments do not require the filing of a gift tax return, and the exclusion does not depend on the relationship of the donor to the donee. Read more...

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