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.
Gerry Beyer, Professor of Law at Texas Tech Univ. School of Law, recently shared on his blog financial tactics and maintenance items related to estate planning to apply before 2014. “Wills, Trusts, and Estates Prof Blog” is a member of the Law Professor Blogs Network sponsored by Wolters Kluwer, and the list of tactics and maintenance items originally came from McManus & Associates. Here are the 10 estate planning questions to ask yourself before 2013:
- Should I change my estate plan before laws change in 2014?
- Is your partnership validly maintained?
- If making gifts to loved ones, are you exceeding your exemption amount?
- Are you employing the most current estate planning strategies?
- Are you making the most of income tax deductions?
- Do the fiduciaries named in your estate planning documents still reflect your wishes?
- Are you using the best strategies when making year-end charitable gifts?
- Are your cash donations from an IRA to charity being properly made?
- Should you consider using a GRAT or a QPRT?
- How should you harvest capital gains and time long-term losses?
Don’t miss our next free educational conference call, which will be held this month! Contact us for details at 908-898-0100.
Gerry Beyer, Professor of Law at Texas Tech University School of Law, recently featured on his blog McManus & Associates’ latest educational conference call, “Top 10 Things to Know to Make the Most of Life Insurance in Estate Planning.” As pointed out by Beyer, using life insurance in your estate plan can provide significant protection for your loved ones.
To see the top 10 questions to ask yourself when estate planning with life insurance, read Beyer’s post. And check out more hot topics related to estate planning by visiting “Wills, Trusts, and Estates Prof Blog,” a member of the Law Professor Blogs Network sponsored by Wolters Kluwer.
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/.
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?
From jewelry to art, cigar collections to fine china, dividing tangible personal property equitably among loved ones after death can be a major challenge for an executor. In order to keep the court from stepping in to divide the pots and pans –a task no judge desires– direction on how to allocate specific items should be given (rarely explicitly mentioned in wills).
In a new conference call led by McManus & Associates Founding Principal and top AV-rated Attorney John O. McManus, learn about unique ways to plan for division of specific personal tangible property and special planning considerations for unique items such as music, art, wine, scotch and even gun collections.
After listening to the discussion, you’ll have answers to the questions below. Don’t hesitate to give McManus & Associates a call at (908) 898-0100 if we can be of further assistance.
1. Is it appropriate to use a personal property memo to capture personal items? Can enforcement of such a memo be guaranteed?
2. How do we catalog our personal property in a memo? Should items be specifically insured?
3. How to plan for art, jewelry and the use of a life estate for personal property, especially in a second marriage.
4. Are you a history buff with collection of Revolutionary and Civil War rifles? Who can you leave them to? Details on fiduciaries who need special licenses or permits.
5. How will pets, especially rare or exotic species be provided for?
6. How do you transfer and value intellectual property, Copyrights, projected sales, music and art?
7. Illegal transportation across state lines? Expensive transportation? Wine or gun collections, a grand piano? How to plan for covering expenses and proper transportation.
8. If you are named a fiduciary, what tasks should you consider taking now to ensure you are protected during probate?
9. Do you have bank accounts worldwide? Considerations to simply the probate process? Are you filing annual disclosures for FBAR?
10. What strategies can you use to ensure an equitable distribution of personal property when considering certain highly valuable assets?
Top-rated estate planning attorney and founding principal of McManus & Associates John O. McManus last month chatted with Paula Aven Gladych, writer for BenefitsPro, about why even people who aren’t in the top 1 percent of earnings need to undertake estate planning. Individuals who earn between $250,000 and $1 million won’t have to worry about paying federal estate taxes, since the exemption is $5.25 million, but “they still have to worry about state exemptions, which are all over the map.” As pointed out in Gladych’s article, “Even middle-income earners should have an estate plan.”
From the piece, which is based on McManus’s interview with Gladych:
“People are not going to give a large amount of their assets away during their lifetime. If a client has $1.5 million during their lifetime, they may need every dollar of that to live from. If they become terminal, a quality financial advisor and attorney will say, ‘let’s move money off the balance sheet now.’ The fact is, by moving it you’ll avoid the imposition of state tax when you pass away. The problem in the past is people are not doing it because they only give away $750,000 to $1 million on the federal level,” McManus said. “The concern is that states will smarten up and impose a gift limitation equal to the death tax limitation.”
Why should middle-income earners consider putting money away in a trust? Read the rest of the story to find out.
More recently, Paula Aven Gladych interviewed McManus again for a piece, titled “Legacy, estate planning as important as retirement.” As captured by Gladych, “planning for the future isn’t just about retirement accounts or what you want to do with all of your free time. According to financial experts, people also need to plan for what comes after their retirement—end-of-life planning.”
McManus’s advice is captured in the story as follows:
Individuals need to make sure their documents are current. They need to review them every so often to make sure that what people think they will receive when they die is what they will actually receive, said John McManus, founding principal at McManus & Associates, an estates and trusts law firm in New York.
That means reviewing documents and walking through their provisions, deciding how they want to dispose of their assets and naming representatives who will make sure their assets are distributed as they intended.
There is a catch 22, however. Many people don’t realize that beneficiary designations on life insurance policies and retirement accounts trump whatever is written in a final will and testament.
Many parents place one of their children on their accounts as a joint account holder so they can help pay bills. What most people don’t realize is that when the parent passes away, no matter what is listed in the will, the person who is listed on the joint account will inherit that money. This can cause many problems among other beneficiaries who believe they are entitled to their share of that money, McManus said.
Each state has its own exemption when it comes to estate taxes. Some states, like New York, will allow individuals to pass down the first $1 million to heirs tax free. Anything above that $1 million will be taxed. McManus counsels his clients to gift that money while they are still alive to avoid hefty taxation later.
Check out more important estate planning tips in the story here.