Tuesday, December 31, 2013

January AFR's

The Section 7520 rate is 2.2%    
Jan-13 Annual Semi- Quarterly Monthly
AFRs   Annual    
Short-term 0.25% 0.25% 0.25% 0.25%
Mid-term 1.75% 1.74% 1.74% 1.73%
Long-term 3.49% 3.46% 3.45% 3.44%

Monday, December 23, 2013

End of the YEar Estate Plan Tune-Up

It is hard to believe that we are already at the end of 2013.  It has been an exciting year for estate planning.  In the first week of 2013, congress passed new legislation making the estate laws tax permanent.  In many cases, the new laws have allowed for many families to simplify their estate plan.
As the year comes to a close, it is a good time to complete a quick tune-up of your estate plan to make sure you are ready for the New Year.  Here is a short tune-up list to cover some of the basics:

·     Confirm with your attorney that your estate plan is in conformity with the new laws passed in 2013;

·     Consider simplifying your estate based on new tax laws with higher exemption amounts;

·     Verify real estate records to make sure all real property is titled in the name of the trust or if you do not have a trust that a beneficiary deed has been prepared and recorded for each property, if appropriate;

·     Check all financial assets to make sure each asset is either titled in the name of your trust or has a designated beneficiary designation;

·     Review distribution provisions in your estate planning documents (or beneficiary designations) and contact your attorney if changes are desired;

·     Look at your trustee and executor designations and make changes if needed;

·     Ask questions if anything in your estate plan is unclear.
We hope that each of you have a happy New Year!

Corey J. Schmutz, Esq.

Friday, December 20, 2013

'Twas the Night Before Christmas (Legalese)

[A little fun for the holidays - yet still relevant to our blog since it discusses the Gift Tax - jcw]
Whereas, on or about the night prior to Christmas, there did occur at a certain improved piece of real property (hereinafter “the House”) a general lack of stirring by all creatures therein, including, but not limited to a mouse.

A variety of foot apparel, e.g. stockings, hosiery, socks, etc., had been affixed by and around the chimney in said House in the hope and/or belief that St. Nick a/k/a/ St. Nicholas a/k/a/ Santa Claus a/k/a Santa (hereinafter “Claus”) would arrive at sometime thereafter.

The minor residents, i.e. the children, of the aforementioned House were located in their individual beds and were engaged in nocturnal hallucinations, i.e. dreams, wherein vision of confectionery treats, including, but not limited to, candies, nuts and/or sugar plums, did dance, cavort and otherwise appear in said dreams.

Whereupon the party of the first part (sometimes hereinafter referred to as “I”), being the joint-owner in fee simple of the House with the parts of the second part (hereinafter “Mamma”), and said Mamma had retired for a sustained period of sleep. (At such time, the parties were clad in various forms of headgear, e.g. kerchief and cap.)

Suddenly, and without prior notice or warning, there did occur upon the unimproved real property adjacent and appurtenant to said House, i.e. the lawn, a certain disruption of unknown nature, cause and/or circumstance. The party of the first part did immediately rush to a window in the House to investigate the cause of such disturbance.

At that time, the party of the first part did observe, with some degree of wonder and/or disbelief, a miniature sleigh (hereinafter “the Vehicle”) being pulled and/or drawn very rapidly through the air by approximately eight (8) reindeer. The driver of the Vehicle appeared to be and in fact was, the previously referenced Claus.

Said Claus was providing specific direction, instruction and guidance to the approximately eight (8) reindeer and specifically indentified the animal co-conspirators by name: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen (hereinafter “the Deer”). (Upon information and belief, it is further asserted an additional co-conspirator named “Rudolph” may have been involved.)

The party of the first part witnessed Claus, the Vehicle and the Deer intentionally and willfully trespass upon the roofs of several residences located adjacent to and in the vicinity of the House, and noted that the Vehicle was heavily laden with packages, toys and other items of unknown origin or nature. Suddenly, without prior invitation or permission, either express or implied, the Vehicle arrived at the House, and Claus entered said House via the chimney.

Said Claus was clad in a red fur suit, which was partially covered with residue from the chimney, and he carried a large sack containing a portion of the aforementioned packages, toys, and other unknown items. He was smoking what appeared to be tobacco in a small pipe in blatant violation of local ordinances and health regulations.

Claus did not speak, but immediately began to fill the stocking of the minor residents, which hung adjacent to the chimney, with toys and other small gifts. (Said items did not, however, constitute “taxable gifts” to said minor pursuant to the applicable provisions of the "annual exclusion" from gifts as found in §2503(b)(1), Subtitle B, Chapter 12, of the Internal Revenue Code.)

Upon completion of such task, Claus touched the side of his nose and flew, rose and/or ascended up the chimney of the House to the roof where the Vehicle and Deer waited and/or served as “lookouts.” Claus immediately departed for an unknown destination.

However, prior to the departure of the Vehicle, Deer and Claus from said House, the party of the first part did hear Claus state and/or exclaim:

“Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!” Or words to that effect.

Author Unknown

Posted by:  Jason C. Walker, Esq.