Amazing inheritance stories – how some came into crazy fortunes

Who hasn’t purchased a lottery ticket and then spent the next few days, or the remaining hours before the big draw, dreaming about how you will spend the millions of dollars you are going to win. All the extravagant vacations, homes, cars, opportunities to share with family and friends, dance before your eyes! But are …

Keep Reading

MI law controls who receives Aretha Franklin’s $80 million estate

Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, passed away on August 16, 2018. Her four sons filed court documents with the Oakland County Probate Court in Michigan. In those documents, they acknowledged that their mother did not have a will. It seems to be a trend with famous singer/songwriters to put off their estate planning until …

Keep Reading

A state estate tax – the other death tax you need to know about

Congress did everyone a favor last year and raised the estate tax exemption to the lofty heights of $11,180,000 per person. As a result, very, very few people will owe an estate tax on death under the current law. So, while a couple can die with as much as $22,360,000 and not owe any federal …

Keep Reading

Designating a beneficiary – it can be a mine field

You met with your attorney recently to prepare your will, trust document and durable powers of attorney so you are confident your estate plan is in order. But life insurance, employer-provided retirement plans, individual retirement accounts and annuities are designed to pass at death not by your traditional estate-planning documents, but by a beneficiary designation. …

Keep Reading

Pet estate planning, don’t forget about Fido

People love their pets! They’re often our best friends, companions and family. When a person begins the estate planning process, it is important to consider their pets’ needs as well. The idea of legally enforceable documents that ensure pet protection and continuing care is a relatively new concept. The mainstream press often focuses only on …

Keep Reading

Gift tax exclusion, estate and gift exemption rise in 2018

The IRS announced in Revenue Procedure 2017-58 that the gift tax exclusion will rise to $15,000 in 2018. The 2017 exclusion of $14,000 has been in place since 2013. Using the annual gift tax exclusion, in 2018 any person can gift up to $15,000 to another person without using any of his/her lifetime estate and …

Keep Reading

Can you defer the payment of estate tax?

According to Internal Revenue Code Section 6166, a personal representative (PR) may defer payment of federal estate tax if the decedent’s equity interest in a closely held business exceeds 35 percent of his adjusted gross estate. In order to be eligible for a Section 6166 election, the closely held business must qualify as an active …

Keep Reading

Lifetime gifts v bequests after death

The White House’s proposed tax reform plan includes repealing the estate tax. However, the “plan” is a one page outline with a bullet point simply stating “Repeal the death tax.” There are no details as to when this will occur. Moreover, the repeal could be short lived. As we saw back in 2010, the estate …

Keep Reading

Trustees managing taxes? Use the 65 day rule

Trustees trying to manage the tax burden of a complex trust should be familiar with the 663(b) election, also known as the 65 day rule. Making this election can often help to lower the overall tax burden of the trust and its individual beneficiaries. Trusts pay tax at the highest tax rate of 39.6% when …

Keep Reading