Stites on Estates

Category Archives: Trust Administration

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What to Do with an Estate with Foreign Assets (Even that “Little” Bank Account in Europe)

Posted in Estate Administration, Income Tax Planning, Trust Administration
This article regards estates of decedents who owned foreign assets and the tax and reporting requirements.  Many people are quite shocked to learn about the reporting requirements for foreign bank accounts, in particular.  After all, tax is typically being paid in the foreign jurisdiction, or perhaps the foreign bank accounts generate little to no income… Continue Reading

Estate Planning With Partnerships: Important New Considerations

Posted in Estate Tax Planning, Income Tax Planning, Trust Administration
Two recent acts of Congress (including the rather interestingly named Protection of Americans from Tax Hikes Act) created new audit rules for partnerships.  Normally one would not think that a change to “audit rules” would impact estate planning.  However, many estates have LLCs taxed as partnerships, or even limited partnerships or limited liability partnerships, which… Continue Reading

Designing Trusts for a Surviving Spouse’s Remarriage

Posted in Blended Families, Estate Planning, Life Cycle Estate and Financial Planning, Trust Administration
In the 90s, when the Internet was new and Bill Clinton still had more tomorrows than yesterdays, the estate tax exemption was $600,000, an amount even Thomas Piketty might think was rather low. In that sort of environment, credit shelter trust planning for married couples felt almost mandatory. We live in a very different world today.… Continue Reading

Designing Incentive Trusts: Adam Smith and The Wealth of Beneficiaries

Posted in Estate Planning, Life Cycle Estate and Financial Planning, Trust Administration
Certainly one of Adam Smith’s core insights in The Wealth of Nations was that incentives matter. I believe examples are everywhere about how Smith was correct – ranging from California water shortages and student loan debt, to tax policy and white collar crime. If incentives matter in these areas, shouldn’t they matter in designing trusts that maximize successful outcomes for… Continue Reading

Design Factors for Your Family’s Trust

Posted in Asset Protection, Estate Planning, Life Cycle Estate and Financial Planning, Trust Administration
These are interesting years in estate planning for families in the Upper Middle and Lower Upper Classes. As a high estate tax exemption has reduced the tax-driven imperatives for using trusts to hold inheritances, non-tax applications of trusts come to the fore. As non-tax issues in trust design assume greater relative importance, what factors should… Continue Reading

Design Options for Education Trusts

Posted in Estate Planning, Life Cycle Estate and Financial Planning, Trust Administration
I often work with “Wealth Creators” who have built substantial wealth themselves, most notably as founders of companies or early-stage employees at startups. I also work with “Inheritors” managing wealth built in prior generations for the benefit of descendants. Although every instance has unique aspects, in general, I find that Wealth Creators have conflicted feelings about what being… Continue Reading

Give From the Heart and the Head with a Charitable Remainder Trust

Posted in Charitable Planning, Estate Planning, Insurance, Life Insurance, Nonprofit Organizations, Trust Administration, Uncategorized
The holidays always put me in the mood for giving, and I hope to continue that charitable spirit into the New Year with this post on charitable remainder trusts (CRTs). Almost everybody knows that they can claim a deduction on their income tax returns for gifts they make to charities, but many are unaware of… Continue Reading

Adapt an Irrevocable Trust to a New Family Situation With Decanting

Posted in Asset Protection, Estate Planning, Trust Administration
It’s not uncommon for an old irrevocable trust to no longer fit a family’s circumstances, for the simple reason that Yogi Berra was right when he noted that “It’s hard to make predictions, especially about the future.” Trusts provide advantages, including protection from creditors, divorce, or spendthrift behavior. To obtain these advantages, trusts place restrictions… Continue Reading