Posted on June 6, 2017 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

5 Concerns for First-Time Executors

A person serving as executor for the first time must manage the time demands of the probate process while allowing leeway for their own learning curve. Our probate attorneys produced a few overviews of the estate administration process to help facilitate a productive start. […]

Posted on June 5, 2017 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Pros and Cons of Living Probate in North Carolina

Living probate legislation was passed in North Carolina almost two years ago. While many issues may be prevented if a testator properly implements living probate during their lifetime, some estate administration issues nevertheless might occur. […]

Posted on May 19, 2017 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

North Carolina Small Estates Administration

Executors may discover throughout the course of estate administration that the value of the estate falls within North Carolina’s statutory threshold for small estates. For qualifying estates, the law provides a means for heirs to receive the decedent’s property with minimal or no probate administration. […]

Posted on May 12, 2017 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

First Forms for North Carolina Executors

Certain forms must be filed before an individual may begin serving as executor or administrator of an estate in North Carolina. If the individual is ready to move forward, the first forms they should review include the following. […]
Category: Probate Tags: Administration, Estates, Wills

Posted on May 11, 2017 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Factors That Affect Length of Probate

The duration of a North Carolina probate administration depends on a variety of factors. Understanding common causes of probate delays can help executors and other parties involved in the estate administration to prevent unnecessary interruptions. […]

Posted on May 9, 2017 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Important North Carolina Probate Forms

Executors must maintain records of accounting and other required documentation as part of their administrative duties. Customarily, the following probate forms are used for North Carolina estates (links provided to official documents where available) […]

Posted on May 8, 2017 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Managing Estate Assets

Executors must preserve estate assets until distribution. Overseeing estate assets could be a burden for executors, particularly if the decedent bequeathed out-of-state property or unique assets. […]

Posted on May 5, 2017 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Dealing With Creditors in NC Probate

Personal representatives and executors follow a state-mandated timeline for creditor notifications. When it comes to managing debts, including through approval or rejection of creditor claims, the executor’s duties become more complicated. […]

Posted on May 4, 2017 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Estate Issues With DIY Deeds

Oftentimes individuals and couples attempt to minimize estate planning costs by downloading do-it-yourself wills and property deed templates. DIY estate planning notoriously causes costly, time-demanding administrative burdens on executors and does not guarantee the decedent’s wishes will be carried out. […]

Posted on May 3, 2017 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

4 Signs That Assets are at Risk to Lawsuits in NC

North Carolina is often referred to as a debtor-friendly state due to the many statutory creditor protections state law provides. However, even with these protections there are individuals and businesses who may not structure assets properly to take advantage of available protections. […]

Posted on April 12, 2017 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

3 Reasons Why an Executor May Resign

Occasionally an executor must resign from their role. In North Carolina, the executor must file a formal petition with the clerk of court stating the reason(s) for resignation. […]

Posted on April 7, 2017 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Taxes That Apply to Inheritances in NC

While North Carolina’s estate tax was repealed in 2013, other taxes may apply to an inheritance. Tax implications depend on the type of asset, the value, and other factors. […]

Posted on April 6, 2017 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

5 Considerations for Rental Property in Probate

Whether it’s a single property or multiple homes, rental property in probate poses a few concerns. Discussed below are five issues that must be addressed if a decedent owned rental property. […]

Posted on March 30, 2017 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

2017 North Carolina Tax Law Changes

Changes to tax rates in North Carolina became effective on January 1, 2017. The adjustments affect both businesses and individuals. When revising tax planning efforts, consider the modifications below. […]

Posted on March 23, 2017 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

New Legal Library on Trusts, Estates, and Tax Law

TrustCounsel's new Legal Library is now a permanent free online resource with guides to help direct executor’s discussions with attorneys, as well as to alert legal and financial practitioners of important probate and trust law matters. […]

Posted on March 21, 2017 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Inherited IRA Issues in North Carolina

Inherited IRAs face differing regulation based on whether the beneficiary is a spouse or a non-spouse. Marital status also influences how North Carolina’s intestate succession law applies to an estate, which may pertain to retirement accounts. FINRA released an Investor Alert early this year advising IRA beneficiaries to review inherited IRA tax implications. […]

Posted on February 10, 2017 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

North Carolina Places 15th Again for Trust Decanting in 2017

Once again, North Carolina holds steady at #15 out of twenty-five states with provisions for decanting. The collective includes two additional states that adopted legislation for decanting over the past year. The 2017 Trust Decanting State Rankings Chart shows South Dakota and Nevada remain top jurisdictions for decanting. […]

Posted on January 25, 2017 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Why North Carolina Trustees Should Acquire Liability Insurance

Without liability insurance, trustees remain personally accountable for trust administration mistakes. Certain insurance policies help to manage trustee liability. These errors and omissions insurance policies for trustees provide coverage in the event that claims, lawsuits, or damages occur as a result of the trustee’s actions or inaction. […]

Posted on January 25, 2017 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

The Taboo Subject of Estate Planning and Firearms

A guest contributor on Southern Gun Law Group, Dennis Gayness is a Certified Firearms Appraiser with the Triangle Shooting Academy. In his guest post he delves into events throughout history that have influenced rare and collectible firearms passed down through generations. […]

Posted on January 24, 2017 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Out-of-State Property in North Carolina Probate

The executor must inventory and evaluate all personal property, vehicles, and assets that pass through probate. However, if the decedent held property outside of North Carolina, those assets must follow the laws present in the alternate jurisdiction. […]

Posted on January 23, 2017 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

NCBA Symposium: Gun Trusts in Elder and Special Needs Law

TrustCounsel's principal attorney Gregory Herman-Giddens presents Gun Trusts in Elder and Special Needs Law at the North Carolina Bar Association Annual Symposium in Pinehurst this February. […]

Posted on January 6, 2017 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

How Proposed Changes to Family Businesses Could Raise Estate Tax Liability

Over the summer of 2016, the IRS released proposed changes to tax provisions (Section 2704) that apply to most business entities, including family businesses. These potential changes could have a major impact on tax planning, including estate tax implications. […]

Posted on December 12, 2016 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Possible Tax Items to Expect With Trump Adminstration

Have you reviewed the proposed tax changes under the forthcoming Trump Administration? Read on to learn what is expected to change within the first 100 days following inauguration. […]

Posted on November 21, 2016 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

3 Errors North Carolina Executors Might Encounter Without Legal Counsel

When it comes to legal matters, it’s not in the executor’s best interest nor the best interest of the estate or its beneficiaries to rely on a DIY effort. The most important issue executors should understand is that executors are held personally responsible for probate errors and mistakes, regardless if the blunder was unintentional. […]

Posted on November 16, 2016 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Penalties for Executors Due to Attorney Fault

A recent court ruling serves as a reminder of the personal financial liability executors may face even when they retain a probate attorney. Executors may be held legally responsible for errors in estate administration - even an attorney's errors. […]

Posted on November 14, 2016 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Steps to Take After a Spouse’s Death in North Carolina

A surviving spouse is often required to provide immediate attention to matters related to probate (much of which might be unfamiliar to them) even as they process and adjust to their loss and grief. […]

Posted on September 30, 2016 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

NC Marriage Ruled Valid Despite Lack of Marriage License: How This Affects Estates

North Carolina courts denied a wife’s claim to her spousal share since no marriage license existed. However, the wife filed an appeal, and the appellate court judge ruled that the absence of a marriage license does not invalidate a marriage, thus allowing the wife to claim a spousal share. […]
Category: Probate Tags: Estates, Administration

Posted on September 29, 2016 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Updating Revocable Trusts in North Carolina

Updates to one’s revocable trust may be made by an amendment or a complete restatement. An amendment updates a specific part of the trust, while a restatement updates the entire trust. […]

Posted on September 28, 2016 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Caveat to IRA Contributions

Retirement account owners should be aware of a requirement that must be fulfilled in order to contribute to an individual retirement account: compensation income. Annual contribution limits for retirement accounts are common knowledge, but account owners don’t often consider that the ability to contribute is conditional. […]
Category: IRAs Tags:

Posted on September 23, 2016 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Overview of North Carolina’s Digital Assets Act

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed a bill into law over the summer of 2016 that allows digital account holders to provide a fiduciary with authority to manage their digital assets. The Act modifies various provisions of North Carolina statutes to conform to the new law, including the North Carolina power of attorney form. […]

Posted on September 22, 2016 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

What Executors Should Know About Digital Assets in North Carolina Probate

In late June 2016, the North Carolina governor signed Senate Bill 805, Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act, into law. The Act provides that trustees, executors, agents under powers of attorney, and other fiduciary parties in North Carolina may be granted authorities over electronic records and communications of another user. […]

Posted on August 25, 2016 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Asset Protection Risks From Prior Marriages

Remarriage after divorce or the death of a spouse poses unique issues that individuals entering a first marriage generally do not have to navigate. […]

Posted on August 10, 2016 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

3 Tax Benefits the 50+ Crowd Enjoys

Although many tax regulations fluctuate based on the taxpayer’s adjusted gross income, some tax provisions are instead based on the taxpayer’s age. Knowing when an individual will enjoy certain tax benefits can help to guide tax planning. North Carolina taxpayers aged 50 and older enjoy several tax advantages. […]

Posted on August 9, 2016 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Creditor Notification Requirements for Executors in NC

Creditor notification is a mandatory part of probate in every state, but the process varies in each jurisdiction. In North Carolina, executors must follow several statutes in regards to the timing, distribution and placement, and transmission of notices to creditors. […]

Posted on July 22, 2016 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Inherited IRA Ruling: Distinctions Between Federal and State Tax Law

Our attorneys strive to share notable rulings and case law to help clients and other advisers understand how a court or officials might respond to a particular set of circumstances. In early June 2016, Private Letter Ruling 201623001 rejected a woman’s request to rollover part of her son’s inherited IRAs. […]

Posted on July 21, 2016 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Tax Issues for Art Collections

Artwork and collections left behind in one’s estate will be subject to probate unless the decedent prepared a trust or other planning tool to hold and manage the art during their lifetime. Regardless whether the art is considered a probate asset, in the case of an estate that is subject to federal or state estate tax, art is a unique asset that poses several potential tax problems. The IRS may carry out an art valuation audit under certain circumstances. […]

Posted on July 20, 2016 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Problems With Digital Assets in NC Probate

Online accounts and digital assets are a growing concern in estate administration. Depending on the decedent’s personal or professional interests, they could have substantial assets left in a virtual limbo. In addition to financially valuable digital accounts (like frequent flyer miles, Google Wallet, and PayPal balances), the decedent might have maintained photo storage accounts with sentimental images of life events. […]

Posted on June 30, 2016 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

How to Fix an Irrevocable Trust That Doesn’t Stand the Test of Time

Trusts typically are structured to provide for the best interests of the beneficiaries. The settlor may have had the best intentions when establishing the trust, but a trust created by a great-grandparent more than seven decades ago for the benefit of their great-grandchild might include provisions that prove impractical or unviable when it comes time to administer the trust for the great-grandchild’s benefit. Is there a way to remedy an outdated irrevocable trust? Under certain circumstances, yes. […]
Category: Trusts Tags:

Posted on June 24, 2016 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Probate of Real Estate in North Carolina

Real property poses unique set of considerations in the context of estate or trust administration. To understand more about how a personal representative oversees the management and distribution of real property during estate and/or trust administration, take a closer look at some variables that affect property distribution. […]

Posted on June 13, 2016 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Terminating a Trust in North Carolina

Revocable and irrevocable trusts follow unique termination procedures. Although their name implies they cannot be changed, irrevocable trusts may be modified in certain circumstances. The circumstances surrounding a trust termination, and the type of trust, help to determine how a trustee may handle termination. […]

Posted on June 10, 2016 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Types of Trust Beneficiaries

Primary, contingent and remainder trust beneficiaries have different rights as beneficiaries. Who has the right to bring a claim against the trustee of a revocable living trust? […]

Posted on June 7, 2016 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Rights of Trust Beneficiaries

Trust beneficiaries have legal rights detailed in the trust documents and governed by state and federal trust code. If problems have resulted from a negligent trustee, or the trustee fails to adequately address issues brought to his or her attention by the beneficiary, it might be time for the beneficiary to reach out to a trust attorney and, potentially, the courts for corrective action. […]

Posted on June 6, 2016 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Why an Executor Might Need Probate Counsel in North Carolina

An executor's knowledge of state and federal legislation pertaining to estate administration might be limited. This limited knowledge poses a risk of errors. […]

Posted on May 9, 2016 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Remarriages and Inheritances in North Carolina

Individuals in North Carolina who have married more than once might have estate planning issues they are not aware of. Whether one has remarried following a spouse’s death or divorce, one should take time to review existing estate planning documents. […]

Posted on May 7, 2016 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Dave Ramsey Might be Misinformed About Living Trusts

Financial guru Dave Ramsey shares advice regarding managing debt and finances with millions of people. However, one of his books makes a broad statement about living trusts that is not entirely true. […]

Posted on April 29, 2016 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Estate Planning for Multiple Homes

Families may consider ownership of multiple properties for different reasons. Some folks prefer to have an extra property closer to family, for professional purposes, for leisure, or as an investment. While owning multiple properties may accomplish one or more of these goals, acquiring additional property can cause liability issues, tax complications, and probate concerns. […]

Posted on April 29, 2016 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Asset Protection Failures

Accumulating assets takes time and effort; protecting assets properly requires both as well. Here are various factors that could ruin a plan and risk asset loss. […]

Posted on April 28, 2016 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

3 Things Living Trusts Won’t Control

Trusts can help to minimize an estate tax burden and allow the trust grantor to retain control and flexibility. While trusts may serve as a powerful estate planning tool, there are some aspects that a living trust will not control. […]

Posted on April 27, 2016 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

What To Do if You Inherit an Out-of-State Home

If a property owner has not proactively and wisely planned for multiple properties in their estate plan, or if they have no estate plan in place, properties could be at risk of creditor claims, which is one of the many challenges heirs face. […]

Posted on April 25, 2016 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Who Needs an Estate Plan?

Our estate planning attorneys in Chapel Hill look at a few demographics that some might consider are not in need of a plan and discuss why these segments of our society would in fact benefit from an estate plan. […]

Posted on March 28, 2016 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

New Larger Tax Deduction for LTC Insurance

The unpredictable rises in LTC insurance costs make it difficult for individuals to forecast and plan. However, there are a few tax deductions available. Plus, the IRS recently announced an increase for the federal LTC insurance deduction in the 2016 tax year. […]

Posted on March 25, 2016 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Raleigh Now Has #2 Fastest-Growing Senior Population

Raleigh now has the second fastest-growing population of seniors in the United States. The growing number of seniors in the Triangle region not only triggers a strain on residential spaces like assisted living facilities, but it also prompts a burgeoning need for elder law discussions. […]

Posted on March 24, 2016 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Does Your Executor Live Out-of-State?

Not all family members and trusted friends live nearby. North Carolina law does not require an executor be a resident of the state. However, there are certain restrictions the state imposes on out-of-state executors. […]

Posted on March 23, 2016 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

The Stress and Responsibilities Required of Executors

Individuals who choose to accept the role of executor, or personal representative, of a loved one’s estate have more to manage than mere financial matters. […]

Posted on March 17, 2016 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Free Gun Trust Seminar on April 4th in Chapel Hill

TrustCounsel's Chapel Hill gun trust attorney Greg Herman-Giddens leads a free seminar about ATF 41F on April 4th. […]

Posted on February 18, 2016 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Discussing Inheritances With Children

Starting discussions during one’s lifetime about how personal items, collectibles, and assets will pass on can help to prevent conflicts after death. Surviving children might feel less inclined to contest a will if they understand that a parent’s wishes match the instructions in the will. […]

Posted on February 17, 2016 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Refusing to Serve as Executor in North Carolina

Many people might feel proud to be selected to serve as executor of a loved one’s estate. However, sometimes the person appointed as executor has no interest in fulfilling their duties. […]

Posted on February 16, 2016 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Why Renting is an Attractive Option for Seniors

Older adults now make up a significant share of tenants. Adults ages 45-64 account for 30.2 percent of tenants. […]

Posted on February 15, 2016 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

North Carolina Ranks 15th For Trust Decanting in 2016

Trust decanting is a process that allows assets of a trust to be distributed to another trust with different terms; generally the newer trust offers terms that better satisfy the needs of the beneficiary. Some states impose burdensome administration requirements for trust decanting, while others offer easier means of use. […]

Posted on January 20, 2016 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Start Alzheimer's Legal Planning

Waiting to develop a legal plan for an aging relative with cognitive decline might result in the elderly person's incapacitation. Then it might be too late for them to execute legal documents independently. […]

Posted on January 19, 2016 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Almost 1 in 4 Caregivers are Millennials

New research shows that almost 25 percent of caregivers are Millennials. The research came from a joint study between the National Alliance for Caregiving and the AARP Policy Institute. […]

Posted on January 5, 2016 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

5 Concerns When Gifting a Down Payment on a Home

Family members might want to gift money to children to be used toward a down payment on a home. Cash down payment gifts, when not handled properly, could trigger tax consequences or create other complications. […]

Posted on December 29, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Last-Minute Year-End Tax Deduction: IRA Charitable Rollover

If you plan to use the IRA Charitable Rollover provision for the 2015 tax year--make arrangements before year's end! […]

Posted on December 15, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

3 Estate Planning Items to Consider When Selling a Business

With a growing number of entrepreneurs in North Carolina, combined with a reliable survival rate, small business owners might encounter an opportunity to sell their business. How will proceeds from the sale be managed, protected, and taxed? […]

Posted on November 27, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

3 Tax Planning Steps for the New Year

Common tax planning strategies include retirement contributions, family gifting, and making charitable donations. Outlined below are a few alternative planning steps to consider in the New Year. […]

Posted on November 26, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Estate Planning Documents for Young Adults

Many legal responsibilities and freedoms are afforded to United States citizens when they reach the age of 18. Who will provide reliable care and maintenance of a young adult’s affairs if they are incapacitated? […]

Posted on November 25, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

7 Power of Attorney Conflicts

Maintaining powers of attorney in one’s estate plan is generally an optimal planning practice. However, some conflicts can develop. […]

Posted on November 24, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

5 Mistakes With Long-Term Care Insurance

Long-term care (LTC) insurance rates this year were 8.6% higher than the year prior. As rates rise, planning professionals and policy holders take concerted efforts to develop care plans that effectively maximize investments and benefits to prevent the fees for LTC insurance from becoming cost prohibitive. […]

Posted on November 21, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Problems With Old Trusts

Even if one’s goals were accomplished when a trust was initially created years ago, those goals might not align with current tax legislation and, sometimes, could result in overly complicated trust administration. […]

Posted on November 20, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Same-Sex Couples and Social Security Spousal Benefits

Our Chapel Hill estate planning attorney Samantha Reichle recently wrote a post explaining the eligibility requirements and benefits that are now legally available to married same-sex couples nationwide. […]

Posted on November 18, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Tax Considerations in Structuring Inheritances

When dividing assets in an estate plan, the testator might be inclined to evenly split assets for heirs. However, if not planned for properly, federal and state tax requirements nevertheless could result in an uneven split of assets upon distribution […]

Posted on November 17, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Legal Planning: Greater Costs for Dementia and Alzheimer’s Care

End-of-life treatments in particular cost 81 percent more for dementia patients than others. Cognitive impairments such as dementia and Alzheimer’s impose significant care expenses on the aging population. […]

Posted on November 16, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

3 Alternative Living Options for Seniors

Traditional senior living homes face new competition from several alternative living options for seniors. […]

Posted on November 13, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Elder Care Legal Planning: Non-Financial Costs of Caregiving

Opting for a family caregiver might seem financially attractive. However, caregivers often carry financial and non-financial burdens as a result. […]

Posted on October 15, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

5 Estate Planning Items for Family Businesses in NC

Whether owners wish to transfer the business to the next generation, or ensure that the transition of the business into new hands is managed in a way that benefits family members, these goals are difficult if impossible to reach without having a plan in place. […]

Posted on October 14, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Protecting Assets Amidst Rise in Elder Marriage Scams

In addition to many tax, Medicare/Medicaid, reverse mortgage, and other financial scams targeting the elderly, another type of fraud is now growing. Marriage scams victimizing the elderly affect men and women fairly equally. […]

Posted on October 13, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Elective Share Waivers in North Carolina

A case from the North Carolina Court of Appeals highlights the critical function of financial disclosure in the elective share process, while also showing the legal entitlements of a soon-to-be-former-spouse navigating divorce in North Carolina. […]

Posted on October 9, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

North Carolina Medicaid Changes

Lawmakers recently reached compromises in a few key areas and ultimately agreed to privatize North Carolina’s Medicaid program. […]
Category: Medicaid Tags: elder care, Nursing Homes

Posted on September 29, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

How Aging and Memory Loss Affect Finances

Alzheimer’s is known for taking an emotional and psychological toll, both on the person experiencing cognitive decline and on their close family and friends. A senior suffering from memory deficiencies faces several financial risks that can be addressed in advance with an elder law attorney. […]

Posted on September 28, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Protect an Elderly Relative’s Identity During Life and After

Identity theft is not only a concern during one’s lifetime; some fraudulent parties specifically target the identities of the elderly or deceased. Identity theft risks the security of one’s assets and can be costly to resolve. […]

Posted on September 25, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

3 Mistakes Parents Make in Estate Plans

For many remarried individuals, estate planning decisions must take into account not only one’s biological children, but also step-children, future children, or a new spouse. In revising estate plans to incorporate these considerations, parents might utilize planning methods that unintentionally expose family to risks. […]

Posted on September 24, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

‘Living Probate’ Now Possible in NC

Recent amendments to North Carolina’s Uniform Trust Code now provide for ‘living probate’ – a way for individuals to petition a court to declare a will valid while the testator is alive. This could help prevent will contests after the testator dies. […]

Posted on September 23, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

3 Questions to Ask if You Own Real Property With Joint Title in NC

There are several ways to hold joint title to real property in North Carolina. The method of titling can also leave the property at risk to certain claims while both owners are alive, a factor which might be considered when choosing how to hold title. […]

Posted on September 22, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Changes to North Carolina Trust Code Affect Estate Planning

In August 2015, the Act to Amend the Law Governing Estate Planning and Fiduciaries (Senate Bill 336) was enacted to modify North Carolina’s Uniform Trust Code. The Act sets forth new provisions regarding trustee duties and liability, trust decanting, guardianship, and living probate. […]
Category: Probate Tags: Wills, Trustee, Trusts

Posted on September 21, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

North Carolina Special Needs Planning Update: Pending Autism Bill

North Carolina Senate Bill 676, which has passed the Senate and is currently in the House Rules Committee, sets forth changes to healthcare coverage for autistic patients. […]

Posted on September 2, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Assets Not Distributed According to One’s Will

Keeping one’s last will and testament and other estate planning documents up-to-date is a critical part of maintaining one’s estate plan. However, merely creating and updating one’s estate planning documents is not enough, by itself, to adequately provide for distribution of every asset. […]

Posted on August 21, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Cost of Long-Term Care in North Carolina

A report released earlier this year shows that North Carolina nursing home costs continue to increase alongside the premiums for long-term care insurance policies. The median cost for a NC private nursing home room is approximately $225.00 per day in 2015. […]

Posted on August 13, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

August is National Make-a-Will Month

An increasing number of Americans fail to plan appropriately for the future needs of themselves and their families, both through inadequate retirement savings as well as neglected estate planning. August is Make-a-Will Month […]

Posted on July 31, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

3 Things to Consider When Creating a Pet Trust in North Carolina

Americans love their pets and often feel connected to their animals as part of a family unit. How can the well-being of a pet be ensured if a pet owner dies? […]
Category: Trusts Tags: Pet Trusts, Estate Planning

Posted on July 13, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Including Jewelry in North Carolina Estate Plans

June is a popular choice of month for weddings. This past June was the first one that same-sex marriages were nationally legalized. How should couples include engagement rings and wedding bands in their estate plans? […]

Posted on July 8, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

What Happens if an Executor Doesn’t Do Their Job in North Carolina?

If the appointed executor accepts and then exploits their authority or fails to meet their responsibilities, another individual or business can file a petition with the court to have the executor removed. […]

Posted on July 7, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

3 Financial Scams Targeting the Elderly

A challenge seniors face is being the target of elder financial abuse. Aside from an unscrupulous family member mismanaging a senior’s assets, third party organizations use underhanded tactics to take advantage of seniors. […]

Posted on June 24, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Phone Scam Using Our Firm Name

Be advised we do not make unsolicited phone calls to persons with whom we have no prior relationship, regarding tax advice or any other legal or financial services. […]

Posted on June 19, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Tax Planning for Family Loans

​Lending money to a relative might happen once, twice, or several times throughout one’s lifetime. If the lender does not plan well for the loan, taxes could be imposed. […]

Posted on June 17, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

NC Estate Planning Blog New Platform

Our attorneys in Chapel Hill with TrustCounsel recently switched blog platforms for the North Carolina Estate Planning Blog. […]

Posted on May 29, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

New Birth Certificate Guidelines in North Carolina for Same-Sex Couples’ Children

Same-sex couples who have a child in North Carolina could previously only list one parent on the child’s birth certificate. […]

Posted on May 27, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Covering Retirement v. Leaving Inheritance

Expenses in senior years continue to be a concern for many Americans. As multiple studies show, most individuals do not maintain adequate retirement contributions. […]

Posted on May 26, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Avoid a Will Dispute

An individual’s last will and testament might clearly reflect one’s wishes, but it does not prevent an estate dispute. Successfully contesting a will in North Carolina (and similarly in other states) requires evidence of certain factors. […]

Posted on May 25, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

3 Reasons to Choose a Non-Family Trustee

Creating a trust generally involves the intention of preserving assets for loved ones. Benefiting from a trust’s preservation might not be possible if the trust is not maintained properly. […]

Posted on May 24, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Looking Ahead: Rising Nursing Home Costs in North Carolina

When retirement saving makes headlines, it is often to highlight that Americans are not saving enough for their senior years. Individuals should be realistic about long-term expenses when planning retirement contributions and investments. […]

Posted on May 24, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Opportunities for 529 College Savings Plans

529 College Savings Plans consistently offer long-term tax-deferred growth for future students. As a savings tool, 529 plans come with a few restrictions. For one, contributions must be made with after-tax dollars. […]

Posted on May 23, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Tax Concerns for New Domicile

Living in one state while claiming domicile in another could offer many benefits depending on the jurisdictions. Tax benefits are generally a prime factor when an individual considers claiming domicile outside their resident state. […]

Posted on May 21, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

2015 Top 5 States for Domestic Asset Protection Trusts

For the past six years, attorney Steve Oshins has ranked the states that offer Domestic Asset Protection Trusts (DAPTs). The chart generally is ranked through weighted variables including fraudulent transfer standard, pre-existing torts exceptions, spousal support, child support, tax, and statutes of limitations for past and future creditors. […]

Posted on May 8, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

A Will’s Limits in North Carolina Probate

A will cannot achieve every goal of the testator. No matter how finely crafted provisions are made and assets are addressed in a will, additional tools can help the testator preserve their wishes. An improperly drafted will, one that is not filed, or dying without a will could prompt courts to distribute the estate according […]

Posted on May 7, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

North Carolina Retirement Concerns

Climate, cost of living, and amenities generally affect an individual’s retirement destination choice. North Carolina’s convenient location between major cities like Atlanta and Washington, D.C. make it attractive to seniors who might want to move but stay close to family in metropolitan areas. Financially, North Carolina became even more attractive for retirement in 2012, when […]

Posted on May 6, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Learn if You Need to File an Amended NC Tax Return

Just after the start of the year, our tax attorneys in Chapel Hill encouraged some filers to hold their returns until after the General Assembly decided whether to pass pending state income tax laws. […]

Posted on April 9, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Last-Minute Estate Planning in North Carolina

Forbes cited a survey in 2014 that revealed 51% of Americans aged 55 to 64 do not have an estate plan. Sometimes a health crisis prompts an individual to create a plan for bequeathing their assets. […]

Posted on April 7, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Tax Planning for North Carolina Business Successions

While transferring business interests can have tax consequences, structuring a business succession plan with regard to tax law can help minimize tax burdens associated with business transfers to surviving family members when a business owner or partner dies. The Tax Foundation, a tax policy research group, ranks North Carolina Business Tax Climate Index as the […]

Posted on March 30, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

10 Things to Ask Your Accountant: Small Biz Webinar

Our tax attorneys in Chapel Hill recently reviewed the advantages and disadvantages of investing or gifting your tax refund, tax issues when settling an estate, and ways to protect yourself from tax preparer fraud. As the tax season filing deadline fast approaches, the Internal Revenue Service is offering a community service through a webinar. Tomorrow […]
Category: Income Tax Tags: Deductions, Tax, Income Tax

Posted on March 27, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Downsides of Do-It-Yourself Powers of Attorney

Powers of attorney are powerful documents that grant another individual broad rights over medical and financial decisions. Such an important power should involve careful planning. Ready-made legal forms found online, software programs with legal templates, and other DIY solutions are attractive to many individuals due to the ease of access and low cost. […]

Posted on March 25, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Beneficiary Designation Reminder

Beneficiary designation forms are an important way for account and asset owners to ensure the respective assets pass to the individuals of their choosing. Mistakes with beneficiary designations could result in serious loss – the testator’s wishes might not be carried out, surviving family might lose assets, and lengthy and costly probate might result. (Individuals […]

Posted on March 23, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Creditor Claims Against Decedents in North Carolina

One of the many responsibilities executors have is ensuring that the decedent’s debts are satisfied. Creditor claims against estates in North Carolina generally fall into categories of priority. The North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts provides the Order of Priority of Claims in Estate Procedures: Property liens up to the amount of the property […]

Posted on March 16, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Invest or Gift This Year’s Tax Refunds?

During tax season, filers try to maximize their deductions. Proper tax planning helps minimize tax due, and could result in a sizable refund. Taxpayers who receive refunds can spend them however they choose, but what strategy offers the most benefits? Tax refunds might be spent frivolously or sensibly. Using the money toward a vacation could […]

Posted on March 14, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Inherited IRA Distributions Might Face Changes

Inherited Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) experienced a see-saw effect with bankruptcy for years. Last year the federal government ruled that IRAs are not protected from federal bankruptcy claims. A year prior in 2013, North Carolina lawmakers passed Senate Bill 279, which protects inherited IRAs from state bankruptcy claims. Complications surface for North Carolina residents owning […]

Posted on March 5, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Tax Issues to Consider When Settling an Estate

During the first quarter of the year, the only tax items most taxpayers are concerned with are their own personal and business returns. However, settling an estate involves tax matters that need to be resolved before the estate is closed. […]

Posted on March 2, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Vulnerability for Domestic Asset Protection Trusts

A recent court case involving a Domestic Asset Protection Trust (DAPT) revealed a possible threat to the protections provided by these powerful asset preservation tools. DAPTsgenerally are used when enhanced creditor protections are desired. Some jurisdictions also provide tax benefits for DAPTs. […]

Posted on February 26, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Creating a North Carolina Succession Plan

Failing to create a succession plan for a North Carolina business results in a few possible outcomes that might not match an owner’s wishes. Depending on how the company is structured, upon a business owner’s death, other partners may absorb business interests. […]

Posted on February 24, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

How to Plan for Growing LTC Insurance Costs

Annual inflation increases all citizens’ costs of living; however, long-term care (LTC) insurance costs rose considerably more than average in the past year. […]

Posted on February 18, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

When To Omit Beneficiaries From a Trust

Depending on the goals of the individual, trusts might name family, friends, or charities as beneficiaries. However, certain types of trusts may be structured with no human or organizational beneficiaries at all. […]

Posted on February 6, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Protect Yourself From Tax Preparer Fraud

Each year our tax attorneys in Chapel Hill review common tax scams. One particular scam the Internal Revenue Service is highlighting this tax season concerns tax preparer fraud. […]

Posted on January 30, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

5 Tips for Millennials’ Estate Plans

Every adult can benefit from an estate plan, regardless of marital status, age, income, or assets. Our Chapel Hill estate planning attorneys have even reviewed estate planning tips for college students. […]

Posted on January 29, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

State Residency and Domicile in Estate Planning

Tax, probate, and asset protection laws in each state vary. Individuals might want to establish residency in a jurisdiction with attractive legislation for estate planning purposes, and they do not necessarily have to relocate in order to take advantage of the laws. […]
Category: Estate Planning Tags: Estate Tax, Tax, Trusts

Posted on January 26, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Delay Filing: North Carolina Tax Changes Pending

The North Carolina General Assembly will review potential changes to North Carolina income tax laws on January 28, 2015. Filers should wait until after this date to submit their tax returns to prevent potentially refiling returns if tax changes are passed. […]

Posted on January 19, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

How Asset Protection is Different in 2015

Wealth preservation is an ongoing process. How, when, and where assets are transferred or acquired affect protections. As the New Year begins, individuals can take a step back and review legislation changes that affect our year ahead and those to come: […]

Posted on January 16, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

3 Things to Know About Perpetual Trusts

Perpetual trusts, also known asdynasty trusts, protect assets for the benefit of future generations. Some perpetual trusts are common trusts that allow multiple generations to benefit at the same time. […]
Category: Asset Protection Tags: dynasty, Trusts

Posted on January 9, 2015 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

New Creditor Protections for NC Properties

Effective January 1, 2015, property owned by married couples in North Carolina will enjoy creditor protections afforded to tenancy by the entireties property even if the property is transferred to one or more trusts. […]

Posted on December 20, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

2014 Tax Extensions – Limited Time Remains

With less than two weeks remaining in the 2014 tax year, Congress passed several tax extensions. The tax provisions were included in H.R. 5771 Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014. […]

Posted on December 19, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Estate Planning Mistake: Forgetting to Fund

Many estate plans include a living trust, a tool that can be amended at any time during the trust creator’s life and becomes irrevocable upon their death. Even the most carefully planned and detailed estate plans could be at least partially ineffective if the trust creator fails to fund the trust. […]

Posted on December 19, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Timeshares in Estate Planning

Many of the clients our estate planning attorneys in Chapel Hill serve own property in multiple states, and some of the properties are timeshares. Timeshares are generally considered real property, with a deed as evidence of ownership. […]

Posted on December 18, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

3 Signs You Should Update Your Retirement Plan

Reports continue to show Americans are not saving enough for retirement. Some retirement account owners may miss out on opportunities that could help grow their assets, even if they are not contributing suggested amounts. […]

Posted on December 17, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Successor Trustee Responsibilities

When a trustee passes away or becomes incapacitated, a successor trustee must step forward. In addition to the trustee’s duties, a successor trustee is responsible for presenting an affidavit or certificate of trust that provides proof of their legal power over the trust. […]

Posted on December 15, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Year-End Gifting to Charities

The spirit of the holiday season is a generous one. According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, “The last few months of the year make up what is commonly called the Giving Season for the nonprofit community.” […]

Posted on December 12, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

North Carolina 2014 Tax Year Changes to Note

Individuals and businesses across North Carolina are approaching the end of the 2014 tax year. Our tax attorneys in Chapel Hillreview below a few income tax legislation amendments for the 2014 tax year. […]

Posted on December 11, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Portability Deadline Weeks Away for Estate Tax Exclusion

For estates of decedents who died in 2011 or 2012, the chance to elect portability of the decedent’s estate tax exemption will expire on December 31, 2014. […]

Posted on November 22, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Estate Planning for Healthcare Costs in Retirement

AARP has released a study that estimates caregiving costs for families in the United States will total more than $520 billion annually. This estimate reflects the time and resources devoted by families and not skilled workers; the skilled worker estimate runs over $640 billion. […]

Posted on November 19, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Estate Planning and Tax Refunds for Art

Art collections require specialized estate and tax planning. Without proper planning, a collection acquired over a lifetime could translate into tax debt for surviving heirs or become lost to creditor claims. […]

Posted on November 17, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Estate Planning for Collectibles: Wine, Art, Cars & More

Estate plans are not only vehicles for passing cash, investments and real property along to named beneficiaries, these tools can also transfer more complex assets. How does one pass on a wine collection, valuable artwork, antique cars, or rare baseball cards that were accumulated over a lifetime? […]

Posted on November 13, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Same-Sex Marriages Legal in NC: Prenuptial Agreements & Estate Plans

Before October 10, 2014, same-sex marriages were not recognized in North Carolina. This posed complicated tax filing and estate planning challenges for North Carolina LGBT couples who legally married in an out-of-state jurisdiction. […]

Posted on November 11, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Real Estate in Your IRA

Some Individual Retirement Account (IRA) owners may choose to buy real estate with their IRA. Perhaps the property is intended for a retirement home in the future, as an investment, or for other reasons. […]

Posted on November 4, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Top 5 States for Dynasty Trusts

Dynasty trusts offer asset protection and estate and generation-tax skipping tax avoidance over many generations. Three years ago attorney Steve Oshins started a ranking system of dynasty trusts. […]

Posted on November 3, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

2014 Tax Changes

As we are in the final quarter of 2013, our North Carolina tax attorneys are taking a look ahead at what the New Year brings for American taxpayers: […]

Posted on October 31, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Title Issues in North Carolina Estates: Joint Tenants

This post addresses the possible issues that may develop with one way of titling property: Joint Tenants with right of survivorship (JTWROS). […]

Posted on October 29, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

NC Estate Planning for Singles

As the number of cohabiting unmarried couples rises, more families have multiple generations residing in a single household, and the law develops regarding the rights ofmarried same-sex couples in North Carolina, a large demographic of our state’s residents is overlooked: Singles. […]

Posted on October 28, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Trends in 529 College Savings Plans

As student loan debts are at historic highs, new families are responding by investing in the next generation’s college savings. Record high funding of 529 College Savings Planswas recently reported by financial asset management company Strategic Insight. […]

Posted on October 27, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Pending Court Case May Affect ‘Double Income Tax’

A couple’s case addressing the taxation of out-of-state income by their resident state is currently pending in the United States Supreme Court. Comptroller of the Treasury of Maryland v. Wynne questions the circumstances under which income earned out-of-state may be taxed, whether tax credits exist and what they provide, and if these procedures comply with state and county tax clauses. […]
Category: Income Tax Tags: Income Tax, Tax

Posted on October 25, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Access to One’s Digital Estate

More states are starting to address a growing area of an individual’s estate: Digital assets. Last year North Carolina was slated to amend the durable power of attorney and estate administration laws to include power to manage digital assets, but the provisions did not pass. […]

Posted on October 23, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Protecting IRA Assets for Beneficiaries: IRA Beneficiary Trusts

Earlier this year the Supreme Court ruled in Clark v. Rameker that inherited retirement accounts are subject to bankruptcy claims. As a result of this ruling, IRA owners are taking steps to ensure assets accumulated over a lifetime are protected for loved ones. […]

Posted on October 20, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Gifting Trends Among Wealthy

How and why individuals choose to donate to charities are influenced by several factors. Tax incentives for charitable giving are believed to be driving gifting trends, but there are also personal values and family legacies to consider. […]

Posted on October 9, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Same-Sex Marriage Update

On Monday, during its first day in session, the Supreme Court declined to hear seven pending appeals from federal appellate courts regarding same-sex marriage. The denials, which came without comment, mean that there is still no declaration at the national level that denial of same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. […]

Posted on September 10, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Business Succession Options in North Carolina

Business succession plans address the future growth or disposition of the business upon a planned succession, or the death or incapacitation of the owner. Transitioning a business under these circumstances requires careful review and assessment. […]

Posted on September 8, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Protect Parents’ Assets

As parents age, the risk of health problems grows. TheSandwich Generation—those caring for both their children and their parents, may experience the stresses and expenses of elder care, and then more issues later with probate of a deceased parent’s estate if no advance plans are made. […]

Posted on September 5, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Asset Protection and Marriage

In the process of legally dissolving a marriage, the fate of assets may not match a spouse’s intentions. What should couples know about spousal claims and providing for children? […]

Posted on September 2, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

3 Problems With Life Estate Title of Real Property

Real estate laws in North Carolina allow property owners to create and convey remainder interests in real property, while retaining lifetime rights to the property (a life estate). […]

Posted on August 25, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Asset Protection in Second Marriages

What asset protection strategies should an individual consider after divorce if they play to re-marry? Whether a marriage is a first or fifth, some planning tools always offer a degree of protection. Every couple’s goals, life stage, and assets are unique. […]

Posted on August 22, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Estate Plan Update: New Life Insurance Option life insurance trust

Life insurance can be a great estate planning tool. Payments generally do not go through probate, loved ones may not need to struggle financially after one’s death, and proceeds can be protected from creditors. […]

Posted on August 19, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Increasing Trust Income Distributions

Many trusts provide for lifetime income, but no principal, to the first generation of beneficiaries. In these days of low interest rates, income payments have suffered. However, income distributions from trusts do not have to be permanently affected by low interest rates. […]

Posted on August 8, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

North Carolina Durable Powers of Attorney

A Durable Power of Attorney(“DPOA”) is an essential estate planning tool for most of our clients, allowing them to name an individual to handle their financial affairs in the event of incapacity. […]

Posted on July 23, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

When Beneficiary Designations are Void

As a general rule, beneficiary designations supersede instructions for transferring assets that may appear in a Will. This is one of the reasons why regular reviews of one’s estate plan are critical. […]
Category: Trusts Tags: Beneficiaries, IRAs, Trusts, Wills

Posted on July 22, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Consequences of No Digital Asset Protection

Digital asset protection is more than leaving behind one’s passwords. In an increasingly paperless world, failing to create instructions for accessing digital accounts could create problems for surviving family members. […]

Posted on July 15, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Chatham County, NC Estate Administration Changes

The Chatham County Clerk of Superior Court recently released updates to estate administration rules. We provide a link to the official changes to Estate Administration – General Rules Practices 2014. […]

Posted on July 14, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Debt Inheritance: Credit Cards, Tax, and Other Liabilities

An individual may accumulate assets during his or her lifetime, but debt may reduce or eliminate an inheritance family members expected to receive. Loved ones may “inherit” debt if a decedent lacked effective estate planning, beneficiary designation updates, and asset protection. […]

Posted on July 12, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Repeal of the Permanent Federal Estate Tax?

The federal estate tax was made permanent as part of the American Taxpayer Relief Act. (A few months after ATRA passed, Obama’s 2013 Budget Proposal moved to revert the “permanent” estate tax to 2009 terms.) […]

Posted on July 11, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Non-profit 501(c)(3) Application Now Easier

Filing for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status has streamlined to a shorter process, both in time and in required paperwork. […]

Posted on July 10, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Tax Requirements for North Carolina Trusts

In many states, an important factor in determining whether the trust is taxable is where the beneficiaries, settlor, and trustees are domiciled. A tax attorney may help determine how trust assets might need to be structured respective to a state’s tax laws to achieve the most favorable tax treatment. […]

Posted on July 3, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Timing Prenuptial Agreements

Marriage offers the union of love, and it also involves the merging of assets, new tax requirements, and legal entitlements. As prospective spouses navigate asset management prior to their wedding day, how far in advance should prenuptial agreements be prepared? […]

Posted on July 1, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Supplemental Needs Trusts: Critical Trustee Duty

A supplemental needs trust is funded with third party assets for the benefit of a disabled individual. (Special needs trusts are funded with the disabled person’s assets.) Both of these trusts help preserve a disabled person’s assets and their eligibility for certain public benefits programs. […]

Posted on June 26, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Protect Assets: Liability or Malpractice Insurance May Not Be Enough

Having liability or malpractice insurance may be a requirement in some professions, and in other cases these policies are obtained on a voluntary basis. Depending on the line of work, liability insurance policies may be an expensive annual cost. […]

Posted on June 24, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Incentive Trusts

Trusts may be customized to suit the grantor’s wishes, which may include their determination of what’s best for their beneficiaries. […]

Posted on June 10, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Named in a Power of Attorney for a Foreign Account? FBAR Rules Required

Individuals may or may not know if they are listed as an agent of a power of attorney, but they are still subject to Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) requirements. […]

Posted on June 1, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Estate Planning Mistakes of Newlyweds

Prenuptial agreements and postnuptial agreements are not the only estate planning tools engaged couples and newlyweds in North Carolina should consider. […]

Posted on May 27, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Tennessee is #3 for Domestic Asset Protection Trusts in 2014

A year ago Tennessee tied for the fourth spot in Steve Oshins’ AnnualDomestic Asset Protection Trust State Rankings. Last summer Oshinsupdated the rankings after pending legislation failed to pass, and Tennessee jumped a spot—tied for third with Ohio. […]

Posted on May 22, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Estate Planning for Unmarried Seniors

Earlier this year the National Survey of Family Growth reported an increase in cohabiting unmarried couples between the ages of 15-44; the trend has grown faster among seniors. […]

Posted on May 21, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

4 Tax Considerations for Parents of Special Needs Children

Special needs children may require the expenditure of significant sums for day-to-day healthcare, home modifications, and education programs. Fortunately, however, these expenses typically offer some tax advantages. […]

Posted on May 20, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Estate Planning for New Parents in North Carolina

According to the North Carolina State Center for Health Statistics, over 17,800 babies were born in the three major counties of the Triangle during 2012. How should parents update their estate plans for new babies? […]

Posted on May 1, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

New NC Court Ruling Affects LLCs

North Carolina Limited Liability Company (LLC) owners may be interested in a new court ruling that illustrates the protection these asset preservation tools offer. […]

Posted on April 30, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

How to Change an Irrevocable Trust

Irrevocable trusts have historically been viewed as just that: Irrevocable. However, with advances in state law and drafting techniques, there are now a few ways to amend the terms of an irrevocable trust. […]

Posted on April 28, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Non-Tax Benefits of Family Limited Liability Companies

Family Limited Liability Companies (FLLC) are one of several asset protection tools used to preserve assets of family businesses. These assets may include real estate and investments. […]

Posted on April 25, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

IRA Rollover Annual Limit Changes Effective 2015

The recent Tax Court ruling of Bobrow v. Commissioner set a precedent for owners of multiple Individual Retirement Accounts: Multiple IRA rollovers may not occur annually. […]
Category: Retirement Tags: Retirement, IRAs, Tax

Posted on April 24, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Reverse Mortgages and Inheritances

Should beneficiaries of a potential inheritance be concerned if their elderly relative decides to get a reverse mortgage? Reverse mortgages are not the right choice for everyone. The New York Times recently reported how adult children are often against the idea of their parents using a reverse mortgage as this would deplete the asset the children would ultimately expect to inherit. […]

Posted on April 23, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Retirement Plans in Same-Sex Marriage

Some retirement benefits only apply to spouses in a legal marriage. Since legal marriages are not recognized in every jurisdiction and theWindsor ruling granted federal recognition of same-sex marriages, how should retirement benefits be handled? […]

Posted on April 22, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

5 Proposed Rules for Retirement Accounts

Our tax attorneys covered several pending federal revisions in our Tax Changes for 2015, one of which affects retirement accounts. […]

Posted on April 15, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

IRA Custodian Not Responsible for RMDs

Failing to take a Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) results in a penalty for the account owner. IRA account custodians are only responsible for notifying owners of their RMD; the owner must take the steps necessary to draw a distribution. […]

Posted on March 31, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

3 Requirements for NC Long-Term Care Insurance Policies

Time and research is required to understand elder care in North Carolina. Individuals starting to explore long-term care insurance may not realize that North Carolina imposes several requirements on insurance providers. […]

Posted on March 28, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Last-Minute Tax Review for Same-Sex Couples

As Americans across the country prepare tax returns in the final days before April 15th, married same-sex couples face unique tax filing requirements. […]

Posted on March 27, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

What to Leave in Your Will: Culture & Values

Estate plans can designate real property, personal items, and financial assets to named individuals, and can also impart how the estate plan creator wants to be remembered. People care about their personal values. […]

Posted on March 26, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

5 Last-Minute Tax Tips

Taxpayers know the tax-filing deadline, but every year individuals around the nation wait until the final hours—and sometimes final minutes—to file. TrustCounsel’s tax lawyers reference a few tips below to help taxpayers manage tax filing under a time crunch. […]

Posted on March 20, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Tax Planning for 2015

Retirement accounts, estate plans, and trusts may be impacted by possible federal tax law changes next year in 2015. While the current configuration of Congress makes these changes unlikely, reviewing possible future changes can help individuals make effective planning decisions now. […]

Posted on March 18, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Tax Scams to Avoid This Tax Season

Throughout the year our tax planning attorneys in Chapel Hill offer news about back tax scams, charity frauds, andelder financial abuse affecting North Carolina taxpayers. […]

Posted on March 17, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Planning a Prenuptial Agreement in North Carolina

Prenuptial agreements are designed to protect the property of one or both spouses in the event of a divorce or death. With recent changes to spouses’ elective shares in North Carolina, engaged couples have more complex legislation to review now. […]

Posted on March 11, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

North Carolina Elder Care: 2014 Nursing Home Rankings

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released ratings of North Carolina nursing homes, showing 29% of the Triangle’s nursing homes received 5 out of 5 stars. […]

Posted on February 27, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Protect Assets for the Elderly

TrustCounsel’s Chapel Hill estate planning and elder law attorneys Gregory Herman-Giddens and Kristin Burrows present “A Lawyer’s Perspective: Financial and Legal Strategies and Planning, and Assistance Paying for Long-Term Care” at the Senior Center in Pittsboro, North Carolina on March 4, 2014. The workshop is coordinated by the Chatham County Council on Aging. […]

Posted on February 14, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Elder Care Trend: Avoiding Nursing Home Care

New reports from The Washington Post show that baby boomers are electing in-home medical care in lieu of nursing home services. From 1990 to 2010, the number of Americans over age 65 living in nursing homes nationally has dropped 2%, according to the Census Bureau. […]

Posted on February 13, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Permitted Distributions for Special Needs Trusts

If you are starting to explore options for Special Needs Trusts in North Carolina, one of the first differences you discover are “third party” trusts and “self-settled” trusts. […]

Posted on February 12, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Tax Tips for Married Same-Sex Couples in North Carolina

Although married same-sex couples can file their federal tax returns jointly, their marriage is not recognized for tax purposes under North Carolina tax law. […]

Posted on February 7, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Cohabiting Couples on the Rise

The National Survey of Family Growth, a federal report completed every four years, shows significantly more couples are having children and delaying or avoiding marriage. […]

Posted on February 6, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

NC Tax Questions for Same-Sex Marriages

Same-sex marriages are not legal in North Carolina, however same-sex couples who reside in North Carolina and were legally married in a jurisdiction that recognizes these marriages may have questions about North Carolina taxes. […]

Posted on February 5, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

What Happened to the Estate Tax Exclusion Portability Deadline?

Estates who have not yet filed a federal estate tax return (IRS Form 706) electing portability now have a new deadline to file election of portability. […]

Posted on February 4, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Look Out For Tax Scams

Fraudulent companies and individuals take advantage of American taxpayers every year. The tax scammers use deception—and commonly prey on elderly persons—to acquire sensitive personal information. […]

Posted on January 29, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

3 Things When You Inherit an IRA

Last year North Carolina passed legislation that provides added creditor protection for Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). […]

Posted on January 24, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Step-Parents and Step-Children in Estate Planning

Estate planning for blended families is critical to ensure that assets are distributed as intended. A spouse’s family members are not included under North Carolina intestacy laws. Without a will, individuals who die in the Tar Heel State may not effectively leave assets to non-blood relatives. […]

Posted on January 23, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Pending Legislation May Change Veterans Service Pension Benefits

Congress has a few pending law changes that may affect Veterans Service Pension Benefits. Current regulations do not penalize veterans for making gifts or other transfers of their assets any time prior to their application for veterans service pension benefits. […]

Posted on January 22, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

North Carolina Ranks in Top 15 for Trust Decanting

Attorney Steven J. Oshins, the force behind the annual Domestic Asset Protection Trust and Dynasty Trust Rankings, released the inaugural Trust Decanting Rankings Chart. […]
Category: Asset Protection Tags:

Posted on January 21, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Estate Planning and Real Estate Titles in North Carolina

Some families attempt to manage their own estate planning. For those who own a home and plan to eventually leave the home to children or other relatives, they may change the way the property title is held in an effort to make the transfer of ownership easier upon their death. However, without the counsel of a North Carolina estate planning or tax lawyer, these do-it-yourself methods may result in significant tax liability for the children. […]

Posted on January 5, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

NC Living Will Possibly Invalid For Pregnant Women

North Carolina is one of approximately two dozen other states where a living Will may not be valid for pregnant women. […]

Posted on January 4, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Cost to Consider When Funding Pet Trusts: Pet Hospice

Pet trusts offer animal owners a way to preserve assets for their pets’ benefit once the owners themselves pass away. In addition to designating a care provider, these estate planning tools help cover the costs for pet healthcare, food, living expenses, and basic enjoyment of life. A new trend is developing that pet owners should consider when deciding how much money to leave for their non-human family members: Pet hospice. […]

Posted on January 3, 2014 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Mistakes in Beneficiary Designations

Beneficiary designations are an important tool in estate planning – one must always remember that their terms trump the distributions provided in a decedent’s Will. Retirement accounts, life insurance, and other assets offer owners the power to entitle individuals to these assets upon the owner’s death. Errors could cost a surviving family member their expected share of a loved one’s estate, pass assets to an unintended party, incite family conflict, or cause unnecessary tax burdens for beneficiaries. […]

Posted on December 30, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Estate Planning for Posthumous Conceptions

A child may be born after a parent dies, which is a possibility couples can address in their estate plan. However, what are the inheritance rights of posthumously conceived children in North Carolina? […]

Posted on December 28, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Avoid Charity Frauds

Many people in North Carolina try to take advantage of year-end tax deductions, including tax-deductible contributions to charities. Legitimate charities help serve many purposes in communities and for causes that may have personal meaning for those making donations. […]

Posted on December 27, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Protecting Tangible Assets

Asset protection in North Carolina is not limited to preservation of investments and financial accounts. Art, antiques, classic cars, and other collectible items require asset protection tools and careful tax planning. […]

Posted on December 23, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

3 Year-End Giving Tips: Use All Your Deductions

The holiday season hits Americans just as the tax year is coming to an end. While most people are distracted with buying gifts for their friends and families, they could be enjoying tax deductions by making smart year-end gifts: […]
Category: Charitable Gift Planning Tags: Tax

Posted on December 18, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Estate Plan Controversies

Celebrities are not the only individuals whose estate plans experience controversy. The Will of any individual may be contested in court. Some estate plan provisions might cause conflicts. Controversy is particularly likely if an individual includes provisions for a spousal disinheritance or conditional inheritances based on marital status, religious beliefs, political affiliations or similar factors. […]

Posted on December 12, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Forming an LLC in North Carolina

As North Carolina continues to top “Best for Business” lists year after year, how are entrepreneurs and business owners across the state protecting their professional and personal assets? […]

Posted on December 11, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Locate a Will: Access a Safe-Deposit Box in North Carolina

In addition to in-home fireproof safes, a common place for families to store important documents is a safe-deposit box at their bank. A Will, titles to real property and vehicles, life insurance policy information, trust paperwork, and other critical documents may be inside. […]
Category: Probate Tags: Wills, Probate

Posted on December 10, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

First Steps for Executors in North Carolina

In most cases of estate administration in North Carolina, an executor is aware of their appointment before the decedent passes away. Occasionally, an individual only learns they are the executor of an estate after a close friend or family member dies. […]
Category: Probate Tags: Probate, Estate Planning, Wills

Posted on December 9, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

What to Know About Last-Minute Will Changes

Any competent individual over the age of 18 can create or update their Will in North Carolina. Sometimes a simple codicil (amendment) is sufficient in reflecting an individual’s wishes, but in other situations a completely new Will should be prepared. […]

Posted on November 27, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

3 Mistakes in Pet Trusts

Pet trusts offer legal instructions for the continuing care of pets—including dogs, cats, horses, and exotics—after the pet owner passes away. Animal owners may try to make their own arrangements for pet care, but without learning about how pet trusts are created and administered under North Carolina law, their wishes may not be carried out. Do-it-yourself pet trusts may not fully ensure an individual’s instructions for pet care are legally enforced. […]

Posted on November 26, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

More Tax Deductions Expiring End of 2013

If you have not yet consulted with your North Carolina tax attorney or CPA about several state deductions that are expiring (like the deduction for contributions to NC 529 College Savings Plans), over four dozen federal deductions scheduled to expire at the end of 2013 may prompt you to schedule a meeting soon. […]

Posted on November 25, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

NC 529 College Savings Deduction Repealed 2014

The North Carolina state tax deduction for contributions made to 529 College Savings Plans will be repealed effective January 1, 2014. Before this date, taxpayers are able to deduct $2,500 contributions annually. ($5,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly.) […]

Posted on November 11, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Life Estate Insurance Blunder

Forgetting to simply add one name to a homeowner’s insurance policy could compromise an heir’s property inheritance. For individuals who take advantage of the added protection, reduced taxes, and ability to avoid probate that a life estate offers when holding title to property, one mistake with insurance may create more problems than their careful planning had intended to prevent. […]

Posted on November 7, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

3 Concerns for Minors Inheriting IRAs

Beneficiary designations for Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) allow account holders to designate a trust, charity, or any individual, regardless of their age, as a beneficiary. […]

Posted on November 5, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Elective Share Changes in North Carolina

Provisions in a Will in favor of a spouse are revoked in divorce in North Carolina, however beneficiary designations are not revoked. Beneficiary designations for life insurance policies, as well as retirement accounts must be updated in order to prevent an ex-spouse—or a soon-to-be ex-spouse—from being legally entitled to these assets. […]

Posted on November 1, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Affordable Care Act Info Session in Raleigh

Disability Rights of North Carolina, a not-for-profit dedicated to preserving the rights of those disabled in the Tar Heel State, hosts information sessions about the Affordable Care Act in Raleigh on November 6 and November 12, 2013. […]

Posted on October 31, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Tax Season Postponed: Use Time to Review 2 Changes

The Internal Revenue Service recently announced a slight delay for the 2014 tax season. As a result of the government shutdown in October 2013, the IRS anticipates a 1-2-week delay for filers in January 2014. […]

Posted on October 25, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Equitable Distribution Process in North Carolina

Claims for equitable distribution in North Carolina are only valid if they are made after the date of separation and before the date of divorce. When filed timely, the process starts with identifying marital and separate property. […]

Posted on October 24, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Retirement Accounts Vulnerable to Back Taxes

Tax shelter for long-term savings is one of the features that attract people to Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). Once certain age requirements are met, distributions from IRAs are penalty-free, and Roth IRA distributions are tax-free—as opposed to taxable Traditional IRA distributions, since contributions to these retirement accounts are made with pre-tax dollars. […]

Posted on October 23, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Dissolving a Trust in North Carolina

A year ago the nation waited for the government’s announcement about the estate tax exemption for 2013. A large number of American taxpayers established and funded irrevocable trusts just in case the federal estate tax exemption dropped to $1 million. […]

Posted on October 22, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Important Tax Steps for Same-Sex Couples in NC

Even though North Carolina does not grant or recognize same-sex marriages, the Internal Revenue Service announced in August 2013 that same-sex marriages will be recognized for federal tax purposes. […]

Posted on October 21, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

National Estate Planning Awareness Week 2013

Just before the holiday season starts siphoning shoppers’ money out of their pockets and into local economies, estate planning attorneys around the country spread awareness about important saving, investing, and planning opportunities during National Estate Planning Awareness Week. […]

Posted on October 17, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Top 5 States for Dynasty Trusts

Dynasty trusts in North Carolina offer creditor and asset protection for future generations while at the same time legally bypassing certain taxes. […]
Category: Asset Protection Tags: DAPT, Tax, Trusts

Posted on October 16, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

3 Common Mistakes in Special Needs Trusts

As part of Special Needs Law Month, our attorneys in Chapel Hill reviewed past posts that outline special needs law information in North Carolina. We have also created a list of common mistakes that families make when establishing special needs trusts for the benefit of a disabled loved one. […]

Posted on October 15, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Exempt Assets: Retain Medicaid Eligibility

Families need every resource available to cover the costs of nursing homes in North Carolina. A senior’s unwise spending or gifting prior to moving into a nursing home could come with a significant price tag. […]

Posted on October 12, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Swiss Accounts: New Tax Terms for Offshore Accounts

Offshore trusts offer many benefits, which our attorneys explain in this foreign trust protection post. Offshore trusts or accounts are not exempt from domestic taxes, however some taxpayers have illegally used offshore accounts as a means of tax evasion. […]

Posted on October 11, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Lost Life Insurance Policies

Were you told by a loved one that you were a beneficiary of their life insurance policy? If they passed away and didn’t leave behind policy details, how do you find the policy number and value of the benefits? […]

Posted on October 10, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

When Powers-of-Attorney are Not Accepted

While powers-of-attorney are important estate planning tools, they may not always be recognized by third parties. Why might this happen? […]

Posted on October 7, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Special Needs Law Month

Special Needs Law addresses multiple legal, financial, and medical concerns for families who care for a disabled loved one. October is Special Needs Law Month, a time when resources for special needs issues are promoted and explained. […]

Posted on October 7, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

North Carolina Back Tax Scam

Last week the North Carolina Department of Revenue released a warning in response to reports of back income tax collection scams. […]
Category: NC Income Tax Tags: Tax, Tax Fraud, Tax Scams

Posted on October 5, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

No Health Insurance? You Still Have to Pay

If you don’t pay for health insurance, then you have to pay a fee. This fee is called the Shared Responsibility Payment. Affected taxpayers are obligated by law to satisfy these payments. […]

Posted on October 3, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Same-Sex Marriages Recognized by Jurisdiction of Ceremony

Last week the Internal Revenue Service announced that valid same-sex marriages will be recognized for federal tax purposes based on the where the couple’s union took place. […]

Posted on October 1, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Interest Rates and Retirement in North Carolina

North Carolina is consistently rated a top place to retire in national reports, and this year the Tar Heel State became even more attractive with the repeal of the North Carolina estate tax. […]
Category: Retirement Tags:

Posted on September 29, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Creditor Protection for Inherited IRAs

In June 2013, North Carolina’s Governor signed Senate Bill 279 into law, which made changes to statutes related to estates, trusts, and guardianships. One change provides additional creditor protection on retirement accounts in North Carolina. […]

Posted on September 23, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

BVI Accounts Under Scrutiny in 2014

A new law will reveal more details about United States taxpayers who maintain accounts in the British Virgin Islands. Starting in 2014, the BVI will need to provide account information about US taxpayers in order to comply with the new legislation. […]

Posted on August 30, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

3 Tax Benefits of Education Trusts

rustCounsel’s Gregory Herman-Giddens will present ‘Education Trusts and 529 Plans: Estate Planning Strategies for College Savings’ On September 5th in a 60-minute teleconference through the National Constitution Center. […]

Posted on August 30, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

SCINs Excluded From Estates

Last month the IRS issued Chief Counsel Advice regarding how SCINs are recognized under federal estate tax law. SCINs (self-canceling installment notes) are used in estate planning to minimize gift tax burdens. […]

Posted on August 29, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

North Carolina Pet Trusts

Not every state has laws addressing pet trusts. Fortunately, North Carolina pet trust laws allow residents to establish clear plans for the care of their companion animals. […]

Posted on August 27, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Trust Modifications if you Move Out-of-State

If you are moving to North Carolina and already established a living trust in another state, or if you established a living trust in North Carolina and are now moving out-of-state, are you compromising the terms of your trust with your relocation? […]

Posted on August 25, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

3 Things to Include in a North Carolina Prenuptial Agreement

Creating a North Carolina prenuptial (premarital) agreement for engaged couples empowers both partners with the ability to decide what happens to their respective property in the event of divorce, a spouse’s death or incapacitation. […]

Posted on August 23, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Starting College? Start an Estate Plan

Students leaving home for college may be focusing on studying for classes, but they may want to consider studying their own estate plan. […]

Posted on August 18, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Can I Use a Power of Attorney to Modify a Trust?

Although not an everyday question, at times those who are attorneys-in-fact—the authorized agents appointed in an individual’s power of attorney—inquire about their abilities to amend a trust. […]

Posted on August 16, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Finding Elder Care in North Carolina

Choosing an assisted living center, nursing home, or home healthcare provider in North Carolina should not be a quick decision. Recent reports show that 1 out of 3 nursing homes nationally have reports of abuse. […]

Posted on August 7, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Are You Legally Required to Care for Elderly Parents?

Although federal laws governing a child’s responsibility to care for elderly parents do not currently exist, this matter is addressed on the state level. Over twenty states, including North Carolina, have filial responsibility laws. […]

Posted on August 6, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

What if Stretch IRAs are Lost?

Stretch IRAs have been a popular tool for preserving wealth for future generations as distributions are tax-deferred. However, the Obama Administration has proposed disallowing stretch IRAs. […]

Posted on August 2, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Updated: Top States for Domestic Asset Protection Trusts 2013

Our asset protection lawyers in Chapel Hill shared Steve Oshins’ Annual Domestic Asset Protection Trust State Rankings earlier this year, and now there is a mid-year update: […]

Posted on August 1, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

NC Estate Tax Repeal Retroactive

Earlier in 2013, Forbes ranked North Carolina as one of the top states in the nation “Where Not to Die”, reflecting the burden of the state estate tax. […]
Category: Estate Planning Tags: Estate Tax, Tax

Posted on July 31, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

3 Tips to Avoid Family Conflicts in Estate Planning

Whether you are creating an estate plan for the first time or making changes to one, be aware that how you plan to leave your assets may create tension in your family. […]

Posted on July 30, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Tax Tips for Charity Travel

Do you travel for charity? You may not be taking advantage of the many tax breaks that the federal government offers for charitable travel expenses. […]
Category: Charitable Gift Planning Tags: Tax

Posted on July 29, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Potential Changes for Special Needs Trusts

Special needs trusts are excellent tools that help protect an individual’s assets while preserving his or her eligibility for government benefits, such as Medicaid. […]

Posted on July 26, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

North Carolina Tax Reform Passes

Last week the House and the Senate both passed the North Carolina tax reform bill. (Bill 998. The Tax Simplification and Reduction Act.) Governor Pat McCrory signed it into law this week on Tuesday, July 23, 2013. […]

Posted on July 25, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

What You Need to Know About Life Insurance and Annuity Changes

A growing number of Veterans Affairs life insurance policy holders are being unpleasantly surprised by undisclosed terms in their policies that are limiting their products’ values. […]

Posted on July 23, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Preparing for Early Retirement

Those who plan an early retirement need to take steps to preserve their assets in the face of shrinking resources and ever-increasing costs. […]

Posted on July 18, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Health Care Reform Scams

Senior citizens are vulnerable to financial predators and scams, but now families with elderly relatives need to be aware of scams associated with the new health care reform. […]

Posted on July 17, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

3 Things to Consider for Retirement Planning

Without a retirement plan, an individual may diligently contribute to a savings account, but fail to be prepared for the true cost of their senior years. […]

Posted on July 16, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Estate Planning Concerns for Adult Children Living With Parents

The numbers of individuals living with extended family have only been growing. Our North Carolina estate planning attorneys blogged about estate planning issues of the “Sandwich” generation – the large pool of Americans who are caring for both their children and their aging parents. […]

Posted on July 15, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Trust Trend: Make Heirs Wait

How long will it take you to receive your inheritance in North Carolina? If our state follows a national trend, the time may be growing longer. […]

Posted on July 11, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Estate Planning for Same-Sex Couples in North Carolina

The landmark federal ruling of the United States vs. Windsor in late June 2013 has deemed the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. […]

Posted on June 27, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Checklist for Estate Planning in 2013

Now that the year is halfway over and theAmerican Taxpayer Relief Act’s (ATRA) “permanent” changes may be altered once again—and North Carolina Tax Reform has yet to establish definite changes—our estate planning lawyers in North Carolina created a list of three steps you can take by the end of 2013. […]

Posted on June 26, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

3 Steps to a Better Retirement Plan

What is your ideal retirement? Everyone takes their own strategy toward retirement, but generally individuals try to create a retirement plan that will provide enough money to care for themselves while affording them the means to do the things they enjoy. […]

Posted on June 24, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

NC Estate Changes for Surviving Spouses Effective October 2013

In June 2013, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed Senate Bill 279, a bill amending matters concerning estates, trusts, powers of attorney, and guardianship. […]

Posted on June 19, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Estate Planning Tips for Second Homes

North Carolina coastal properties from Corolla down to Sunset Beach are attractive investment homes that can be rented out during the summer season, used as a winter escape, and eventually a primary retirement home. […]

Posted on June 18, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Estate Planning Steps Before 40

According to the North Carolina Office of State and Budget Management, as of 2012 there are over 3.5 million people in North Carolina between the ages of 18-44. In 20 years, approximately half will be close to retirement age. […]

Posted on June 17, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Tax Concerns When Modifying Trusts

In May 2013, the Internal Revenue Service issued a Private Letter Ruling addressing tax concerns resulting from a trust modification agreement. PLRs are issued when a taxpayer directly requests guidance from the IRS on a specific matter. […]

Posted on June 11, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Estate Planning for Unmarried Couples in North Carolina

There are thousands of couples living together in North Carolina who are not married. Relationships may be just a year old or spanning a few decades. […]

Posted on June 10, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

What is an Heir Search Firm?

When an individual dies without a surviving spouse, siblings, parents, descendants, or named beneficiaries, their estate still needs to be distributed. […]

Posted on June 5, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Drawing Too Soon on IRAs

Americans between the ages of 61 and 70 are withdrawing money from their IRA accounts earlier than necessary. […]

Posted on June 4, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

When Spouses Disagree During Estate Planning

Choosing beneficiaries and deciding which assets each will receive may become a challenge if your spouse does not agree with your choices. […]

Posted on June 3, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

3 Estate Planning Mistakes You Can Fix

Choosing to make an estate plan is smart, but some individuals happen to make mistakes at the same time. Estate planning should not be intimidating. […]

Posted on May 27, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

3 Reasons Why You Need IRA Beneficiary Trusts

Naming a trust as an IRA beneficiary has become a popular estate planning tool in recent years.* There are many advantages to using an IRA Trust: […]

Posted on May 24, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

National Elder Law Month: 3 Factors When Considering Long-Term Care Insurance

As part of National Elder Law Month our North Carolina elder law attorneys are providing a series of posts to help educate senior citizens and their caregivers. […]

Posted on May 22, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

What Happens if Your Beneficiary Dies Before You Do?

As you prepare your Will and estate plan, you will choose beneficiaries to receive your financial and personal assets. What happens if a beneficiary dies before you do? […]

Posted on May 20, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Should an Estate Plan be Revised Before or After a Divorce?

We’ve written about the importance of updating your beneficiaries, but when you’re going through a divorce, should you update your estate plan while navigating separation or after the divorce is finalized? […]

Posted on May 17, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Retirement Savings Change Based on Income Projections

The Boston College Center for Retirement Research released a study that involved over 15,000 employees who were offered projections of their retirement income based on potential voluntary contributions. […]

Posted on May 15, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

No NC Tax Reform Bill Yet, Here’s the Plan

The North Carolina Senate had announced plans to reveal the new NC tax reform bill in early May. However, the press conference instead produced the outline of a measure that the Senate hopes to turn into a bill later in 2013. […]

Posted on May 13, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Creditors Can Still Collect From Foreign Trusts

Foreign trusts, or offshore trusts, are popular asset protection tools as they are notorious for providing superior protection from creditors. However, foreign trusts are not creditor-proof. […]
Category: Asset Protection Tags: Trusts

Posted on May 8, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

National Elder Law Month: What Does Medicare Cover for Nursing Homes?

As part of National Elder Law Month, ourNorth Carolina elder law attorneys are providing a series of posts to help educate senior citizens and their loved ones who care for them about their legal options. […]

Posted on May 7, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Top States for Domestic Asset Protection Trusts

Steve Oshin’s 2013 Annual Domestic Asset Protection Trust State Rankings were released and show the highest scoring state for DAPTs is Nevada. […]

Posted on May 5, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

2013 Changes to NC Medicaid Law

Last week House Bill 399 was ratified, creating changes to laws pertaining to Medicaid in North Carolina. The new legislation grants the NC Department of Health and Human Services “all rights available to estate creditors, including the right to qualify as personal representative or collector of an estate.” […]

Posted on May 5, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Distribution Advantages for Spouse IRA Beneficiaries

Designating a spouse as a beneficiary of an IRA not only ensures they will have access to retirement accounts in the event their partner passes away, but it offers them unique advantages to which non-spouse beneficiaries are not entitled. […]

Posted on May 3, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

North Carolina Voting Restrictions Proposed for Mentally Incompetent

A recent North Carolina Senate proposal for the ballots in November of 2014 is an amendment to remove the right to vote in North Carolina for individuals who have been determined incompetent by a court of any state. […]

Posted on May 2, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Kids in College? North Carolina Income Tax Changes for Parents

Parents are allowed to take a federal and state income tax deduction for each dependent child. However, North Carolina proposed Senate Bill 667 (Equalizer Voter Rights) in early April 2013 that will not allow parents to claim their child for state income tax purposes if their child has registered to vote at an address other than where the parent or legal guardian resides. […]

Posted on May 1, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Disclaiming Inheritances in North Carolina

Why would an individual renounce or disclaim an inheritance in North Carolina? An inheritance may not always be expected and it may not be desirable for the beneficiary. Certain assets, like real estate or personal items, may require complicated or expensive maintenance that the beneficiary does not want to manage. […]

Posted on April 30, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Ways to Protect an Inheritance from Creditors

Bequeathing assets involves more than naming beneficiaries. Creating a proper estate plan offers individuals and families the ability to protect their assets for loved ones after they’re gone. Unexpected claims could drain accounts and threaten properties that were intended to be passed on to beneficiaries. […]

Posted on April 25, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Google’s Digital Asset Management Tool

2013 seems to be the year of digital afterlife planning. Last month the North Carolina Senate approved Bill 279, a bill for the state’s first-ever laws addressing digital assets. This month Google took their first step forward in post-death account management of their applications. […]

Posted on April 24, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Why You Should Update Your Beneficiaries

Neglecting to update beneficiaries, or failing to name them, may leave life insurance and retirement accounts to unintended recipients, create probate expenses, and cause tax problems. […]

Posted on April 22, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

3 Ways to Gift for College

Family members have the best intentions when they offer money to cover college expenses, but if they neglect to use a wise gifting strategy they could affect the student’s eligibility for federal aid. […]

Posted on April 16, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Obama’s 2013 Budget Proposal to Push Estate Tax Back to 2009 Terms

Although Obama’s American Taxpayer Relief Act was said to make permanent changes, lawmakers had also advised that it was just the first step in a series of changes. […]

Posted on April 15, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

$3M Limit on IRAs in Obama’s Proposal

Individual Retirement Accounts are a top retirement choice for individuals who want to enjoy tax-deferred savings. However, Obama’s new budget plan includes caps on IRA accounts. […]

Posted on April 14, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

3 Reasons Why You Don’t Need to be a Senior Citizen to Use an Elder Law Attorney

A common misconception is that elder law attorneys are used primarily by senior citizens. Although elder law attorneys can assist with crisis Medicaid planning and present eligibility for Veterans’ Benefits, they can also help younger individuals make a plan in advance. […]

Posted on April 12, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

5 Final Hour Tax Filing Errors

Entering the wrong routing and account numbers.Filers often elect to receive their refund via direct deposit to avoid waiting weeks to receive their check in the mail; however a simple account number error could result in an even longer wait. […]
Category: Income Tax Tags: Tax

Posted on April 11, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

5 Tax Scams of 2013

Every year many innocent people fall victim to tax scams. Taxpayers may be taken advantage of by scammers, dishonest tax preparers, or may have their identity stolen by other means. […]
Category: Tax Tags: Asset Protection, Tax Scams, Trusts

Posted on April 9, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Ways to Protect Your Finances: Financial Literacy Month

April is Autism Awareness Month, Parkinson’s Awareness Month, and it is also Financial Literacy Month. These three campaigns may at first appear unrelated to each other, but they are interconnected. […]

Posted on March 30, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

North Carolina Bill Affecting Digital Assets

Recently we reviewed the challenges of digital estate planning—the ways surviving family members’ access to a decedent’s online accounts are affected—and how accessibility is determined by individual account policies. […]

Posted on March 29, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Can I Inherit Debt in North Carolina?

North Carolina estate planning discussions usually put an individual’s assets under the microscope. What trusts would avoid taxes best? How much should be designated for charitable contributions? […]

Posted on March 25, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Disadvantages of a DIY Will in North Carolina

Everyone wants to save money, but choosing to cut corners on estate planning in North Carolina may end up costing individuals more than they ever expected. […]
Category: Estate Planning Tags: Probate, Wills

Posted on March 11, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

3 Estate Planning Baby Steps

When a baby is on the way, it is a perfect time for expectant parents to complete or update their estate plan to ensure their child’s future care. […]

Posted on March 6, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Special Needs Planning: When Children Become Adults

Parents of special needs children need to carefully plan for their children’s future. Many families turn to special needs trusts to ensure their child will have access to finances after their deaths, without hindering the child’s ability to qualify for public benefits, such as Social Security and Medicaid. […]

Posted on March 4, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Traditional IRAs: 3 Penalty-Free Withdrawals are Allowed Before Retirement

Traditional Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) may receive annual contributions up to $5,000 (as of 2013), and individuals over the age of 50 may contribute an additional $1,000. […]

Posted on March 1, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

More Estate Planning Opportunities Forecasted for Roth 401(k)s

A new study reveals more employers will offer Roth 401(k)s to their employees in 2013. About a third of all employers surveyed by Aon, a human resource services provider, have plans to add a Roth contribution option. […]

Posted on February 27, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Serving Estate Planning to the Sandwich Generation

The “Sandwich Generation”—today’s 10 million baby boomers who care for both their own children or grandchildren and elderly parents or relatives—may need to take a different approach to estate planning. […]

Posted on February 26, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Repeal of the North Carolina Estate Tax?

Recently we wrote about North Carolina potentially joining several other states that are repealing state estate tax (or “death tax”). Last week, the North Carolina House Finance Committee approved repeal of the state’s death tax. […]

Posted on February 18, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Memory Loss, Retirement and Aging

Memory loss comes in many forms. From mild cognitive impairment and dementia, to the severe effects of advancing Alzheimer’s, the number of senior citizens affected by memory impairments is only going up. […]

Posted on February 15, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Digital Estate Planning Challenges

Estate planning has always involved a great deal of paperwork. Today, individuals have personal access to online banking, social media accounts, and email that has pushed the industry into a new realm: Digital estate planning. […]

Posted on February 14, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

North Carolina’s Estate Tax: Dying Out?

Most of the country’s attention has been on federal estate tax changes made by the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. […]
Category: Estate Tax Tags: Estate Planning, Tax

Posted on January 27, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

3 Asset Protection Tips for 2013

As North Carolina business owners and other taxpayers adjust to the effects of the 2012 American Tax Payer Relief Act, they are starting to focus on asset protection strategies at the same time as minimizing taxes to the fullest extent possible. […]

Posted on January 23, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Statutory Forms vs. Five Wishes: Health Care Documents in NC

North Carolina health care directives and powers of attorney are required in order for another person to make decisions about an individual’s medical or financial matters. […]

Posted on January 13, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

What the Fiscal Cliff Deal Means for Retirement Accounts

The fiscal cliff deal has not only affected income and estate taxes, but it has also changed how retirement rollovers are handled. […]

Posted on January 2, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

What Was Approved in the Fiscal Cliff?

Taking every last minute available in 2012 and then some, yesterday Congress approved a bill that will reduce the nation’s deficit by raising taxes for high income earners. […]

Posted on January 1, 2013 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

2013 Estate and Gift Tax Exemption Set at $5.25M

Just over a week since tax legislation changes were made in the last-minute fiscal cliff deal, the Internal Revenue Service has confirmed the 2013 applicable exclusion amount (gift and estate tax exemption) will be $5.25 million. […]
Category: Estate Tax Tags: Gift Tax, Tax

Posted on December 22, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

9 Steps (Days) Away From the Fiscal Cliff – EIN Problems Too

Congress has failed to avert the fiscal cliff. We have only nine days until the estate tax exemption drops to $1 million (and the rate goes up to 55%). Not to mention the income tax increases. […]

Posted on December 21, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Tennessee Estate Planning: Tax Exemption Changes in 2012, 2013 and After

Although this is the North Carolina Estate Planning Blog, much of what I blog about applies to folks all over the country. Since I am licensed in Tennessee and have clients there, I thought it was appropriate to report on these important changes in Tennessee transfer tax. […]

Posted on December 19, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Tax Changes and Limitations on Dynasty Trusts

Dynasty trusts, which help families legally avoid estate taxes and preserve assets for heirs of future generations, are the target of new legislation that could significantly limit their value. […]

Posted on December 18, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Singles & Couples: Muni-Bond Tax Breaks Disappearing–Maybe

What may become part of the “fiscal cliff” drop—and if not, it will be on the 2013 agenda—is the elimination of municipal-bond interest tax breaks. Muni-bond taxes help cover the costs of local utility services, community parks, and more. […]

Posted on December 15, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

It’s Not Too Late to Use Your $5 Million Exemption!

Estate Planning attorneys all across the country are frantically working to help their clients utilize the $5.12 million gift and estate tax exemption before it disappears at year end. […]

Posted on December 11, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

The Fiscal Cliff Cometh – Things to Do By 12/31/12

Ben Franklin said that the only two certainties in life were death and taxes. Tax exemptions and rates, however, are subject to change, and unless Congress acts soon, taxes are going up significantly next year. […]

Posted on December 8, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

IRS May Allow Late Filing Relief for 706 for Portability

According to Robert Keebler, CPA, the IRS may allow a late filed Federal Estate Tax Return, Form 706, if the only reason for filing the return is for the surviving spouse to claim the deceased spouse’s unused estate tax exemption. The current exemption is $5 million, but it is scheduled to reduce to $1 million in 2013. […]
Category: Estate Tax Tags:

Posted on December 6, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Last Minute 2012 Financial Move

Last week the United States Treasury proposed new regulations for Charitable Remainder Trusts (CRTs), which affects the tax liability of distributions in 2013. […]

Posted on December 3, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

3 Tips For Succession Planning

Estate plans and trusts preserve assets accumulated over a lifetime and distribute them to beneficiaries, but what happens to a business when the owner or key executive departs to another company, becomes ill, or passes away? […]

Posted on November 30, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Estate Can Sue to Enforce Waiver of 401(k) Benefits

The recent U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals case Estate of Kensinger v. URL Pharma, Inc. involved an lawsuit by a decedent’s estate against an ERISA plan administrator and the decedent’s ex-wife, who was beneficiary as beneficiary of her ex-husband’s 401(k) plan, […]
Category: Qualified Plans Tags:

Posted on November 27, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

The $5.12 Million Exemption – Use it or Lose it

Now, weeks past the election with nothing positive coming out of Congress, people of means are finally starting to realize that it makes sense to use some or all of the $5.12 million federal gift and estate tax exemption before it falls to $1million next year. […]
Category: Estate Planning Tags: Estate Tax

Posted on November 21, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Now is the Time to Consider Tax Issues as 2013 Draws Near

A recent press briefing with Press Secretary Jay Carney touched on tax issues that will affect every American in 2013. Right now, Americans are ill-prepared for the approaching drop off the “fiscal cliff.” As tax cuts are about to expire in the New Year, how will individuals be affected? […]

Posted on November 20, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

How to Determine Date of Death Values

When administering an estate, determining the date of death values of the decedent’s assets is essential. Filing federal and state estate tax returns and paying any taxes due can only be done when the value of all the decedent’s property is known. […]

Posted on November 11, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Springing Powers-of-Attorney in NC: New Court Case Makes Third Parties Responsible

Powers of attorney, which should be part of every estate plan, allow an individual to appoint someone of their choosing to manage their assets and affairs, make medical decisions and handle other matters the individual would have controlled when they were competent. […]

Posted on November 5, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

The Financial Impact of ‘Gray Divorce’

Divorce at any age involves the sensitive matter of splitting assets and debt. For couples who divorce in their senior years (coined a “gray divorce”), not only are a lifetime’s investments subject to division, but the costs of long-term care (LTC) also become an even more important consideration. […]

Posted on October 29, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Trust Protectors in North Carolina Trusts

North Carolina recently expanded its law regarding trust "power holders," persons named in a trust, other than trustee, who are given certain powers over the trust and/or trustee. […]

Posted on October 21, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Don’t Fall Off the Fiscal Cliff Without an Estate Plan

Estate Planning Awareness Week comes during the final quarter of the year, just before the New Year shift known as the “fiscal cliff.” What is the fiscal cliff? […]
Category: Estate Planning Tags: Estate Tax, Trusts

Posted on October 21, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

IRS Cracks Down on Gifts of Real Estate

The IRS has begun checking land records in certain states, including North Carolina, to compare uncompensated, mainly intra-family gifts of real property to filed gift tax returns. […]
Category: Real Property Tags: Gift Tax

Posted on October 20, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Estate Tax Exclusion Amount for 2012 to Increase to $5,120,000

The IRS announced today that the amount exemption from estate taxes will increase next year. For an estate of any decedent dying during calendar year 2012, the basic exclusion from estate tax amount will be $5,120,000, up from $5,000,000 in 2011. […]
Category: Gift Tax Tags: Estate Tax, Income Tax

Posted on October 19, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

October is Special Needs Law Month

Special Needs Law attorneys advise individuals with special needs, disabilities, and their loved ones, on laws concerning their financial comfort and well-being. […]

Posted on October 18, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

IRS Announces 2013 Tax Figures

In Rev. Proc. 2012-41, the IRS has announced various inflation-adjusted tax figures for 2013. Among them: […]
Category: Gift Tax Tags: Income Tax

Posted on October 16, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

3 Tips for National Estate Planning Awareness Week

October 15-21, 2012 is National Estate Planning Awareness Week. The country-wide campaign focuses on educating individuals about the importance of planning their estates, and the risks they face if they have not yet created an estate plan. […]

Posted on October 13, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Dynasty Trusts Ranked – NC Doesn’t Make the Cut

Nevada attorney Steve Oshins, who produces an annual ranking of Domestic Asset Protection Trusts, has now done the same for Dynasty Trusts. […]

Posted on October 10, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Taxes – How Does North Carolina Stackup?

Thinking about moving to North Carolina, or from NC to another state? Want to know how all of the various taxes compare from state to state? […]
Category: Tax Tags:

Posted on October 1, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Illinois Ruling Strikes a Blow at Asset Protection Trusts

In Rush University v. Sessions, et al, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that a transfer to a Cook Islands trust was per se fraudulent. […]

Posted on September 26, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Transferring Vehicles to a Revocable Living Trust

The use of revocable living trusts to avoid probate is common in North Carolina. However, one type of property that is rarely transferred to a living trust is automobiles, since doing so involves a trip to the local DMV office and paying to change the title. […]
Category: Living Trusts Tags: Estate Planning

Posted on September 22, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Elder Law Resources – NC and Beyond

Wake Forest University’s Law School is well known for its Elder Law Clinic, whose website contains a wealth of resources on elder law issues, including Basic North Carolina Information. […]
Category: Elder Care Tags: Estate Planning

Posted on September 20, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Online Legal Documents are Deficient

A recent article in Consumers Reports featured a blind test of online legal documents by three law school professors. Their conclusion: […]
Category: General Tags:

Posted on September 17, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Don’t Let Them Boss You Around!

Dealing with financial institutions is not always easy; nor are the institutions always in the right. This is a big frustration in practicing estate planning and probate law. […]
Category: Financial Planning Tags: IRAs

Posted on September 7, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Pay Gift and Estate Taxes Online

The IRS charges hefty penalties for failure to timely pay taxes. Just like with the failure to file penalties, the failure to file penalty is 5% per month, with a maximum of 25%. […]
Category: Estate Tax Tags: Gift Tax

Posted on September 7, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Top Income Tax Return Mistakes in 2012

The IRS has compiled a list of the top five errors on on 2012 income tax returns, both taxpayer-prepared and those prepared by paid preparers (I intentionally don’t use the word professional, as many preparers have little training). […]
Category: Income Tax Tags:

Posted on August 20, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

IRS Releases Draft 2012 Estate Tax Return

The IRS has released a draft 2012 Form 706, U.S. Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return dated August 16, 2012. […]
Category: Estate Tax Tags:

Posted on August 14, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

The Olympics and the Quest for Excellence

The last couple of weeks I have been so busy I have neglected my blogging. However, I have taken some time to watch the Olympics at night, seeing athletes from all over the world compete to win a gold medal. […]
Category: Estate Planning Tags:

Posted on August 4, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Long-Term Care Partnership Policies – Watch Out for Expanded Medicaid Estate Recovery

The Raleigh News & Observer recently commented on the surging insurance rates for long-term care insurance (LTCI) policies in North Carolina, the article for which can be read here. […]

Posted on July 30, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Higher Taxes are on the Horizon – 10 Planning Tips

Despite all the wrangling in Congress, we are still facing income and estate tax increases in 2013, now only five months away. […]
Category: Estate Tax Tags: Income Tax

Posted on July 25, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

U.S. House Republicans Introduce Bill to Continue Bush Tax Cuts

The proposal provides for a continuation of the current income tax laws for one more year, preventing the scheduled expiration of the Bush tax cuts on December 31, 2012. […]

Posted on July 14, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Self-Directed IRAs – Exercise Caution

A self-directed IRA is an IRA held by a custodian that allows investments in a broader class of assets than allowed by most IRA custodians, such as real estate, promissory notes and private placement securities. […]
Category: Income Tax Tags: IRAs, Tax Fraud, Tax Scams

Posted on July 10, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

The New 3.8% Investment Surtax – Will it Apply to You?

Now that the health care law has been declared constitutional, the remaining provisions will be going into effect. One little known provision is a new 3.8% investment income surtax, also called the health care surtax or the Medicare tax; […]
Category: Estate Planning Tags: Income Tax

Posted on July 3, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Intentionally Defective Grantor Trusts on the Chopping Block?

Persons who have relied upon certain trusts as a means of limiting estate taxes upon their death might have cause for concern regarding an Obama administration budget proposal for 2013. […]
Category: Estate Tax Tags:

Posted on July 2, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Supreme Court Clears Way for Affordable Care Act Taxes

The Supreme Court’s recent decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act will have considerable tax consequences for both high-income as well as middle-class Americans. […]
Category: Income Tax Tags:

Posted on June 29, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

New IRS Procedures Help U.S. Citizens Living Abroad

The IRS has announced plans for new streamlined procedures that will allow U.S. citizens residing overseas, including dual citizens, to get current with their tax filing obligations without facing penalties or additional enforcement action. […]
Category: Income Tax Tags:

Posted on June 28, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Elder Fraud on the Rise – North Carolinians No Exception

It’s an unfortunate reality that, as people get older, they find themselves at a heightened risk of becoming victims of elder abuse. Recent studies have shown that elder abuse is an increasingly prevalent phenomenon. […]

Posted on June 26, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Keep Track of IRS Rules on IRAs and Other Retirement Accounts

Owners of individual retirement accounts might face increased scrutiny by the IRS in the near future, posing the danger of hefty penalties for account mistakes that have previously gone unnoticed. […]
Category: Income Tax Tags: IRAs, qualified plans

Posted on June 11, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

NC Dept. of Revenue issues Directive on $50k Business Income Deduction

North Carolina has a new law, G.S. 105-134.6(b)(22), that grants business owners a deduction of up to $50,000 of their net business income from NC taxable income. […]

Posted on June 6, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

IRS Eases Up on Offer in Compromise Requirements

The IRS has recently announced changes to its "Fresh Start" initiative that are aimed at helping struggling taxpayers. […]
Category: Tax Tags: tax enforcement

Posted on June 5, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Free Estate and Financial Planning Book

Here’s a press release I received today from the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER): […]

Posted on May 31, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

New Hawaii Law to Help Protect Assets of Married Couples – NC Law is Not Quite as Helpful

Hawaii is on the verge of a step forward in the field of asset protection, with pending legislation awaiting the Governor’s signature that, if signed, would extend the shield of creditor protection available to married couples. […]

Posted on May 25, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

The Conversation – How to Talk to Loved Ones About Elder Care Issues

I recently met with a loving grandson, who needed some advice regarding his grandmother. His grandmother currently lives in another state. […]

Posted on May 17, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

North Carolina Scores Low for Long-Term Services and Supports

AARP has come out with a Long Term Scorecard, which ranks each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia on "Long-Term Services and Supports for Older Adults, People with Physical Disabilities, and Family Caregivers." […]

Posted on May 16, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Get Your Social Security Statement Online

Remember those statements you used to get every year from the Social Security Administration with your earning history and estimated benefits at retirement? Well, most of us will no longer receive them. […]
Category: Retirement Tags: Social Security

Posted on May 14, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Most Americans Die Without a Will

I came across a recent article in the Yahoo Finance Blog, Half of Americans With Kids Set to Die Without a Will. If you are a North Carolina resident, what happens to your estate if you don’t have a will (you die intestate, in legal terms)? […]
Category: Estate Planning Tags: intestacy, Wills

Posted on May 9, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

The John Edwards Case – What About Gift Taxes?

Yesterday I blogged about North Carolina’s controversial Amendment One, which ended up passing by a large margin. […]
Category: Tax Tags: Tax Fraud

Posted on May 8, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

NC’s Amendment One and Estate Planning

Today is election day in North Carolina, and I’m sure every North Carolinian, and many others across the country, know that the controversial Amendment One is on the ballot. Amendment One states that "Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State. […]

Posted on April 29, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

7 Big Estate Planning Mistakes

This recent Forbes article 7 Major Errors In Estate Planning is a must read for everyone, and most errors discussed apply to those with estates below $1 million. […]
Category: Estate Planning Tags:

Posted on April 26, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

How to Report Tax Scams

Promoters of tax avoidance scams are not only acting illegally, but they can put unknowing participants at risk of penalties and even jail time. […]

Posted on April 17, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

NC POA Case Shows it’s Better to Plan in Advance

A recent North Carolina Court of Appeals decision affirmed the Superior Court verdict that an agent under a power of attorney did not breach his fiduciary duty to his aunt, Doris King or unjustly enrich himself at her expense. […]

Posted on April 14, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

New Estate Planning Resource

The national estate planning attorney group WealthCounsel, LLC has introduced the new EstatePlanning.Com, which, no pun intended, contains a wealth of estate planning information for the general public. […]
Category: Estate Planning Tags:

Posted on April 12, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Estate Planning – Fast and Distant or Slow and Local?

I’m a member of WealthCounsel, LLC, a national organization of estate planning attorneys. Lately there has been a lot of discussion on the list serve about how the internet is affecting estate planning and what the future holds for the profession and the public. […]
Category: Estate Planning Tags:

Posted on April 11, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

College Expense Tax Benefits

The IRS has just issued a Last Minute Reminder to Parents and Student; Don’t Overlook College Tax Benefits. It provides a good overview and lots of links to other resources. […]
Category: Income Tax Tags:

Posted on April 10, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Why I Love LegalZoom

First, my ideal estate planning clients do not use LegalZoom for their estate planning. The people who use LegalZoom would never go to a lawyer who is not dirt cheap. Unfortunately, experienced estate planners are not dirt cheap. Therefore, LegalZoom certainly is not costing me any business. […]
Category: Estate Planning Tags:

Posted on April 9, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Haven’t Filed Your Taxes Yet? Here are Some Tips

While no substitute for the advice and assistance of a tax professional, The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) offers 10 Tips for Last Minute Tax Filers. […]
Category: Income Tax Tags:

Posted on March 28, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

NC Legislature Examines Elder Abuse

The population of elderly persons is rising throughout the country, and North Carolina is no exception. The elderly are particularly vulnerable to abuse by relatives and others – increased awareness and prevention are crucial. […]
Category: Elder Care Tags: abuse

Posted on March 28, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

States Reconsider Death Taxes

North Carolina repealed its intangible, inheritance and gift taxes within the last decade or so, but still maintains an estate tax with an exemption equal to the federal amount (currently $5.12 million). […]
Category: Estate Tax Tags:

Posted on March 23, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Executors Held Personally Liable for Unpaid Taxes

In a recent federal District Court case, the co-executors of a decedent’s estate were held to be personally liable for the decedents unpaid income taxes under the federal priority statute because they distributed assets of the estate, […]
Category: Probate Tags: income

Posted on March 21, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

IRS Allows Rollover of IRA from Estate to Spouse

As I tell my clients and audiences during presentations, one should never name one’s estate as beneficiary of an IRA or other retirement account. If the estate is the beneficiary, whether from a purposeful designation, failure to name a beneficiary […]
Category: IRAs Tags:

Posted on March 14, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Ranking Domestic Asset Protection Trust States

Las Vegas asset protection guru Steve Oshins has updated his Domestic Asset Protection Trust (DAPT) State Ranking Chart. […]
Category: Trusts Tags: Asset Protection

Posted on March 13, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

The Importance of Planning for Young Families

Many folks have the misconception that legacy planning is only for the wealthy, or for the elderly. Young families often overlook the importance of planning in the event of a parent’s incapacitation or death. […]
Category: Estate Planning Tags:

Posted on March 13, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Long-Term Care Insurance Industry Shakeout

Those considering long-term care insurance should be aware of recent several changes in the long-term care insurance industry. Guardian stopped offering the insurance as of December 31, 2011, […]

Posted on March 10, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Another Flip-Flop on Inherited IRA Stretch

Tax season is in full swing, and I was recently out of the office for a few days, so I’m a bit late in reporting this, but the provision to do away with the ability of most IRA beneficiary’s to stretch distributions over their life expectancies is now back on the table as part of the Senate Highway Bill. See Page 28 for details. […]

Posted on February 23, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Stretch IRAs No Longer on the Chopping Block

The the provision that would limit stretch IRAs (I blogged about it yesterday) has been removed from the proposed Highway Bill. Good news! See this article on AdvisorOne.com […]
Category: Pending Legislation Tags: IRAs

Posted on February 22, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

No More IRA Stretching?

Senator Baucus’ proposal to do away with stretching for most inherited IRA has not gone away as was anticipated earlier this month. A recently introduced Senate bill, S. 1813, the Highway Investment, Job Creation, and Economic Growth Act, […]

Posted on February 16, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

The Dirty Dozen – 12 Tax Scams to Beware of in 2012

The IRS has released its annual list of tax scams for taxpayers to watch out for – review this list to help educate and protect yourself. Believe it or not, the IRS wants to help! […]
Category: Tax Fraud Tags: Tax Scams

Posted on February 14, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Wealth Transfer Opportunities Targeted

Wealthy folks looking to transfer assets to younger generations in tax-advantaged ways should act now, as the Obama administration is seeking to limit several favorite techniques of estate planning attorneys. […]
Category: Trusts Tags: Estate Planning, Estate Tax

Posted on February 13, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Obama’s 2013 Revenue Proposals

The White House has issued its 2013 fiscal year revenue proposals, with estate and gift tax changes consistent with administration’s earlier stance on those rules. […]
Category: Tax Tags:

Posted on February 12, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

IRS Procedure for Requesting Extension for Late 706

Beginning in January 1, 2011, the Internal Revenue Code provides for portability of the estate tax exemption between spouses. According to issued guidance so far from the IRS (Notice 2011-82 and IR-2011-97), […]

Posted on February 9, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Senator Baucus Proposes Big Changes to IRAs

I’ve been a big proponent of planning to preserve the ability to "stretch" inherited IRAs over the life expectancy of the beneficiary, which allows for tremendous tax-deferred growth. In what came as a big surprise, […]
Category: IRAs Tags: Income Tax

Posted on February 1, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Tax Related Duties of an Executor

I just came across this article, Closing Down the Estate, on SmartMoney.com. It gives a good overview of what an executor is responsible for from a tax perspective, but is by no means exhaustive. Since Executors can be personally liable for certain tax penalties, they should make sure to engage an experienced tax attorney or CPA to ensure that everything is done timely and correctly. […]

Posted on January 30, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

S Corporation Service Firm Owners Beware

S Corporation owners who are service providers often take a low salary so that they can receive most of the firm’s profits as a dividend, avoiding payroll taxes. When the salary is unreasonably low, or there are no other fee generating employees of the firm, doing so is particularly questionable. […]
Category: Income Tax Tags:

Posted on January 27, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Drafting an IRA Trust – What You Need to Know

I have previously blogged about IRA Trusts, which are one of my favorite estate planning tools. This afternoon I presented a 90 minute national continuing legal education teleconference and webinar on the topic. I […]
Category: IRAs Tags: Trusts, Asset Protection

Posted on January 13, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Why Lawyers vs. the Internet – a Baker’s Dozen

It’s Friday the 13th, and I’ve been at the University of Miami School of Law’s Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning all week. This morning there was some discussion on the future for estate planning attorneys. […]
Category: Estate Planning Tags:

Posted on January 3, 2012 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

New NC Estates Court Costs in 2012

Effective January 1, 2012, North Carolina has added a couple of new court costs in estate matters: […]
Category: Probate Tags:

Posted on December 27, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Are You Required to Support Your Parents?

Much to my surprise, I recently became aware of the following North Carolina law: § 14 326.1. Parents; failure to support. If any person being of full age, and having sufficient income after reasonably providing for his or her own immediate family shall, without reasonable cause, neglect to maintain and support his or her parent or parents, […]
Category: Elder Care Tags:

Posted on December 22, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

How to Draft IRA Trusts – Teleconference

Attorneys interested in learning more about IRA Trusts may wish to sign up for my 90 minute teleconference, How to Draft IRA Trusts, to be held on January 27, 2011 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern. The program may also be of interest to CPAs, financial planners and trust officers. […]
Category: IRAs Tags: Estate Planning, Trusts

Posted on December 20, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Tax Provisions Expiring December 31, 2011

There a few federal income tax deductions and other provisions that expire this year: Tax-free distributions from IRAs for charitable purposes - Taxpayers who were at least age 70½ could make tax-free charitable distributions from an IRA up to $100,000. […]
Category: Income Tax Tags:

Posted on December 20, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

IRS Requests Comments on Trust Decanting

The IRS is requesting comments on the tax implications of trust "decanting," which refers to transfers by a trustee of all or a portion of the principal of an irrevocable trust to another irrevocable trust. […]
Category: Tax Tags:

Posted on December 13, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Duke’s OLLI Program to Offer Retirement Course in 2012

Local Financial Planner Janet Ramsey, MBA, CFP will be offering a course entitled To the Health of Your Wealth as part of Duke University’s OLLI program. […]

Posted on December 9, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Tax Information for U.S. Citizens Living Abroad

U.S. citizens must report and pay taxes on their world-wide income, even if living in another country. U.S. taxpayers are also required to disclose foreign bank and financial accounts (FBARs). It’s important to know and follow the rules in order to avoid civil and criminal penalties. […]
Category: Income Tax Tags: international

Posted on December 5, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Estate Planning and Probate Seminar for Paralegals

North Carolina legal assistants working with estate lawyers may be interested in a day-long seminar, Estate Planning and Probate Practice for Paralegals, to be held in Chapel Hill on January 25, 2012. I will be presenting the portion on Assisting with Guardianships. […]

Posted on November 30, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Estate Tax Foe added to “Super Committee”

Arizona Senator Jon Kyl will join the bipartisan Congressional super committee, which has the task of cutting $1.5 trillion from the federal budget in the next decade. Kyl is a staunch opponent of the estate tax, and his appointment to the committee makes any movement toward a decrease in the current $5 million exemption or increase in the 35% rate unlikely. Democrats have called for the rate to increase to 45%. […]
Category: Estate Tax Tags:

Posted on November 23, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Estate and Gift Tax Bill Introduced in House

On November 17, 2011, Congressman Jim McDermott (D-WA), a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee, introduced HR 3467, the “Sensible Estate Tax Act of 2011”. Along with changes to the estate tax, the bill includes many of Obama’s 2012 Fiscal Year Proposals with regard to gift and GST taxes. The bill includes the following: […]

Posted on November 20, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Four Common Estate Planning Mistakes

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) recently published an informative article entitled Four Estate Planning Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them). Although the article is geared toward CPAs for counseling their clients, I recommend it as reading for all, as I see these problems everyday. The four mistakes featured are: […]
Category: Estate Planning Tags:

Posted on November 17, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Death Taxes – Worst States to Die In

Here are the states with an estate and or inheritance tax, ranked from approximate highest to lowest tax burden (North Carolina has the distinction of being the best of the worst): […]
Category: Estate Tax Tags:

Posted on November 17, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Democrats to Introduce Bill to Lower Estate Tax Exemption to $1 Million

This news courtesy of Financial Advisor Nat Harris (emphasis added): House Democrats plan to introduce a bill today to extend and overhaul the estate tax beyond 2012 in the opening salvo of what is likely to be a long and politically-charged debate next year. […]

Posted on November 15, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

2011 NC Senior Fraud Booklet

The 2011 Consumer Scams and Fraud booklet issued by the North Carolina Attorney General is now available. It is geared to increase awareness of and prevent fraud against seniors. […]

Posted on November 14, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Annual SSA Earnings/Benefit Statements Ceased

In the past, each year the Social Security Administration (SSA) mailed a statement to all workers age 25 and older who were not receiving Social Security or Medicare benefits. The statement listed a worker’s earnings record along with estimated benefit amounts at various retirement ages. […]
Category: Retirement Tags: Social Security

Posted on November 7, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

U.S. Citizens Living in U.K. Get Credit for Non-Domicile Fee

The IRS recently issued guidance that U.S. taxpayers living in the United Kingdom can get a credit against their U.S. income tax taxes for the GBP30,000 non-domicile charge. Rev. Rul. 2011-19. See also this article in the STEP Journal. […]
Category: Income Tax Tags: United Kingdom, UK

Posted on October 31, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

12 Scary Beneficiary Designation Mistakes

It’s Halloween, and tonight kids of all ages will be dressed in an assortment of costumes, many designed to frighten. What frightens an estate planner? Here are a dozen examples of scary planning (or lack thereof) with regard to life insurance and retirement plan beneficiaries: […]

Posted on October 27, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

The Jolly Testator

Written by Lord Neaves centuries ago, but true to this day: Ye lawyers who live upon litigants’ fees, And who need a good many to live at your ease, […]
Category: Wills Tags:

Posted on October 27, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

SECU – Estate Planning Friend or Foe?

The North Carolina State Employees Credit Union has a relatively new program called Estate Planning Essentials. Members of SECU are offered "estate plans" for $250, or $350 for married couples. The program description states that "[A] slate of experienced estate planning attorneys has been identified who have agreed to prepare these documents at a set price for Credit Union members." […]
Category: Estate Planning Tags: SECU

Posted on October 21, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Do you know the 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s disease has really been on my radar these days. Now, I know I’m an elder law attorney, so of course it’s on my radar, but even so, the blips on the radar seem to be coming more frequently lately. […]
Category: Elder Care Tags:

Posted on October 21, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

2012 Retirement Account Contribution Limits

In IR-2011-103, the IRS announced the pension and other retirement account contributions limit. Certain limits are set for below: Qualified Plans: […]

Posted on October 19, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

AK Bankruptcy Court Avoids Transfer to AK DAPT

In the May 26, 2011 Alaska Bankruptcy Court decision of In re Mortensen, the court avoided a transfer of real property of the debtor to an Alaska Domestic Asset Protection Trust (DAPT). The judge held that under Section 548(3) of the Bankruptcy Code, any transfer to a DAPT for less than full and adequate consideration is, […]

Posted on October 18, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

The Seven Levels of Asset Protection

Today I participated in a teleconference on Asset Protection Planning. Although the program was a bit basic for me, speaker Carl Waldman. Esq. included a helpful chart of the Levels of Asset Protection, which I have expanded on here: […]
Category: Asset Protection Tags:

Posted on October 17, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

National Estate Planning Awareness Week

October 17-23 is National Estate Planning Awareness Week. Most people are woefully unaware of the importance and benefits of estate planning. Even if you have implemented a comprehensive, up-to-date plan, chances are your family members and friends have not. Encourage them to talk to an estate planning attorney about how to protect their loved ones, preserve assets and save taxes. Here’s our Press Release on the topic. […]
Category: Estate Planning Tags:

Posted on October 14, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

IRS Provides Guidance for Protective Claim for Estate Tax Refund

The IRS has just issued Revenue Procedure 2011-48, which provides guidance regarding the filing and subsequent resolution of a protective claim for refund of estate tax that is based on a deduction for a claim or expense under section 2053 of the Internal Revenue Code. […]
Category: Estate Tax Tags:

Posted on October 13, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Low Rates, Low Values Create Planning Opportunities

In How Low Rates Can Cut Your Tax Bill, WSJ columnist Laura Saunders reports out that current low interest rates create several advantageous tax planning opportunities: […]
Category: Estate Planning Tags:

Posted on October 6, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

LegalZoom Files Suit Against NC State Bar

The online legal forms provider LegalZoom.com recently filed a lawsuit against the North Carolina State Bar in Wake County Superior Court, requesting that a judge rule that the company is entitled to sell standard legal forms on its website and be allowed to register in North Carolina to sell prepaid legal services. See this article on the Raleigh News and Observer website. […]
Category: General Tags:

Posted on October 3, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Nevada Asset Protection Trust Laws Improved

Nevada’s new Domestic Asset Protection Trust (DAPT) laws became effective October 1, 2011. One new feature is the ability to move a DAPT that was established in another state to Nevada without having to start the statute of limitations period over. […]

Posted on September 30, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

More on the 2011 Federal Estate Tax Return

The IRS has released the final instructions for the 2011 United States Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax Return (Form 706), and Guidance on Electing Portability of Deceased Spousal Exclusion Amount (Notice 2011-82). […]
Category: Estate Tax Tags:

Posted on September 29, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Health Care Legal Documents Vitally Important

To help increase awareness of the importance of having up to date health care legal documents (Health Care Power of Attorney, Living Will and HIPAA Authorization), TrustCounsel is offering all three documents for $50 today and tomorrow (September 29 and 30) to North Carolina residents through OurLocalDeal. […]

Posted on September 24, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Parents – Important Tips to Legally Protect Your Kids

Parents – if something were to happen to you, have you done all that you can to ensure that your children are legally protected? Most parents of young children have not done anything at all, or if they have, the planning is often incomplete or outdated. […]
Category: Estate Planning Tags: children, Parents

Posted on September 23, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

IRS Releases 2011 Estate Tax Return

The IRS has now issued the U.S. Estate and Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax Return (Form 706) and draft instructions for decedents dying in 2011. […]
Category: Estate Tax Tags:

Posted on September 17, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Democratic Proposals for Revenue Raising

The proposal from the White House includes: Income surcharge for high income earners – basically a 5% surtax on Adjusted Gross Income in excess of $500,000. Repeal high-income tax cuts in 2012 as opposed to 2013. […]
Category: Tax Tags:

Posted on September 13, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

IRS Offers Filing and Penalty Relief for 2010 Estates

IR-2011-91 (emphasis added): WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service announced today that large estates of people who died in 2010 will have until early next year to file various required returns and pay any estate taxes due. […]
Category: Estate Tax Tags:

Posted on September 8, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Spousal Portability and the Estate Tax After 2010

The Tax Relief Act of 2010 included a spousal portability provision for the $5 million estate tax exemption. If a married person dies after December 31, 2010 and does not use all of his or her exemption, the unused portion can be transferred to the surviving spouse. […]
Category: Estate Tax Tags:

Posted on September 8, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

NC Homestead Exemption to Increase

House Bill 1058 – Effective December 1, 2009, an individual resident of North Carolina who is a debtor can retain, free from the enforcement of the claims of creditors, the debtor’s aggregate interest, not to exceed $35,000 in value, […]

Posted on September 1, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Certain NC Coastal Counties Qualify for IRS Relief

The IRS has announced that residents of the following North Carolina counties qualify for filing and payment relief due to Hurricane Irene: Beaufort, Carteret, Craven, Dare, Hyde, Pamlico and Tyrell. […]
Category: Income Tax Tags:

Posted on August 30, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Bankruptcy Courts Agree – Inherited IRAs Exempt

With the Texas case of In re Chilton reversed in U.S. District Court, which held that the debtor’s inherited IRA was exempt from the claims of creditors, all bankruptcy courts that have ruled on the issue have determined that inherited IRAs are exempt in bankruptcy. […]
Category: IRAs Tags: Bankruptcy, Asset Protection, IRAs

Posted on August 29, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

IRS Extends Deadline for Offshore Voluntary Disclosure

Due to Hurricane Fran, the IRS has extended the deadline for the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative for foreign accounts to September 9, 2011. […]
Category: Tax Fraud Tags: tax enforcement

Posted on August 26, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

President of Building Company Liable for Negligence Despite Acting on Behalf of Company

The January 2011 North Carolina Court of Appeals case of White v. Collins Bldg., Inc. involved purchasers of beach house who filed a negligence claim against several defendants, including the building company’s president and sole shareholder, Edwin E. Collins, Jr., alleging that he failed to properly supervise the construction of their home, leading to sustained water, window, and plumbing damage. […]

Posted on August 24, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

IRS Releases Draft 2010 Estate Tax Return Instructions

The IRS has released draft instructions for the 2010 Form 706, the U.S. Estate Tax Return. Executors of estates of decedents who died in 2010 between the estate tax, with a $5 million exemption and 35% rate, or the modified carryover basis rules. The modified carryover basis law does not institute a tax, but limits a step up in basis for property acquired from a decedent to $1.3 million, with another $3 million for property passing to a spouse. […]
Category: Tax Tags: Estate Tax, 706

Posted on August 22, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Recording Document Fees

Effective October 1, 2011, fees for recording documents in North Carolina’s 100 Registers of Deeds will increase: Deeds – $26.00 for up to 15 pages. $4.00 for each additional page. […]

Posted on August 12, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

New NC Trusts and Estates Laws

In the 2011-2012 Session, the North Carolina General Assembly passed several laws affecting estate planning, trusts and probate: S.L. 2011-5 and S.L. 330- The reference to the Internal Revenue Code in G.S. 105-228.90(b)(1b) is changed from May 1, 2010 to January 1, 2011. […]
Category: Probate Tags: Estate Tax, Trusts

Posted on August 10, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Execution of Promissory Notes and Deeds of Trust is Transfer for Medicaid Purposes

From today’s NEALA eBulletin: Leola Joyner had been a Medicaid recipient since November 2005. She executed two promissory notes on March 1, 2006, secured by correlating deeds of trust in favor of her son. […]
Category: Medicaid Tags:

Posted on August 9, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

IRS Guidance on 2010 Decedents’ Estates Filings

The IRS recently issued guidance on the treatment of basis for certain estates of persons who died in 2010. This will assist executors who decide to opt out of the estate tax and have the carryover basis rules apply. Form 8939, the basis allocation form required to be filed by executors opting out of the estate tax, is due November 15, 2011. […]
Category: Estate Tax Tags:

Posted on August 5, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

NC – No Estate Tax for 2010

Good news for beneficiaries of large North Carolina estates of decedents dying in 2010. From the North Carolina Department of Revenue: […]
Category: Estate Tax Tags:

Posted on August 5, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

IRS Eliminates Innocent Spouse Two Year Limitation

From IR-2011-80, issued on July 25, 2011: The IRS launched a thorough review of the equitable relief provisions of the innocent spouse program earlier this year. Policy and program changes with respect to that review will become fully operational in the fall and additional guidance will be forthcoming. However, with respect to expanding the availability of equitable relief: […]
Category: Tax Tags: tax enforcement, Income Tax

Posted on July 12, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Estate Planning Checklist

Here’s a test every adult should take – it’s not hard, but the consequences of failing can be serious: […]
Category: Estate Planning Tags:

Posted on July 6, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Filing Fees for NC Estates Increase

Effective July 1, 2011, the fee to open an estate proceeding in North Carolina is now $120. This includes Trusts under Wills and Affidavits for Collection of Personal Property. Special Proceedings are also now $120. Click here for the Estates Court Costs Chart. […]
Category: Probate Tags:

Posted on June 30, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

NC 529 Plan Income Tax Deduction Continues

The North Carolina General Assembly recently passed legislation that preserves the deduction on NC 529 College Savings Plan contributions for all North Carolina taxpayers, regardless of income. […]

Posted on June 30, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Today is the Deadline for Foreign Account Reporting

From IR-2011-70: WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today reminds everyone who has a bank or other financial account in a foreign country, or who has signature authority over such an account, that they may be required to report the account to the U.S. Department of the Treasury by June 30 each year. […]
Category: Income Tax Tags: tax enforcement

Posted on June 29, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Summary of Obama’s 2013 Budget Proposal for Estate and Gift Taxes

A June 22, 2011article on Trusts and Estates magazine’s website contains a nice summary of President Obama’s budget proposal measures effecting estate planning. […]

Posted on June 24, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

4th Circuit Upholds Two-Year Innocent Spouse Limitation Period

The U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, under whose jurisdiction North Carolina falls, overruled a Tax Court decision and upheld a Treasury regulation that provides for a two-year statute of limitation on claims for innocent spouse relief […]

Posted on June 24, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

How to Avoid Investment Fraud

As an estate planning attorney and Certified Financial Planner, much of what I do is help people protect and grow their assets. Unfortunately, there are those who seek to do the opposite – con artists who try to take others’ hard earned money by committing investment fraud. […]

Posted on June 24, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Tax Implications of Sale of Residence Upon Divorce

For many people, the federal home sale gain exclusion is the single most valuable tax break available. But if you’re getting divorced and selling a home, you may need to plan ahead to take advantage of the tax break. We’ll explain why, but first, here’s a little background information. […]
Category: Real Property Tags: Income Tax

Posted on June 23, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

IRS Mileage Rate Increased to 55.5 Cents per Mile

From Announcement 2011-40: WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today announced an increase in the optional standard mileage rates for the final six months of 2011. Taxpayers may use the optional standard rates to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business and other purposes. […]
Category: Income Tax Tags:

Posted on June 22, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

You’ve Got to Watch Those Taxing Authorities

Recently I blogged about a client who had received a threatening letter from the IRS. She had me investigate, and it turns out it was a mistake. I have also known the North Carolina Department of Revenue to make errors and cause undue delay. I’m experiencing this personally right now – I filed an amended 2009 corporate return in January and have not received the refund. […]

Posted on June 10, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

An Apology from the IRS!

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Category: Income Tax Tags:

Posted on June 7, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Congress Starts on Estate Tax Debate

The federal estate tax exemption is currently set at $5 million ($10 million for married couples), with a 35% rate. This law is set to expire on December 31, 2012, with the exemption reverting to $1 million (and a 55% rate) on January 1, 2013. […]
Category: Estate Tax Tags:

Posted on June 2, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

NC Court Costs May Increase

If the pending appropriations bill in the North Carolina General Assembly passes and is signed into law by Governor Perdue, the filing fee for estates will increase to $120 effective July 1, 2011.  […]
Category: Pending Legislation Tags:

Posted on May 27, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

IRS Offers Tips for Protecting Documents from Disaster

Here in North Carolina we know all to well that disasters can strike at any time. In this YouTube video, the IRS provides guidance for protecting tax and other important documents from natural disasters. […]
Category: General Tags:

Posted on May 26, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

CCRC Residents Should Consider Liability Insurance

Even for those who don’t have umbrella liability insurance coverage, homeowners insurance policies normally provide general liability coverage. This insurance will help protect your assets if a guest is injured in your home or your dog bites someone, for example. […]
Category: Asset Protection Tags:

Posted on May 25, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Separate Accounts for Your IRA Will Help the Beneficiaries

The distribution rules for inherited IRAs generally make it advantageous to have separate accounts, which can be done during your lifetime or by December 31 of the year following your death. […]
Category: IRAs Tags: Income Tax

Posted on May 20, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Veterans Administration Does Not Recognize State Guardians

I’ve been at the North Carolina Guardianship Association conference for the last couple of days. One issue that I never really gave much thought to is that the Veterans Administration, as a federal agency, does not recognize state guardianships. […]

Posted on May 15, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

10 Most Overlooked Issues in Estate Planning

A couple of days ago I blogged about the dangers of bad estate planning, and presented a hierarchy of worst to best ways to plan. Today I’m providing a list of 10 of the most overlooked issues in estate planning (things that frequently aren’t dealt with in lesser methods of planning). […]
Category: Estate Planning Tags:

Posted on May 15, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

IRS Issues Interim Guidance on Fiduciary Fee Treatment re 2% Floor

The IRS has issued interim guidance on the treatment under Code Section 67 of investment advisory costs and other expenses subject to the 2-percent floor under Section 67(a). Notice 2011-37. […]
Category: Probate Tags: Income Tax, Trusts

Posted on May 14, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Hierarchy of Estate Planning

I have seen plenty of bad estate planning planning in my 23 years of practice. The pitfalls are many – I will list them in my next post. Here’s my list of the hierarchy of estate planning, from worst to best (and I have seen them all!): […]
Category: Estate Planning Tags:

Posted on May 13, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Additional NC Counties added to Tax Relief List

On April 22, 2011, I posted an IRS Notice about a tax relief program for victims of the April 16, 2011 storms in North Carolina. As of May 9, 2011, residents who live in or own a business in the following counties are eligible: […]
Category: Income Tax Tags:

Posted on May 10, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

The State of State Estate Taxes

The majority of states no longer have an estate tax, but North Carolina is not one of them. Hungry for revenue, some states, such as Connecticut, are trying to lower the tax threshold. […]
Category: Estate Tax Tags:

Posted on May 3, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Tax Breaks for Supporting a Parent

Taking care of an elderly parent may provide more than just personal satisfaction. You could also be entitled to substantial tax deductions even if your parent doesn’t live with you. […]
Category: Income Tax Tags:

Posted on May 3, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

A Funny Question to Ask a Lawyer

My blog has a function that allows readers to comment on a post. In the vast majority of cases, however, the comments are actually questions by those trying to avoid having to pay a lawyer to assist or advise them. […]
Category: Wills Tags: Estate Planning

Posted on April 25, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Southern Gun Law Group

http://www.southerngunlawgroup […]
Category: Links Tags:

Posted on April 25, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

NFA Gun Trusts in North Carolina

North Carolina residents who want to own certain weapons regulated by the National Firearms Act should consider the advantages of an NFA Gun Trust specifically designed for use in North Carolina. From NorthCarolinaGunTrustLawyer.com: […]

Posted on April 25, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Why You Might Not Want a Simple Estate Plan

Many people come in to see me with the notion that all that they need and want is a "simple" estate plan. Generally that means no living trust, and a will with no trust provisions for surviving family members. […]

Posted on April 22, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

IRS Announces Tax Filing Relief for NC Victims of April 16 Storms

From NC-2011-20, April 20, 2011: GREENSBORO — Victims of severe storms, tornadoes and flooding on April 16, 2011 in parts of North Carolina may qualify for tax relief from the Internal Revenue Service. […]
Category: Living Trusts Tags:

Posted on April 16, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

National Health Care Decisions Day

Today is National Health Care Decisions Day. Take charge of your future – talk to family, your doctor and your estate planning attorney about your wishes. […]

Posted on April 13, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Company Buy-Sell Agreements – Plan Ahead

One estate planning tool that can protect your family and partners is a buy-sell agreement. This legal document gives owners the first chance to buy an interest in the company if another owner pulls out or dies. […]

Posted on April 7, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

IRS Warns of 12 Current Tax Scams

WASHINGTON –– Hiding income in offshore accounts, identity theft, return preparer fraud, and filing false or misleading tax forms top the annual list of “dirty dozen” tax scams in 2011, the Internal Revenue Service announced today. […]

Posted on April 5, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

IRS Extends Deadline for Carryover Basis Form for 2010 Estates

The IRS is extending the filing deadline of Form 8939, Allocation of Increase in Basis of Property Acquired from a Decedent, which must be submitted to determine the new basis of assets in 2010 estates that opt out of the federal estate tax. […]

Posted on April 1, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

NC Supreme Court Decision Kinlaw V. Harris IRA Exemption Case

I previously blogged about the ruling by the North Carolina Court of Appeals that in addition to IRA accounts being exempt from creditors, distributions from IRAs were also exempt. On appeal, the North Carolina Supreme Court held that “there may be some circumstances under which withdrawn funds are no longer exempt from execution.” […]
Category: IRAs Tags: Asset Protection, Litigation

Posted on April 1, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Texas Court Rules Inherited IRA Protected in Bankruptcy

In a ruling entered on March 16, 2011, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, in Chilton v. Moser (2011, DC TX) 2011 WL 938310, reversed the bankruptcy court and held that a debtor’s inherited IRA met the requirements for a bankruptcy exemption under Bankruptcy Code §522(d)(12). […]
Category: IRAs Tags: Asset Protection, Litigation

Posted on March 29, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Planning Tips for Clients with Chronic Illness

Yesterday I attended a presentation by attorney Martin Shenkman, whose wife has multiple sclerosis – he regularly speaks on planning for those with chronic illness. He offered the use of his materials to the attendees, and this is one of his memos: […]
Category: Health Care Tags: Estate Planning

Posted on March 27, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Missed Your IRA Rollver Deadline? All May Not be Lost

The IRS is often accused of being heartless, but it does show some compassion to taxpayers who cannot complete an IRA rollover within the deadline because of extenuating circumstances. […]
Category: IRAs Tags: Income Tax

Posted on March 22, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Decision Time is Here if You Did a Roth IRA Conversion in 2010

The rule that made higher-income folks ineligible for Roth IRA conversions expired at the end of 2009. That made 2010 a big year for conversions, because even billionaires could make the transactions. […]
Category: IRAs Tags: Income Tax

Posted on March 20, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Health Care Reform – How it Will Affect Our Taxes

Health care reform doesn’t come cheap. How do we pay for it? More and increased taxes, of course, both this year and in future years, along with certain credits for health insurance premium costs. This is an outline of the many tax law changes as a result of the new health care laws, organized by affected parties and implementation date: […]
Category: Health Care Tags: other tax, Income Tax

Posted on March 14, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

10 Estate Planning DONT’s

From a presentation I gave last week for Duke University’s OLLI program’s course on retirement and wealth management, here are 10 things NOT to do in terms of estate planning: […]
Category: Estate Planning Tags:

Posted on March 9, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Long-Term Care Planning for Your Senior Life

Many senior citizens freely admit that they fear growing older more than they fear death. The prospect of becoming increasingly frail and dependent in a society which worships strength and self-reliance, and of losing family and lifetime friends can understandably make the specter of old age a frightening one. […]

Posted on March 4, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

IRS Says Beware of Frivolous Tax Arguments

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today released the 2011 version of its discussion and rebuttal of many of the more common frivolous arguments made by individuals and groups that oppose compliance with federal tax laws. […]

Posted on March 4, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Veterans Victory in the Supreme Court

David Henderson was a Korean War veteran. He was discharged from active duty in 1952 due to paranoid schizophrenia. In 1992, the VA gave him a 100% disability rating, and in 2001 (while living in North Carolina) […]

Posted on March 3, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Powers of Attorney “Die” Along With the Principal

General ("financial") Durable Powers of Attorney (DPOAs) are very useful documents that every competent adult should have. DPOAs can be used to manage one’s property and affairs in the event of incompetency, avoiding the need for a court proceeding to determine incompetency and appoint a guardian. […]

Posted on March 1, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Reverse Mortgages – the Impact on Older Homeowners

From a recent AARP report: reverse mortgages offer older homeowners a way to tap home equity to meet financial needs in retirement. However, the collapse of the mortgage market in 2008–2009 has led to major changes that impact consumer choices. […]

Posted on February 28, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Durable Powers of Attorney Don’t Allow You to Control Trusts

A Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) is a part of virtually every estate plan. The DPOA allows the person who signed the document, the principal, to designate an agent, or attorney-in-fact, who will act in his or her stead. […]

Posted on February 22, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Estate Taxes: The Worst States in Which to Die

Here’s a recent marketwatch.com article on State Estate and Inheritance Taxes, and the various exemption amounts for each state. A majority of states, including Florida, have no state estate or inheritance taxes, and a couple of others effectively have the same $5 million exemption as the federal estate tax. […]
Category: Estate Tax Tags:

Posted on February 15, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Best Nursing Homes in North Carolina

The U.S. News and World Report has issued a report on the best nursing homes in America. From the website: "All of the homes shown received 5 stars, the highest overall rating, from the federal government’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. […]

Posted on February 12, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Depictions of “Reading of the Will” are an Anachronism

Modern day movies and television commercials (including a recent one by DirecTV) sometimes feature a lawyer reading the will of a deceased testator to his family. Occasionally I even get questions about the ceremony. […]
Category: Wills Tags: Probate

Posted on February 10, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Life Insurance to Pay a Future Bill

Second-to-die insurance is traditionally purchased by affluent married couples.How it works: The insurance proceeds are paid out upon the death of the second spouse when the funds are often needed to pay taxes. […]

Posted on February 9, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Am I Ready to Die?

I’m at home today, sick with the flu. Last night was rough, fever, chills, cough, and inability to sleep, but I feel a bit better right now. However, during the worst of the night, a thought came to mind that it might actually be a relief if my mortal existence ended. […]

Posted on February 8, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

IRS Offers 2nd Voluntary Disclosure Initiative for Offshore Assets

Today the IRS announced a new special voluntary disclosure initiative designed to bring offshore money back into the U.S. tax system and help people with undisclosed income from hidden offshore accounts get current with their taxes. The initiative is available through Aug. 31, 2011. […]

Posted on February 7, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Tax Law Changes in Obama’s Proposed 2012 Budget

Thanks to Keebler and Associates, LLP, CPAs for portions of this summary: Limit the tax rate that certain individuals will get a benefit for their itemized deductions - For investors filing joint returns and having income over $250,000 itemized deductions would only reduce the investor’s tax liability by a maximum of 28%. […]

Posted on February 4, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Estate Tax Claw Back – Don’t Worry About It, Says AALU

Since the enactment of TRA 2010 in December of last year, tax practitioners have been concerned that gifts made during 2011 and 2012 may, partially because of the way in which the current Federal Estate and Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax Return (Form 706) […]
Category: Gift Tax Tags: Estate Tax

Posted on February 3, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Keeping Your Personal Financial Information Safe Online

From guest author Aaron Huber: Whether you’re keep your money in a conventional financial institution or in an internet based bank without a physical location, it’s a good idea to ensure that you’re doing business with a reputable organization and that your money deposited is federally insured. […]
Category: Fraud & Financial Abuse Tags:

Posted on February 3, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

North Carolina Senior Helpline

Legal Aid of North Carolina has a Senior Legal Helpline for citizens age 60 and older. The toll-free number is 1-877-579-7562. Intake hours for new callers are 9:00-11:00 a.m. and 1:00-3:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Matters covered include Housing Law, Consumer Law, Employment Law, Pubic Benefits, Alternatives to Guardianship and Wills. […]

Posted on February 2, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

NC 2011 Tax Return Due Date April 18

From the North Carolina Department of Revenue: Taxpayers across the nation will have until April 18, 2011, to file 2010 federal returns, extensions, and payments that ordinarily would be due April 15, 2011. The extra time is provided because April 15 falls on Emancipation day, a legal holiday in the District of Columbia. […]
Category: NC Income Tax Tags: other tax

Posted on January 31, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

10 Tips from a Tax Lawyer for 2010 and 2011

Last week I was interviewed regarding income and estate taxes in 2010 and 2011 offering tips and insights based on what I see in my practice. Click here for the text and the podcast. […]
Category: Income Tax Tags: Estate Tax, Tax

Posted on January 27, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

You Need a Power of Attorney

Giving someone your power of attorney (POA) has been likened to giving a trusted person a spare set of keys to your house or car. If a problem arises — for example, you lose your keys — your interests are protected. […]

Posted on January 26, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

More on Estate Tax – for 2010, 2011 and 2012

"Nothing is certain but death and taxes," Benjamin Franklin famously said. In the last decade, another occurrence has been certain: The federal estate tax keeps changing. The tax cut legislation passed recently establishes new estate and gift tax rules for this year, next year and last year. […]
Category: Estate Tax Tags: Estate Planning

Posted on January 25, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Obsessed with Taxes – Get the IRS Smart Phone App!

IRS Launches the IRS2Go App for iPhone, Android; To Check Refunds, Get Tax Information Video: IRS2Go: English WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today unveiled IRS2Go, its first smartphone application that lets taxpayers check on their status of their tax refund and obtain helpful tax information. […]
Category: Income Tax Tags:

Posted on January 23, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

RA Charitable Rollover is Back

There’s good news if you’ve reached age 70 1/2, and you have an IRA and philanthropic inclinations. Through 2011, the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 resurrected the opportunity to make cash donations to IRS-approved charities directly out of your IRA. […]

Posted on January 20, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Organ Donation in North Carolina

Do you want to be an organ donor? Do you know how to become one? There are three ways to become a donor: 1. Request that a heart be placed on your driver’s license at the DMV. […]
Category: General Tags: donation, organ, organ donation

Posted on January 14, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

No more “Do-Over” Strategy for Social Security Retirement Benefits

On December 8, 2010, the Social Security Administration published a new rule eliminating the “do-over” strategy some retirees were using to boost their retirement benefits. The new rule went into effect immediately. […]
Category: General Tags: Social Security

Posted on January 13, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Don’t Pay more than 24.5% Tax on Your Roth Conversion

Do you think you have to pay income tax on large ($500k++) Roth IRA conversions at the top marginal tax rates? Think again. I have recommend the following strategy to several of my clients. In most cases, you can stay with your current investment manager. […]

Posted on January 11, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Domestic Asset Protection Trusts – What State is Best?

A dozen states now offer what are called Domestic Asset Protection Trusts (DAPTs), which allow a trust grantor to shelter trust assets from creditors while retaining the right to distributions from the trust. […]

Posted on January 10, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

$5 Million Estate Tax Exemption Here to Stay?

This week I’m attending the University of Miami School of Law Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning. Most of the speakers so far are of the opinion of that the current federal estate tax exemption will not be decreased in 2013 when TRA 2010 expires. […]
Category: Estate Tax Tags:

Posted on January 4, 2011 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Some Taxpayers Must Wait to File 2010 Federal Returns

From today’s IRS Newswire: For most taxpayers, the 2011 tax filing season starts on schedule. However, tax law changes enacted by Congress and signed by President Obama in December mean some people need to wait until mid- to late February to file their tax returns in order to give the IRS time to reprogram its processing systems. […]
Category: Income Tax Tags:

Posted on December 28, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Act Now to Save GST Tax – Expires 12/31/10

On December 17, 2010 the President signed the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (the 2010 Tax Relief Act), extending the Bush-era tax cuts. This new law creates a once-in-a-lifetime planning opportunity that ends at midnight, December 31, 2010. […]

Posted on December 28, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Operation of Law: Coordinate your Will and Property Ownership, etc.

You know the importance of having a will. If you die "intestate" (without a will in legal language), your state’s laws will determine the disposition of your assets. […]

Posted on December 27, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Duke’s OLLI Program to Offer Retirement Course

Local Financial Planner Janet Ramsey, MBA, CFP will be offering a course entitledWealth Planning in the New Normal, Navigating Retirement Decisions in Rough Waters as part of Duke University’s OLLI program. […]
Category: Retirement Tags: Estate Planning

Posted on December 23, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

12 Estate Planning Gifts to Your Family

Christmas is in 12 days, so I thought it appropriate to use the "12 Days of Christmas" theme to talk about the fact that estate planning is truly a gift to your family or other beneficiaries. […]
Category: Estate Planning Tags:

Posted on December 17, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Obama Signs 2010 Tax Relief Act

This afternoon, President Obama signed the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010. This legislation, negotiated by the White House and select members of the House and Senate, provides for a short-term extension of tax cuts made in 2001. […]
Category: Gift Tax Tags: Estate Tax, Income Tax, Tax

Posted on December 17, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

2010 Tax Relief Act Passes House

Last night the House passed HR 4853 by a vote of 277-148 approving the Tax Relief Act of 2010 as passed by the Senate Wednesday. The bill now goes to the President for signature. […]
Category: Pending Legislation Tags: Tax

Posted on December 16, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

AICPA Announces Taxpayer Education Website

The new website, which has been developed over the past year, is launching just days after President Obama called for fundamental reform of the income tax system, touching off a new national conversation about the tax code. […]
Category: Tax Tags:

Posted on December 15, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

2010 Tax Relief Act Passes Senate

The Senate has passed (by vote of 81-19) the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (the 2010 Tax Relief Act), and the House is expected to take up the measure tomorrow. The Act includes bringing back the $100,000 IRA spousal rollover for 2010 and 2011. […]
Category: Pending Legislation Tags: Tax

Posted on December 10, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Summary of the Tax Relief Proposal

The Senate Finance Committee has produced a summary of the Reid Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010, which extends the Bush tax cuts for two years. […]

Posted on December 9, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

House to Obama on Tax Agreement – No Go!

The House has decided not to vote on the tax cut agreement Obama reached with Republican leaders earlier this week. Particularly objectionable was the proposed $5 million estate tax exemption. From CNN.com: […]

Posted on December 7, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

AICPA asks IRS for Guidance on Carryover Basis Rules

From today’s press release from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants: The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants has asked the Internal Revenue Service to issue guidance about how to apply carryover basis rules for the assets of taxpayers who died in 2010 in order to settle their estates. […]

Posted on December 6, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Obama, Republicans Reach Deal on Tax Cuts

The agreement includes a two year extension on the Bush income tax cuts, and with regard to the estate tax (from the Washington Post): "The deal also would revive the estate tax, but it would exempt inheritances of up to $5 million for individuals and $10 million for couples. […]

Posted on December 4, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

More on the Middle Class Tax Cut Act of 2010

Senator Max Baucus, Chair of the Senate Finance Committee on Finance, introduced the "Middle Class Tax Cut Act of 2010" which would make the Bush income tax cuts permanent for those making under $250,000 per year. […]

Posted on December 3, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Middle Class Tax Cut Act of 2010 – Proposed Bill

The legislative text and summary of the Middle Class Tax Cut Act of 2010, released yesterday by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), is now available at the Finance Committee’s website http://finance.senate.gov/legislation/. A summary of some of the estate tax provisions is set out below. […]

Posted on December 1, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

2011 – The Federal Estate Tax Returns

For the past ten years, the federal estate tax rules have been changing and they will shift again on January 1, 2011. As of that date, the federal estate tax will return with a $1 million exemption and rate of 37-55%. […]
Category: Estate Tax Tags: Estate Planning

Posted on November 17, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Health Care Reform and Long-Term Care

One of the shortfalls of Medicaid for long-term care is that it provides financial assistance primarily for nursing homes, and I don’t need to tell you that most people prefer not to have to go into a nursing home. […]
Category: Elder Care Tags:

Posted on November 17, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

7 Events That May Necessitate Will Revisions

Wills Must Keep Up With Life Changes A will is an essential part of planning for the future. But don’t think creating a will is a one-time proposition. […]
Category: Estate Planning Tags:

Posted on November 12, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

The Rights of Nursing Home Residents

The stress of moving into a nursing home is great – and it’s compounded by the loss of freedom, dignity and privacy. […]
Category: Nursing Homes Tags: elder care

Posted on November 11, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Estate (Tax) of Uncertainty Continues

The results of the recent midterm elections may not bring about speedy estate tax repeal or reform. To see why, check out this Forbes.com article Results of Midterm Elections Do Not Bring Certainty to the Federal Estate Tax. […]
Category: Estate Tax Tags:

Posted on November 10, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

November 11th is Veterans Day – how are you going to honor our Veterans this year?

One way each of us can thank the veterans in our lives is to make sure they are aware of the benefits that they have earned as a result of their service to our country […]

Posted on November 3, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

IRS Announces 2011Retirement Plan Contribution Limits

IRS Announces Pension Plan Limitations for 2011 WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today announced cost of living adjustments affecting dollar limitations for pension plans and other retirement-related items for tax year 2011. […]
Category: Retirement Tags: qualified plans

Posted on November 2, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

2010 Executors – Are You Ready to Allocate that Basis?

Today I was alerted to the existence of a draft of the IRS from that will be required to be filed for estates of decedents dying in 2010 with estates in excess of $1.3 million. IRS Form 8939 – Allocation of Increase in Basis for Property Received from a Decedent. The due date is April 15, 2011. […]
Category: Probate Tags: Estate Tax, Income Tax

Posted on November 2, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Elder Mediation Available in Orange County

The Orange County Dispute Settlement Center, located here in Chapel Hill, is now offering specialized mediation dealing with elder care matters. […]
Category: Elder Care Tags:

Posted on November 1, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Are You Willing to Die to Save Estate Taxes?

On October 30, 2010, there was a brief piece in the Durham Herald-Sun reporting that U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) said that some of her constituents are so worried about the reinstatement of the federal estate tax that they plan to discontinue dialysis and other life-extending medical treatments so they can die before the end of the year. […]
Category: Estate Tax Tags:

Posted on October 29, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Is Your 403(b) Account Safe from Creditors?

403(b) plans are employee-funded retirement savings plans offered by educational institutions and 501(c)(3) charitable organization. While the plans of private schools are automatically covered by the Employer Retirement Income Security Act 0f 1974 (ERISA), public schools and universities are exempt. […]

Posted on October 29, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Estate Tax Debate Continues

The federal estate tax is a big issue in many congressional races, with proponents of repeal arguing that it severely impacts family businesses and farms. See this article in the online version of the Wall Street Journal. […]
Category: Estate Tax Tags:

Posted on October 28, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

IRS Announces 2011 Cost-of-Living Adjustments

In Revenue Procedure 2010-40, the IRS provides 2011 figures for many items in the tax code. Of particular note to my readers: […]
Category: Tax Tags:

Posted on October 26, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Tax Breaks to Disappear in 2011?

Congress left Washington with a big pile of unfinished tax issues still on the table. Under tax laws enacted in the past decade, many popular tax provisions expired at the end of last year, or they expire at the end of 2010. […]
Category: Pending Legislation Tags: Tax

Posted on October 20, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Helping Elderly Parents in Dealing with the IRS

Brian Dooley, CPA in his International Tax Counselor’s Blog, recently authored a helpful post on the use of IRS Form 56, Notice Concerning Fiduciary Relationship, for helping aging parents and others manage any issues that arise with the IRS. […]
Category: Elder Care Tags: Tax

Posted on October 20, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Little Thought-of Reasons to Complete an Estate Plan

So maybe the prospect of protecting your family, preserving your assets, and saving taxes doesn’t motivate you to get your estate planning done. If so, here are some less-mentioned benefits of completing a plan with an estate planning attorney: […]
Category: Estate Planning Tags:

Posted on October 13, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Estate Tax Action Still Uncertain

Here’s the latest from theHill.com. Bottom line – nobody knows what’s going to happen when Congress is back in session. […]
Category: Estate Tax Tags:

Posted on October 11, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Medicare Part D – It’s that time of year again to review your Prescription Drug Plan

The Center for Medicare Advocacy, Inc. reminds us that it’s that time of year again to make choices and change your current prescription drug plan. […]
Category: Elder Care Tags: medicare

Posted on October 8, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Run, Don’t Walk to Your Estate Planning Attorney

Time is running out – we are in the last quarter of 2010, with a host of dramatic changes in the tax laws approaching: […]
Category: Estate Planning Tags:

Posted on October 6, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

What’s Involved in Serving as Executor?

If you’re asked to serve as the executor of an estate, think carefully about the decision before accepting the position. Acting as an executor or administrator of an estate can involve a great deal of work, depending on assets and the complexity of the estate. […]
Category: Wills Tags: Probate

Posted on September 30, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Online Estate Planning? Think About It

Call me old-fashioned, but I think estate planning should involve a personalized and continuing relationship, not a transaction. While some may prefer to use low-cost websites or software because they are more concerned about price than value, think about what they won’t be getting. […]
Category: Estate Planning Tags:

Posted on September 29, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

AICPA issues Press Release Against Tax Strategy Patents

WASHINGTON (Sept. 29, 2010) – Tax strategy patents threaten American taxpayers and Congress should ban them before it adjourns for the year, a coalition of 18 national consumer and taxpayer organizations said in a letter to lawmakers. […]
Category: Tax Tags:

Posted on September 29, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Keep Your Information Private

Watch out for telephone calls where the caller requests personal information: “There are no situations in which it is reasonable to give out Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, credit card, checking account or other personal information over the phone or in writing unless you have initiated a conversation with a qualified person or business,” according to Angel Dennison, director of the Chatham County Council on Aging. […]
Category: Fraud & Financial Abuse Tags:

Posted on September 28, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

LegalZoom Responds to My Post of 9-27-10

Boy, that was fast! I stand corrected by LegalZoom’s Senior Counsel, Kenneth Friedman. The Attorney General of Washington State did not file suit against LegalZoom, but did institute an investigation of their business practices. […]
Category: Estate Planning Tags:

Posted on September 27, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Is LegalZoom Selling Your Personal Information?

The Attorney General of Washington instituted an investigation of LegalZoom for the unauthorized practice of law and the release of personal and financial information of customers to third parties, resulting in LegalZoom entering into this Assurance of Discontinuance. Check out this article on the topic. […]
Category: General Tags: Estate Planning

Posted on September 27, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Beware of “Medicaid Friendly” Annuities versus “Medicaid Compliant” Annuities

I have had a few clients who have been sold “Medicaid Friendly” Annuities. In at least one case, the annuity salesman sold the client a “Medicaid Friendly” annuity in the local senior center. […]
Category: Medicaid Tags: elder care

Posted on September 20, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

“Tax Hike Prevention” Act of 2010 introduced in Senate

The Tax Hike Prevention Act of 2010 was introduced in the Senate on September 13 as Senate Bill 3773 "to permanently extend the 2001 and 2003 tax relief provisions and to provide permanent AMT relief and estate tax relief, and for other purposes." […]

Posted on September 18, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

New Online Service Helps Executors Locate Financial Information

One of the most challenging things for many executors is trying to locate and organize the decedent’s financial information, such as insurance policies, and bank and investment statements. […]
Category: Probate Tags:

Posted on September 16, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

NC Court of Appeals Holds IRA Withdrawals Exempt from Creditors

The North Carolina Court of Appeals, in Kinlaw v. Johnson, confirmed statutory law protecting IRAs from creditors, and extended the protection to the account owner’s legal use of IRA funds from collection on a creditor’s judgment. The court stated: […]
Category: IRAs Tags: Asset Protection

Posted on September 14, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Obama Still Wants $3.5 Million Estate Tax Exemption

This update is from Tax Analysts by way of Robert Keebler, CPA: Obama administration officials are considering a proposal to allow taxpayers to elect to apply 2009 rules to their 2010 estate tax bills, a Treasury Department official said in an interview that aired September 12. […]
Category: Estate Tax Tags:

Posted on September 11, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Forgoing an ILIT- Estate Planning’s Costliest Mistake

Most people know that the proceeds of a life insurance policy are generally free of income taxes. What many don’t realize, however, is that the same proceeds are included in one’s estate for estate tax purposes. […]

Posted on September 8, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

IRS Guidance for Executors of 2010 Estates

Given the new basis reporting requirement for the estate of decedents dying in 2010, these new FAQ from the IRS are welcome and contain very important details, including (emphasis added): […]
Category: Probate Tags: Tax

Posted on September 7, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Online Wills Are Risky

I came across this article by lawyer and journalist Deborah L .Jacobs, The Case Against Do-It-Yourself Wills, on Forbes.com today. While I think the article sends an important message, I take issue with some of what Jacobs, and even nationally known attorney Jonathan Blattmachr have to say: […]
Category: Wills Tags: Estate Planning

Posted on September 7, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Top 10 Estate Planning Considerations

Now that Labor Day has come and gone, with no more summer vacations and the kids back in school, it’s time to get serious and give thought to creating or updating your estate plan. Here are some things that should be examined/implemented as part of every estate plan: […]
Category: Estate Planning Tags:

Posted on September 1, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

NC Law on Intrepretation of Estate Tax Clauses for 2010 Decedents

This year, of course, there is no federal estate tax. However, many Wills and Trusts drafted in the past contain formula clauses based on the existence of the federal estate and/or generation-skipping transfer tax. […]
Category: Wills Tags: Estate Tax, Trusts

Posted on September 1, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Social Security Payback Option May be Eliminated

The Social Security Administration may do away with a rarely used option to pay back earlier social security payments received in order to get increased payments in the future. […]
Category: Social Security Tags:

Posted on August 31, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Long-Term Care Planning: Is a Reverse Mortgage your best option?

Recently, I heard a story about a family who used a reverse mortgage. The mother has Alzheimer’s but is in great physical health. The father was in good health and was caring for the mother. […]

Posted on August 27, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

NC Law Requiring Name of Drafting Attorney on Wills Clarified

Effective January 1, 2010 North Carolina law required (1) that a Will prepared by an attorney contain the name of the attorney as the drafter; […]
Category: Wills Tags: Estate Planning

Posted on August 26, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

On the lighter side – a funny video about growing older

Most of what I write about relates to death, disability and taxes, and planning for those things. Pretty heavy stuff. So I’m glad to share this video with you, […]
Category: Elder Care Tags:

Posted on August 25, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Retirement Accounts and Estate Tax Planning

Successful estate planning generally involves passing on your assets to your heirs at a low tax cost. To help achieve that goal, there are a few things to keep in mind about retirement accounts. […]

Posted on August 24, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Video Monitoring for Elders

This morning on the way to work I heard an interesting piece on National Public Radio about the use of remote video monitoring of elderly persons. There are also companies that provide less invasive methods of monitoring, such as motion detectors. […]
Category: Elder Care Tags:

Posted on August 21, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

IRA Experts Keen On Roth Conversions

Three of four prominent IRA experts have either already utilized a Roth conversion or plan to do so, and the fourth says he plans to if the market gets even worse. […]

Posted on August 20, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

10 Things to Know Before You Retire

I created a few of the these "10 Things" lists myself, and this list provides some basic information on what to think about before entering retirement. […]
Category: Retirement Tags: Estate Planning

Posted on August 17, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Retroactive Estate Tax in 2010 Unlikely

While there is still debate over whether Congress will increase the scheduled $1 million exemption and decrease the 55% rate when the estate tax returns in 2011, […]
Category: Estate Tax Tags:

Posted on August 13, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Medicare Claim Matter in Probate Estate Removed to Federal Court

Probate and Estate Administration Matters Are Generally Handled in the State Courts – But Not Always, As One NC Executor Recently Found Out […]
Category: Probate Tags: Medicaid, medicare

Posted on August 12, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

North Carolina Elder Law Resources

Wake Forest University’s School of Law, known state-wide for its Elder Law Clinic program, offers valuable resources on its website, both North Carolina specific and otherwise. […]
Category: Elder Care Tags:

Posted on August 11, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

U.S. Income Taxation of Aliens

No, not little green men, but non-citizens. This list, complete with links to the IRS website, is courtesy of Brian Dooley, CPA, MBT: […]
Category: Income Tax Tags:

Posted on August 5, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

What is Medicaid Planning?

This post is by elder law attorney Kristin L. Burrows, who recently joined my firm. Look for more entries from her in the future, focusing on elder law. […]

Posted on August 4, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Roth IRAs offer Tax and Estate Planning Advantages

Roth IRAs are a great tax saving vehicle. The reason: Investments held in a Roth IRA are allowed to build up federal-income-tax-free. Later on, you can take federal-income-tax-free withdrawals. Obviously, a zero tax rate is the best rate going. […]
Category: Retirement Tags: Income Tax, IRAs

Posted on August 3, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Action on Estate Not Likely Anytime Soon

With only a couple of days until Congress takes its summer recess, it’s likely that that nothing will happen with estate tax reform until September at the earliest. […]
Category: Estate Tax Tags:

Posted on August 2, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

What Will Happen to Your Retirement Accounts After You Are Gone?

When Trusts Meet Retirement Accounts, a recent article on WSJ.com, explains the benefits of using a trust to pass on IRAs and other retirement accounts to children. […]

Posted on July 31, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

A “Will” for your Digital Assets

A new online service, Entrustet, provides a free way to safeguard your digital assets, such as domain names, blogs, twitter accounts, online financial accounts, etc. I have tried it out, and it’s very user friendly. […]
Category: Estate Planning Tags:

Posted on July 30, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Most Tax Experts Believe in Estate Tax Worst Case Scenario for 2011

My former colleague and attorney Julie Garber recently sent the following email to over 50 attorneys, trust officers and accountants located throughout the U.S.: […]
Category: Estate Tax Tags:

Posted on July 29, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Obama has a Living Will – Do you?

President Obama is visiting Broughton High School in Raleigh today, and coincidently he recently stated in a discussion of health care reform that he and Mrs. Obama have Living Wills and consider them important. […]
Category: Health Care Tags:

Posted on July 23, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

FDIC Insurance Permanently Increased to $250,000 per Depositor

Here’s the text of the press release from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation: Note: for the rules that apply trust owned bank accounts (and other types of ownership, click here. […]
Category: Financial Planning Tags:

Posted on July 15, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Statute of Limitations Does Not Apply to Medicaid Estate Recovery

The North Carolina Medicaid program paid a total of $52,575.14 in nursing home costs for Sallie Anthony. After Mrs. Anthony’s death, Anna Thompkins, who would become the Executrix of Anthony’s estate, contacted the State to inquire about its claim for the Medicaid expenditures. […]
Category: Medicaid Tags: Nursing Homes, elder care

Posted on July 15, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Estate Tax “Rumors on the Street”

Yesterday I listened in on a conference call about planning to avoid the 3.8% Medicare Surtax that will come into effect in 2013. The speaker, CPA Robert Keebler, a nationally known tax expert, stated that it is likely that Congress will offer estates of those who die in 2010 the choice between the estate tax system, with a step-up in basis for appreciated property, and the modified carryover basis system currently in effect. […]
Category: Estate Tax Tags:

Posted on July 12, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Too Rich to Live?

Watch out for your heirs, who might not want you to live to 2011 due to the heavy estate tax burden estates over $1 million will face next year. […]
Category: Estate Tax Tags:

Posted on July 8, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

New Rules Will Affect Certain Self-Settled and Pooled Special Needs Trusts

A New Social Security Program Operations Manual System (“POMS”) Section Regarding Early Trust Termination Provisions for "Self-Settled" Special Needs and Pooled Trusts is set forth below. This will not affect SNTs established with the assets of a third party, such as a parent. […]

Posted on July 6, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Take Advantage of Tax Deductions for CCRC Costs

You or someone you love may be ready for a retirement community living arrangement, which typically includes lifetime residential accommodations, meals, and some degree of medical services. These facilities can be quite expensive. The good news: Unexpected tax write-offs may help offset the cost. […]

Posted on July 4, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Gregory Herman-Giddens, JD, LLM, TEP, CFP

Specializing in Wealth Planning, Protection and Management, Gregory Herman-Giddens, JD, LLM, TEP, CFP and the team at TrustCounsel have the knowledge and experience to help you develop an estate plan carefully designed to protect your family, preserve your assets, and save taxes. […]
Category: General Tags:

Posted on July 2, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

NC Probate Filing Fees Increase

Effective July 1, 2010, the fee for opening a probate proceeding in North Carolina increased by $1.00 to $89.00. While one dollar is not much of an increase, it is representative of the trend over the last few years to raise court costs. It will only get worse, making living trusts to avoid probate that much more attractive. […]
Category: Probate Tags:

Posted on July 1, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Kristin L. Burrows

Kristin L. Burrows focuses her practice on helping the aged and disabled and their families. This area of law is known as Elder Law, and it is unique in that it draws from many areas of the law to serve a particular type of client – seniors. […]
Category: General Tags:

Posted on June 28, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Thomas J. Neagle, JD

Thomas J. Neagle is Of Counsel with TrustCounsel. PRACTICE AREAS: Estate Planning and Probate Law; Guardianship Law; Trust Administration Law; Probate Litigation; Corporate Law; Contract Law; Intellectual Property and Technology Law. […]
Category: General Tags:

Posted on June 27, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

The Latest Estate Tax Proposal

Friday’s Wall Street Journal had an article on the latest estate tax proposal, from independent Senator Bernie Sanders and Democratic Senators Tom Harkin of Iowa, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Sherrod Brown of Ohio. […]

Posted on June 26, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

NC “Will to Live” Durable Power of Attorney

Most people who execute living wills, health care powers of attorney and other advance directives express their desire to not have their lives prolonged if terminally ill or in a persistent vegetative state. […]

Posted on June 23, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Better GRAT While You Still Can

On June 15, 2010, the House of Representatives passed The Small Business Jobs Tax Relief Act of 2010 (the "Act") which, if passed by the Senate and signed by the President, will significantly limit the utility of Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts (GRATs). […]

Posted on June 23, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Inheriting an IRA from a spouse? Make sure you know the rules

When it comes to inheriting an IRA, spouses have more flexibility than other heirs. Here are the basic rules: The surviving spouse may treat the inherited IRA as his or her own, roll it over into an existing IRA, or remain the beneficiary on the account. […]
Category: IRAs Tags:

Posted on June 22, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

New Taxes on Investment Income will affect Estates and Trusts

According to a recent article on WSJ.com, the additional 3.8% tax that starts in 2013 will also apply to undistributed income in estates and trusts, starting at about the $12,000 mark (making the top rate 44.4%). […]
Category: Income Tax Tags:

Posted on June 9, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Think $4 billion would help our government?

Here’s an article about Houston’s Dan Duncan’s death this year and his $9 billion estate, which will completely escape estate taxes (although his heirs may be liable for capital gains taxes upon the sale of some of his assets). […]
Category: Estate Tax Tags:

Posted on June 5, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Estate Tax “Tremendous Upheaval” Predicted

On June 2, 2010, Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) offered reporters his view on the uncertain future of the estate tax. Grassley is the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee. […]
Category: Estate Tax Tags:

Posted on June 3, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Some NC IRS Offices to be Open Saturday June 5

From IR-2010-071: The IRS offices listed below will be open June 5 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. IRS staff will be available on site or by telephone to help taxpayers work through their problems –– especially recently received tax notices –– and walk out with solutions. […]
Category: Tax Tags: IRS

Posted on June 3, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

How about an estate tax-free IRA?

With the federal estate tax returning next year at a rate of 55%, with only a $1 million exemption, planning to reduce estate tax should be on the forefront of the minds of those fortunate enough to have assets in excess of that amount. […]
Category: Life Insurance Tags: IRAs, Estate Tax

Posted on May 27, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Cost of Care in North Carolina – 2010

Genworth recently conducted a survey of the Cost of Care in North Carolina (Home Care, Adult Day Care, Assisted Living and Nursing Homes). There are comparisons of the U.S. and NC as a whole, along with the largest metro areas in the state. […]

Posted on May 22, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Committee Chairs Reach Agreement on IRA Charitable Rollver and Tax Extenders

Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus (D-MT) and House Ways and Means Committee Chair Sander Levin (D-MI) announced that they have reached an agreement on continuing the IRA Charitable Rollover and many other tax saving extensions. […]

Posted on May 21, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Taxes on Investment Income will nearly Triple for Some

Currently the maximum federal tax rate for qualified dividends and long-term capital gains is 15%. This is great for people like Warren Buffett, who live off of investment income. […]
Category: Income Tax Tags: capital gains

Posted on May 20, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

NC General Assembly Considering Bill to Address Issue of Outdated Wills and Trusts of Those Dying in 2010

With no estate tax in 2010, the prospects of reinstatement diminishing daily, and the ever more probable $1 million exemption in 2011, my staff has been working hard to notify our existing clients that they should come to have their wills or trusts updated. […]

Posted on May 18, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Estate Tax Agreement Falls Apart

TheHill.com reported today that, according to Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), a deal in the works between Senate Democrats and Republicans on the estate tax has fallen apart. […]

Posted on May 17, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

NC Medical Board Recommends Advance Directives

The website of the North Carolina Medical Board contains many Position Statements, including one on Advance Directives, a portion of which is quoted below: […]

Posted on May 15, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Estate Tax Uncertainty – Forbes Says See a Lawyer

Thanks to a client for bringing this article to my attention: How To Protect Your Family From Estate Tax Uncertainty. It contains good advice, which I have highlighted in bold in the following text from the article: […]
Category: Estate Planning Tags: Estate Tax

Posted on May 12, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Progress on the Estate Tax?

More from theHill.com on the estate tax in Kyl: Deal on the estate tax in the offing: "Sources close to the matter told The Hill last week that lawmakers are looking to give taxpayers the option of prepaying their estate tax. […]

Posted on May 11, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Movement on the Estate Tax?

On May 4, Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) stated that members of Congress will discuss the estate tax along with a small business tax bill this week. […]

Posted on May 11, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

LLCs Provide Favorable Tax Treatment and Liability Protection

From TrustCounsel’s today’s eNewsletter: There’s no one legal structure that works best for all businesses. […]
Category: Income Tax Tags: Business Entities

Posted on May 6, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

NC law on CCRCs

I recently gave a presentation on the Legal and Contractual Aspects of Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) Agreements. […]

Posted on May 1, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Ways and Means Chair comments on future of estate tax

The new chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Sander Levin (D-Mich.) was quoted in an April 19 article on DailyFinance.com: […]
Category: Estate Tax Tags:

Posted on April 28, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

NC Medicaid Beneficiary Liable for Overpayment

In this North Carolina Court of Appeals case a Medicaid beneficiary was held liable for overpayment of Medicaid benefits when a newly discovered asset caused her to assets to exceed the resource limit: […]
Category: Medicaid Tags: elder care

Posted on April 20, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

When can I get rid of old tax records?

Perhaps it’s a good thing that the April 15th tax deadline and the urge to spring clean coincide. It can feel refreshing to throw out some of the financial records stuffing your filing cabinets. […]
Category: Tax Tags:

Posted on April 19, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

An Estate Tax Nightmare…

Forbes.com has been publishing a series on finance and taxes – here’s one about an estate tax worst case scenario: Estate Tax Could Come Back with a Sharp Bite. […]

Posted on April 17, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Retroactive Estate Tax in 2010 Less Likely?

There has been talk in Washington about possibly reinstating the estate tax retroactively to January 1, 2010? If that’s done, however, many have speculated that litigation challenging the constitutionality of doing so will follow. […]

Posted on April 16, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Today is National Healthcare Decisions Day

2010 marks the 20th Anniversary of the enactment of the Patient Self-Determination Act, and April 16th, 2010 is the Third Annual National Healthcare Decisions Day. […]

Posted on April 12, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

10 Ways to Attract an IRS Audit

With accompanying pictures, this article on Forbes.com gives us 10 things NOT to do with regard to our tax returns. […]
Category: Tax Tags: tax enforcement

Posted on April 6, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

AALU Report on Estate Tax Reform

A recent AALU report, Update on Estate Tax Reform: Developments and Dynamics, lists three factors that affect the ongoing environment for federal estate tax legislation: […]
Category: Estate Tax Tags:

Posted on April 6, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Estate Tax ‘Choice” in 2010?

Support is growing in Congress for allowing estates of decedents dying in 2010 to choose between the $3.5 million estate tax exemption (per 2009 law) and the current modified carryover basis law. […]
Category: Estate Tax Tags:

Posted on April 2, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

It’s Time to Review Your Will!

My law firm, TrustCounsel, is currently in the process of reviewing all of our clients’ estate plans and notifying those that need to update their plans due changes in the law, and possibly changes in the client’s situation. […]
Category: Estate Planning Tags:

Posted on April 1, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Top 10 Tips for Last Minute Filers

Don’t be an April Fool, read these tax tips from the IRS (2010-62): 1. E-file your return Don’t miss out on the benefits of e-file. Your tax return will get processed quickly if you use e-file. […]
Category: Income Tax Tags:

Posted on March 31, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Dividing Assets Among Adult Children

When children are young, the primary concern of parents is to provide for them. After they grow up, parents usually still want to provide for them in their estate plans. […]
Category: Estate Planning Tags:

Posted on March 29, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

North Carolina vs. Florida: Creditor Protection & Taxes

Many North Carolinians have winter homes in Florida, and even more Floridians have summer homes in the North Carolina mountains. […]
Category: Tax Tags: Asset Protection

Posted on March 24, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Take Advantage of Recovery Act Tax Credits

The White House has launched an Tax Savings Tool on its website to assist middle-class taxpayers in getting the most out of the various Recovery Act tax credits. […]
Category: Income Tax Tags:

Posted on March 22, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Tax Consequences of Equitable Distribution

My article, Tax Consequences of Equitable Distribution, which discusses the income tax issues involved in the division of property due to divorce, was just published in Core Compass, an online newsletter for real estate investors and their advisors. […]
Category: Income Tax Tags: Divorce, distribution

Posted on March 22, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

NC Medical Society Website – A Resource for Advance Directives

In addition to attorney-prepared health care planning documents like Health Care Powers of Attorney, Living Wills and HIPAA Authorizations, I often talk to clients about Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Orders and the newer Medical Order Scope of Treatment (MOST) Form. […]

Posted on March 22, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Update on Health Care Surtax

The Reconciliation Bill (H.R. 4872), which passed the House and has gone to the Senate contains a 3.8% surtax on investment income for single taxpayers with modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) over $200,000, […]

Posted on March 19, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Health Care Reform Will Bring Higher Taxes

The Health Care Reconciliation bill includes a new 3.8% Medicare tax on investment income, which includes IRA distributions, interest income (including tax exempt), dividends, capital gains, rental income and oil royalties. […]

Posted on March 18, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

10 Year Minimum GRAT Approved by Ways and Means Committee

Click "Continue Reading" for the pertinent text from the report by the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation. […]

Posted on March 18, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Airplane Kills Jogger Story offers Example of Necessity of Estate Planning

Most everyone in the country has heard about the Georgia husband and father, Robert Gary Jones, who was killed by an airplane while jogging on the beach on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. […]

Posted on March 16, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

The 2010 “Dirty Dozen” List of Tax Scams

From IR-2010-32: WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today issued its 2010 “dirty dozen” list of tax scams, including schemes involving return preparer fraud, hiding income offshore and phishing. […]
Category: Tax Fraud Tags:

Posted on March 12, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Special Needs Trusts: Allowable Expenses

Special Needs Trusts (SNTs), also sometimes referred to as Supplemental Needs Trusts, are used to provide supplemental benefits to disabled or elderly […]

Posted on March 11, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Inherited IRAs – the continuing saga in bankruptcy

I previously blogged about inherited IRAs being subject to the claims of creditors, both in (In Re: Jarboe) and outside of (Robertson v. Deeb) bankruptcy, and one case (In Re: Nessa) where an inherited IRA was determined to be protected under federal law. […]
Category: IRAs Tags: Litigation, Asset Protection

Posted on March 8, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Battle to the Death (Tax)

Here’s the latest on the fight over the future of the estate tax tax, from Bloomberg.com. In general, Republicans and business lobbyists are pushing for a $5 million exemption and a 35% rate, […]

Posted on March 6, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Does the IRS owe you money?

By failing to file a return, people stand to lose more than refunds of taxes withheld or paid during 2006. For example, most telephone customers, including most cell-phone users, qualify for the one-time telephone excise tax refund. […]
Category: Income Tax Tags:

Posted on March 5, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Asset Protection for the Rest of Us

Members of America’s middle class should be a lot more concerned about protecting their assets from creditors than from the so called "death tax." […]
Category: Asset Protection Tags:

Posted on February 27, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Washington State may double estate tax rate

Yes, I know this is the North Carolina Estate Planning Blog, but in these troubled economic times, with most states, including NC, desperate for cash, this could be a sign of things to come here and elsewhere. […]
Category: Estate Tax Tags:

Posted on February 23, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

State Estate Taxes – No Worries in NC (yet)

There is no estate tax in North Carolina this year, but residents (and owners of real estate) in 19 other states do have a state estate tax, even in the absence of the federal estate tax. […]
Category: Estate Tax Tags:

Posted on February 16, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

High-income taxpayers to pay more in 2011

The Tax Policy Center of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution contains fascinating (to a tax geek) and detailed information about taxes. […]
Category: Income Tax Tags:

Posted on February 16, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Inherited IRAs are protected in bankruptcy – sometimes

In a recent ruling, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for Minnesota held that an inherited IRA was protected from the debtor’s creditors under federal law. In re: Nessa, 105 AFTR 2d 2010-XXXX, 01/11/2010. […]
Category: Asset Protection Tags: Bankruptcy

Posted on February 12, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

North Carolina’s Repeal of the Rule Against Perpetuities Upheld

In a decision dated February 2, 2010, the North Carolina Court of Appeals upheld the Superior Court Judge’s 2009 decision in Brown Brothers Harriman Trust v. Anne P. Benson, et al. […]
Category: Trusts Tags: Litigation

Posted on February 11, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Senate discussing possible agreement on Estate Tax

Nothing has been decided yet, but here’s the scoop from TheHill.com as of February 9, 2010. At a minimum, the 2009 $3.5 million exemption and 45% rate would continue, effective January 1, 2010. […]

Posted on February 9, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Stipulation Leads to Directed Verdict in Fraud Case

Here’s a summary of Burton v. Williams, a recent North Carolina Court of Appeals case (adapted from today’s NAELA eBulletin): […]

Posted on February 3, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Tax Court Rules Gender Reassignment Expenses Deductible

On February 2, 2010, in Ododonnabhain v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, the U.S. Tax Court held that a transgender woman’s expenses for hormone therapy and sex reassignment surgery were medically necessary and therefore deductible for federal income tax purposes. […]
Category: Health Care Tags: Income Tax

Posted on February 3, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

IRS Issues Guidance for 2010 Gifts to Trusts

Based on what appeared to be a giant "loophole" in the gift tax law applying to gifts made in 2010, taxpayers could arguably make gifts to a wholly-owned grantor trust free from gift tax. […]
Category: Trusts Tags: Gift Tax, Estate Planning

Posted on January 30, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Income Taxation of Estates – a Brief Overview

In North Carolina it is not uncommon for persons to handle administration of a decedent’s estate without hiring a lawyer or an accountant. […]
Category: Probate Tags: Tax, Fiduciary, income, Income Tax

Posted on January 26, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Haiti Donations Qualify for 2009 Tax Deduction

IR 2010-012: WASHINGTON — People who give to charities providing earthquake relief in Haiti can claim these donations on the tax return they are completing this season, according to the Internal Revenue Service. […]

Posted on January 25, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

State of the North Carolina Estate Tax

For years, there has only been North Carolina estate tax due if federal estate tax was due. Now, however, that the federal estate tax is gone (for now, anyway), what’s the status of the NC estate tax? […]
Category: Estate Tax Tags: Estate Planning

Posted on January 25, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

GRATs and FLPs okay this year?

I’m at the University of Miami School of Law’s Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning this week. […]

Posted on January 16, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Tax Free Planning Opportunity for Long Term Care Expenses

The aging demographics of the United States coupled with the Pension and Recovery Act of 2006 (the "PPA”) and Deficit Reduction Act of 2007 (“DRA”) have provided an excellent planning opportunity to create tax efficient vehicles to solve a clients’ long-term care planning needs. […]

Posted on January 15, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Retroactive Estate Tax Not Certain

The Dow Jones Newswire quotes Rep. Charles Rangel, Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, as saying that he does not favor retroactive estate tax legislation (to January 1, 2010). […]
Category: Estate Tax Tags: Estate Planning

Posted on January 13, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Run, Don’t Walk to Your Estate Attorney!

From The New York Times to my bully pulpit: This article helps explain why revising old estate plans is more important than ever, given this bizarre (tax-wise) year of 2010. […]
Category: Estate Tax Tags: Estate Planning

Posted on January 11, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Want to be an organ donor?

Carolina Donor Service will answer all your questions about organ donation in North Carolina. Also, don’t forget that in a Health Care Power of Attorney you can give your agent the power to donate your organs. […]
Category: Health Care Tags:

Posted on January 9, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

The Time for FLPs or FLLCs is Now!

This is from Steve Akers’ recent presentation, Estate Planning in Light of One-Year ‘Repeal’ of Estate and GST Tax in 2010: […]

Posted on January 8, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Estate Planning Alert

I just put this Estate Planning Alert on my firm’s website homepage, but thought it would also be appropriate for this blog: […]
Category: Estate Planning Tags: Estate Tax

Posted on January 8, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

NC Incompetency and Guardianship Proceedings

This is a basic outline of initial procedures and considerations in an incompetency and guardianship proceeding in North Carolina. […]
Category: Guardianship Tags:

Posted on January 5, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Does Your Will Waive Bond for the Executor?

The following is a guest post by Chris Birk of SuretyBonds.com, which also publishes the Surety Bond Insider: […]
Category: Wills Tags: Estate Planning, Probate

Posted on January 5, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Does Your Will Waive Bond for the Executor?

The following is a guest post by Chris Birk of SuretyBonds.com, which also publishes the Surety Bond Insider: […]
Category: Wills Tags: Estate Planning, Probate

Posted on January 4, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Planning After “Repeal” of the Federal Estate Tax

From its inception, the 2001 tax act was scheduled to repeal the federal estate tax and generation skipping transfer tax (GSTT) for one year beginning January 1, 2010. […]

Posted on January 4, 2010 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

The Estate Tax is Gone (for Now) – Estate Plan Updates are Imperative

It’s 2010! As of January 1st, the federal estate tax is no more and it may mean that you should revise your estate plan and related documents. […]

Posted on December 31, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Don’t Die Today – Tomorrow There Will be No Estate Tax

We only have a few hours left before the much reviled "death" tax disappears, to be replaced by a complicated and confusing carryover basis regime. […]
Category: Estate Tax Tags:

Posted on December 31, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

NC residents will see a couple of new taxes next year

Starting tomorrow, North Carolina residents will pay sales taxes on certain digital downloads from the internet, and standard gasoline tax on ethanol. The Triangle Business Journal has a brief article. […]
Category: Tax Tags:

Posted on December 29, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Roth Conversions – Just Because You Can Doesn’t Mean You Should

Some financial advisors are warning against a Rush to Roth. The key to is to approach the idea cautiously and do a comprehensive analysis. […]

Posted on December 21, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

The Estate Tax Will Die Soon

Just a few days left until the estate tax expires (although for one year only), and retroactive action in 2010 is likely. True death tax haters can track the countdown here. […]
Category: Retirement Tags:

Posted on December 21, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Planning with the Wyoming Close LLC

What is an LLC? In 1977 Wyoming was the first state to enact laws permitting the creation of a Limited Liability Company. […]

Posted on December 16, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

No Movement on the Estate Tax

Here’s a recent article on the estate tax from the WSJ.com. Not exactly objective reporting, more like an opinion piece against the "death" tax. […]

Posted on December 11, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

8 Reasons to Convert to a Roth IRA

As most people know by now, the $100,000 income limit on the ability to convert a traditional IRA to a tax-free Roth IRA will disappear next year. […]

Posted on December 9, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

When Should You Start on Social Security?

If you’re close to age 62, it’s probably weighing heavily on your mind. Make sure you carefully consider your options. […]
Category: Social Security Tags: Retirement

Posted on December 9, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

50 Resources for Starting a Charity

This posting on executivembaprograms.org has 50 links to other sites that provide information related to establishing and running a non-profit organization. […]

Posted on December 8, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

When Choosing an Estate Planner

In looking for estate planning assistance, you should consider the following: 1. Do they concentrate their practice solely in estate planning? […]
Category: Estate Planning Tags:

Posted on December 8, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

IRS Offers Tips for Year End Donations

From IR-2009-114 WASHINGTON — Individuals and businesses making contributions to charity should keep in mind several important tax law provisions that have taken effect in recent years. […]

Posted on December 7, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Immediate Senate Action on Estate Tax Unlikely

Other than perhaps a one year extension of current law, we are unlikely to see any movement on the estate tax in 2009. CCH Tax Newsletter. […]

Posted on December 3, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

House Passes Estate Tax Bill

As expected the House voted today to extend the current $3.5 million exemption and 45% rate. The final vote was 225-200. […]

Posted on December 3, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Deeds – more information required in 2010

Effective January 1, 2010, all new North Carolina deeds must contain the address of both the grantor and grantee as well as a statement indicating whether the property contains the primary residence of the the grantor. […]
Category: Real Property Tags:

Posted on December 3, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

House to Vote on Estate Tax Today

​The U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on the estate tax today, but even if legislation passes, Senate approval is necessary. Lots of politics involved for a tax that affects so few people. See what the Washington Post has to say. […]
Category: Pending Legislation Tags:

Posted on December 2, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

The Truth about Frivolous Tax Arguments

Have you ever heard a friend, neighbor, or colleague state that they had found a way to get around paying income taxes, or that certain taxes weren’t really legal? Don’t believe them – many people, including several wealthy actors, have gotten into trouble with the IRS that way. […]

Posted on November 30, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

US House to Vote on Estate Tax Bill Next Week

​This legislation would continue the current $3.5 million exemption and 45% rate, but does not include the spousal "portability." While the bill may very well pass in the House, Senate action is uncertain. […]

Posted on November 30, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

MLPs Provide Income and Tax Benefits

This from Howard Hinds of the Curbstone Group in Boston: Master Limited Partnerships (MLPs) are excellent tools for estate planning: 1. MLP distributions (around 8% yield right now) are considered return of capital, meaning that distributions reduce your basis in the MLP, while allocated net income increases your basis. […]

Posted on November 30, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Senate Bill Introduced to Hold Estate Tax at 2009 Levels

On November 17, 2009, Senators Tom Carper (D-DE) and George V. Voinovich (R-OH) reintroduced bipartisan legislation that would freeze the estate tax at its current 2009 level (a $3.5 million exemption and 45% rate) and allow a surviving spouse to elect to use the exemption of the his or her predeceased spouse. […]

Posted on November 24, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Family of NC Man Wrongly Declared Dead Sues Medical Examiner

Sounds like a nightmare, but it’s true. After an auto accident, Larry Green was put into a body bag and refrigerated. The medical examiner dismissed paramedics’ claims of signs of life from Green’s "body." […]
Category: General Tags:

Posted on November 23, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

AMT Patch for 2010? Forget about it!

And don’t even think about estate tax repeal. From Brian Dooley CPA, MBT’s newsletter: Update: The AMT patch is gone as seventy-three tax breaks will get a twelve month life. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel, D-N.Y. is introducing legislation next week that would keep a variety of tax breaks from expiring before the end of the year. […]
Category: Tax Tags: Pending Legislation

Posted on November 23, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Bank of America Liable for Failure to Honor Power of Attorney

In a recent Florida case, Bank of America was held liable for refusing to honor a power of attorney: Copyright 2009 Stuart News Company All Rights Reserved The Stuart News/Port St. Lucie News (Stuart, Florida) November 15, 2009 Sunday Martin County Edition SECTION: LOCAL; Pg. B5 LENGTH: 496 words HEADLINE: Stuart man takes on Bank of America BYLINE: Melissa E. Holsman staff writer BODY: […]

Posted on November 21, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Is Your Will a “Turkey”? 6 Ways to Tell

Thanksgiving is less than a week away, but many people currently have turkeys of a different kind – poorly drafted Wills. If your Will is missing one or more of these features, it’s time for an update: […]
Category: Wills Tags: Estate Planning

Posted on November 19, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Year End Gift Checks – make sure you do it right

Many people are aware that they can give any number of other people up to $13,000 per year under the federal gift tax annual exclusion (IRC Section 2503(b)). Staying under this number means that no gift tax return has to be filed and that there will be no reduction in the amount that can be passed free of estate taxes at the donor’s death. […]
Category: Gift Tax Tags: Estate Planning

Posted on November 19, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

The IRS Loves Retirement Accounts

Planning for tax-qualified plans, which includes IRAs, 401(k)s and qualified retirement plans, requires a careful examination of the potential taxes that impact these assets. Unlike most other assets that receive a “basis step up” to current fair market value upon the owner’s death, IRAs, 401(k)s and other qualified retirement plans do not step-up to the date-of-death value. […]

Posted on November 17, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Further Delay on Estate Tax “Reform”

​Coming as no surprise to me, anyway, an article on the website CQ Politics,House Likely to Delay Estate Tax Consideration, states that the House will likely postpone any movement on estate tax legislation until after Thanksgiving. […]

Posted on November 17, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Tax Court: Gifts to your own Private Foundation are Deductible

This courtesy of Professor Chris Hoyt of the University of Missouri (Kansas City) School of Law: […]

Posted on November 16, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

No Relief for the Wealthy – Tax Predictions for the Next Decade

From the GiftLaw eNewsletter article New Decade Predictions: "The clear intention of Congress is to start addressing the deficit in 2011 by increasing taxes on upper-income taxpayers. The top brackets are proposed to be returned to 36% and 39.6% in 2011. […]
Category: Tax Tags:

Posted on November 16, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Online Wills – You Get What You Pay For

Last Thursday’s Wall Street Journal’s website featured an article on online estate planning programs: Before It’s Too Late: A Test of Online Wills. As you might imagine, I’m not a big fan of do-it-yourself estate planning, particularly for those who have substantial assets. […]
Category: Wills Tags: Estate Planning

Posted on November 13, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

NC Revises Spousal Elective Share Law

The Elective Share is the value of property a surviving spouse is entitled to get from a deceased spouse. In the absence of a valid prenuptial or postnuptial agreement waiving such rights, when the deceased spouse leaves less than the elective share amount to the survivor, he or she can enforce the elective share. […]
Category: Probate Tags: share, elective share, elective

Posted on November 13, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

NC Trustees

Effective October 1, 2009, Trustees of North Carolina trusts can, subject to certain requirements, appoint the trust property to another trust for the same beneficiary. […]
Category: Trusts Tags:

Posted on November 12, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

How Does Your Living Trust Stack Up?

Click "Continue Reading" for a Comprehensive Living Trust Checklist to determine whether or not your trust needs to be upgraded. Thanks to attorney Thomas J. Bouman for the checklist, which I have modified for North Carolina purposes. […]
Category: Living Trusts Tags: Estate Planning

Posted on November 11, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Life Insurance – an Estate Tax Time Bomb

One common oversight I see when reviewing new clients’ financial status is failure to consider the estate tax impact of large life insurance policies. Most people know that life insurance proceeds are received free from income tax. […]

Posted on November 10, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Purchase Agreement Not Countable Resource for Medicaid

This report on the NC case of Estate of Wilson is from the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA)’s eNewsletter: Kenneth Wilson was hospitalized from January 7, 2007 through the date of his death on February 22, 2007. While he was hospitalized, his community spouse, Doris, sold her 100% stock ownership in Brothers Deliver Service to her son pursuant to a purchase agreement. […]
Category: Medicaid Tags:

Posted on November 9, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

New Website for High Net Worth Individuals and Advisors to Network

Wealth Management Exchange is designed for networking and information exchange. One can sign up to receive email alerts on financial and estate planning topics. […]

Posted on November 5, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

NFA (Gun) Trusts Provide Many Advantages

This posting is courtesy of my colleague David Goldman in Jacksonville, Florida, who has created a special trust for owning weapons regulated by the National Firearms Act (NFA). […]
Category: Trusts Tags: NFA Gun Trusts, Trusts

Posted on November 5, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Most of us will be too poor to retire at 65

According to the National Retirement Risk Index prepared by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, 51% of American will not be able to afford to retire at age 65. […]
Category: Retirement Tags:

Posted on November 2, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Wills – are You Aware or Blissfully Ignorant?

Last week was National Estate Planning Awareness Week – I’m sure most of us didn’t know that, but awareness about the necessity of estate planning is pitifully low, so anything that can be done to help folks realize that it’s important to plan for the future is good. […]
Category: Wills Tags: Estate Planning

Posted on October 31, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Estate Tax: Back to the Future

This article on Trusts & Estates journal’s website discusses a very real possibility – a return in 2011 to the estate tax laws of 2001. Briefly, that would mean a $1 million exemption and a 55% rate. […]
Category: Estate Tax Tags:

Posted on October 29, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

The Dirty Dozen – 12 Estate Planning Mistakes

As Halloween approaches, here’s another reason to be scared – failure to do proper estate planning. Make sure you have not committed any of these common mistakes that I see all too often: […]
Category: Estate Planning Tags:

Posted on October 24, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

IRS Publishes Retirement Plan Guide for Small Businesses

To help small business owners steer their way through all of the retirement plan options available, the IRS has come up with the IRS Retirement Plans Navigator. The site contains a comparison of the various plans and other helpful information and links. […]
Category: Income Tax Tags: Retirement

Posted on October 24, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Reverse Mortgages can be Hazardous to your Equity

The National Consumer Law Center has come out with a report detailing the risks of reverse mortgages for senior homeowners. Because of high fees, interest rates and other issues, I generally do not recommend reverse mortgages, although for some they may be the only feasible way to access cash. […]

Posted on October 23, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Another Estate Tax Bill Introduced

On October 15, 2009, Rep. Schrader (D. Oregon) introduced "The Small Business and Family Farm Estate Tax Relief Act of 2009" ( H.R. 3841), which would "repeal carryover basis for decedents dying in 2009, and "increase the estate tax exemption to $5,000,000" and "reduce the maximum estate and gift tax rate to 45 percent" for decedents dying after December 31, 2009. […]

Posted on October 23, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Uncertainty in Future of Estate Tax No Reason to Delay Planning

Check out this aptly titled article on webcpa.com – The dangers of postponing estate planning until Congress clarifies the law. Don’t let the expenditure of a few hours or a couple of thousand dollars keep you from putting a plan into place that could avoid unintended financial problems for your family and/or save them hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes. […]
Category: Estate Tax Tags: Estate Planning

Posted on October 23, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Uncertainty in Future of Estate Tax No Reason to Delay Planning

Check out this aptly titled article on webcpa.com – The dangers of postponing estate planning until Congress clarifies the law. […]
Category: Estate Tax Tags: Estate Planning

Posted on October 22, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Regular Updates to Will Important

This article from WSJ online on the effect on changing estate tax exemptions on what’s left for the surviving spouse describes just one reason why. […]
Category: Wills Tags: Estate Planning, Estate Tax

Posted on October 13, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Life Insurance Blog

http://www.insuranceblogbychris.com/ […]
Category: Links Tags:

Posted on October 8, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Responsibilities of Guardians in North Carolina

I’m leaving on vacation tomorrow, so it’s a hectic day in the office, but I wanted to share the link to the pamphlet Responsibilities of Guardians in North Carolina, which is published by the NC Administrative Office of the Courts. […]
Category: Guardianship Tags:

Posted on October 6, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

When NOT to use a Living Trust

Practically every day, I discuss with clients the pros and cons of revocable living trusts. In my opinion, the positives generally far outweigh the negatives, but living trusts don’t make sense for everyone. […]

Posted on October 6, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

I Inherited Real Estate – Where’s My Deed?

I often have clients ask about "getting a deed" when they inherit real property. My response is usually "you don’t need one." In North Carolina, in most cases, no deed is necessary to transfer and evidence ownership of inherited real estate. […]
Category: Real Property Tags: partition, Probate

Posted on October 3, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Estate Tax Discussions Very Popular

Here’s a link to an article from Evan Cooper at Investment News about a recent webinar on the federal estate tax that the magazine hosted – geared for financial advisors but worthy reading for all those interested in what will happen with the estate tax. […]
Category: Estate Tax Tags:

Posted on September 30, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

FLP gets 47.5% Estate Tax Discount

In addition to providing ease of management and significant asset protection, FLPs and (FLLCs) are still a excellent planning tool for obtaining gift and estate tax discounts (for minority interests and lack of marketability) – provided that the implementation and valuation are done correctly. […]

Posted on September 29, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

When to Review Your Estate Plan

The following is a list of some of the events that should trigger a review of your estate plan: (1) Marriage, divorce, death of spouse. […]
Category: Estate Planning Tags:

Posted on September 28, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Estate Planning Lessons from the Waltons

Contemporary estate planning causes a division of an estate and results in an ultimate dissipation of the resource base over a period of years. Is it possible to keep the resource base together to serve the family for many family generations? T […]

Posted on September 25, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

IRS Provides Guidance on 2009 RMD Waivers

From IR 2009-85: WASHINGTON ― The Internal Revenue Service today provided guidance for retirement plan administrators, plan participants and retirees regarding recent legislation affecting required minimum distributions. […]
Category: IRAs Tags: Income Tax, Retirement

Posted on September 24, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Disclaimers can Protect Assets in Bankruptcy

In a case interpreting Arizona law, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held in Gaughan v. Costas that a disclaimer filed prior to declaring bankruptcy was valid and effective since the disclaimer was permitted under state law. In re Costas, 555 F.3d 790 (9th Cir. 2009). […]
Category: Asset Protection Tags:

Posted on September 23, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

10 Foolish Estate Planning Myths

I saw this post by a fellow estate planning attorney on linkedin and thought it would be good to share with my readers: Ten Dangerous Estate-Planning Fantasies By FREYA ALLEN SHOFFNER – an attorney in Boston who focuses on estate planning. […]
Category: Estate Planning Tags:

Posted on September 22, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Estate Tax in 2010 and Beyond – Who Knows?

Jonathan Weisman of the Wall Street Journal reports that the Estate Tax Faces Its Own Life-and-Death Struggle. When and what will happen with regard to the federal estate tax is still very much up in the air. […]
Category: Estate Tax Tags:

Posted on September 21, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Inaction on the Federal Estate Tax to Continue in 2010?

Fellow Blawger Gideon Alper, who writes the Gay Couples Law Blog, has an interesting take on what will, or will not, happen with the federal estate tax over the next year or so: Estate Tax Repeal in 2010 Not a Big Deal Because Congress Can Pass a Retroactive Tax Amendment. […]
Category: Estate Tax Tags:

Posted on September 21, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

IRS Extends Deadline on Foreign Account Reporting

From IR-2009-84: WASHINGTON ─ The Internal Revenue Service today announced a one-time extension of the deadline for special voluntary disclosures by taxpayers with unreported income from hidden offshore accounts. These taxpayers now have until Oct. 15, 2009. […]

Posted on September 16, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

More on the Future of the Federal Estate Tax

Hurry up and wait is basically the message of this article from TheHill.com TheHill.com is self-described as the publication “for and about Congress, breaking stories from Capitol Hill, K Street and the White House. The Hill stands alone in delivering solid, nonpartisan reporting on the inner workings of Congress and the nexus of politics and business.” […]
Category: Estate Tax Tags:

Posted on September 15, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Pennsylvania Trusts and Estates Blog

http://www.pennsylvaniatrustsandestates.com/ […]
Category: Links Tags:

Posted on September 14, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Prepare for Higher Income Taxes

From the Wall Street Journal: Higher Taxes Are Coming: Are You Prepared? Here in North Carolina, we’ve already been hit with higher taxes. Can’t wait for the federal increases. […]
Category: Income Tax Tags:

Posted on September 11, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Need a Real Life Example of Why to do Asset Protection Planning?

Rich Rodriguez, the football coach for the University of Michigan, has been sued for $3.9 million due to a loan default. Rodriguez and partners formed an limited liability company, The Legends of Blackburg LLC, to develop a condo community in Virginia. […]
Category: Asset Protection Tags:

Posted on September 6, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Often Overlooked in Estates – Cost Segregation Tax Savings

This is a complicated but potentially very worthwhile strategies to pursue in estate in which the decedent owned valuable depreciable real estate (e.g. office buildings, shopping centers, or multiple rental homes). […]
Category: Probate Tags: Income Tax

Posted on September 4, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Inherited IRAs are Not Creditor Protected – #2

I previously blogged about a Bankruptcy Court in Texas holding that an inherited IRA was not exempt from claims of the new owner’s creditors. In re Jarboe, 2007 WL 987314 (Bkrtcy S.D. Tex. 2007). […]
Category: IRAs Tags: Asset Protection

Posted on September 3, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

The BBB on Estate Planning – a solid C

This morning I came across this article on estate planning advice by the Better Business Bureau. I certainly endorse the idea of urging people to do proper planning, but articles like this can sometimes do more harm than good. I give a grade of C (mediocre). […]
Category: Estate Planning Tags:

Posted on September 1, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

NC Probate Fees Go Up Again

Effective today, along with 1% increase the sales tax, the filing fee for probate cases has increased to $88 (from $61). The .40/100 fee applied to estate assets (maximum of $6,000) does not increase this year – but watch for future increases as the state continues to struggle to increase revenues. […]
Category: Probate Tags:

Posted on September 1, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Dont’ Leave a Mess for your Loved Ones

Most people fail to do any estate planning at all, and many more have outdated or inadequate plans. A recent article, A slacker’s guide to death, discusses this issue. […]
Category: Estate Planning Tags:

Posted on August 31, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

US Budget Deficit Sure to Drive Tax Increases

The White House Office of Management and Budget announced last week in its Mid-Sesion Review that the cumulative budget deficits for the upcoming 10 years are projected to be $9.1 trillion. […]
Category: Tax Tags:

Posted on August 29, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

NC adopts law for Notice to Creditors when no probate required

While I generally counsel my clients to avoid probate by the use of living trusts or other methods, one useful aspect of probate is the provision for publishing a Notice to Creditors. Publishing such a notice in the paper and otherwise following the law allows a decedent’s creditors’ claims to be extinguished after about three months. […]
Category: Probate Tags:

Posted on August 29, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

The Time for Asset Protection Planning is Now

Many people come to see me for asset protection advice only after some type of actual or probable liability has arisen. At that time, it is normally too late to do any meaningful asset protection, as most contemplated transfers of property could be undone as a fraudulent conveyance. […]

Posted on August 28, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

“First-to-Die” Life Insurance Now Available

Second-to-die life insurance has long been used by married couples to provide liquidity to pay estate taxes at the death of the second spouse to die. Such insurance is less expensive and easier to obtain than two separate policies on the same individuals. […]

Posted on August 26, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

U.S. Tax Court – Single Member LLCs Not Disregarded for Gift Tax Purposes

Unlike in the income tax and asset protection arena, single member limited liability companies (LLCs) are not disregarded for gift tax purposes. Pierre v. Commissioner, 133 T.C. No. 2 (Aug. 24, 2009). See Paul Caron’s recent TaxProf Blog entry for a brief summary. […]
Category: Gift Tax Tags: IRAs, family entities

Posted on August 26, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Don’t Expect COLA Increases in Your Social Security Payments

According to the Social Security fund trustees, cost of living adjustments (COLAs) in Social Security payments are unlikely in 2010 and 2011. COLAs are linked in to inflation, which has been negative in 2009, primarily due to lower energy costs. […]
Category: General Tags:

Posted on August 25, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Put Your Parents in Your Will?

This article discusses when it might be appropriate to include your parents or grandparents in your will or living trust – generally when you are providing support for them. […]
Category: Wills Tags: Trusts, Estate Planning

Posted on August 25, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Federal Estate Tax – Worst Case Scenario More Likely

Based on inside sources in the U.S. Senate, here’s a prediction about what will happen with the estate tax. Since health care reform has consumed Congress and the Obama administration (except for drinking beer with professors and policemen), there will likely be no action on the estate tax until late December. […]
Category: Estate Tax Tags:

Posted on August 21, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

North Carolina Caregiver Resources

Check out the Family Care Naivgator from the Family Caregiver Alliance. North Carolina’s page is here. […]
Category: Health Care Tags:

Posted on August 21, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

More on Living Wills from the Wall Street Journal

Make Time to Create an Advance Medical Directive – I recently had the opportunity to hear a presentation by Bill Colby, the attorney who represented Nancy Cruzan’s family in the right-to-die case that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. […]

Posted on August 18, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Preparing for the End of Life

A recent WSJ.com article discusses Advance Directives (Living Wills and Health Care Powers of Attorney) and their important role in end of life situations. I learned that Google now has a free online service for registering such documents. […]
Category: Health Care Tags:

Posted on August 11, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Is Your Advisor IRA Savvy?

Last week I attended a presentation by Ed Slott, CPA, America’s foremost IRA expert. A couple of years ago I participated in an extensive two-day training with Slott, and found him to be both informative and entertaining. […]
Category: IRAs Tags: Estate Planning

Posted on August 2, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Another Lesson on What Not To Do in FLLCs

This is from the latest edition of the GiftLaw eNewsletter: Note from Greg: Family Limited Partnerships (FLPs) were previously the preferred entity for obtaining discounts on transfers of wealth to younger family members. FLPs have largely been replaced by Family Limited Liability Companies (FLLCs). The writer of the article below often refers to FLPs even though the case involved FLLCs. […]
Category: Gift Tax Tags: family entities

Posted on August 1, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Children are the Most Important Thing

There’s been a lot of coverage in the news lately about the care and custody of young children of deceased parents. First it was Anna Nicole Smith’s baby. She didn’t have a will naming a guardian for young Dannielynn. […]
Category: Estate Planning Tags:

Posted on July 28, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Your IRA may be at Risk

In North Carolina standard IRAs are exempt from creditors’ claims, under state law and federal bankruptcy law. Also, qualified retirement plans, such as 401(k)s and 403(b)s, are protected under the federal ERISA law. […]
Category: IRAs Tags: Asset Protection

Posted on July 24, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Tired of Your CRT? Sell It!

If you set up a Charitable Remainder Trust (CRT) in the past but now wish you could get a lump sum back from the trust, it may be possible to sell your interest in the trust. […]

Posted on July 23, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

NC Democrats Agree on Tax Increases

Democrats in the North Carolina House and Senate reached a compromise on tax increases yesterday. Briefly, the proposal would: Increase income taxes by 2% Increase sales tax by 1% (to 7.75% in most counties) […]

Posted on July 20, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Bequests Under Will to Drafting Attorney to be Prohibited

Beginning January 1, 2010, it will be unlawful for North Carolina attorneys to prepare a Will or Codicil naming the attorney as a beneficiary unless the attorney is within five degrees of kinship of the testator, a present or former spouse of the testator, or a parent, sibling or child of a spouse or former spouse of the testator. […]
Category: Wills Tags: Estate Planning

Posted on July 20, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Changes to Effect of Will Caveat on Probate Proceeding

Beginning October 1, 2009, when a lawsuit is filed to contest a Will (Caveat), the probate administration will no longer be fully suspended until the caveat is resolved. […]
Category: Wills Tags: Probate, Will Contest

Posted on July 18, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Spousal Year’s Allowance to Increase to $20,000

The "Years Allowance" for spouses is intended to provide support for a surviving spouse during the year after the death of the deceased spouse, and has priority over creditors claims and other beneficiaries. […]
Category: Probate Tags:

Posted on July 16, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Small Estate Amount to Increase by $10,000

Effective October 1, 2009 the threshold for small estate proceedings (often called Affidavit for/of Collection) under North Carolina General Statutes Section 28A-25-1 will increase to $20,000 for estates where there is no surviving spouse or he or she is not the sole heir, and $30,000 where the surviving spouse is the sole heir. […]
Category: Probate Tags:

Posted on July 15, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Judicial Creation of Special Needs Trusts Clarified

Governor Bev Perdue recently signed into law Session Law 2009-267, which: modifies North Carolina General Statutes Section 36C-2-203(a)(9) to state the proceedings may be brought before the Clerk of Superior Court to create a trust. […]
Category: Special Needs Planning Tags: Trusts

Posted on July 11, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Intra-Family Loans – Make Sure You Follow the Rules

Loans among family members, especially from parents to children, are very common. However, most people are not aware of the tax laws regarding such loans. […]
Category: Gift Tax Tags: Income Tax

Posted on July 8, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Governor Perdue’s Tax Proposal

Yesterday North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue revealed her proposed tax plan, which is designed to raise $1.6 billion in taxes. Here are some of the highlights: […]
Category: NC Income Tax Tags: other tax

Posted on July 8, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Assignment of IRA by Estate to Charity is Not a Transfer

These are the facts from a recent Private Letter Ruling from the IRS: The Decedent had a "pour-over" will requiring that his probate estate be added to his living trust. […]

Posted on July 3, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Independence

I’m down in Amelia Island Florida this weekend for a Florida Bar Tax Section meeting. Today is a day off for many, and will be an afternoon off for me, as I head to the pool and then a movie with the family. […]
Category: Estate Planning Tags:

Posted on June 27, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Florida Elder Law and Estate Planning Blog

http://www.karplaw.blogspot.com/ […]
Category: Links Tags:

Posted on June 24, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Text of N.C. Senate Bill 202 – Tax Increases!

Senate Bill 202, among other things, contains many tax increases for us in the Tar Heel state, to wit: Increase top income tax brackets to 8.25% and 8.5% (currently 7.75%) […]

Posted on June 22, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Seniors – Protect Your Financial Well-Being

North Carolina’s elderly are particularly vulnerable to financial fraud and scams. Check out the the North Carolina Department of Justice’s website, which has helpful information for people of all ages to help protect themselves from identity theft, scams, and other crimes. […]

Posted on June 16, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Diposition of Cremated Remains in NC

Cremation is an increasing common way of handling human remains. While cremated remains are sometimes buried, there is often a desire on the part of family members (or a request from the deceased) to scatter the ashes somewhere. […]
Category: General Tags: funeral

Posted on June 14, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Michigan Asset Protection Lawyer Blog

http://www.michiganassetprotectionlawyerblog.com/ […]
Category: Links Tags:

Posted on June 12, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

NC Changes Renunciation Laws

On June 1, 2009, Governor Perdue signed into law Session Law 2009-48, which, effective October 1, 2009, institutes substantial changes to to statutes dealing with renunciation of interests in property. […]

Posted on June 8, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

How Much Do You Charge for a Will?

That’s a question we hear frequently from callers to the office. While we like to be able to answer that question quickly and easily, that’s not possible. My favorite lawyer’s answer applies: "well, it depends." […]
Category: Wills Tags: Estate Planning

Posted on June 5, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

What to do if you receive an IRS Notice

Here’s the text of IRS Tax Tip 2009-72, but don’t forget, you can always contact a tax lawyer, CPA or enrolled agent for assistance and representation before the IRS: […]
Category: Tax Tags: audit, tax audits, examination

Posted on June 1, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Sensible Estate Tax Act of 2009 introduced in U.S House

On April 22, 2009 Representative Jim McDermott of Washington has introduced H.R. 2023, which has been submitted to the Ways and Means Committee for study. […]

Posted on June 1, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

FLP Gift Discounts Alive and Well – for Now

In the recent case of Estate of Valeria M. Miller v. Commissioner; T.C. Memo. 2009-119; No. 5207-07 (27 May 2009), the U.S. Tax Court allowed a 35% discount for gifts of family limited partnership interests. No discount was permitted for the FLP interest owned by the decedent at her death. […]

Posted on May 29, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Offshore Trust Cases – Trading Jail for Protection?

Offshore trusts continue to be an effective asset protection tool, including in bankruptcy, tax litigation, and divorce situations, even when the facts are not favorable to the trust grantor. […]
Category: Trusts Tags: Asset Protection

Posted on May 28, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

NC Needs to do More to Combat Fraud Against the Elderly

The North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research just issued a press release with the results of a study indicating that North Carolina needs to do more to protect its senior citizens against fraud. […]

Posted on May 23, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Possible Tax Increases to Pay for Health Care Reform

As reported in the Giftlaw eNewsletter, the potential tax increases to pay for healthcare reform may include the following: 1. Employer Health Care Exclusion […]
Category: Tax Tags: Pending Legislation

Posted on May 22, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Caring for an Elderly Parent – Letting Go

For those who have been through a similar experience, this poignant article Letting Go of My Father, which details Jonathan Rauch’s struggles in caring for his elderly father, will solicit empathy. […]
Category: Elder Care Tags: health care

Posted on May 22, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Is your IRA heir-tight? Probably not…

The recent Kiplinger.com article How to leave an IRA that’s heir-tight contains lots of good information and advice about IRA distribution planning, but there’s a glaring omission – no discussion of the use of trusts to protect IRAs for the benefit of one’s heirs. […]
Category: IRAs Tags: Trusts

Posted on May 21, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

A Short Story on Asset Protection

I had a new client come in yesterday, and we were discussing including asset protection in his estate plan. He mentioned he had recently been sued for lead paint related issues by the tenant of an older rental home he owned in another state. […]

Posted on May 20, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

U.S. Tax Court Rules on Exceptions to IRA Early Distribution Penalty

The United States Tax Court, in Benz v. Commissioner, 132 TC No 15, recently ruled that a taxpayer taking a series of equal periodic payments as an exception to the 10% early distribution penalty for IRA withdrawals could also take advantage the early distribution penalty exception for payment of higher education expenses without the education payment being considered a modification of the series of equal payments. […]
Category: Income Tax Tags: IRAs

Posted on May 19, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

“Green Book” Proposals on Estate and Income Tax

President Obama’s Green Book contains proposals for modifying the GRAT rules, eliminating valuation discounts for transfers of interest in many family limited partnerships and limited liability companies, and increasing income tax rates and limiting deductions for high income taxpayers. […]

Posted on May 16, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

NC 529 Plan Eliminates Two Investment Options

North Carolina’s 529 College Savings Plan will be eliminating two investment options – the CollegeHorizonFunds and the Balanced Fund – due to their higher fees. […]

Posted on May 12, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

IRS to Hire 4500 New Revenue Agents

Taxes are going up, and so is the number of revenue agents at the IRS! This is from the latest GiftLaw eNewsletter: In the 2010 budget proposed by President Barack Obama, there is an increase of $400 million dollars for the IRS. […]
Category: Tax Tags: tax enforcement

Posted on May 11, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Explanation of Obama’s Revenue Proposals

WASHINGTON – As part of the Administration’s effort to develop a budget that invests in our nation’s future, the U.S. Treasury Department today released the General Explanations of the Administration’s Fiscal Year 2010 Revenue Proposals (Greenbook) to provide details of plans to cut taxes for small businesses and middle class families and close unfair corporate tax loopholes. […]
Category: Tax Tags:

Posted on May 8, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

NC’s Repeal of Rule Against Perpetuities Upheld

I previously blogged about NC’s repeal of the Rule Against Perpetuities, which limited the amount of time a trust could stay in existence, and some questions that existed regarding the repeal’s validity. […]
Category: Trusts Tags: Estate Planning

Posted on May 1, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Charitable Trusts – Save Taxes While Benefiting Charity

There are two primary types of charitable trusts – charitable remainder trusts (CRTs) and charitable lead trusts (CLTs). CRTs are far more common, and are generally funded with a minimum of about $100,000 worth of assets. […]
Category: Charitable Gift Planning Tags:

Posted on April 30, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Guardianship Personal Property Sale Limit Increased to $5,000

Here’s a change to North Carolina Guardianship law which took place October 1, 2008 that I didn’t report earlier. North Carolina General Statute Section 35A-1251 was modified to allow a guardian of the estate to sell personal property up to $5,000 in value without a court order. […]
Category: Guardianship Tags:

Posted on April 30, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Beware of “Pure” or “Constitutional” Trusts

Here’s a great article from Santa Barbara attorney Mark Cornwall – Beware the Pros at Cons. Occasionally clients ask me about such arrangements, and, of course, and I inform them that’s it’s a bunch of baloney. Remember – if it sounds to good to be true, it most likely is! […]
Category: Estate Planning Tags: Tax Scams, Trusts

Posted on April 29, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

What Happens if the Federal Estate Tax Law Isn’t Changed this Year?

There has been much recent discussion about "death" tax reform, and several bills have been introduced in Congress to that effect (as I have blogged about over the last few months), but so far the law as provided in the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001(EGTRA) is still in effect. […]
Category: Estate Tax Tags:

Posted on April 28, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Better Report that Offshore Income! The IRS is Coming…

From IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman: March 26, 2009 My goal has always been clear — to get those taxpayers hiding assets offshore back into the system. We recently provided guidance to our examination personnel who are addressing voluntary disclosure requests involving unreported offshore income. […]
Category: Income Tax Tags: Tax Fraud

Posted on April 27, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Safe Kids Week in North Carolina

This week is Safe Kids Week in North Carolina. While Safe Kids Week is designed raise awareness about protecting children from unintentional injuries, parents also need to plan to keep their kids safe from a financial standpoint should something happen to the parents. […]
Category: Estate Planning Tags:

Posted on April 25, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Public Good IRA Rollover Act of 2009

This bill was recently introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, and is for the expansion of IRA charitable rollovers, which are currently limited to those who have reached 70 1/2, may be no more than $100,000, and must go to a 501(c)(3) organization. […]
Category: Charitable Gift Planning Tags: IRAs

Posted on April 22, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Saying a Final Goodbye to a Friend

This posting is not about estate planning per se, but rather death, which everyone must contemplate in the course of planning his or her estate. […]
Category: General Tags:

Posted on April 16, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Death Tax Debate Alive and Well

The debate over extending the $3.5 million estate tax exemption versus increasing the exemption to $5 million is discussed in this NY Times article. Don’t our legislators have better things to do than argue over reducing taxes for such a minute percentage of the U.S. population? […]
Category: Estate Tax Tags:

Posted on April 15, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Ohio Estate and Special Needs Planning

http://juliesmills.typepad.com/ […]
Category: Links Tags:

Posted on April 14, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Beware of these “Dirty Dozen” Tax Scams

From the IRS Newswire 2009-041: WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today issued its 2009 “dirty dozen” list of tax scams, including schemes involving phishing, hiding income offshore and false claims for refunds. […]
Category: Income Tax Tags:

Posted on April 13, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Last Minute Tax Tips and Reminders from the IRS

From the IRS Newswire issue IR-2009-040: WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service offers last minute reminders to taxpayers who have not yet filed a tax return, paid what they owe or requested an extension of time to file as the April 15 tax filing and payment deadline approaches. […]
Category: Income Tax Tags:

Posted on April 10, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Obama’s Budget Proposal – Automatic IRAs

From my CPA colleagues at Virchow, Krause & Company – a summary of the proposals to help expand retirement savings. […]
Category: Retirement Tags: IRAs

Posted on April 3, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Yesterday’s Senate Action on the Estate Tax

U.S. Senate goes two ways on estate taxes. The U.S. Senate went two different ways on the estate tax, which has been a contentious issue for years — a tax congressional Republicans have villified as the “death tax”. […]
Category: Estate Tax Tags:

Posted on April 2, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

The Octomom – I bet she hasn’t done proper estate planning

The other day I started thinking about Nadya Suleman (the Octomom), the California single mother of 14 who has been in the news so much lately. A professional hazard, I guess, but I wondered – has she done any estate planning? […]
Category: Estate Planning Tags:

Posted on April 2, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

25th Anniversary of Triangle Community Foundation

The Triangle Community Foundation (TCF) is holding a celebration tonight of its 25th anniversary (I’m pleased to say that I will be attending). The TCF is a tremendous asset to the greater Triangle area, providing millions of dollars annually in funding to local non-profits. […]
Category: Charitable Gift Planning Tags:

Posted on April 1, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Another Reason to Avoid Probate in NC

The North Carolina Legislature is considering cuts of up to 24% in salaries of judicial system employees, which include Clerks of Court and their staff. […]
Category: Probate Tags:

Posted on March 30, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

10 Ways to Wreck Your Retirement

Here’s a great, to the point article on what NOT to do to ensure you have sufficient retirement savings – from the National Center for Policy Analysis. […]
Category: Qualified Plans Tags: IRAs, Retirement

Posted on March 28, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Baucus Bill Keeps $3.5 Million Estate Tax Exemption

From the GiftLaw eNewsletter: Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus (D-MT) introduced the Taxpayer Certainty and Relief Act of 2009 on March 26, 2009. The tax bill includes a $2.3 trillion middle class tax cut package and also creates a freeze on estate tax rates and major estate planning modifications. […]
Category: Income Tax Tags: Estate Planning

Posted on March 27, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

What do I do with my Health Care Power of Attorney and Living Will?

So, you’ve been a responsible adult and have recently completed your estate plan. As part of your plan, you have a Health Care Power of Attorney, Living Will, and HIPAA Authorization. Now what? […]
Category: Health Care Tags: Estate Planning

Posted on March 21, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Changes to NC’s 529 College Savings Plan

Here are some recent favorable changes to North Carolina’s National Collge Savings Program (529 Plan): For 2009, a participant may reallocate the account assets twice during the year, rather than just once. […]

Posted on March 18, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Tax Credit Options for First-Time Homebuyers

First-Time Homebuyers Have Several Options to Maximize New Tax Credit WASHINGTON — As part of the Treasury Department’s consumer outreach effort and with the April 15 individual tax filing deadline approaching, […]
Category: Real Property Tags: Income Tax

Posted on March 18, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Alphabet Soup – the ABCs of Estate Planning

It all boils down to the fear of mortality. Many people don’t want to deal with death so they postpone estate planning. As a result, an estimated 70 percent of Americans don’t even have a will. […]
Category: Estate Planning Tags:

Posted on March 17, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

New Stimulus Tax Breaks

The following is from my e-newsletter that went out this morning: The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which was signed into law on February 17th, includes a multitude of federal income tax changes. This article summarizes some of the personal tax changes: One-Year AMT Patch Has Two Parts […]
Category: Income Tax Tags:

Posted on March 14, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Don’t Delay Reviewing Estate Plans

Yes, these are times of financial uncertainty and difficulty for many of us, and federal estate law is likely to change sometime later this year, but not reviewing and possibly revising one’s estate plan now can be a big mistake. […]
Category: Estate Planning Tags:

Posted on March 5, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

SECU Strikes Back on Living Trusts and Real Estate

I recently blogged about my disagreement with the North Carolina State Employees Credit Union’s policy on mortgages when the property was previously held in the owner’s living trust. […]
Category: Living Trusts Tags: Real Property

Posted on February 28, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Nursing Homes for Veterans

Nursing home coverage for veterans is available from two sources within the Department of Veterans Affairs — the veterans health care system and the state veterans homes system. […]

Posted on February 28, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Ohio Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Blog

http://wrightsel.blogspot.com/ […]
Category: Links Tags:

Posted on February 27, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

How Obama’s Budget May Affect Charitable Gifts

Probably an increase in 2010 and a substantial drop thereafter. From Professor Chris Hoyt of the University of Missouri (Kansas City) School of Law […]

Posted on February 26, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Arizona Estate Planning Blog

http://cookazlaw.com/blog/ […]
Category: Links Tags:

Posted on February 25, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Expanded Tax Break Available for 2009 First Time Home Buyers

From today’s IRS Newswire: WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service announced today that taxpayers who qualify for the first-time homebuyer credit and purchase a home this year before Dec. 1 have a special option available for claiming the tax credit either on their 2008 tax returns due April 15 or on their 2009 tax returns next year. […]
Category: Real Property Tags: Income Tax

Posted on February 24, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Top 10 Facts About Taking Early Retirement Plan Distributions

From the IRS: If you took an early distribution from your retirement plan, here are some things you need to know: […]
Category: Qualified Plans Tags: IRAs, Income Tax

Posted on February 20, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Brief Summary of Certain Stimulus Act Provisions

On February 17, 2009, President Obama signed into law the $787 billionAmerican Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (the 2009 "Stimulus Act"). […]
Category: Income Tax Tags:

Posted on February 19, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Title Insurance for Real Estate in Living Trusts

My standard advice for clients who are transferring real property to their revocable living trusts is to check with their title insurance company to make sure they will still be covered. […]
Category: Living Trusts Tags: Real Property

Posted on February 17, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

US Supreme Court Awards Retirement Plan to Ex-Spouse

If you divorce, make sure that you change your retirement account beneficiaries! As obvious as that advice sounds, it is not uncommon, particularly when there is no remarriage, for one to forget to designate a new beneficiary. […]
Category: Qualified Plans Tags:

Posted on February 16, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Small Non-Profits Beware – File Your Forms 990-N!

This report on msnbc.msn.com discusses GuideStar‘s statement that 500,000 non-profit organizations could lose their tax-exempt status in May 2010. […]
Category: Tax Tags: non-profit

Posted on February 15, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

SECU has Ridiculous Policy on Living Trusts

I have long known that the North Carolina State Employees Credit Union (SECU) refuses to refinance any residence owned by a revocable living trust. […]
Category: Living Trusts Tags: Real Property

Posted on February 13, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Summary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

Click "Continue Reading" for the Senate Appropriations Conference Summary Report. Thursday, February 12, 2009 CONTACT: Rob Blumenthal/John Bray, Inouye (202) 224-7363 Kirstin Brost, Obey (202) 225-2771 […]
Category: Income Tax Tags:

Posted on February 12, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

NC Had 7th Highest Unemployment in U.S. in December

I had no idea North Carolina was so bad off until I saw the statistics put out by the Bureau of Labor Standards. […]
Category: General Tags:

Posted on February 11, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Mesothelioma Watch

http://www.mesotheliomawatch.org/ […]
Category: Links Tags:

Posted on February 11, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

Click "Continue Reading" to view a chart that provides a side-by-side comparison of the tax provisions in the House and Senate versions of “The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.” […]
Category: Income Tax Tags:

Posted on February 9, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

UNC Law School to Host Clinic for Same-Sex Couples

On Thursday, February 12, 2009, the Lambda Law Students Organization of the UNC Law School will hold an event for same-sex couples to fill out and have notarized general and health care powers of attorney. […]
Category: Estate Planning Tags:

Posted on February 5, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Tax Discounts Alive and Well – For Now

The U.S. Tax Court issued an opinion on January 29, 2009 in the Estate of Marjorie deGreeff Litchfield v. Commissioner (T.C. Memo. 2009-21). […]

Posted on February 4, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Revised Medico-Legal Guidelines Published

From the North Carolina Bar Association website: The North Carolina Bar Association and the North Carolina Medical Society are pleased to announce the publication of their revised Medico-Legal Guidelines. […]
Category: Health Care Tags:

Posted on February 3, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Third Time is Not a Charm for Obama’s Cabinet

Facing negative publicity over unpaid taxes, Tom Daschle withdrew his name from consideration as Secretary of Health and Human Services. […]
Category: Income Tax Tags: Tax Fraud

Posted on January 31, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Estate Still Over $3.5 Million? Now is the Time to Plan

​The estate tax exemption is up (to $3.5 million) and portfolios are down. However, for those whose estates are still above $3,500,000, now is the perfect time to transfer wealth to younger generations. […]

Posted on January 31, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Obama Picks Second Tax Cheat for Cabinet

First it was Timothy Geithner for Secretary of the Treasury, and now it turns out Tom Daschle, nominated for Secretary of the Department of Health and Human, also failed to report income and pay taxes. […]
Category: Income Tax Tags: Tax Fraud

Posted on January 30, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

IRS Form 1099-B Deadline Now February 15

Don’t worry if you don’t get your Forms 1099-B by tomorrow – the deadline this year is not until February 17. From the IRS: […]
Category: Income Tax Tags: IRS

Posted on January 29, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Attorney Sam Cooper Appointed as Chatham County Clerk

Janice Oldham, who has served as Chatham County’s Clerk of Superior Court for more than 30 years, is retiring at the end of this month. […]
Category: Probate Tags:

Posted on January 28, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

LA Trust & Family Wealth Law

http://familywealthlawyers.typepad.com/ […]
Category: Links Tags:

Posted on January 27, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

NC in Middle of Pack When it Comes to Foreclosures

In 2008, 0.84% of housing units in North Carolina went into foreclosure, placing us at number 27 among the 50 states and Washington D.C.. […]
Category: Real Property Tags:

Posted on January 27, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Virginia Estate Planning and Elder Law Blog

http://blog.virginiaelderlaw.com/ […]
Category: Links Tags:

Posted on January 25, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

MOST and DNR Forms – the other side of Advance Directives

Lawyers routinely prepare advance directives for their clients – in North Carolina the statutory form was previously called a "Declaration of a Desire for a Natural Death, "and is now just known as an "Advance Directive (Living Will)." […]
Category: Health Care Tags:

Posted on January 23, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Where Not To Die

01.19.09, 06:00 PM EST Sixteen states and the District of Columbia (shaded in red) impose their own estate taxes. […]
Category: Estate Tax Tags:

Posted on January 23, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Looks Like Estate Tax Here to Stay – Don’t Delay Planning

There’s a couple of good recent articles on forbes.com – Dems Dedicated to Death Tax and Why You Need a Will. […]
Category: Estate Planning Tags: Estate Tax

Posted on January 23, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

More on Insuring Homes in Living Trusts

A colleague of mine, Dennis Toman of Greensboro, contacted the North Carolina Deparment of Insurance about the issue of insuring homes owned by living trusts. […]
Category: Real Property Tags: Living Trusts

Posted on January 21, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

North Carolina Estate Procedure Pamphlet

I recently had someone email me and ask if the North Carolina Estate Procedure Pamphlet, published by the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts, is accurate. […]
Category: Probate Tags: intestacy

Posted on January 21, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Have an Interesting Story Involving a Will and Want to Share it?

I recently received the following email, and then had a phone conversation with its author. This is a legitimate documentary, with filming to take place in Montreal over the course of the year. All expenses for the trip to Montreal will be paid. […]
Category: Probate Tags: Litigation, Wills

Posted on January 21, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

NC Estate Planning Blog to be Syndicated

​I am pleased to announce that the North Carolina Estate Planning Blog will be nationally syndicated by Newstex, a blog aggregation company. […]
Category: General Tags:

Posted on January 14, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Estate Tax Bill Submitted to House Ways and Means Committee

A bill entitled the Certain Estate Tax Relief Act of 2009 was recently introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. […]
Category: Tax Tags: Estate Tax, Estate Planning

Posted on January 13, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

I Inherited a House – Do I have to Refinance the Mortgage?

No – in most cases. Mortgages generally contain "Due on Sale" clauses, which say that the lender can call the mortgage due upon transfer of property. […]
Category: Probate Tags: Real Property

Posted on January 13, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

IRS Offers Tax Daily Tips for 2009

Here are some of the current entries: Choosing a tax preparer Where you can get free tax help […]
Category: Income Tax Tags:

Posted on January 12, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Teitell Urges More Favorable IRA Charitable Gift Rules

Conrad Teitell, one of the nation’s most foremost charitable gift planning attorneys, has, on behalf of the American Council on Gift Annuities and the National Council on Planned Giving, written Congress urging changes to IRA distribution laws: […]

Posted on January 12, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Obama Wants to Keep the $3.5 Million Estate Tax Exemption

Today’s Wall Street Journal has an article on the latest buzz on what the Democrats would like to do with the federal estate tax. […]
Category: Estate Tax Tags:

Posted on January 8, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Homes and Cars in Living Trusts – Check With Your Insurer

Revocable living trusts are a common estate planning tool for avoiding probate. It is not uncommon for a home to be transferred to the trust for that purpose, as well as occasionally motor vehicles. […]

Posted on January 5, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Finance Charity-Owned Life Insurance with your IRA

In a private Letter Ruling issued late in 2007, the IRS approved a clever technique to leverage a gift to your favorite charity using your IRA and life insurance. […]

Posted on January 3, 2009 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Tulsa Estate Planning Blog

http://www.tulsaestateplanlaw.com/ […]
Category: Links Tags:

Posted on December 31, 2008 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Happy New Tax Year – Changes in 2009

Tonight at midnight, of course, will be the start of 2009. With the change in the calendar year comes several significant tax changes, most of which I have blogged about prior to today: […]
Category: Tax Tags:

Posted on December 29, 2008 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

529 College Savings Plan Investments May Be Adjusted Twice Yearly in 2009

The IRS recently announced in Notice 2009-1 that in 2009 the investments in 529 College Savings Plans may be adjusted twice, as opposed to once per year, which has been the rule to date. […]

Posted on December 24, 2008 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Bush Signs Worker, Retiree and Employer Recover Act of 2008

This morning President Bush signed H.R. 7327, the “Worker, Retiree and Employer Recovery Act of 2008” (WRERA). […]
Category: IRAs Tags: Income Tax

Posted on December 23, 2008 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

The 12 Keys to Proper Estate Planning

All of us know the Christmas song The 12 days of Christmas. Keeping with the holiday theme, I have come up with "The 12 Keys to Proper Estate Planning." […]
Category: Estate Planning Tags:

Posted on December 21, 2008 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Expatriates Beware – New Taxes Apply

Tired of all the taxes here in the good ole USA and thinking of moving to a tropical isle with little or no taxation? […]
Category: Estate Tax Tags: Income Tax

Posted on December 20, 2008 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Deductibility of Estate Planning Legal Fees

Contrary to what many of my clients assume, legal fees for general estate planning are not deductible for income tax purposes. […]
Category: Income Tax Tags: Estate Tax

Posted on December 17, 2008 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

IRS Offers Free Tax Guide for Individuals

From IR 2008-142: WASHINGTON — The IRS has placed its comprehensive tax guide for individuals on IRS.gov, updating it for tax year 2008. […]
Category: Income Tax Tags:

Posted on December 12, 2008 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Required Minimum Distributions to be Suspended?

This update is courtesy of Barry C. Picker, CPA: It looks as if Congress has passed, and sent to Pres. Bush, H.R. 7327; Worker, Retiree, and Employer Recovery Act of 2008, […]
Category: Retirement Tags: IRAs, Income Tax

Posted on December 10, 2008 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

It may not seem like it, but Now is the Time to Plan

Difficult topics when planning for your estate is a recent article on the Chicago Tribune’s website that discusses the advantages of wealth transfer planning during down market and low interest rate environments such as the one we are experiencing now. […]
Category: Estate Planning Tags:

Posted on December 9, 2008 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

IRS Offers Tips for Year-End Donations

This is from IR-2008-138, issued today by the IRS: WASHINGTON — Individuals and businesses making contributions to charity should keep in mind several important tax law provisions that have taken effect in recent years. […]
Category: Income Tax Tags:

Posted on December 9, 2008 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Own Rental Real Estate? You Need an LLC to Protect Yourself

Anyone who owns rental real estate in his or her individual name is taking a tremendous risk. […]

Posted on December 4, 2008 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Medicare Part D – An Overview

After the conclusion of World War II, employer provided health care benefits had become commonplace and employees had come to expect the benefit as part of their overall employment package. […]
Category: Health Care Tags:

Posted on December 2, 2008 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

Big Tax Losses in 2008? Consider a Roth Conversion

Self-employed persons or small business owners such as home builders with big tax losses for the year should consider converting their traditional IRAs to Roth IRAs this year to "soak up" some or all of the loss. […]
Category: Financial Planning Tags: income, IRS

Posted on December 1, 2008 by Gregory Herman-Giddens

North Carolina Has 4th Highest Beer Tax

As a beer aficionado, I was surprised to learn today that NC has the fourth-highest tax on beer in the nation, at 53 cents a gallon. […]
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