Despite its name, the purpose of a spendthrift trust isn’t just to protect profligate heirs from themselves. Even the most financially responsible heirs can be exposed to frivolous lawsuits or unscrupulous creditors. A properly designed spendthrift trust can safeguard assets against such attacks. A variety of trusts can include this protection. It’s just a matter […]

If your estate plan includes a revocable trust (also known as a “living” trust), it’s critical to ensure that the trust is properly funded. Revocable trusts offer significant benefits, including probate avoidance. But these benefits aren’t available if you don’t fund the trust. Funding a living trust is a simple matter of transferring ownership of […]

If a trust is subject to high state income taxes, you may be able to change its residence to a state with low or no income taxes. While the advantages are many, it’s important to review both states’ laws for determining a trust’s “residence” for tax and other purposes. Typically, states make this determination based […]

A pet trust is a legally sanctioned arrangement in all 50 states that allows you to set aside funds for your pet’s care in the event you die or become disabled. After the pet dies, any remaining funds are distributed among your heirs as directed by the trust terms. The basic guidelines are comparable to […]

Have you made substantial gifts of wealth to family members? Or are you the executor of the estate of a loved one who died recently? If so, you need to know whether you must file a gift or estate tax return. Filing a gift tax return Generally, a federal gift tax return (Form 709) is […]

If your wealth is tied up in a closely held business, lack of liquidity can create estate planning challenges. Selling your business shares to an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) converts them into liquid assets. If the ESOP owns more than 30% of the company’s outstanding common stock immediately after the sale, you may be […]

Choosing the right executor (or “personal representative”) is critical to the smooth administration of an estate. Yet many people treat this decision as an afterthought. An executor’s duties may include taking inventory of the estate’s assets, filing the estate’s tax returns and paying its taxes, and handling creditors’ claims. A family member is a common […]

An IRA is a popular vehicle to save for retirement, and it can also be a powerful estate planning tool. Some people designate a trust as beneficiary of their IRAs, but is that a good idea? The answer: possibly. IRA benefits The benefit of an IRA is that your contributions can grow and compound on […]

If your estate includes forms of intellectual property (IP), such as patents and copyrights, it’s important to know what these intangible assets are worth and how they should be transferred to heirs. For the former, obtain an appraisal from a professional with experience valuing IP. For the latter, take into consideration not only the gift […]