Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Even if the Estate Tax is Repealed, a Trust is Still the Best Option

One of President Trump’s most prominent items on his ‘to do’ list as the Nation’s 45th President was to repeal the estate tax (also called the death tax) to stimulate economic growth and “Make America Great Again!”  Whether or not President Trump manages to repeal the estate tax, however, Trusts remain the best estate planning tools for the following reasons:

  1. Protect Minor Beneficiaries
    1. If a beneficiary under the age of 18 is named in a will, or is a default beneficiary under state intestacy laws (which is the estate plan the State of Nevada provides for anyone who has not made their own), that minor will be entitled to their entire share on their 18th birthday.  I don’t know about the 18 year olds you know, but if I had received a big check at 18 I’d probably have nothing to show for it 10 years later except maybe a closet full of way too many clothes and cautionary tales for my children. To protect your minor beneficiaries, whether it be children or grandchildren, put their inheritance in a trust.  In a trust, provisions specific to your situation and family may be drafted to perhaps delay an outright distribution until age 25 or 30.  Provisions could also be added that would enable a trustee to pay for school, medical costs, a first car, or even a down payment on a house to assist that beneficiary with accomplishing worthwhile goals, rather than setting them up for failure with a blank check at 18.
  2. Protect All Beneficiaries
    1. Trusts can not only protect a beneficiary when he or she is a minor, but also from creditors and others, such as financial scammers, spouses during marriage, ex-spouses after marriage, caregivers, and anyone else who might try to get a piece of someone else’s inheritance.

More reasons why Trusts remain the best estate planning tools for estate planning will be forthcoming in my next Blog – stay tuned!

-Attorney Rebecca J. Haines

 

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