2009 Posts

  • 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....
  • 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....
  • 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. ...
  • 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....
  • 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. ...
  • 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. ...
  • 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. ...
  • 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. ...
  • 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. ...
  • 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?...
  • 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....
  • 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....
  • 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. ...
  • 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. ...
  • 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....
  • 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....
  • 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. ...
  • 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....
  • 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. ...
  • 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."...
  • 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....
  • 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: ...
  • 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:...
  • 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. ...
  • 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....
  • 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. ...
  • 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: ...
  • 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. ...
  • 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. ...
  • 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....
  • 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. ...
  • 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....
  • 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. ...
  • 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. ...
  • 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....
  • 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)....
  • 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....
  • 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....
  • 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....
  • 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: ...
  • 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....
  • 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....
  • 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....
  • 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. ...
  • 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....
  • 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....
  • Life Insurance Blog

    http://www.insuranceblogbychris.com/ ...
  • 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....
  • 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. ...
  • 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. ...
  • 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. ...
  • 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. ...
  • 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....
  • 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...
  • 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. ...
  • 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)....
  • 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....
  • 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....
  • 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. ...
  • 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. ...
  • 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.”...
  • Pennsylvania Trusts and Estates Blog

    http://www.pennsylvaniatrustsandestates.com/...
  • 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....
  • 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. ...
  • 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)....
  • 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)....
  • 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)....
  • 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. ...
  • 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. ...
  • 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. ...
  • 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....
  • 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....
  • “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....
  • 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....
  • 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. ...
  • 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. ...
  • 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. ...
  • North Carolina Caregiver Resources

    Check out the Family Care Naivgator from the Family Caregiver Alliance. North Carolina’s page is here....
  • 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. ...
  • 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....
  • 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. ...
  • 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....
  • 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....
  • 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....
  • 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. ...
  • 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)...
  • 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....
  • 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. ...
  • 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. ...
  • 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....
  • 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....
  • 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. ...
  • 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:...
  • 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. ...
  • 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....
  • Florida Elder Law and Estate Planning Blog

    http://www.karplaw.blogspot.com/...
  • 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%)...
  • 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. ...
  • 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....
  • Michigan Asset Protection Lawyer Blog

    http://www.michiganassetprotectionlawyerblog.com/...
  • 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. ...
  • 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." ...
  • 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:...
  • 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....
  • 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....
  • 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. ...
  • 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. ...
  • 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...
  • 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. ...
  • 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. ...
  • 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....
  • 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. ...
  • “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. ...
  • 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. ...
  • 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. ...
  • 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. ...
  • 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....
  • 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....
  • 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. ...
  • 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!...
  • 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....
  • 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....
  • 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....
  • 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. ...
  • 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....
  • 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?...
  • Ohio Estate and Special Needs Planning

    http://juliesmills.typepad.com/...
  • 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....
  • 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....
  • Obama’s Budget Proposal – Automatic IRAs

    From my CPA colleagues at Virchow, Krause & Company – a summary of the proposals to help expand retirement savings....
  • 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”....
  • 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? ...
  • 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....
  • 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. ...
  • 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....
  • 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....
  • 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?...
  • 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. ...
  • 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,...
  • 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....
  • 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...
  • 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. ...
  • 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. ...
  • 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. ...
  • Ohio Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Blog

    http://wrightsel.blogspot.com/...
  • 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...
  • Arizona Estate Planning Blog

    http://cookazlaw.com/blog/...
  • 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....
  • 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:...
  • 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")....
  • 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....
  • 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. ...
  • 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....
  • 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. ...
  • 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 ...
  • 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. ...
  • Mesothelioma Watch

    http://www.mesotheliomawatch.org/...
  • 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.”...
  • 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....
  • 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). ...
  • 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....
  • 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....
  • 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. ...
  • 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. ...
  • 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:...
  • 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. ...
  • LA Trust & Family Wealth Law

    http://familywealthlawyers.typepad.com/...
  • 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.. ...
  • Virginia Estate Planning and Elder Law Blog

    http://blog.virginiaelderlaw.com/...
  • 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)." ...
  • 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. ...
  • 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. ...
  • 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. ...
  • 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....
  • 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. ...
  • 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. ...
  • 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. ...
  • 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. ...
  • 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...
  • 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:...
  • 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. ...
  • 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....
  • 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. ...
  • Tulsa Estate Planning Blog

    http://www.tulsaestateplanlaw.com/...