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Entries in Irrevocable Trust (17)

Wednesday
Mar012017

How to Choose Your Trustee

While the term fiduciary is a legal term with a long history, it very generally means someone who is legally obligated to act in another person’s best interests. Trustees, executors, and agents are all examples of fiduciaries. When you pick trustees, executors, and agents in your estate plan, you’re picking one or more people to make decisions in your and your beneficiaries’ best interests and in accordance with the instructions you leave. Luckily, understanding the basics of what each of these terms means and what to consider when making your choices can make your estate plan work far better.

 Trustee:

A revocable living trust is often the center of a well-designed estate plan because it is simply the best strategy for achieving most individuals’ goals. In a revocable living trust, your successor trustee will be responsible for making sure your wealth is passed on and managed in accordance with your wishes after your death or incapacity. Like each of the following individuals involved in your estate planning, it’s best to have a trusted person or financial institution carry out this vitally important role.

 It’s important to make the language in your trusts as clear as possible so that your trustee knows exactly how to handle various situations that can arise is asset distribution. Lastly, your trustee will only control the assets contained within the trust — not the rest of your estate, another reason that completely funding yourliving trust is incredibly important.

 Powers of Attorney:

Your power of attorney is the document in your estate plan that appoints individuals to make decisions on your behalf if you become unable to do so yourself. There are a few different types of powers of attorney, each with their own specific provisions. There is quite a wide range of situations covered by various powers of attorney, and we can help you decide which types you’ll need based on your current situation and future goals. Here are two common types to cover in your estate plan:

●      Financial Powers of Attorney :

Financial powers of attorney grant individuals the ability to take financial actions on your behalf such as purchasing life insurance or withdrawing money from your accounts to cover your costs. In most cases, powers of attorney are granted to individuals appointed as agents. However, especially regarding financial decisions, an institution like a trust company can also be named.

 ●     Advance Health Care Directive:

Your Advance Health Care Directive, also referred to as your Health Care Power of Attorney, covers a wide range of specific actions that can be taken regarding an individual’s medical needs such as making decisions about the types of care you receive. For example, a health care power of attorney can be the doctor you most trust to gauge your mental competency.

 Executor:

Your executor is the person who will see your assets through probate if necessary and carry out your wishes based on your last will and testament. Depending on your preferences, this may be the same person or institution as your trustee. You might also see this position designated as personal representative, but it means the same thing.

Many individuals chose to go with a paid executor. This is someone who doesn’t stand to gain anything from your will, and is often the best choice if your estate is large and will be divided among many beneficiaries. Of course, family or friends can also serve, but it’s important to consider the amount of work involved before placing this burden on your family or friends. 

Being an executor can be hard work and may have court-ordered deadlines, so it’s crucial to pick someone you know will be up for the job. They may need to hire a CPA to help sort out your taxes or a lawyer to assist in the process or to aid in dispute resolution. Therefore, choosing a spouse or someone else intimately involved in your life may not always be the wisest option, as they may not be up to the task at the time.

 Get in touch with us today:

Let us help you make the process of picking your trustee, powers of attorney, and executor as smooth and headache-free as possible. Once you have these choices in place, you’ll be able to rest easy knowing that your estate plan is in good hands no matter what life brings. To ensure that your family is cared for, please click here to schedule your complimentary Estate Planning Strategy Call with San Francisco’s premier estate planning attorney, Matthew J. Tuller.


 


 

Tuesday
Feb072017

Trump’s Presidency—Synopsis of Impacts On Estate Planning

It's official—the Electoral College voted on December 19, 2016, essentially completing the 2016 presidential election cycle. With that bit of uncertainty behind us and a fresh year starting out, here's what you need to know about planning your estate under the incoming Trump administration and Republican-controlled Congress. Regardless of how you feel about the election results, it is now the reality in which we currently live.

President Trump’s Tax Plan:

A new president usually means major shakeups in fiscal and tax policy, and Trump’s tax plan is no exception. Here are several of the proposed changes we will potentially see rolling out during his administration.

  1. The repeal of the estate tax;
  2.  Lower income tax rates;
  3. The introduction of a tax deduction for childcare costs;
  4. Dependent care savings accounts (DCSAs) with conditional matching;
  5. The switch from seven to three tax brackets;
  6. Increased standard joint deduction from $12,600 to $30,000;
  7. Increased itemized deductions cap from $100,000 to $200,000; and
  8. Decrease in business tax from 35 percent to 15 percent.

Of these proposed changes, the repeal of the estate tax, also known as the “death tax,” means your assets would not be taxed by the government upon your death and would transfer in full to your beneficiaries. It is also predicted that the gift and generation-skipping taxes may be repealed as well. These actions could result in a greater ability to keep wealth within your family, but we must wait until we see the final legislation to know the exact mechanics. Additionally, the proposed changes would also negatively impact taxation on charitable gifts and other philanthropic gestures contained in your estate plan.

Estate taxes differ from state to state, so the wisest move in your playbook is to go over your estate plan with an experienced estate planning attorney to discover how these changes may impact its other components.

Of course, proposed policy changes must go through Congress, which has its own agendas and ideas about fiscal and tax policy. So, staying on top of new developments and in close contact with your team means you’ll be prepared for whatever unfolds over the coming years.

More Benefits to Revocable Trust-based Planning:

There are also many non-tax-related benefits to trust-based planning that you can take advantage of regardless of which proposed changes take place under the new administration and Congress. Just a few key benefits of trust-based planning include:

  1. Greater privacy for your family and avoidance of probate;
  2. Incapacity protection and avoidance of conservatorship or guardianship;
  3. The creation of lifetime beneficiary directed trusts providing long-term asset protection benefits to your heirs;
  4. Ensuring the protection of your asserts during your lifetime; and
  5. Ensuring that your desires for taking care of your loved one’s after you pass away are effectuated.

Schedule a Call with Us:

Not even the nation’s top financial experts know exactly how Trump’s presidency and the Republican-run Congress will impact estate planning best practices for every citizen, but a skilled estate planning attorney can guide your estate planning in a smart, careful, and decisive manner.

We’re here to help you navigate policy changes to ensure your estate is managed as beneficially as possible for you and your family for generations to come. If you want to ensure that your family is cared for, please click here to schedule your complimentary Estate Planning Strategy Call with San Francisco’s premier estate planning attorney, Matthew J. Tuller.


 

Sunday
Sep112016

Act Now! Avoid New IRS Regulations That Might Raise Taxes on Your Family’s Inheritance 

The IRS recently released proposed regulations which effectively end valuation discounts that have been relied upon for over 20 years. If the IRS’s current timetable holds, these regulations may become final as early as January 1, 2017. Although that date isn’t set in stone, I expect that the regulations will be final around that time or shortly thereafter.

With New Regulations Looming, What Should You Do Now?

As I mentioned before, the timetable isn’t set in stone. Luckily, there’s still a narrow window of time to implement “freezing” techniques under current, more favorable law, to save taxes and protect your family’s inheritance.

Depending on your circumstances, some options are going to be a better fit than others, and I want to make sure you get the best outcome possible. Some of these “freezing” techniques involve the use of a family business entity to own and operate your family fortune, in combination with one or more special tax-saving trusts. These plans provide numerous benefits including asset protection, divorce protection, centralized management of assets, and more – in addition to the tax savings.

Unfortunately, these types of plans can take 2-3 months to fully implement and time is running short.

So, here’s your action plan:

  1.  First, schedule an appointment with me as soon as possible. I’d like to get a time on the calendar so that I can take a look at the options that are available to you under current law between now and the end of this year.
  2. Second, find your estate planning portfolio and take a look at it. If I prepared your plan, you’ll have a graphic that represents your current plan, making it easy to review. (If you can’t find it, let me know and I will send you another one.) If someone else prepared your plan, you might have a graphic summary or some other type of summary. Regardless of who prepared your plan, now’s a great time to review your plan. When we meet, I want to make sure that anything we do to help you protect your family’s inheritance from the IRS still achieves your overall planning goals - and not just the tax-saving goals.

Our firm is available to assist you with the immediate implementation of your wealth transfer plan using valuation discounts that are still available under current law.

If you want to ensure that your family is cared for, please click here to schedule your complimentary Estate Planning Strategy Call with San Francisco’s premier estate planning attorney, Matthew J. Tuller.

Wednesday
May252016

6 Ways a Trust Protector Can Fortify Your Trust

Trust protectors are a fairly new and commonly used protection in the United States. To summarize, a trust protector is someone who serves as an appointed authority over a trust that will be in existence for a long period of time. Trust protectors ensure that trustees: 1) maintain the integrity of the trust, 2) make solid distribution and investment decisions, and 3) adapt the trust to changes in law and circumstance. 

Whenever changes occur, as they naturally do, the trust protector has the power modify the trust to carry out the Grantor’s intent. Significantly, the trust protector has the power to act without going to court—a key benefit which saves time and money and honors family privacy. 

Here are 6 Key Ways a Trust Protector Can Protect You:

Your trust protector can:

  1. Remove or replace a difficult trustee or one who is no longer able or willing to serve.
  2. Amend the trust to reflect changes in the law.
  3. Resolve conflicts between beneficiaries and trustee(s) or between multiple trustees.
  4. Modify distributions from the trust because of changes in beneficiaries' lives such as premature death, divorce, drug addiction, disability, or lawsuit.
  5. Allow new beneficiaries to be added when new descendants are born.
  6. Veto investment decisions which might be unwise.

WARNING:

The key to making a trust protector work for you is being very specific about the powers available to that person. It’s important to authorize that person, and any future trust protectors, to fulfill their duty to carry out the trust maker’s intent - not their own.

Can You Benefit from a Trust Protector?

Generally speaking, the answer is yes. Trust protectors provide flexibility and an extra layer of protection for trust maker intent as well as trust assets and beneficiaries. Trust protector provisions are easily added into a new trust and older trusts can be reformed (re-drafted) to add a trust protector. If you have trusts you’ve created or are the beneficiary of a trust that feels outdated, we can help. If you want to ensure that your family is cared for, please click here to schedule your complimentary Estate Planning Strategy Call with San Francisco’s premier estate planning attorney, Matthew J. Tuller.

 

Friday
May202016

3 Examples of When an Irrevocable Trust Can—and Should—Be Modified

Did you know that irrevocable trusts can be modified? If you didn’t, you’re not alone. The name lends itself to that very belief. However, the truth is that changes in the law, family, trustees, and finances sometimes frustrate the trust maker’s original intent. Or, sometimes, an error in the trust document itself is identified. When this happens, it’s wise to consider trust modification, even if that trust is irrevocable.

Here are three examples of when an irrevocable trust can, and should, be modified or terminated:

1.  Changing Tax Law. Adam created an irrevocable trust in 1980 which held a life insurance policy excluding proceeds from his estate for federal estate tax purposes.  Today, the federal estate tax exemption has significantly increased making the trust unnecessary. 

2.  Changing Family Circumstances. Barbara created an irrevocable trust for her grandchild, Christine. Now an adult, Christine suffers from a disability and would benefit from government assistance. Barbara’s trust would disqualify Christine from receiving that assistance.

3.  Discovering Errors. David created an irrevocable trust to provide for his numerous children and grandchildren. However, after the trust was created, his son (Jack) discovered that his son (Frank) had been mistakenly omitted from the document. 

Are You Sure Your Trust is Still Working for You?

If you’re not sure an irrevocable trust is still a good fit or if you wonder whether you can receive more benefit from a trust, we’ll analyze the trust. Perhaps irrevocable trust modification or termination is a good option. Making that determination simply requires a conversation with us and a look at the document itself.

If you want to ensure that your family is cared for, please click here to schedule your complimentary Estate Planning Strategy Call with San Francisco’s premier estate planning attorney, Matthew J. Tuller.


 

Wednesday
May182016

4 Steps To Irrevocable Trust Decanting

We all need a “do over” from time to time. Life changes, the law changes, and professionals learn to do things in better ways. Change is a fact of life - and the law. Unfortunately, many folks think they’re stuck with an irrevocable trust. After all, if the trust can be revoked, why call it “irrevocable”? Good question.

Fortunately, irrevocable trusts can be changed and one way to make that change is to decant the original trust. Decanting is a “do over.” Funds from an existing trust (with less favorable terms) are distributed to a new trust (with more favorable terms). 

As the name may suggest, decanting a trust is similar to decanting wine: you take wine from one bottle and transfer it to another (decanter)—leaving the unwanted wine sediment / trust terms in the original bottle / document. Just like pouring wine from one bottle to another, decanting is relatively straight-forward and consists of these four steps:

1. Determine Whether Your State Has a Decanting Statute. 

Nearly half of US states currently have decanting laws. If yours does, determine whether the trustee is permitted to make the specific changes desired. If so, omit step 2 and move directly to step 3. 

If your state does not have a decanting statute, the answer isn’t as clear cut. While attempting to decant a trust in a state without a statute certainly can be done, it’s risky.  Consider step 2.

2. Move the Trust. 

If the trust’s current jurisdiction does not have a decanting statute or the existing statute is either not user friendly or does not allow for the desired modifications, it’s time to review the trust and determine if it can be moved to another jurisdiction.

If so, we can make that happen, including adding a trustee or co-trustee, and taking advantage of that jurisdiction’s laws. If not, we can petition the local court to move the trust.

3. Decant the Trust. 

We’ll prepare whatever documents are necessary to decant the trust by “pouring” the assets into a trust with more favorable terms. All statutory requirements must be followed and state decanting statutes referenced. 

4. Transfer the Assets

The final step is simply transferring assets from the old trust into the new trust. While this can be effectuated in many different ways, the most common are by deed, assignment, change of owner / beneficiary forms, and the creation of new accounts. 

Get the Most from Your Trust

Although irrevocable trusts are commonly thought of as documents which cannot be revoked or changed, that isn’t quite true. If you feel stuck with a less than optional trust, we’d love to review the trust and your goals to determine whether decanting or other trust modification would help.

If you want to ensure that your family is cared for, please click here to schedule your complimentary Estate Planning Strategy Call with San Francisco’s premier estate planning attorney, Matthew J. Tuller.

Friday
May132016

5 Compelling Reasons to Decant Your Trust

When a bottle of wine is decanted, it’s poured from one container into another. When a trust is decanted, trust assets are poured from an old trust into a new trust with more favorable terms.

Why Should a Trust Be Decanted?

Trusts are decanted to escape from a bad trust and provide beneficiaries with more favorable trust provisions and benefits. 

Here are 5 compelling reasons to decant your trust:

1. To clarify ambiguities or drafting errors in the trust agreement. As trust beneficiaries die and younger generations become the new heirs, vague provisions or mistakes in the original trust agreement may become apparent. Decanting can be used to correct these problems.

2. To provide for a special needs beneficiary. A trust that is not tailored to provide for a special needs beneficiary will cause the beneficiary to lose government benefits.  Decanting can be used to turn a support trust into a supplemental needs trust, thereby supplementing, but not supplanting, what government benefits cover.

3. To protect trust assets from the beneficiary’s creditors. A trust that is not designed to protect the trust assets from being snatched by beneficiary’s creditors can be rapidly depleted if the beneficiary is sued, gets divorced, goes bankrupt, succumbs to business failure, or suffers a health crisis. Decanting can be used to convert a support trust into a full discretionary trust that beneficiary’s creditors will not be able to reach.

4. To merge similar trusts into a single trust or create separate trusts from a single trust. An individual may be the beneficiary of multiple trusts with similar terms. Decanting can be used to combine trusts into one trust thereby reducing administrative costs and oversight responsibilities. And, on the other hand, a single trust that has multiple beneficiaries with differing needs can be decanted into separate trusts tailored to each individual beneficiary.

5. To change the governing law or situs to a different state. Changes in state and federal laws can adversely affect the administration and taxation of a multi-generational trust.  Decanting can be used to take a trust, governed by laws that have become unfavorable, and convert it into a trust that is governed by different and more advantageous laws.  

You’re Not Stuck With Your Trust: We’ll Help You Escape:

We include trust decanting provisions in the trusts we create. Including trust decanting provisions in an irrevocable trust agreement or a revocable trust agreement that will become irrevocable at some time in the future is critical to the success and longevity of the trust. Such provisions will help to ensure that the trust agreement has the flexibility necessary to avoid court intervention to fix a trust that no longer makes practical or economic sense. 

You and your loved ones don’t need to muddle through with outdated and inappropriate trust provisions. If you want to ensure that your family is cared for, please click here to schedule your complimentary Estate Planning Strategy Call with San Francisco’s premier estate planning attorney, Matthew J. Tuller.

 

Wednesday
May112016

Decanting: How to Fix a Trust That Is NOT Getting Better With Age

While many wines get better with age, the same cannot be said for some irrevocable trusts.  Maybe you’re the beneficiary of trust created by your great grandfather over seventy years ago, and that trust no longer makes sense.  Or, perhaps you created an irrevocable trust over twenty years ago, and it no longer makes sense.  Wine sommeliers may ask: ‘Is there any way to fix an irrevocable trust that has turned from a fine wine into vinegar?’  You may be surprised to learn that under certain circumstances the answer is yes. How? By “decanting” the old fragmented trust into a brand new one.

What Does It Mean to “Decant” a Trust?

Wine lovers know that the term “decant” means to pour wine from one container into another to open up the aromas and flavors of the wine.  In the world of irrevocable trusts, “decant” refers to the transfer of some or all of the property held in an existing trust into a brand new trust with different and more favorable terms.

When Does It Make Sense to Decant a Trust?

Decanting a trust makes sense under a myriad of different circumstances, including the following examples:

1. Tweak the trustee provisions to clarify who can or cannot serve as the trustee.

2. Expand or limit the powers of the trustee.

3. Convert a trust that terminates when a beneficiary reaches a certain age into a lifetime trust.

4. Change a support trust into a full discretionary trust to protect the trust assets from the beneficiary’s creditors.

5. Clarify ambiguous provisions or drafting errors in the existing trust.

6. Change the governing law or trust situs to a less taxing or more beneficiary friendly state.

7. Add, modify, or remove powers of appointment for tax or other reasons.

8. Merge similar trusts into a single trust for the same beneficiary.

9. Create separate trusts from a single trust to address the differing needs of multiple beneficiaries.

10. Provide for and protect a special needs beneficiary.  

What is the Process for Decanting a Trust?

Decanting must be allowed under applicable state case law or statutory law.  Aside from this, the trust agreement may contain specific instructions with regard to when or how a trust may be decanted.

Once it is determined that a trust can and should be decanted, the next step is for the trustee to create the new trust agreement with the desired provisions.  The trustee must then transfer some or all of the property from the existing trust into the new trust.  Any assets remaining in the existing trust will continue to be administered under its terms; and, an empty trust will be terminated.

WARNING:  Decanting is Not the Only Solution to Fix a Broken Trust

While decanting may work under certain circumstances, fortunately, it is not the only way to fix a “broken” irrevocable trust.  Our firm can help you evaluate options available to fix your broken trust and determine which method will work the best for your situation.

If you want to ensure that your family is cared for, please click here to schedule your complimentary Estate Planning Strategy Call with San Francisco’s premier estate planning attorney, Matthew J. Tuller.

Wednesday
Feb172016

Over 70% of Elvis Presley’s Estate Paid in Taxes & Fees: How To Avoid Unnecessary Taxes

Legendary singer and actor, Elvis Presley, earned over a billion dollars throughout his somewhat short career. That’s a Billion [with a capital B]. However, when the “King of Rock & Roll” died in 1977, his estate’s net worth was only $10 million. 

Of that, over 70% went to pay taxes and fees. That left someone who had earned over a billion dollars with only about $3 million (this time with an M) in the end. So, where did the money go and, more importantly, how can you avoid the same trap?

Where Did The Money Go?

It seems incomprehensible that someone who earned so much ended up with so little. Since Presley’s death, there have been many accusations made about his business manager, “Colonel” Tom Parker,” and his financial manager—Elvis’s very own father Vernon.

1.    “Colonel” Tom Parker.  Presley’s manager may have discovered him, but he was later accused of charging unreasonable and exorbitant commissions compared to industry averages. In fact, unlike most managers who get 10 or 20 percent, Parker’s deal with Elvis was 50/50.

a. It was later revealed that Parker was actually an illegal immigrant from Holland, who was born under an entirely different name, never obtained a green card, and refused to let Elvis tour overseas because he couldn’t go with him.

b.    If that weren’t enough, Parker also had a gambling problem and rumors say that he often lost more than $1 million in a night. After the truth came out, Parker’s rights to Elvis’s estate were terminated.

2.    Vernon Presley. Elvis’s father, Vernon Presley, was very involved with his son’s finances. However, many believe that he may not have had enough business savvy to manage such a large enterprise. 

 a.  Very little was done to invest profits and a trust was never created to avoid millions of dollars in estate taxes and fees which nearly bankrupted the estate itself. Had he sought the help of advisors, things might have turned out differently.

After Vernon died, Elvis’s only child, Lisa Marie, sold most of Elvis’s trademark rights for over $100 million. Perhaps she should have gotten involved sooner…

How To Protect Yourself Against Unnecessary Taxes:

Regardless of whether you earn a billion dollars and are known as a “King” or are simply a hard working Joe, do everything you can to protect yourself against taxes. In most situations, that means creating a trust that, if properly funded, will not be subject to probate and some of the taxes that associated with passing assets from one generation to the next.

Make the most of your hard earned income! Call our office today to find out about estate planning and how it can provide for and protect you and your family for generations to come.

If you want to ensure that your family is cared for, please click here to schedule your complimentary Estate Planning Strategy Call with San Francisco’s premier estate planning attorney, Matthew J. Tuller.

Friday
Feb122016

Investment, Insurance, Annuity, and Retirement Planning Considerations

If your clients choose to use a Standalone Retirement Trust (SRT) to provide asset protection benefits for their beneficiaries, then the tax-related asset allocation strategy would be essentially the same as without an SRT, with one small exception.

 Consider skewing your investment plan toward: 

  1. Loading retirement accounts and inherited retirement accounts with bonds, Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), and other assets that produce income taxed as ordinary income;
  2. Housing stocks, Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs), and other qualified-dividend generating investments in taxable accounts; and
  3. Placing any high-growth assets in Roth or inherited Roth IRAs.
WARNING: SRT Tax Consequences:

That one small exception is that if your SRT is designed as an accumulation trust (necessary for asset protection), then the undistributed Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) accumulating in the trust will face tightly compressed trust tax rates. If the undistributed annual RMDs exceed $12,400 (2016), the SRT is hit with a 39.6% marginal tax rate, possibly much higher than a beneficiary's personal income tax rates. For this reason, you might select very low-growth assets you believe belong in a client’s total portfolio for the accumulation SRT. Examples of these assets might be cash, short-term bonds, etc.

Always Use an SRT?
  1.      Of course not. No planning is one-size-fits all. There may be cases where your client’s circumstances do not warrant the hassle and expense of creating an SRT. An example might be if the inherited IRA is quite small in relation to all the other assets your client is protecting. In such cases, here are some other approaches to consider:
  2.   For clients who are still working but not fully funding their workplace retirement plan (e.g. 401(k), 403(b), 457, SIMPLE IRA, SEP IRA, etc.) accelerate the depletion of the beneficiary IRA and use the extra taxable cash flow to max out tax-deferrals into the workplace plan. If for every dollar pulled from the inherited IRA an additional dollar is contributed to the workplace plan, the tax impact is neutral but the assets are now easily consolidated into a single account.
  3.       For clients who are in retirement, if the optimal liquidation strategy in their case is to consume qualified assets first (as might be the case for those who enjoy a window of low income tax rates between retirement and deliberately delayed Social Security benefits), then consider consuming the inherited IRAs first of all.
  4.       Depending on the circumstances, it may make sense for the client to hasten withdrawals from the inherited IRA to fund 529 plan contributions, to fund life insurance premiums, to fund Roth IRA conversions, HSA contributions, etc., in order to pass assets to heirs through those sorts of channels instead.
 

As a note to insurance agents or annuity-oriented brokers, though qualified longevity annuity contracts (QLACs) were approved in 2014 for a portion of the assets in one’s own IRA, they are not allowed in inherited IRAs.  And while life insurance is allowable in ERISA plans, it is not allowable in inherited IRAs any more than in one’s own IRA.

Team Up with Us:

We’d be happy to answer all SRT and retirement protection questions.  Please feel free to call with questions or if you’d like help planning for a client.  It takes a village.

If you want to ensure that your family is cared for, please click here to schedule your complimentary Estate Planning Strategy Call with San Francisco’s premier estate planning attorney, Matthew J. Tuller.

Thursday
Feb042016

Caution: Creditors Now Have Easy Access to Inherited IRAs

Do you have IRAs or other retirement accounts that you plan to leave to your loved ones?  If so, proceed with caution.  Most people don’t know the law has changed: inherited retirement accounts no longer have asset protection, meaning they can be seized by strangers.

How Can Inherited IRAs Be Protected?  Enter the Standalone Retirement Trust

Fortunately, retirement account protection still exists but only if you take action.  Many people like you are using Standalone Retirement Trusts (SRT) to protect retirement assets.  The SRT is a special type of revocable trust just for retirement accounts. 

A properly drafted SRT:

       Protects the inherited retirement accounts from creditors as well as predators and lawsuits

       Ensures that inherited retirement accounts remain in your bloodline and out of the hands of a daughter-in-law or son-in-law or former daughter-in-law or son-in-law

       Allows for experienced investment management and oversight of the assets by a professional trustee

       Prevents the beneficiary from gambling away the inherited retirement account or blowing it all on exotic vacations, expensive jewelry, designer shoes, and fast cars

       Enables proper planning for a special needs beneficiary

       Permits you to name minor beneficiaries such as grandchildren without the need for a court-supervised guardianship

       Facilitates generation-skipping transfer tax planning to ensure that estate taxes are minimized or even eliminated at each generation of your family

 

 The Bottom Line on Protecting Inherited IRAs

Unfortunately, the Supreme Court decision has made outright beneficiary designations for IRAs and other retirement accounts risky business.  However, we are here to help you decide whether an SRT is a good fit for you and to answer your questions about protecting your retirement accounts.

If you want to ensure that your family is cared for, please click here to schedule your complimentary Estate Planning Strategy Call with San Francisco’s premier estate planning attorney, Matthew J. Tuller.


 

Tuesday
Feb022016

5 Reasons to Protect Your Retirement Accounts Now

During your lifetime, your retirement account has asset protection, but as soon as you pass that account to a loved one, that protection evaporates. This means one lawsuit and POOF! Your life long, hard earned savings could be gone.

Fortunately, there is an answer.  A special trust called a “Standalone Retirement Trust” (SRT) can protect inherited assets from your beneficiaries’ creditors.  We’ll show you what we mean.

When your spouse, child, or other loved one inherits your retirement account, their creditors have the power to seize it and take it as their own.

If you’re like most people, you’re thinking of protecting your retirement account?  Here are 5 reasons we think you’re right.

  1.    You have substantial combined retirement plans.  Spouses can use an SRT to shield one or the other from creditors. 
  2.   You believe your beneficiary may be “less than frugal” with the funds.  Anyone concerned about how their beneficiary will spend the inheritance should absolutely consider an SRT as you can provide oversight and instruction on how much they receive – and when. 
  3.       You are concerned about lawsuits, divorce, or other possible legal actions.  If your beneficiary is part of a lawsuit, is about to divorce, file for bankruptcy, or is involved in any type of legal action, an SRT can protect the assets they inherit from those creditors. 
  4.      You have beneficiaries who receive assistance.  If one of your beneficiaries receives, or may qualify for, a need-based governmental assistance program, it’s important to know that inheriting from an IRA may cause them to lose those benefits. An SRT can avoid disqualification. 
  5.       You are remarried with children from a previous marriage.  If you are remarried and have children from a previous marriage, your spouse could intentionally (or even unintentionally) disinherit your children.  You can avoid this by naming the spouse as a lifetime beneficiary of the trust and then having assets pass onto your children after his or her death.

 You’ve Worked Hard To Protect & Grow Your Wealth – Let’s Keep It That Way

You worked hard to save the money in those retirement accounts and your beneficiaries’ creditors shouldn’t be able take it from them. Let us show you how an SRT can help you protect your assets as well as provide tax deferred growth. NOW is the best time.

If you want to ensure that your family is cared for, please click here to schedule your complimentary Estate Planning Strategy Call with San Francisco’s premier estate planning attorney, Matthew J. Tuller.

Friday
Jan292016

How To Avoid Creditors Inheriting from You

Most people plan to leave a retirement account, such as an Individual Retirement Account (IRA), Roth IRA, 401 (k) Plan, 403 (b) plan, Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOPs), for their surviving spouse to live on when he or she passes away.

Surprisingly, this oft used planning device can be nullified—because it can be seized in a divorce, lawsuit, or bankruptcy. As such, your spouse can end up lacking the resources he or she planned on having as a source of retirement income.

3 Options Available To Surviving Spouses:

When your surviving spouse inherits your IRA, he or she generally has three options:

 1. Cash out the inherited IRA and pay the associated income tax. 

 WARNING: The cashed-out IRA will not have creditor protection and accelerates taxation.

 2. Maintain the IRA as an inherited IRA

  WARNING: The cashed-out IRA will not have creditor protection.

 3. Roll over the inherited IRA and treat it as his or her own.

  WARNING: The cashed-out IRA will not have creditor protection.

It is understandable why man become frustrated when realizing that a predator can swoop in and take their hard earned money; fortunately, there’s a solution and that solution is a retirement trust.

 Standalone Retirement Trusts Provide Protection:

A Standalone Retirement Trust (“SRT”) is a special type of trust designed to be the beneficiary of your retirement accounts after you die. It can protect your assets from creditors.  In fact, we can include trust provisions which specifically benefit your spouse in situations such as:

1.      Second marriages

2.      Divorce

3.      Lawsuits from car accidents, malpractice, or tenants

4.      Business failure

5.      Bankruptcy

6.      Medicaid qualification 

 Want To Know More? 

The bottom line is that a properly drafted SRT is often your best option for protecting your retirement assets (and providing the bonus of tax deferred growth). Want to know more?  Contact us today to schedule a conversation.

If you want to ensure that your family is cared for, please click here to schedule your complimentary Estate Planning Strategy Call with San Francisco’s premier estate planning attorney, Matthew J. Tuller.

Wednesday
Aug052015

5 Reasons Why Uncle Bill May Not Make a Good Trustee

If you have created a dynasty trust that you intend to last for decades into the future, choosing the right trustee is critical to the trust’s longevity and ultimate success. Initially you may think that a family member, such as a sibling (“Uncle Bill” to your children, who are the initial beneficiaries of your Dynasty Trust), will be the best choice as trustee. After all, Uncle Bill understands the personalities and varying needs of your children, and since Bill has always been frugal, he will surely keep the costs of administering the trust down. These are good reasons to possibly select a family member, like Bill, to serve as trustee

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Wednesday
Jul012015

What You Need To Know About The Latest Updates To Federal and State Estate Taxes

Death taxes are back in the news at both the federal and state level. Specifically, decoupled estate taxes effecting both Delaware and Minnesota.

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Monday
Mar232015

Does Your Estate Plan Protect Your Adult Beneficiaries?

If you think you only need to create discretionary lifetime trusts for young beneficiaries, problem beneficiaries, or financially inexperienced beneficiaries, then think again. In this day and age of frivolous lawsuits and high divorce rates, discretionary lifetime trusts should be considered for all of your beneficiaries, minors and adults alike.

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Tuesday
Jul082014

U.S. Supreme Court Rules Inherited IRAs are Not Protected from Creditors

On June 12, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court—in a unanimous decision—ruled that Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) inherited by anyone other than a spouse are not retirement funds and therefore are not protected from the beneficiary’s creditors in bankruptcy. The reasoning is, because the beneficiary cannot make additional contributions or delay distributions until retirement, it is not a retirement account.

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