Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Selecting a Trustee

As you prepare to meet with your estate planning attorney, you will undoubtedly agonize over questions like these: Who will take care of my kids when I die? How will I leave my assets? How will I treat my son, Bobby, whom I haven’t heard from in years? Who takes care of me when I’m incapacitated? Etc., etc....

But one of the most important questions-that isn’t often treated that way-is: who will be my trustee? Too often trustees are selected by default, like choosing a brother or sister just because they are family or the oldest child just because he or she is the oldest-as if being trustee is based on primogeniture. Too often little consideration is given to this important decision, and your beneficiaries and family are left to deal with it.

See, even the best lawyer, asked to draft a “bullet-proof” trust, can’t protect against the unfit or, even worse, rogue trustee. So to help make sure that all the consideration you’ve given to how each piece of your property will be distributed isn’t for naught, select the right trustee. The one who has the acumen and fortitude to carry out your wishes. The one who will serve as the right manager of your assets. The one who understands what his or her expectations are.

To help you make that decision, here is a list of some of the qualifications your trustee should have:

1. Investment knowledge. This includes knowledge of the financial markets, and knowledge of the beneficiaries’ needs.
2. Tax and accounting skills. Trustees will need to make tax decisions for the trust, which will impact the beneficiaries. Also, trustees are often required to give the beneficiaries annual accountings.
3. People skills. Trustees should have the ability to deal with the beneficiaries and all their particularities and demands.
4. Managerial Skills. Trustees should be able to multi-task and manage advisers (i.e., lawyers, accountants, and investment advisers).
5. Integrity. Most importantly, trustees should have the utmost integrity.

Contact any one of our qualified attorneys at the law office of Jeffrey Burr to discuss choosing the right trustee for you.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Alicia McKenna Celebrates 20 Years with Jeffrey Burr

Congratulations Alicia on your 20 year anniversary with Jeffrey Burr.  You are the foundation of our Trust Administration department and are so lucky to have you! Here's to many more years.

Jeff Burr and Alicia McKenna

Monday, December 5, 2016

'Tis the Season

As we near the end of 2016 and Christmas approaches, our thoughts turn to those less fortunate.  Many of our clients express their desire to give to those in need and the various charitable institutions whose missions are to help those who cannot help themselves. However, some clients are unsure of how much to give, which charities to give to, and how they can make sure that the donation they make actually benefits those in need. 

A website designed to assist donors in choosing charities outlines four questions to ask of a charity before deciding whether to donate:
  • Does the charity match your passion?
  • Is the charity fiscally responsible, ethical and effective?
  • Do you trust it enough to give without strings attached?
  • Does the charity have strong leadership?

Even with that guidance, choosing a charity (or charities) to donate to, how much to give to each charity, or when to make a gift can be difficult. Why not make one donation to one fund (which allows for an immediate charitable income tax deduction and which can be added to over time), which can grow tax free, enable you to make charitable contributions or gifts to multiple charities over time, and utilize the experience of experts to help you determine what charities you would like to give to, and leave a philanthropic legacy for your loved ones?  All these things can be accomplished by using a popular charitable vehicle called a Donor Advised Fund, or “DAF.”

A DAF is basically an account set up at a financial institution or charity that allows donors to make a grant which qualifies for an immediate income tax deduction, but which can be distributed to multiple charities over a period of time.  The money contributed to a DAF can be invested and grow tax free, and multiple family members may be advisors to the fund to recommend different charitable contributions.  The experts at the institution which holds the DAF can help you and your family choose qualified charities and assist in the philanthropic process.

To discuss a DAF, and how a DAF might become part of your family’s philanthropic legacy, please contact an attorney at JEFFREY BURR, LTD. today.

-Attorney Rebecca J. Haines

Monday, November 21, 2016

AFR's for December

The Section 7520 rate is 1.8%
  Annual Semi-annual Quarterly Monthly
Short-term 0.74% 0.74% 0.74% 0.74%
Mid-term 1.47% 1.46% 1.46% 1.46%
Long-term 2.26% 2.25% 2.24% 2.24%

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

President-elect Trump and the End of the Death Tax – Not So Fast

Now that Trump won the Presidency, some are excited and some are frightened as to what this means for the United States of America. Interestingly for our law firm as an estate planning practice is that the repeal of the federal estate tax is found in President-elect Trump’s tax plan. With a Republican led Congress in both the House and Senate, some may assume that all of Trump’s tax proposals will easily be pushed through. However, it may not be that simple. Republicans have 51 seats in the Senate, which is not enough of a majority to invoke cloture. Cloture is the procedure by which the Senate can vote to set an end to a debate without rejecting the bill, amendment, or other matter that it has been debating. To invoke cloture, 60 votes in the Senate would be needed. Thus, it is possible that proposed legislation to repeal the estate tax might be “filibustered” in the Senate.

Historically, the last administration that pushed to repeal the estate tax was in 2006 under the Bush administration. The Republican-controlled Senate was not able to gather the 60 necessary votes. Thus it is reasonably foreseeable that the repeal of the estate tax is not in sight. In fact, many of the legislative proposals that President-elect Trump has been promoting may not be a sure thing without more than a simple majority of Congressional votes.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016


Our office recently sent a letter to our clients who could potentially be affected by proposed changes to Section 2704 of the Internal Revenue Code, which may eliminate valuation discounting for gift and estate tax purposes. It is not too late to schedule an appointment to discuss the implications on your estate plan if this new regulation is implemented.

As a brief background, the US Treasury has recently issued Proposed Regulations that could have a dramatic impact on your estate planning by eliminating valuation discounts. For wealthy people looking to minimize their future certain estate tax, this is critical.  If you are concerned about protecting a family business, family investment assets, or real estate from having to be sold in order to pay the federal estate tax at your death, then it is worth investigating this. 

Act Now: Time is of the essence. Once the Proposed Regulations are effective, which could be as early as year-end, the ability to purposely structure discounts on assets of your estate might be substantially reduced or eliminated, thus curtailing your tax and asset protection planning flexibility.  Properly planning with this technique takes time to structure the various steps of the transaction.  It is important to start as soon as possible in order to complete the planning before the regulations are finalized.  

Please call our office today at 702-433-4455 to schedule an appointment to review your estate plan.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Why Avoid Probate?

Typically, estate planning attorneys use trusts and other instruments to help their clients avoid probate court.  Clients often ask, why it is important to avoid probate court?  The two best reasons for avoiding probate court are (1) time and (2) cost. 

Probating a deceased person’s estate is a long process.  For a normal probate estate beneficiaries can expect to wait six months to a year before the process is completed and the assets are distributed.  The reason the process is sluggish is because probate requires several steps and a large amount of court involvement.  Several of the steps require mandatory time-waiting periods giving creditors and other parties time to become involved in the proceedings.  For example, before assets can be distributed to beneficiaries, a notice to creditors must be filed.  All creditors are given a 90-day time period in which they can file creditor claims against the estate.  Extra steps are also required if real property must be sold or interested parties object at any time during the probate proceedings.  The end result is that from start to finish probate takes a significant amount of time.

The second reason to avoid probate is its cost.  Because probate requires court involvement, attorneys, executors and other parties are almost always involved.  The usual attorney fees are set out in the Nevada Revised Statutes Chapter 150.  Generally, attorney fees are calculated based on the size of the estate.  Executors and administrators are also entitled to a similar, but slightly smaller fee.  Beneficiaries will also be required to pay court filing and other fees.  Overall probate ends up being an expensive process.
As probate is both time-consuming and expensive, many people successfully avoid probate all together.  This can be done by setting up a proper estate plan.  If you have any questions about avoiding probate and setting up your estate plan, feel free to contact one of our attorneys.