Pet Trusts – Estate Planning for Animal Companions

Pet Trusts – Estate Planning for Animal Companions

Did you know you can provide for your companion animals in your revocable living trust? The courts have held in prior decisions that an outright gift to an animal is void.  In Estate of Russell (1968) 69 C2d 200, the court found that a dog, Roxy Russell, could not be a beneficiary of a will under the current law, which limited disposition of property to any “person." A "person" was defined to...

Trusts and Taxes: Understanding How One Affects the Other Can Benefit Your Estate Plan

Trusts and Taxes:  Understanding How One Affects the Other Can Benefit Your Estate Plan

Trusts typically are a main component of an estate plan. But do you know how higher taxes can impact a trust’s overall effectiveness? Because the income thresholds for trusts are low, it’s worth your time to understand how the current tax environment affects your trust planning. 2016 rates For 2016, the top marginal individual income tax rate is 39.6%. And the capital gains rate for taxpayers...

Avoid State Income Taxes With An Incomplete Nongrantor Trust

Avoid State Income Taxes With An Incomplete Nongrantor Trust

With the federal gift and estate tax exemption at an inflation-adjusted $5.45 million in 2016, many people are shifting their estate planning focus to income tax reduction. One potentially attractive strategy for high-income taxpayers, particularly those who live in high-income-tax states, such as California, is an incomplete nongrantor trust. These trusts — established in favorable tax...

Why you might consider a SLAT

The most effective estate-planning strategies often involve the use of irrevocable trusts. But what if you’re uncomfortable placing your assets beyond your control? What happens if your financial fortunes take a turn for the worse after you’ve irrevocably transferred a sizable portion of your wealth? If your marriage is strong, a spousal lifetime access trust (SLAT) allows you to obtain the...