2010 Posts

  • 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....
  • 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....
  • 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. ...
  • 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. ...
  • 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....
  • 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....
  • 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....
  • 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....
  • 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. ...
  • 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: ...
  • 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. ...
  • 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. ...
  • 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. ...
  • 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....
  • 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%. ...
  • 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. ...
  • 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. ...
  • 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. ...
  • 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. ...
  • 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...
  • 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. ...
  • 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....
  • 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. ...
  • 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....
  • 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. ...
  • 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....
  • 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:...
  • 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....
  • 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. ...
  • 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:...
  • 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. ...
  • 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....
  • 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:...
  • 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....
  • 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....
  • 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....
  • 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....
  • 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. ...
  • 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....
  • 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....
  • “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." ...
  • 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....
  • 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:...
  • 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....
  • 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....
  • 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):...
  • 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:...
  • 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:...
  • 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....
  • 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. ...
  • 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. ...
  • 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;...
  • 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, ...
  • 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....
  • 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. ...
  • 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....
  • 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. ...
  • 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, ...
  • 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...
  • 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. ...
  • 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:...
  • 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....
  • 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....
  • 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. ...
  • 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. ...
  • 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. ...
  • 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.: ...
  • 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. ...
  • 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....
  • 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....
  • 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. ...
  • 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. ...
  • 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....
  • 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....
  • 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....
  • 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....
  • 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....
  • 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....
  • 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....
  • 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. ...
  • 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)....
  • 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. ...
  • 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%)....
  • 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). ...
  • 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....
  • 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....
  • 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....
  • 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....
  • 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....
  • 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. ...
  • 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....
  • 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....
  • 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:...
  • 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:...
  • 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....
  • 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....
  • 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. ...
  • NC law on CCRCs

    I recently gave a presentation on the Legal and Contractual Aspects of Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) Agreements. ...
  • 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:...
  • 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: ...
  • 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. ...
  • 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....
  • 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....
  • 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....
  • 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....
  • 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:...
  • 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. ...
  • 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. ...
  • 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. ...
  • 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....
  • 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....
  • 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. ...
  • 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....
  • 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. ...
  • 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, ...
  • 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. ...
  • 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. ...
  • 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. ...
  • 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. ...
  • 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...
  • 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....
  • 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, ...
  • 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....
  • 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." ...
  • 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....
  • 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. ...
  • 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. ...
  • 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. ...
  • 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....
  • 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....
  • 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):...
  • 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. ...
  • 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. ...
  • 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. ...
  • 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....
  • 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?...
  • GRATs and FLPs okay this year?

    I’m at the University of Miami School of Law’s Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning this week. ...
  • 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....
  • 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). ...
  • 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. ...
  • 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....
  • 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:...
  • 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:...
  • NC Incompetency and Guardianship Proceedings

    This is a basic outline of initial procedures and considerations in an incompetency and guardianship proceeding in North Carolina. ...
  • 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:...
  • 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:...
  • 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. ...
  • 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. ...