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Trusts have been an essential estate planning tool for centuries. Once used only by the very wealthy, today trusts are widely used by the non-wealthy. Longer lives, more widespread wealth, second marriages, and blended families all cause greater interest in trusts. That is even before considering tax reduction strategies. Trust use is so widespread that […]
Trusts no longer are just for the very wealthy. Many families use trusts for a variety of reasons. Unfortunately, trusts often can result in significant problems for loved ones long after the trust creator is gone. Problems include excess costs, poor investments, low payouts, and unresponsiveness to the family’s needs. In many states, beneficiaries are […]
There’s a revolution taking place in trusts used for estate planning, and just in time. Trust use is soaring. Trusts are used frequently by middle class people, not only by the ultra-wealthy. The centuries-old law of trusts is changing in many states. Many of the alterations provide more protection and flexibility for estate owners. But […]
Don’t wait until the end of the year to plan gifts to family members. Annual gifts are an important part of many estate plans, but most people don’t handle gifts the best way. Planning gifts now will increase the amount of wealth that is transferred tax-free to your heirs. The goals of gift-giving are to […]
Incentive trusts and protective trusts are all the rage. Many people want to be generous with succeeding generations – now or in their wills – but they want some assurance the wealth won’t be wasted. People are concerned that inheriting wealth might reduce an heir’s work ethic. They don’t want the money to disappear in […]
Estate planners agree that one of the most underused strategies is the charitable remainder trust. That might change. New trends are making CRTs more attractive. Taxpayers with appreciated property should take a fresh look at CRTs as part of their retirement and Estate Planning strategies. In a CRT, an individual transfers appreciated property to the […]
New legal tools are available to help many families stuck with out-of-date trusts. For years I’ve warned against traditional trusts that make fixed distributions or distributions only from income. Inflation and the twenty year decline in interest rates and dividends have crippled the benefits from these trusts. Beneficiaries are helpless because the trusts are irrevocable […]
NFL superstar Johnny Unitas passed away in September, 2002, and his estate has been a mess since. Unitas’s families from two marriages are at odds. His son and namesake is fighting to get the company father and son ran back from the estate’s executors. The executors are Unitas’s longtime accountant and attorney. Unitas and John, […]