Top 9 Estate Planning Tasks to Complete before Year-End

The holiday season represents a window of opportunity for growing and preserving wealth. McManus & Associates today outlined the “Top 9 Estate Planning Tasks to Complete before Year-End”. As part of the firm’s educational focus series, Founding Principal and top AV-rated Attorney John O. McManus recently discussed time-sensitive recommendations for building your nest egg and reducing your check to Uncle Sam for Tax Year 2014.

LISTEN HERE: “Top 9 Estate Planning Tasks to Complete before Year-End”

“Amid the holiday rush, find time to review strategies and maintenance items that will give your family the gift of a stronger financial future,” advised McManus. “There are several estate planning to-do’s that should take priority before the clock strikes midnight on December 31, 2014.”

 Top 9 Estate Planning Tasks to Complete before Year-End

  1. Make gifts to “top off” lifetime gift exemption amount ($5.34 MM).
    1. The lifetime exclusion, even if fully used at the end of 2013 ($5.25 MM), now allows for an additional $180,000 gift (per married couple) because of the 2014 inflation adjustment ($5.34 MM).
    2. This action enables more asset growth outside of your estate.
  2. Make gifts to charities and family foundations with appreciated assets.
    1. Consider gifting low-basis stock (instead of selling to raise cash for gifting) that could lead to gains. This may help to minimize the 1% – 2% excise tax on net investment income. Consider offsetting gains with losses as private foundations cannot carry forward capital losses.
    2. Determine liquidity needs in the foundation to meet the requirement to pay 5% of the value of a foundation’s net investment assets. Consider gifting appreciated property to charity as opposed to selling the property, recognizing the gain, and contributing cash to charity. This may help avoid capital gains taxes and the 3.8% surtax on net investment income.
    3. Consider making a “conduit election,” so contributions to the foundation can be treated as though made to a public charity for income tax purposes, which can be helpful if all donations will be made early in the following year, and the income tax deduction would be limited by more restrictive private foundation rules.
    4. Fund a Charitable Remainder Trust (CRT) with concentrated positions in appreciated securities in order to diversify without adverse tax consequences associated with selling appreciated securities. The income stream received by the grantor is taxable (5% of the trust assets), however, the trust can defer the associated capital gains (possibly indefinitely, depending on the trust’s other income). When establishing a CRT, take an income tax charitable deduction for the present value of the charities’ remainder interest.
  3. Harvest losses to offset capital gains and to reset the income tax basis for future gains.
    1. Sell securities to recognize losses that can be used to offset capital gains. Employ the same strategy for unrecoverable debts.
    2. Conversely, consider selling securities to realize long term capital gains to lock into a more favorable rate this year. The same securities can be purchased in 2015 to effectively gain a step up in basis. Since the sales are at a gain, the wash sale rules do not apply.
  4. Establish and fund qualified plans – take distributions if in pay status.
    1. Set up retirement plans by year-end with contributions deferred until tax filing due date.
    2. Consider making a gift of up to $5,500 to either a traditional or Roth IRA for your children or grandchildren who are not funding their own IRAs, but have enough earned income to report.
    3. If you are over age 59 ½ and your rate is low, consider taking a taxable distribution from your retirement plan even if it is not required, or consider a Roth IRA conversion.
    4. If you convert to a Roth IRA in 2014, you can recharacterize it back to a traditional IRA until October 15, 2015. You can undo the Roth conversion if the account value decreases significantly from the time of conversion and avoid the recognition of income tax based on the higher value of the account on the date the conversion was made.
  5. Identify assets and amounts to make proper Grantor Retained Annuity Trust (GRAT) distributions before April 15, 2015.
    1. Plan to ensure that the distribution amount is liquid.
    2. If the distribution is illiquid, carefully determine the distribution date value of the assets. If the valuation is deemed incorrect (particularly if the distributed asset is overvalued), the GRAT may be disqualified.
  6. Host annual meetings for partnerships, foundations, and family missions.
    1. Discuss and plan for the family mission, family business interests and family donation pattern.
    2. Document the meeting.
  7. Make annual exclusion gifts of $28,000 (per married couple) to chosen loved ones.
    1. Make gifts into trusts for children and grandchildren.
    2. Make contributions to children and grandchildren’s 529 plans.
    3. Conversely, make gifts directly to educational institutions and medical facilities (not limited to the annual gift exclusion amount).
  8. Make distributions of income from trust accounts and estate accounts to lower the income tax liability.
  9. Estates and trusts are taxed at the highest income tax rate. It, therefore, may make sense to distribute income to the beneficiaries to be taxed at the beneficiary’s lower income tax rate.
  10. This can be particularly beneficial in light of the compressed income tax brackets applicable to trusts, and the lower threshold at which the 3.8% Medicare surtax applies to trusts. Depending on the terms of the trust agreement and applicable state law, it may also be beneficial to distribute capital gain income to beneficiaries in lower income tax brackets.
  11. Review all life insurance policies and life insurance trusts to confirm compliance.
  12. Determine whether or not your current life, long-term care, and liability insurance continues to efficiently meet your coverage needs.
  13. Ensure that your beneficiary designations pass the assets according to your wishes.
    1. Update Crummey withdrawal notices with 2014 gifts into life insurance trusts.
    2. Consider using RMDs that you do not need or want to take to fund a life insurance policy in trust to replace assets lost to income and estate taxes on IRAs and other assets.

“Take action now to protect the assets you’ve worked hard to build and reduce your check to Uncle Sam for tax year 2014,” said McManus. “Talk to a professional wealth advisor immediately to capitalize on this window of opportunity that will close by month’s end and to recalibrate your estate plan based on changes in family dynamics, net worth and estate taxes.”

For trusted advice on year-end giving and estate, tax and retirement planning, call McManus & Associates at 908-898-0100 – the firm works with domestic and international clients across the globe.

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DailyFinance Cites Tips from McManus on Legal Decisions That Should Be Triggered When a Child Turns 18

Daily FinanceIn the eyes of the legal and financial world, an 18th birthday represents a major shift. Motley Fool Contributing Writer Michele Lerner’s latest DailyFinance story, “Parents: Are You Legally Ready for Your Kids to Be Adults?” utilizes tips from McManus & Associates to show families steps that should be considered when a child turns 18. From the article:

 John O. McManus, an attorney and founding principal of McManus & Associates in New York, says that parents need to be aware that once their children turn 18, regardless of how many things stay the same, legally, a lot changes. For example, parents of legal adults are no longer automatically able to access their children’s financial or medical accounts or information, and they won’t be allowed to make medical decisions on behalf of their offspring. However, parents can take steps to smooth the transition into adulthood, and to make sure they can continue to help their kids when needed.

Legal Tasks

McManus says that because parents cannot automatically take action to benefit their adult children in the event they need medical care or are incapacitated, he suggests that families:

  •  Have their adult offspring complete a health care proxy that give parents the right to make medical decisions if their child cannot.
  • Have them assign a durable power of attorney so that that parents can handle financial and legal issues on behalf of their kids if needed.
  • Complete an authorization for release of protected health information so that parents can provide this information to medical personnel and use the information to make decisions on behalf of their kids.

“These issues take on extra urgency if your child is away from home in college or out of the country on a semester abroad,” McManus said. In such cases, he recommends learning about the health care system in the country where your child will be living to understand the differences between private and public hospitals and any restrictions on international insurance. “Colleges will not release a student’s medical records, even to parents, if the student is over 18,” he said. “This may be extremely detrimental to a child’s well-being in a physical or emotional medical emergency. Advance planning can facilitate communication between the foreign hospital and parents.”

For advice about financial education and tasks that build on what children learn about money before turning 18, read Lerner’s full write-up here. For additional important legal matters to consider as a family, review our recent conference call, “Top 10 Ways to Protect Children Under 18 and Over 18, Stateside and Abroad.”

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McManus and Client Contribute Expertise and Color to Wall Street Journal Feature Story



As part of our continuing effort towards thought leadership, McManus & Associates recently presented The Wall Street Journal with our impressions on the newest estate planning paradigm. The firm’s ideas helped shape a comprehensive, informative cover story in the Weekend Investor by well-versed Reporter Laura Saunders. The article, titled “The New Rules of Estate Planning,” also highlighted the Grevatt Family, one of our clients, for whom we employed a smart strategy in today’s environment.

The article is based on the reality that, for many families—generally individuals with less than $5 million in assets and couples with less than $10 million—the focus is now on minimizing capital-gains taxes and state levies. As pointed out by Saunders:

 Finally, last year, Congress set the top estate-and-gift-tax rate at 40% and raised the exemption to $5 million per person, adjusted for inflation. It now stands at $5.34 million and is expected to rise to $5.43 million next year. Lawmakers also changed the rules so that couples don’t need trusts to get their full break from Uncle Sam.

Even though many people won’t owe estate tax, their choices about which assets to hold until death will greatly impact how much they pay in capital gains. Today, strategy is critical because the top federal rate on long-term gains is two-thirds higher than in 2012 at nearly 24%.

From the article:

The high exemption also is prompting changes in gift strategies and trusts, says John O. McManus, an estate lawyer in New York.

Sharing with readers how to capture capital-gains savings, Saunders highlights a provision of federal code dubbed the “step-up” that cancels the long-term capital-gains tax on assets that a taxpayer holds until death. “The step-up automatically raises the owner’s cost basis for such assets—the starting point for measuring a taxable gain—to its full market value as of the date of death,” she writes. To add color to this estate planning opportunity, Saunders features a real-life step-up strategy employed by McManus. From the story:

The new focus on the step-up prompted Ren Grevatt, now 94 years old, to do an about-face in his estate plan. For years, says his son Jonathan, who helps his father with his affairs, planners suggested that the father give his children the family’s beloved seven-bedroom Vermont farmhouse to avoid estate taxes that could have forced a sale.Now Mr. Grevatt plans to keep the house until he dies. He and his 87-year-old wife, who live in New Jersey, bought it for less than $100,000 in the 1960s, shortly before he became a publicist for such rock groups as the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and the Who. The house, which is in prime ski country with views of two lakes, has appreciated greatly.As the parents’ estates will total less than $10 million together, no federal estate tax will be due. By holding on to the house, however, the parents will enable their children to inherit the property at its current market value—and skip capital-gains tax of up to 24% on decades of appreciation.“I’m glad my father didn’t get around to giving us the house,” says the younger Mr. Grevatt.

Near the end of the article, Saunders summarizes:

Given that the top federal rate on long-term capital gains is nearly 24%, compared with 15% a few years ago, the best course for people who won’t owe estate tax is often to forgo the gift and wait for the step-up, experts say. That is why Mr. Grevatt and his siblings were relieved their father never gave his children the Vermont property outright.

Saunders also sheds light on an “estate trust”, which puts complex moves to work in order to provide a double step-up on a highly appreciated asset to a married couple after the first spouse dies. McManus commented on the approach:

“This strategy provides flexibility by enabling the surviving spouse to sell the asset sooner,” says Mr. McManus, the New York lawyer, who advised the Grevatts.

Included with the comprehensive article is a helpful chart showing amounts for estate tax on the assets of people who die, and inheritance tax on those receiving the assets, levied by nineteen states and the District of Columbia. Take a look:

where not to die - chart

To read Laura Saunders’ full article for the Journal’s Tax Report, click here.

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Forbes Discusses Death Taxes with John O. McManus

forbes-logo-pngEarly this year, bills A1281 and S1311 were introduced in New Jersey to “eliminate transfer inheritance tax and increase the filing threshold and applicable exclusion amounts under New Jersey estate tax in accordance with provisions of federal tax law.” NJ A397 was also introduced and, if passed, would repeal the New Jersey estate tax.

Forbes Writer Ashlea Ebeling spoke with McManus & Associates Founding Principal John O. McManus about the pending legislation for a recent news story. She starts off her article, “Where Not To Die In 2015,” by relaying a portion of the conversation:

Moving to New York to avoid state death taxes? Really. John McManus, an estate lawyer in New Providence, N.J., has a retired client pulling in $500,000 a year in income, with second homes in Florida and the Hamptons, who is planning to change his residence from New Jersey to his New York house in the Hamptons. Driving the decision: the sweeping changes New York made to its estate tax regime this year.

“When your bordering state is telling you, ‘Come on over!’ the pitch is compelling,” McManus says. “If New York has a more welcoming tax scheme, then people will say, ‘Let’s call me a New York resident.’” McManus says that he and his wife might make the New York move in retirement themselves; they already have a place in the West Village they rent out for now.

Ebeling goes on to explain that several states are “lessening the death tax bite by increasing the amount exempt from the tax, indexing the exemption amount for inflation, and eliminating ‘cliff’ provisions that tax the first dollar of an estate”—and there’s “action afoot in New Jersey to keep up with the pack.”

Will the bills be passed anytime soon? We can’t say with certainty, but it’s unlikely. So far, all three have just been introduced and referred to committees for review (they still have to pass both the Assembly and the Senate) – so that means only about a quarter of the process is complete on each. Also, $760M of the state’s budget comes from estate and inheritance tax. In the context of a $32.5B budget, that is very significant (more than the tax generated on the sale of homes/other real estate in New Jersey).

Check out Ebeling’s article and Forbes’ interactive map for more interesting updates on potential changes to death taxes, state-by-state. And to learn how you can best navigate changes on the horizon, give McManus & Associates a call at 908-898-0100 to review your estate plan.

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Top 10 Ways to Protect Children Under 18 and Over 18, Stateside and Abroad

Even for children who have newly become legal adults, parents need to be empowered to make decisions to help protect them in times of need. Laying out important considerations for families to discuss before and after children turn 18, McManus & Associates – top-rated, Tri-State-Area-based trusts and estates law firm – today released the newest edition of its educational focus series. The discussion, “Top 10 Ways to Protect Children Under 18 and Over 18, Stateside and Abroad,” identifies questions parents should evaluate, from who should be named as local representatives on a health care proxy for minors to whether a prenuptial agreement is appropriate if an adult child is soon getting married.

LISTEN HERE: “Top 10 Ways to Protect Children Under 18 and Over 18, Stateside and Abroad”

“While young adults today are far more astute and sophisticated on world matters than 100 years ago, they’re also far less independent than when kids were married at 16 and took over the family farm at 18,” explained John O. McManus, top AV-rated attorney and founding principal of McManus & Associates. “The fact is that the frontal lobe is not fully developed until the mid-20’s, and people who have newly entered adulthood still need to tap their parents’ experience-earned insight when evaluating important decisions.”

  1. What are the legal and medical risks for children upon reaching age 18, legal adulthood?
    1.  Once your children are legal adults, you are no longer able to automatically make medical decisions on their behalf, access their medical records, or take any other action for their benefit if they are unable to do so.
    2. Additionally, parents will not have automatic access to their child’s financial accounts if they are over the age of 18.
    3. Risk of inadequate, inappropriate or insufficient medical care is a primary concern for many parents with children leaving for school for the first time.
    4. Before your “adult children” leave for school, they must consider completing a Health Care Proxy, Durable Power of Attorney, and an Authorization for Release of Protected Health Information to provide parents with the authority to act with respect to their medical, legal, and financial needs if they are incapacitated or otherwise unable to handle their own affairs.
  1. What are the necessities when my child is studying overseas?
    1. All of the reasons above take on an extra urgency if your child is away from home in college or out of the country on a semester abroad.
    2. Learn about the healthcare system of the county where your child will be living. There are often differences between private and public hospitals, restrictions on international insurance accepted and, potentially, qualification standards for medical professionals.
    3. Colleges will not release a student’s medical records, even to parents, if the student is over the age of 18. This may be extremely detrimental to a child’s well-being in a physical or emotional medical emergency. Advance planning can facilitate communication between the foreign hospitals and parents.
  1. Upon reaching age 18, does my child need a will?
    1. We believe that broadly the answer is no. Most young adults do not possess assets sufficient to merit the use of a Last Will and Testament.
    2. However, if large gifts have been made to an adult child, if the adult child owns shares in a family business, or if he or she received money from a settlement, a Last Will and Testament may be a critical component in the family’s overall estate plan to avoid unintentional beneficiaries and estate tax implications.
    3. The Will should provide direction for a power of appointment to allow your child to appoint trust assets to descendants and/or a spouse.
  1. Should I appoint my adult child as my representative in my incapacity planning?
    1. Adult children may be the best choice to name as fiduciaries to make the parents’ medical and/or financial decisions.
    2. If they are away for school, however, consider appointing a local person as a representative in the event that the child is not able to serve.
    3. The adult child may be appointed in the documents to serve as a trustee at a future date (when a certain age is reached, such as 25).
    4. Often including adult children can be a trigger to start important conversations about wealth, inheritance and family mission.
  1. Should I make outright gifts to my adult children?  What are the risks of these gifts and custodial accounts?
    1. Outright gifts to adult children should not exceed a certain amount as outright gifts are exposed to attack and may deter your child from making his or her own way in the world.
    2. Presently, $14,000 from each parent can be transferred on an annual basis to each child and grandchildren. Additionally, up to $5.34MM can be transferred gift tax, estate tax, and GST tax free to children and grandchildren.
    3. A better way to make larger gifts to children is in lifetime trusts that will protect the assets against any unintended diversions or reversals (i.e. divorce, law suits, creditors, etc.) that a child may encounter, while still providing for the child’s needs and allow the child to maintain a certain quality of life.
    4. We often recommend that a child serve as co-trustee at age 30 and sole trustee at age 40.
  1. My child is getting married.  Should I review with them whether a prenuptial agreement is appropriate?
    1. We support having conversations about wealth with children far before this decision needs to be made. With a set “on-boarding” process for children’s significant others, you set the stage for a successful conversation around finances.
    2. Certain assets, which are intended to stay within the family, can be protected by trusts and pre-nuptial agreements.
    3. Life estates in real property can also be set up to provide for the in-law spouse while keeping the asset moving down the family line.
    4. Significant work has been put into creating trusts for your children so that there is little risk of diversion, but a child can empty the trusts. Children should be well-versed in the overall strategy to invest the assets in trust instead.
  1. What are the medical risks if you are unavailable for your minor children?
    1. In the event that parents or guardians are unavailable and minor children require medical care, a hospital or doctor’s office will reject the treatment that the child needs, unless there is a clear risk of death.
    2. In the past, care providers have been sued for wrongly treating children without the consent of the parents and now mandate formal written permission from a child’s parents if they are not present or cannot be contacted.
    3. A local representative should be appointed to assist in getting your child admitted to the hospital.
    4. In order to assure that minor children are treated properly and immediately, their Health Care Proxy and Authorization for Release of Protected Health Information will name representatives who will be able to (i) receive their critical medical information; and (ii) make medical decisions for them if the parents are unable to do so.
    5. A set of the documents should be kept at the house, in a place that is easily accessible such as inside the kitchen cabinet door.
    6. Electronic copies also suffice.
  1. What if both parents of a minor become incapacitated? 
    1. The Wills we prepare provide comprehensive directions for the guardians that outline expectations and wishes for the minor child’s upbringing, including visitation groups, outlines for holidays or important life events, etc.
    2. These instructions may include an advisory group to assist the guardians in making decisions and understanding the parents’ objectives and guidance regarding priorities for education, medical treatment, household support, and other important considerations.
    3. A family mission statement will assist with direction for your children and may be critical if a child has special needs.
      1. A supplemental needs trust provides for individuals with special needs while allowing them to continue to receive support from the government.
  1. What issues do we see for minor children in foreign jurisdictions? Or children with foreign citizenship?
    1. Keep children’s passports current – even expedited passports can take weeks to process. In the event of emergency travel, it is critical that all children’s passports are up-to-date.
    2. Without a legal guardian, a child will not be given a passport. A third party must be authorized by the court in the absence of a legal guardian to apply for the passport.
      1. This may be remedied by a signed and notarized document prepared by parents appointing this individual.
    3. If children of foreign nationality living in the US must move abroad to live with the guardian named in the Will, having a passport from the same country as the guardian can speed up the departure process since there will be no need to wait for a visa approval.
    4. Finally, most airlines have policies regarding accompaniment of a minor for air travel; check with your preferred carrier.
  1. Your child is under 18 and your selected guardians reside overseas. What are the risks to getting them “home”?
    1.  A Last Will and Testament should name temporary guardians in the United States. The temporary guardians assist in the process of transferring the children overseas to be united with the appointed guardians. A temporary guardian can also be critical if the child is an infant or requires other forms of immediate care.
    2. In order for the child to live abroad long-term, he or she will need to apply for a visa to the country of destination. Visa applications can require health screenings, background checks, and other time-consuming tasks that delay the child’s departure from the U.S. If the guardian named in the will cannot make it to the U.S. to take custody, a temporary local guardian can help navigate this process.
    3. Trap for the unwary: Children in the U.S. with a green card are only permitted to leave the country for a period of one year before needing to reapply for re-entry to America. After a two-year period, the green card will expire.
    4. New York will not appoint a non-US citizen guardian and will require a local co-guardian who can assist in moving the child abroad. A foreign guardian can serve alone in NJ, CT, or FL, for example; however, the courts will look at the best interest of a child and may request that a local co-guardian be named. New Jersey will send paperwork for guardianship to the Embassy or Consulate office in the country where the named guardian resides. The testamentary guardian will have to sign the papers at the Embassy, and sole guardianship may be granted.

“Talk to your children about why it’s important for them to sign documents that enable you to act on their behalf, if necessary,” McManus said. “Expect the best, of course – but you’ll be glad you planned for the worst if you’re ever confronted with it.”

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DailyFinance Shares How McManus Helped Clients Avoid Estate Planning Nightmares

Daily FinanceEstate planning nightmares don’t just exist in dreams. Writing for DailyFinance, Reporter Michele Lerner relays several real-life horror stories that arose—and certainly have been replicated in similar forms far and wide—due to families neglecting to have detailed conversations about inheritance plans. “According to the 2014 Intra-Family Generational Finance Study by Fidelity Investments,” Lerner writes, “64 percent of parents older than 55 who have at least $100,000 in investable assets and their adult children over 30 aren’t on the same page about when the right time is to have conversations about estate planning.”

For her article, “Avoid These Estate Planning Nightmares,” Lerner asked John O. McManus, founder of McManus & Associates, to share estate planning blow-ups that his clients have faced and how he helped them overcome each challenge. From the story’s section titled, “Cross-Country Squabbling Siblings”:

A client of John O. McManus, an estate attorney and founding principal of McManus & Associates in New York City, had a client whose daughter lived on the West Coast and son and daughter-in-law lived close to her on the East Coast. The children had joint power of attorney, and the daughter would sign blank checks so that her brother and his wife could pay for things their mother needed without constantly needing her signature.

“The son wrote his wife checks from his mom’s account as a salary to pay her for taking care of his mother, which caused some tension between the siblings,” says McManus. “Due to the son’s history of run-ins with the law, the daughter was wary of letting him have too much power over his mom’s estate.”

Ultimately, the mother named the daughter as sole executor. But after the mother passed away, the daughter-in-law took things out of the house that she claimed were hers or were “intended for her” by the deceased mom. “The daughter called the cops to have the daughter-in-law arrested when she would not leave the home of the decedent,” says McManus.

McManus was able to get both parties to agree that the daughter-in-law could go through the house with the estate sales team to select items that she claimed were left to her, and the company would value these items to be deducted from her share of the deceased’s estate.

To avoid situations in which relatives fight over individual property, it’s best to include a written list of items of value with designated recipients in your will.

Continue reading

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New Jersey Law Journal Features Article by McManus in Special Supplement on “Wealth Management”

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On July 28th, New Jersey Law Journal published a special supplement on “Wealth Management.” The featured section includes a co-authored guest article from McManus & Associates Founding Principal John O. McManus and Mark Cortazzo, senior partner at MACRO Consulting Group. The piece, titled “How Estate Planning Can Unintentionally Wreck a Retirement Plan,” outlines steps that can be taken to protect clients when complex investment vehicles like variable annuities are involved in the estate planning process.

Introducing the topic, McManus and Cortazzo emphasize the importance of being fully informed as a professional who can be held accountable for any missteps and blamed for poor recommendations: Continue reading

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John McManus and Dominic Pepper Co-Author Article for Bloomberg BNA

Reproduced with permission from Tax Management Weekly State Tax Report, 2014 Weekly State Tax Report
3, 7/4/14. Copyright 2014 by The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (800-372-1033)

July 14 Article 1July 14 Article 2July 14 Article 3July 14 Article 4July 14 Article 5


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John O. McManus Pictured and Quoted in the New York Times

New York Times graphic


New York Times “Wealth Matters” columnist Paul Sullivan recently interviewed John O. McManus, founding principal of NJ-based McManus & Associates and a top AV-rated attorney, about the implications of a recent court case in which he successfully helped a client named Kate contest the will of her late grandmother. John grasped the dynamics at play in Kate’s situation with her family, which was crucial to a successful outcome with the case.

With the column, “When a Will Divides an Estate, and Also Divides a Family,” John’s photo below appeared with the caption: “John O. McManus of McManus Legal [McManus & Associates] says that many cases contesting wills are not clear-cut. “Should the grandkids get their dad’s share? Absolutely,” he said. “Were the grandkids without fault? No, they didn’t visit Grandma enough.”

McManus - New York Times

From the piece:

What Kate’s case shows is both how easy and complicated it is to execute a deathbed disinheritance. John O. McManus, a lawyer in New York who represented Kate and her siblings, said that like many cases contesting wills, this one was not clear-cut. “Should the grandkids get their dad’s share? Absolutely,” he said. “Were the grandkids without fault? No, they didn’t visit Grandma enough.” Continue reading

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New York Family Publishes Article by McManus on Estate Planning for High-Income Household

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Estate Planning For High-Income Households

A local expert weighs in on the top 10 considerations

By John McManus, June 2014

John McManus high-resAmerican poet and novelist Don Williams, Jr. once said: “Despair is most often the offspring of ill-preparedness.” In the same vein, preparation to handle the problems that commonly challenge high-income families sets apart those who preserve wealth and values for posterity from the 70 percent whose inheritances and family businesses do not survive the second generation.

One of the most important (but sometimes overlooked) aspects of creating an estate plan involves detailing wishes and expectations for the care of children in an emergency or tragedy. Families should also give careful consideration to the sophisticated wealth transfer opportunities now available to create a stream of affluence to the next generation in a tax-efficient manner; but in doing so, parents and grandparents must be aware of the risks and complications that may arise from giving assets to children. Continue reading

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