Multiple States Reducing Estate Tax Threat for Families and Businesses

Since 2014, approximately nine states have eliminated or lowered their estate taxes. This was accomplished primarily by modifying and increasing specific exemptions thereby reducing the number of households that could be hit with a large estate tax bill. For example, Maryland is planning to raise its current $3 million estate tax exemption to $4 million in 2018. The District of Columbia is ahead of the game. In 2014, D.C. passed a major tax reform deal that included increasing its estate tax exemption amount from $1 million to $2 million at the start of 2017 and to ultimately match the generous federal...

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Benefits of a Series LLC

The Uniform Law Commission (ULC) recently approved the Uniform Limited Liability Company Protected Series Act (ULLCPSA) to help provide consistency in the language used to structure Series LLCs. This was necessary since the series LLC is a fairly new concept for structuring ownership in a business, but it appears to be gaining popularity across the country. Eight states have already enacted their own Series LLC laws. What Exactly is a Series LLC? The Series LLC is a limited liability company comprised of a master LLC and other subservient LLCs that are separate from each other to reduce liability exposure. Some people have...

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Real Estate Developers May Be Able to Avoid Gift Taxes When Passing On Developer Units

In February 2016, two Central Park condos owned by then-candidate Donald Trump had an estimated market value of $790,000 and $800,000. In April 2016, Trump sold these condos to his son, Eric Trump, for pennies on the dollar ($350,000 each, to be exact). For most people, this family-friendly sweetheart deal would typically incur hundreds of thousands of dollars in gift taxes. Not so for Donald Trump. Why? Because he was a real estate developer. A real estate owner who sells a piece of property for less than it’s estimated worth typically has to pay gift tax on the difference between the sale...

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How to Properly Establish a Living Trust

One of the best estate planning tools you can utilize is a living trust. Establishing a trust allows your loved ones to avoid lengthy and complicated probate and may save your family money in administrative expenses and taxes. So how do you set up a living trust? The requirements of a trust to be considered legally valid include: You need to have the intent to create a trust. This is a fairly simple requirement to meet by stating your intent in the trust document. You need to have the testamentary capacity to create a trust. This means you need to have the...

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Passing On Your Lessons in a Metaphorical Message in a Bottle

Randy Pausch was an accomplished academic who taught computer science at both the University of Virginia and Carnegie Melon University. He became known across the country after giving a heart-wrenching “last lecture” to students at Carnegie Melon making him a Lou-Gehrig-like symbol of the beauty and briefness of life, according to the New York Times. Professors at Carnegie Melon are sometimes asked to give lectures on what wisdom they would impart if they knew it was their last chance. Hence, the title, “last lecture.” Dr. Pausch accepted that challenge after learning he had only a few months left to live. Dr. Paush’s...

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New Administration May Mean Major Estate Tax Changes

The estate tax (also known as the "death tax") may be on the proverbial chopping block with President-elect Donald Trump ascending to Commander-in-Chief, along with a Republican-controlled Congress. Most, if not all, Republicans oppose the estate tax. President-elect Trump’s tax plan expressly calls for an outright repeal of the tax and imposing a capital gains tax on assets left to heirs above $10 million, according to Forbes.com. The estate tax is generally not an issue for most people due to the sizable exemptions afforded under the tax code. However, people often make the mistake that estate planning is the same thing...

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Trust Funding – Education is our Goal

At InSight Law, our focus is always on education. We are constantly striving to educate our clients, their families, and advisors around the community. One thing we stress is trust “funding”. Trust funding involves the coordination of all your assets with your trust. This is to ensure all the instructions you lay out in your trust will apply to your assets in the event of a disability or a death. We often see clients that have setup a trust several years ago and never done anything with it. It eventually becomes just a pretty binder on a shelf. Then, a disability...

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Proper Accounting of Business Loans Will Help Save Time and Money Down the Road

As new businesses are starting out, it can be difficult to establish a steady cash flow to cover expenses. Business owners often want to “lend” their business money here and there to make sure the company stays operational. In many cases, where the business only has one member or owner, these loans go undocumented and no interest is paid when the principal is paid back. Once you decide to use your personal funds to invest in your business, you’ll need to work with your accountant to determine if the money should be treated as equity or as a loan to the...

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