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.
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.
Gail Liberman—personal finance columnist for Dow Jones Retirement Weekly and the Palm Beach Daily News, contributing editor for Financial Advisor magazine, and best-selling author (her latest book is “Quick Steps to Financial Stability” – Que/Penguin)—recently chatted with John O. McManus, founding principal of McManus & Associates and a top AV-rated tax and estate planning attorney, for her column “Managing Your Fortune.” As part of her regular spot for the Palm Beach Daily News, Liberman’s piece “Need a revocable living trust?” explores the commonly-heard recommendation from financial gurus to implement one of these planning vehicles.
Michele Lerner, a contributing writer to The Motley Fool, this week turned to McManus & Associates Founding Principal John O. McManus to answer the question, “Who Should You Ask to Be Executor of Your Estate?” From the article:
“A common adage in the industry is to name your enemy as your executor as a means of revenge,” says John O. McManus, an estate attorney and founding principal of McManus & Associates in New York City. “It’s a thankless job. If you appoint someone you love as executor, get your house in order. Otherwise, appoint someone you do not.”
Lerner points out that many people choose their closest relatives, but “before you decide, think hard about what you’re asking this person to do.”
She goes on to share that she talked to McManus about “what it means to be an executor and how to go about choosing one.” Below are the questions for which she shares answers from McManus & Associates:
Q: What are the responsibilities of an executor?
Q: Do you need to have a financial or legal background?
Q: How much time does it take to be an executor?
Q: Should you have more than one executor or is it best to have only one?
Q: Is it best to ask someone before you name them in your will as executor?
Q: Can someone turn down the job of executor?
Q: Can you get compensated for the time you put in as an executor?
Q: Can you be sued as an executor?
Q: Is there anything an executor can do to reduce family fights over personal property?
To find all of our answers to Lerner’s questions, check out the Daily Finance article here.
Gerry Beyer, Professor of Law at Texas Tech Univ. School of Law, writes “Wills, Trusts, and Estates Prof Blog,” a member of the Law Professor Blogs Network sponsored by Wolters Kluwer. Beyer recently took a closer look at the most recent educational conference call held by McManus & Associates and posted a brief, titled “10 Most Important Considerations for Domestic Asset Protection Dynasty Trusts.”
From the post:
Jurisdictions have different laws when it comes to determining the jurisdiction of trusts and trust property. Founding Principal of McManus & Associates, John O. McManus, has shared his expertise by listing the ten most important considerations for deciding where to site your trust. Listed below are the considerations.
To read Beyer’s post and find a wealth of information on estate planning, head on over to Wills, Trusts, and Estates Prof Blog at http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/trusts_estates_prof/.
Michele Lerner, contributing writer for The Motley Fool, recently spoke with McManus & Associates Founding Principal John O. McManus to take a deeper dive on a recent chapter of the firm’s educational series, “‘These are a few of my favorite things’ – Top 10 Considerations when Planning for Tangible Personal Property”.
She this week published a very interesting article based on the conversation that’s definitely worth the read. Lerner’s story, “Stop Family Feuds Over Inheritances Before They Start,” shares colorful examples, telling stats and “5 Tips to Prevent Family Fights Over Heirlooms” from McManus.
From the write-up:
“More than 50 percent of the lawsuits we see are about items that have a total asset value of less than 10 percent of someone’s estate,” says John O. McManus, an estate attorney and founding principal of McManus & Associates in New York City. “The toughest part about family fights over a piece of jewelry or a painting is that it isn’t about the value of the item, it’s about what it means to loved ones.”
McManus goes on to say:
“Fighting over personal property is the match to the tinderbox of emotions…Sometimes feuds start because of lingering resentments over who worked the hardest to take care of Mom or Dad when they were sick or even over who got the biggest scoop of mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving every year.”
To illustrate the all-too-common occurrence, Lerner shares several examples from John:
In one case, McManus says, a woman had her sister arrested for stealing less than $100 of clothing from their deceased mother’s apartment. In another case, brothers split in a lifelong feud over their father’s watch.
Lerner captures McManus’ key advice at the end of the article with “5 Tips to Prevent Family Fights Over Heirlooms”: Here’s what made the cut:
1. Make an inventory.
2. Share your list with family members.
3. Appraise your property.
4. Set up a jury system.
5. Write a personal property memo.
To get more details on each of these five tips, check out the full story here.
With the flurry of trusts created over the past two years that peaked as we approached the “fiscal cliff,” guidance on how to properly maintain and operate these wealth transfer vehicles is useful. Now that they are in motion, who is at the helm?
During this 30-minute call, McManus & Associates reviews strategies to ensure that your trust operates properly as it advances your estate planning and wealth transfer goals. John O. McManus also discusses the special provisions for life insurance trusts, payment of taxes on income earned by trust assets and the new planning ideas utilizing the trust as a leading instrument to accomplish the mission.
- Are all trust accounts, real property owned by trust and life insurance policies held in trust correctly titled?
- How does the tax basis of an asset and its projected future growth affect future planning? What future swaps of assets might you consider?
- How do we avoid common filing and reporting errors, especially payment of income taxes? If it’s a grantor trust, do we file an income tax return?
- Now that the trust is funded what post-funding strategies can be employed to impact the trust to better meet your goals?
- If you have not used the full exemption amount, ($5.25MM), should you consider making additional gifts now to further “freeze” the estate.
- If your life insurance has been transferred to trust, are you properly maintaining the trust to address annual payments?
- When and why should you transfer a trust to an asset-protected state? Are there any actions pending against an individual who is a beneficiary of the trust or you, the grantor? What states are most favorable?
- When should you consider an institutional trustee? What are the pros and cons? When an individual is named as trustee, does he know his responsibilities?
- When your trust owns your primary residence, how should you cover expenses, insurance and titling? If you are the occupying tenant, have we formalized a lease agreement?
- How should you make distributions when the family business or other corporate entity (LLC, partnership, etc) is owned by a trust? Are two transactions necessary?
The New York Times today published an article with the headline “Growing Up With A Trust,” written by well-known “Wealth Matters” columnist Paul Sullivan. The story appeared online and in print, as well, on page F9 of the publication’s New York edition.
McManus & Associates worked hand-in-hand with Sullivan on this story, both in facilitating a conversation with one of our clients who shared insight on an anonymous basis and in providing expertise on preparing heirs for inheritance. From the article:
Steve, whose wealth was earned in financial services rather than inherited, is still working out a plan with his wife for telling their three sons about their inheritances. He asked that his name be withheld because he did not want his neighbors in the New York area to know about his money.
In his 40s and retired for more than a decade, he appears to be a model client for any trust and estate planner: he has already put more than $10 million in various trusts. “He’s a thoughtful, meaningful guy, and he has more time than our normal client,” said John O. McManus, his lawyer at McManus & Associates.
He is proud of the provisions written into the trusts for his children, which will keep them from having full access to the money until they are 35. Yet, though he has not done so, talking to his sons about his wealth is also important, even though all three are not yet 10.
Top AV-rated Attorney John O. McManus was happy to weigh in on this important topic, because the firm is committed to helping its clients transfer not only assets, but also family values. As discussed in the piece, conversations with beneficiaries about wealth are part of an ongoing process, not just a one-time event. Through the creation of a Family Mission Statement, McManus & Associates can help you initiate these critical discussions and best prepare your heirs for a productive life filled with success that positively impacts society.
McManus & Associates is ready to talk you through this challenging, yet important process. Give our office a call at (908) 898-0100 to get started.
In the early morning hours of January 1, the United States Senate passed legislation to avoid the ‘fiscal cliff.’ Nearly 20 hours later the House followed suit. Several surprising outcomes regarding estate planning emerged as part of this deal, which according to the Wall Street Journal, is “chock full of goodies” for nearly every interest group. The Estate Planning community was surprised to enjoy the benefit.
John O . McManus, top AV-rated estate planning attorney and founding principal of McManus & Associates, today held a conference call with clients about the new laws and ways to remain protected moving into 2013.
Below please find the 10 questions that are addressed during the discussion:
1. The new tax rates and exemption amounts are set. What can you expect to pay for estates over $5.25MM?
2. What are the estate-tax “traps” to be wary of?
3. The Connecticut gifting limit of $2MM; is this a warning for future lifetime gifting limits in other states?
4. With the new permanency in the estate tax exemption, what taxpayers should make gifts over $5.25 MM and pay gift tax? (A strategy widely used for many prior generations)
5. For estates below $5.25 MM, who should employ trusts in their wills?
6. What is meant by “spousal portability” and “unification” of the exemption amounts? Does this eliminate the need for certain planning?
7. The Generation Skipping Tax Exemption Amount is also set at $5.25MM; who should take advantage of it?
8. Looking forward to March ’13 and the “debt ceiling” debates, what detrimental effect could such negotiations have on state estate taxes?
9. What are the trust and non-trust estate planning strategies that married and single persons should undertake in 2013?
10. What critical Gift Tax consequences must be avoided for gifts made in 2012? When does the statute of limitations clock begin?
McManus & Associates is here to help you make sure you’re covered. We welcome your call at 908-898-0100.
Warren Boroson – author of more than 20 books, including “J.K. Lasser’s How to Pick Stocks Like Warren Buffett,” and whose articles have appeared in publications like Reader’s Digest and New York Times Magazine – recently turned to McManus & Associates Founding Principal and top AV-rated Attorney John O. McManus to talk strategies for the looming Fiscal Cliff and rising taxes that 2013 will likely bring.
Boroson’s article “A tax tip that can save you thousands,” published by New Jersey Newsroom, is based on John’s foresight and guidance. Here’s an excerpt:
The gift tax exemption will likely be reduced next year, so something that well-to-do people should consider doing, McManus suggests, is setting up a trust to put assets into, to protect those assets from Uncle Sam. These trusts will give you “flexibility, control, and access.”
To learn more about what you can expect in terms of gift-tax rates and tax benefits “when the battle about the so-called Fiscal Cliff is over,” check out Boroson’s full column to read John’s expert insight: http://www.newjerseynewsroom.com/economy/a-tax-tip-that-can-save-you-thousands