When is it time to update your estate plan?
“An estate plan is generally thought of as a collection of legal documents that provides instructions for how one’s property is distributed upon death,” Michael Rudegeair says. “Because it is implied that the documents are supposed to outlive the deceased, many people...  more
The Estate Analyst, June 2013: Successful Exiting for Auto Dealers
Even given the common reluctance of business owners to create a succession plan, the complexities of an automobile dealership may add to the hesitation. Nevertheless, as Robert Moshman points out the June 2013 issue of The Estate Analyst, “There are great planning...  more
After the Deluge of Tax-Saving Transfers: How Do We Optimize Generation Skipping Trust Portfolios?
“Give in haste, repent at leisure” could be the best description of the scramble to transfer assets at the end of 2012. The motivation was “the anticipated severe reduction of favorable federal transfer tax exemptions,” as Richard Tardiff, Federal Street Advisors’...  more
Economic Benefit Regime — Private Split Dollar
If life insurance is going to be part of an estate plan, it might be advantageous to structure it as part of a Private Split Dollar agreement. As this advisor alert from the Insurance Design Center explains, “Private Split Dollar is an advanced life insurance strategy...  more
Not So Fast… A More Thoughtful Approach to Planning in Light of the Increased Gift Tax Exemption
While attention is focused on how marginal income tax rates may rise if Congress doesn’t act, the impending change in the estate and gift tax is being virtually ignored. The estate tax exemption would shrink and the maximum estate, gift, and generation-skipping tax...  more
The Estate Analyst, September 2012: Viva L’Art!
Consider the case of Albert Barnes, art collector extraordinaire, whose collection was housed in a museum of his design, supported by a foundation with the usual constraints and safeguards, overseen by a nearby college. And yet today the Barnes Collection is...  more
Accumulating Additional Insurance to Augment a Balanced Family Asset Structure
As most advisors know, life insurance can be a highly effective estate planning option, yet each family’s unique circumstances may challenge a generalist’s knowledge. In this case study from the Insurance Design Center, the family and its advisor actively managed the...  more
The Estate Analyst, April 2012: Train Wrecks of Estate Planning
“A wreck on the shore serves as a beacon at sea,” Robert Moshman writes in introducing some notable examples of “Train Wrecks of Estate Planning” in the April 2012 issue of The Estate Analyst. Among the estates Moshman reviews are those of Chief Justice Warren Burger...  more
Preparing to Give the Beach House to Your Children?
A family’s vacation home holds many special memories, and when the time comes for estate planning, it can supply many headaches. “Unlike stock portfolios, they aren’t easily divisible – typically, the property passes to the next generation as a group,” Amelia Renkert...  more
Case Study: Refinancing Life Insurance to Repay a Split Dollar Liability
This case study from the Insurance Design Center explains how a collection of life insurance policies was replaced with a single policy at a lower premium. The IDC describes it as “an example of how a proactive attorney’s action provided cash flow for an existing...  more
Ten Considerations in Your Wealth Planning
Estate planning is an essential part of every financial plan, but wealth planning is equally necessary and the two are not identical. Estate planning focuses on taxes while wealth planning includes both tax and non-tax issues. In this white paper from investment...  more
Choosing A Trustee
“Choosing a trustee is one of the most important, and often difficult, decisions you will make during your estate planning process,” Convergent Wealth Advisors states in this white paper. “While you may serve as trustee of your revocable trust during your lifetime,...  more
Effective Use of Disclaimers in a Will Provides Flexibility and Tax Savings
It may seem counter-intuitive for an heir to decline to accept a legacy, but as Charles Falk explains, there can be good reasons to do so. A “ ‘qualified disclaimer,’ in a will,” Falk writes in this white paper from Massey Quick, “can provide significant flexibility...  more
The Estate Analyst: Evil Estates Deconstructed—The Search for Osama’s Wealth
The May 2011 issue of The Estate Analyst: Evil Estates Deconstructed surveys restrictions on malefactors inheriting assets they committed crimes to obtain and the somewhat related situation of attempting to seize the assets of those who committed crimes.  more
Breaking the Silence: Helping Clients Discuss Estate Plans with their Families
“While many talented wealth management professionals spend an extraordinary amount of time and effort designing elegant, tax-efficient estate plans, they often fail to assist clients with the sensitive task of discussing the plans with the clients’ families,” David...  more
The Estate Analyst, April 2011 – Second-Guessing Life Insurance
In the April 2011 issue of The Estate Analyst: Second-Guessing Life Insurance, estate tax attorney Robert Moshman looks at whether life insurance still has a place in a portfolio. Among the questions he answers are “Should life insurance be kept outside of the probate...  more
March 2011 Estate Analyst: Capital Gains Paradox
In the March 2011 issue of The Estate Analyst: Capital Gains Paradox, estate tax attorney Robert Moshman examines the difficulties of predicting capital gains that various asset classes may generate. The composition of a portfolio, Moshman points out, can be a...  more
Window of Opportunity to Save on Taxes by Implementing Business Succession Planning
International law firm Withers Worldwide advises the owners of family businesses to act now “to implement family business succession or exit planning at a minimal tax cost.” In this client alert, it points out that “Significantly higher exemptions and lower tax rates...  more
Installment Sale to an Intentionally Defective Guarantor Trust
The intentionally defective guarantor trust (IDGT) still has a place in wealth-transfer plans, Sisi Tran explains in this white paper from Convergent Wealth Advisers. Basically put, an installment sale to an IDGT involves “selling property to an irrevocable trust...  more
The Estate Analyst – The Perils of Portability
“Portability of a decedent’s estate tax exclusion amount to a surviving spouse arrived along with the reinstatement of the Federal estate tax,” Robert Moshman writes in this issue of The Estate Analyst. “The provision allows married couples to transfer a collective $10...  more
The Tax Relief Act of 2010: Implications for Estate Planning
In this white paper from Federal Street Advisors, John Przybylski, the firm’s director of financial planning, discusses the impact of the Tax Relief Act of 2010 on estate planning. “The current low interest rate environment provides an impetus to make changes now...  more
Achieving Tax Benefits Through the Inter Vivos QTIP Trust
The QTIP (qualified terminable interest property) trust is a mechanism to increase wealth transfer to a married couple’s children free of estate tax. In this white paper from Convergent Wealth Advisors, Sisi Tran, Convergent’s director of trust and estate planning,...  more
Trust Assets at Risk, Part II: Mastering Wealth Transfer
A successful wealth transfer plan is one that can succeed in various economic climates, Leigh Harter writes in “Mastering Wealth Transfer,” the second of a two-part series from CCH’s Journal of Practical Estate Planning. Flexibility is the key, since “a diversified...  more
Trust Assets at Risk, Part I
Placing assets in trusts carries with it both risks and rewards, as Leigh Harter points out in this article from the Journal of Practical Estate Planning, published by CCH. The rewards include “cutting transfer tax costs, asset protection, maintaining family harmony,...  more
Holistic Estate Planning
Leigh Harter, managing director of the Insurance Design Center, explains how holistic estate planning “can lead to superior results for wealth creators, their immediate families and future generations.” Holistic estate planning, he says, involves “looking at the...  more