- Advance Directives
- Asset Protection
- Business Succession
- Charitable Gift Planning
- Elder Care
- Estate Planning
- Estate Tax
- Financial Planning
- Fraud & Financial Abuse
- Gift Tax
- Health Care
- Income Tax
- Life Insurance
- Living Trusts
- NC Income Tax
- North Carolina Department of Revenue
- Nursing Homes
- Pending Legislation
- Powers of Attorney
- Qualified Plans
- Real Property
- Social Security
- Special Needs Planning
- Tax Fraud
3 Errors North Carolina Executors Might Encounter Without Legal Counsel
Posted on: November 21st, 2016
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....
Penalties for Executors Due to Attorney Fault
Posted on: November 16th, 2016
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....
Inherited IRA Ruling: Distinctions Between Federal and State Tax Law
Posted on: July 22nd, 2016
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....
New Larger Tax Deduction for LTC Insurance
Posted on: March 28th, 2016
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. ...
Problems With Old Trusts
Posted on: November 21st, 2015
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....
3 Questions to Ask if You Own Real Property With Joint Title in NC
Posted on: September 23rd, 2015
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. ...
Phone Scam Using Our Firm Name
Posted on: June 24th, 2015
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....
NC Estate Planning Blog New Platform
Posted on: June 17th, 2015
Our attorneys in Chapel Hill with TrustCounsel recently switched blog platforms for the North Carolina Estate Planning Blog....
Covering Retirement v. Leaving Inheritance
Posted on: May 27th, 2015
Expenses in senior years continue to be a concern for many Americans. As multiple studies show, most individuals do not maintain adequate retirement contributions. ...
Looking Ahead: Rising Nursing Home Costs in North Carolina
Posted on: May 24th, 2015
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....
Opportunities for 529 College Savings Plans
Posted on: May 24th, 2015
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. ...
Tax Concerns for New Domicile
Posted on: May 23rd, 2015
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....
Learn if You Need to File an Amended NC Tax Return
Posted on: May 6th, 2015
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. ...
Last-Minute Estate Planning in North Carolina
Posted on: April 9th, 2015
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. ...
Tax Planning for North Carolina Business Successions
Posted on: April 7th, 2015
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...
10 Things to Ask Your Accountant: Small Biz Webinar
Posted on: March 30th, 2015
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...
Creditor Claims Against Decedents in North Carolina
Posted on: March 23rd, 2015
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...
Invest or Gift This Year’s Tax Refunds?
Posted on: March 16th, 2015
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 ...
Tax Issues to Consider When Settling an Estate
Posted on: March 5th, 2015
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. ...
Protect Yourself From Tax Preparer Fraud
Posted on: February 6th, 2015
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....
State Residency and Domicile in Estate Planning
Posted on: January 29th, 2015
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. ...
Delay Filing: North Carolina Tax Changes Pending
Posted on: January 26th, 2015
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....
North Carolina 2014 Tax Year Changes to Note
Posted on: December 12th, 2014
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. ...
Pending Court Case May Affect ‘Double Income Tax’
Posted on: October 27th, 2014
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....
Gifting Trends Among Wealthy
Posted on: October 20th, 2014
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. ...
Repeal of the Permanent Federal Estate Tax?
Posted on: July 12th, 2014
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.)...
Non-profit 501(c)(3) Application Now Easier
Posted on: July 11th, 2014
Filing for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status has streamlined to a shorter process, both in time and in required paperwork. ...
Tax Requirements for North Carolina Trusts
Posted on: July 10th, 2014
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....
4 Tax Considerations for Parents of Special Needs Children
Posted on: May 21st, 2014
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....
Non-Tax Benefits of Family Limited Liability Companies
Posted on: April 28th, 2014
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....
IRA Rollover Annual Limit Changes Effective 2015
Posted on: April 25th, 2014
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. ...
Retirement Plans in Same-Sex Marriage
Posted on: April 23rd, 2014
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?...
5 Proposed Rules for Retirement Accounts
Posted on: April 22nd, 2014
Our tax attorneys covered several pending federal revisions in our Tax Changes for 2015, one of which affects retirement accounts. ...
Last-Minute Tax Review for Same-Sex Couples
Posted on: March 28th, 2014
As Americans across the country prepare tax returns in the final days before April 15th, married same-sex couples face unique tax filing requirements. ...
5 Last-Minute Tax Tips
Posted on: March 26th, 2014
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. ...
Tax Tips for Married Same-Sex Couples in North Carolina
Posted on: February 12th, 2014
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. ...
NC Tax Questions for Same-Sex Marriages
Posted on: February 6th, 2014
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....
Look Out For Tax Scams
Posted on: February 4th, 2014
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....
Estate Planning and Real Estate Titles in North Carolina
Posted on: January 21st, 2014
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....
Avoid Charity Frauds
Posted on: December 28th, 2013
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. ...
3 Year-End Giving Tips: Use All Your Deductions
Posted on: December 23rd, 2013
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:...
NC 529 College Savings Deduction Repealed 2014
Posted on: November 25th, 2013
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.)...
Life Estate Insurance Blunder
Posted on: November 11th, 2013
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. ...
Retirement Accounts Vulnerable to Back Taxes
Posted on: October 24th, 2013
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. ...
Important Tax Steps for Same-Sex Couples in NC
Posted on: October 22nd, 2013
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. ...
Top 5 States for Dynasty Trusts
Posted on: October 17th, 2013
Dynasty trusts in North Carolina offer creditor and asset protection for future generations while at the same time legally bypassing certain taxes. ...
Swiss Accounts: New Tax Terms for Offshore Accounts
Posted on: October 12th, 2013
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....
North Carolina Back Tax Scam
Posted on: October 7th, 2013
Last week the North Carolina Department of Revenue released a warning in response to reports of back income tax collection scams. ...
Same-Sex Marriages Recognized by Jurisdiction of Ceremony
Posted on: October 3rd, 2013
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. ...
SCINs Excluded From Estates
Posted on: August 30th, 2013
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. ...
3 Tax Benefits of Education Trusts
Posted on: August 30th, 2013
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....
NC Estate Tax Repeal Retroactive
Posted on: August 1st, 2013
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. ...
Tax Tips for Charity Travel
Posted on: July 30th, 2013
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. ...
North Carolina Tax Reform Passes
Posted on: July 26th, 2013
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....
What You Need to Know About Life Insurance and Annuity Changes
Posted on: July 25th, 2013
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. ...
Checklist for Estate Planning in 2013
Posted on: June 27th, 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....
Tax Concerns When Modifying Trusts
Posted on: June 17th, 2013
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....
No NC Tax Reform Bill Yet, Here’s the Plan
Posted on: May 15th, 2013
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. ...
Distribution Advantages for Spouse IRA Beneficiaries
Posted on: May 5th, 2013
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....
Kids in College? North Carolina Income Tax Changes for Parents
Posted on: May 2nd, 2013
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....
5 Final Hour Tax Filing Errors
Posted on: April 12th, 2013
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. ...
Repeal of the North Carolina Estate Tax?
Posted on: February 26th, 2013
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. ...
North Carolina’s Estate Tax: Dying Out?
Posted on: February 14th, 2013
Most of the country’s attention has been on federal estate tax changes made by the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. ...
2013 Estate and Gift Tax Exemption Set at $5.25M
Posted on: January 1st, 2013
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....
Tennessee Estate Planning: Tax Exemption Changes in 2012, 2013 and After
Posted on: December 21st, 2012
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. ...
Tax Changes and Limitations on Dynasty Trusts
Posted on: December 19th, 2012
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. ...
Singles & Couples: Muni-Bond Tax Breaks Disappearing–Maybe
Posted on: December 18th, 2012
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....
The Fiscal Cliff Cometh – Things to Do By 12/31/12
Posted on: December 11th, 2012
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. ...
Last Minute 2012 Financial Move
Posted on: December 6th, 2012
Last week the United States Treasury proposed new regulations for Charitable Remainder Trusts (CRTs), which affects the tax liability of distributions in 2013. ...
Now is the Time to Consider Tax Issues as 2013 Draws Near
Posted on: November 21st, 2012
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?...
How to Determine Date of Death Values
Posted on: November 20th, 2012
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. ...
IRS Procedure for Requesting Extension for Late 706
Posted on: February 12th, 2012
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), ...
Tax Related Duties of an Executor
Posted on: February 1st, 2012
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. ...
Tax Law Changes in Obama’s Proposed 2012 Budget
Posted on: February 7th, 2011
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%. ...
10 Tips from a Tax Lawyer for 2010 and 2011
Posted on: January 31st, 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. ...
2010 Tax Relief Act Passes House
Posted on: December 17th, 2010
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....
Obama Signs 2010 Tax Relief Act
Posted on: December 17th, 2010
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 Senate
Posted on: December 15th, 2010
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....
AICPA asks IRS for Guidance on Carryover Basis Rules
Posted on: December 7th, 2010
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. ...
Tax Breaks to Disappear in 2011?
Posted on: October 26th, 2010
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
Posted on: October 20th, 2010
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. ...
IRS Guidance for Executors of 2010 Estates
Posted on: September 8th, 2010
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):...
Income Taxation of Estates – a Brief Overview
Posted on: January 30th, 2010
In North Carolina it is not uncommon for persons to handle administration of a decedent’s estate without hiring a lawyer or an accountant. ...
IRS Announces Pension Plan Limits for 2009
Posted on: October 17th, 2008
IR-2008-118, Oct. 16, 2008 WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today announced cost‑of‑living adjustments applicable to dollar limitations for pension plans and other items for tax year 2009....
Estate and Income Tax Reduction Strategies in a Bear Market
Posted on: October 8th, 2008
1) If you are not selling options or using margin trading, you should revoke your margin agreements. This reduces your risk by ensuring that your securities are not lent. 2) Roth IRA conversions should be aggressively reviewed....
A QTIP is Not Just for Your Ears
Posted on: September 22nd, 2007
Estate planners love acronyms, and one of the most common when referring to a particular type of trust is QTIP, which stands for Qualified Terminable Interest Property. ...
House Passes Ban on Tax Strategy Patents
Posted on: September 13th, 2007
On September 7, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1908, The Patent Reform Act of 2007. Section 10 of that bill prohibits patenting tax strategies. ...
NC Senate Proposes Reduction in Top Income Tax Rate
Posted on: June 4th, 2007
Last week the North Carolina Senate produced its version of the state budget, which included:...
Filing Taxes Early Can be a Mistake
Posted on: January 25th, 2007
An article in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal discusses the problem of financial services firms providing late or amended Forms 1099. ...
Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006
Posted on: December 29th, 2006
The Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006 was passed into law this week, extending the State and Local Sales Tax Deduction, the Higher Education Tuition and Fees Deduction, and the Educator Expense Adjustment....