2017 Tax Reform Act Creates Estate Planning Opportunities

The window for historical estate planning exclusions is open. For now…

On December 22nd, President Donald Trump signed the 2017 Tax Reform Act into law doubling the estate and gift exclusion, and generation-skipping transfer (GST) exemption amounts. This is the most significant tax reform since 1986.

How the 2017 Tax Reform Act Affects Your Estate Planning Strategies

The 2017 Tax Reform Act doubles the lifetime gift and estate exclusion (The 2018 Unified Exemption) and GST tax exemption from $5 million to $10 million with the intention of adjusting for inflation. However, in 2026, the lifetime gift and estate exclusion and GST tax exemption drop back to their base amount of $5 million.

If you accept the fact that taxes are political, and that politics are cyclical, then it follows that the estate tax is indeed likely to be reduced at some point in the future. Indeed, as recently as 1997 under the Clinton Administration the estate tax was level was just $600,000. For those who follow football more than politics, that was when Tom Brady was a QB at Michigan.

While the 2018 Unified Exemption is slated to sunset in 2026, the exemption is vulnerable to change.

The time to take advantage of the new 2017 Tax Reform Act exemptions is now.

Lifetime Gift and Estate Exclusion and GST Tax Exemption Amounts: Then and Now

Before the 2017 Tax Reform Act

The inflationary adjustments in the new tax law increase the base $5 million to $5.49 million for the tax year 2017. Before the Act, the 2018 exclusion amount was set at $5.6 million for inflationary adjustments. The estate, gift, and GST tax rates are 40%.

After the 2017 Tax Reform Act

Doubling the base exclusion amount to $10 million while adding the adjustment for inflation increases the lifetime gift and estate exclusion and GST exemption to a staggering $11.2 million for the tax year 2018. The amount doubles for married couples to $22.4 million. The estate, gift, and GST tax rates remain at 40%.

So What

With a historical combination of events, the 2017 Tax Reform Act creates a window of opportunity  in the estate planning arena:

  • Tax exemptions double the $5.6 million in 2017 to $10.98 million in 2018 per person (not per household)
  • New exemptions are scheduled to sunset back to $5 million in 2026
  • Ability to combine the new exemption increases with existing discounting methods available under IRS 2704

To put into perspective how historically advantageous the new estate tax laws are, in 2001 (less than 20 years ago) the estate tax exclusion amount was $675,000 with a maximum tax rate of 55%. Bumping the estate tax exclusion amount to over $11 million holding a maximum federal estate tax rate of 40% makes reviewing your existing estate planning strategies to leverage the new laws prudent and necessary.

Especially Advantageous In Nevada

The 2018 Tax Reform Act carries massive impacts on estate planning and highlights the advantages of Nevada as a situs for your trust. With a substantial demographic wave now heading into retirement, estate planning is on the minds of many Americans. And, they have just been presented with a unique, temporary opportunity to leverage Nevada Trust Laws for even more significant family benefits.

Gifts into a Nevada Dynasty Trust for your family can grow outside of your estate now and for generations to come. An added advantage is Nevada’s ironclad asset protection laws. Nevada Asset Protection protects your assets from your beneficiaries’ creditors when properly structured.

Learn more about applying the 2017 Tax Reform Act to your estate planning strategies.

Heckerling Estate Planning Conference 2018

3 Anticipated Topics at Heckerling – the Premier Conference for Estate Planning

The Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning is holding its 52nd Annual estate planning conference in Miami this coming January. The Heckerling wealth symposium is the nation’s premier conference for trust officers, wealth management professionals, attorneys, and other professionals in the trust and wealth management space.

As trust professionals ourselves, we keep our finger on the pulse of these crucial events and want to help you navigate which sessions will help you understand the trust landscape further. While there are dozens of valuable sessions, we’ve focused on three topics that are of interest to our audience.

Alliance Trust Company of Nevada will be an exhibitor at the Heckerling estate planning symposium, so if you have any questions about these or other topics, please stop by and introduce yourself.

Topic 1: Dynasty Trusts

As a trust company based in Nevada, we’re experts on the Dynasty Trust. This generation-skipping trust holds assets for multiple generations and is hugely beneficial in taking advantage of advantageous tax maneuvers. Additionally, in the state of Nevada, assets of both U.S. and non-U.S. citizens can remain in a dynasty trust for up to 365 years without being subject to distribution.

Several cases, such as Klabacka v. Nelson, 133 Nev. Adv. Op. 24 (May 25, 2017): Nevada DAPT Protects Against Spousal/Child Support Claims and the Matter of Daniel Kloiber Dynasty Trust u/a/d December 20, 2002 (Court of Chancery of Delaware) contribute to Nevada’s robust trust laws and make Nevada the ideal situs to establish your trust. It’s important to learn how to properly structure your dynasty trust to achieve maximum tax benefit, beneficiary involvement, the proper appointment of trustees, including the option for a corporate trustee, and to learn about the flexibility and control that’s available to you when establishing a dynasty trust.

In the session at the Heckerling symposium titled “Care and Feeding of a Dynasty Trust: High Protein or Low Fat,” Diana S.C. Zeydel will talk you through some best practices for maintaining your trust. We can answer any additional questions you may have in the expo hall.

Topic 2: U.S. Tax Law and Non-U.S. Trust Law

Establishing a trust within the U.S. allows foreign families to take advantage of and benefit from its trust laws. It’s important to understand how U.S. and non-U.S. taxes will affect your wealth before establishing foreign trusts.

Understanding the tax differences between revocable and irrevocable trusts, which assets are subject to U.S. taxes, and how to avoid certain taxes are just a few of the things you need to understand as you make the vital decision of establishing situs for your trust.

The session titled “Two Systems Separated By a Common Language: U.S. Tax Law Meets Non-U.S. Trust Law,” presented by M. Read Moore and Alec R. Anderson will help shed some light on the often complicated topic of foreign trust taxes.

Nevada is arguably the most favorable state to establish your foreign grantor trust due to its friendly trust laws. We would love to tell you more about the benefits of establishing your U.S. trust in Nevada.

Topic 3: Trust Protection for Beneficiaries

There are multiple perspectives from which to understand trust protection for your beneficiaries. If you want the full picture, you’ll have to look at protection through the eyes of the drafting attorney, the trustees and administrators, and the creditors or others who may seek access to your trust.

In the session titled “Trust Asset Protection Through a Tri-Focal Lens,” Daniel S Rubin, Terrence M. Franklin, and Michael M. Gordon will speak from their perspectives about the protections afforded trust asset protection.

Alliance Trust Company also has a unique view on this topic, as the state of Nevada has the strongest trust protection in the U.S. Tested in the courts and supported by precedents (Klabacka vs. Nelson, again), Nevada has a strong history of protecting trusts from outside entities and preserving wealth.

We’ll See You There!

We hope you’re planning on joining us in January to learn more about these and other topics to gain a greater understanding of the wealth management space. You’ll learn best practices from leading experts, gain greater insight into changing rules and regulations and gain confidence in the terms and situs of the trusts you’re establishing.

About Alliance Trust Company of Nevada

Alliance Trust Company of Nevada works with attorneys, financial advisors, CPAs and insurance professionals from around the world to provide flexible trustee services and the benefits of Nevada trust situs.

Founded in 2005, Alliance Trust Company of Nevada is fully-independent and 100% employee-owned.

As a firm established by independent advisors, for advisors, we offer flexible trustee services to various allied professionals locally, nationally, and internationally.

Alliance Trust Company is an independent trust company – not a subsidiary or affiliate of any brokerage house, insurance company or bank. We engage our clients and their established teams of professionals without interference.

Nevada leads the nation in both domestic and global asset protection and wealth management. We help our clients benefit from Nevada’s favorable trust laws through a variety of trustee services and asset management.

Alliance Trust Company of Nevada in The Economist

The Economist

Typically well-reasoned and published since 1843, many believe that the Economist is the finest English-print magazine in the world.  The magazine tackles complex global issues with a balance and perspective that only a 170+ year history can provide.  That is why, in the context of the media fury surrounding the “Panama Papers,” that the Economist’s suggestion to publish individual global tax returns (April 9th edition) deserved to be publically questioned.  To the credit of the publication, Gregory Crawford’s letter to the Editor is published in the April 30th print edition.  In the letter, the President of Alliance Trust argues that no benefit will come from such a disclosure plan or the OCED’s related “Common Reporting Standards.”  The impact of sharing detailed personal financial information with rogue governments around the world will not increase U.S. tax revenues by a cent.  In fact, the only meaningful outcome of the proposals is to violate basic personal privacy significantly increase the physical and financial risk to law-abiding citizens and their families around the world.

The Government of Kazakhstan knows my retirement account balance?

Nytimes_hq

The New York Times “Room for Debate” opinion pages recently asked Gregory Crawford, The President of Alliance Trust Company in Reno to comment on the Panama Papers and the advantages of and lawful usages of shell companies.  In this piece, Greg notes that the vast majority of these companies are used legally, providing a layer of security and privacy for international families in an increasingly dangerous world.

The interest of non-US citizens using foreign grantor trusts in Nevada is increasing dramatically.  Many countries are now recklessly sharing highly-sensitive and otherwise confidential individual financial information with rogue governments around the world under the OCED’s “Common Reporting Standards.” This program, which thankfully the United States is not participating in, gathers and automatically exchanges individual  names, addresses, tax identification numbers, and financial account balances with the governments of Azerbaijan, Cameroon, China, Georgia, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, the Philippines, Russia, Senegal, Tunisia, and Uganda, to name a few.  Where the information might go from there, no one knows.   Many of these countries have Horrific human rights records and serious corruption issues.  Automatically sharing this data will undoubtedly expose law-abiding individuals to the risk of extortion, kidnapping or worse.  The United States should remain proudly “non-compliant” with the CRS and its efforts to violate personal privacy.

it is worth noting that the State of Nevada offers excellent privacy provisions when establishing business entities such as LLCs, and there are options for the US and non-US citizens to keep their financial affairs private in trust.  Please contact Alliance Trust for more information at 775-297-4000.

 

Alliance Presentations in San Diego – Recap of the Gathering

Gathering 5

Last month Alliance Trust presented at the Southern California Institute’s annual “Gathering” of elite advisors from around the country in San Diego.  The topics of the two-day seminar included a panel debating the best family trust jurisdictions, and various methods and strategies to minimize and reduce estate, state and federal income taxes.  Advisors discussed asset protection trusts and other Nevada trust options, with case studies on how they work in practice.  As a Nevada Trust Company, Alliance Trust added insight and expertise on these topics from the perspective of a trustee.  Nevada is considered to have the best trust laws in the country, providing families valuable asset protection, flexibility for planning options and tax minimization for generations.  for more information on Nevada Trusts, please call Greg Crawford at Alliance Trust in Reno at 775-297-4684.

Awareness of NING Trusts Growing Nationally

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Nevada Incomplete Non-Grantor Trusts (or, “NINGs”) are growing in popularity and usage across the country.  NINGs provide the grantor of the trust asset protection and the potential to minimize local and state income taxes on investable/intangible assets.  As this NASDAQ.com Article on NINGS, these types of trusts are not for everyone.

However, a family living in a high-income tax state with significant taxable income and appreciated investments (or investments expected to appreciate) can benefit from a NING. This is just one of many Nevada trust planning strategies that makes Nevada the Asset Protection Trust Rankings   If you are interested in learning more about NINGs, please read this Article by attorney Gordon Schaller and call Greg Crawford at Alliance Trust Company in Reno at 775-297-4684.

Why Sand Hill Road Uses Nevada Trust Strategies

sand hill road sign

Alliance Trust Company of Nevada spends significant time in Silicon Valley.  Our clients range from early stage Angel investors, the founders of many fast-growing technology firms, and the partners of some of the most prestigious venture capital firms in the world.  Why are so many people connected with Sand Hill Road using Nevada Trust strategies?  In a word: Flexibility.

Nevada offers exclusive options within its trust and estate laws, and you don’t have to be a Nevada resident to establish and benefit from a Nevada Trust for generations to come.

Simply put, Nevada offers flexibility around common asset protection, tax-minimization, and dynasty provisions that have many around the country recommending Nevada as the best state in the country for trusts.  Even Business Week magazine recently took notice, putting Reno on the cover for its trust and estates activity.

Interested in learning more?  Call Greg Crawford, President of Alliance Trust in Reno at 775-297-4684.

Alliance Trust Proud to Participate in Prestigious UCLA Law Panel

UCLA STEP Asset Protection

Gregory E. Crawford, TEP, President of Alliance Trust Company of Nevada recently participated in a 90-minute discussion panel covering the topics of asset protection planning and the impact of the Uniform Voidable Transfer Act (UVTA).  The panel was moderated by Professor Jerry Hesch (ACTEC Fellow), and included nationally-recognized attorneys Jeffery M. Verdon and John R. Garland, as well as Neal Rubin, Managing Director, International Custody & Asset Protection Solutions of City National Rochdale.  Nevada was highlighted by the panel as one of the best jurisdictions in the United States and world for estate planning.  The UCLA Law School STEP Conference is in its fifth year and attracts hundreds of trust and estate professionals from around the world to Newport Beach, CA each January.  For more information, please review the conference details or call Greg Crawford in Reno at 775-297-4684.

Children Facing Challenges and Your Estate Plan – You Have Options

estate-planning

For a family dealing with children with handicaps or other challenges, the journey does end when the child turns age 18.  Many parents and families worry about how their adult children will fare after the parents pass away.  Fortunately,  a well crafted family estate plan can provide solutions to these problems.  Children with medical difficulties and handicaps may need a special needs trust to preserve eligibility for government aid and other programs that could be jeopardized by a sudden influx of wealth. For children dealing with substance abuse, a special purpose trust could be the answer.  In some cases, a family may consider disinheriting a child to prevent an inheritance from furthering a destructive lifestyle.  While this is an option, special legal care is needed to ensure that money does not fall into the wrong hands and situation.  Nevada is considered the best state in the country for estate planning, and may offer options and flexibility for your family’s estate plan that your home state does not.  And you do not need to be a resident of Nevada to establish and benefit from a Nevada trust.  Contact Philip Brown at Alliance Trust in Reno at 775-297-4277 to learn more about the advantages of a Nevada Trust.

Californians Using NING Trusts to Protect Assets and Trim Taxes

Lake Tahoe

Alliance Trust Company in Reno has a sizable client base in Silicon Valley, as many prominent residents in this influential area look east to Nevada when doing their estate planning.  Nevada is considered to have the best trust laws in the country, with dynasty trusts, asset protections features and no income taxes in a private, non-public structure.  Many Bay Area residents ski and vacation in Lake Tahoe, so establishing trusts in Nevada doesn’t seem as foreign as it does in South Dakota, or Delaware.  Recently, after an IRS Private Letter Ruling, a new type of trust is rapidly gaining popularity, the NING Trust.  This type of trust, known also as a “Nevada Incomplete Non-Grantor Trust” removes investments in trust from California taxes. In this excellent article by Southern California attorney Gordon Schaller, the detailed options for California residents using NINGs is covered.

 

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