MN Supreme Court Sets New Precedent for Defining Resident Trusts

Taxing trusts solely based on grantor residence is now unconstitutional in Minnesota

On July 18, 2018, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled in Respondents v. Commissioner of Revenue that taxing trusts in perpetuity only based on the test that the grantor was a Minnesota resident while the trust became irrevocable is unconstitutional. This decision supports the ruling decided by the Minnesota Tax Court almost exactly one year ago. Moreover, this decision follows similar logic in cases heard in Pennsylvania, New York, and Illinois.

If you are not familiar with Fielding v. Commissioner of Revenue and Respondents v. Commissioner of Revenue, learn more by clicking here.

Current Definition of a Resident Trust In Minnesota

Until now, Minnesota had to look back over two decades when designating a trust as a Minnesota resident.

Two common scenarios designate a trust as a Minnesota resident.

  1. A non-grantor trust typically created by a will of a decedent domiciled in Minnesota at the time of death.
  2. An irrevocable trust in which the grantor was a Minnesota resident when the trust became irrevocable.

The Commissioner of Revenue utilized the second scenario when taxing the Fielding gains in 2014. The grantor, Reid MacDonald lived in Minnesota when the four trusts became irrevocable in 2011 as planned when the trusts were established in 2009.

Fielding’s Winning Arguments

In 2014, one of the four trustees, Fielding, sold stocks from the trust realizing substantial gains. Within the current law, the Minnesota Department of Revenue collected taxes on the gains under protest.

Fielding takes his protest to the Minnesota Tax Court. Fielding’s Reasoning For Protest

  • Three of four beneficiaries lived outside of Minnesota
  • The trust’s investment accounts were administered in California
  • None of the trustees lived in Minnesota
  • The trust records were not located in Minnesota

However, on the sole basis that the grantor lived in Minnesota when the trusts became irrevocable, Minnesota collected taxes on the gains of the trusts.

Fielding won his case in the Minnesota Tax Court.

The Minnesota Department of Revenue appealed, and the case landed in the Minnesota Supreme Court, but Fielding wins again.

How will the Minnesota Department of Revenue and the Minnesota Legislature react to losing Respondents v. Commissioner of Revenue?

While the timings of any rulings and enactment of statutes is uncertain, we may speculate on what’s to come.

We reached out to our Minnesota network for insight.

Bill Lunka, with SALT Partners, a state and local tax consulting firm in Minnesota. Mr. Lunka told us that, “It is likely that the Department would respond to the Fielding decision by proposing legislation to overcome the constitutional defects in the current law. He said that “The Minnesota Legislature could change the definition of resident trust that would look to the location of the trustees and/or beneficiaries as a basis for determining whether a trust’s income is taxable in Minnesota during any given year.”

Mr. Lunka also noted that if Minnesota goes down the path of determining a trust’s residency based on the location of the trustees he thinks many trustees will, if possible, make the decision to move the trustees outside Minnesota.

At Alliance Trust Company of Nevada, we will closely monitor how the Fielding case impacts Minnesota resident trusts as new legislation materializes. It will be advantageous for many to evaluate their “Minnesota trusts” ensuring they are in a situs allowing the greatest tax and protection benefits.


Respondents v. Commissioner of Revenue to set precedent for trusts administered in Minnesota

Case Background

Last year (2017), the Minnesota Tax Court ruled that treating irrevocable trusts as residents in Minnesota for income taxes is unconstitutional in Fielding v. Commissioner of Revenue. The state of Minnesota appealed the ruling bringing the case to the Minnesota Supreme Court where a new ruling is expected to be decided this month (June 2018).

In 2009, Reid MacDonald established four irrevocable trusts, one for each of his children, while residing in Minnesota. The trusts were deemed to become irrevocable in 2011, at which time the grantor resided in Minnesota.

No trustees were Minnesota residents. All but one beneficiary resided outside the state of Minnesota. The trusts only held investment accounts administered in the state of California.

However, the trusts owned stocks of a Minnesota company (Faribault Foods) and sold them in 2014 to a third party placing significant proceeds in an investment account.

In 2014, the four trusts filed a Minnesota Fiduciary Income Tax Return as resident trusts. Each trust paid their tax liabilities under protest with the argument that Minnesota’s definition of resident trust was unconstitutional and therefore, each trust filed refund claims.

The U.S. Constitution states that taxes imposed by a state must have a justified and contemporaneous relationship with the benefits and protections offered by the state.

Because the trusts were administered in California, they were receiving no benefits or protections from Minnesota. Thus, the Minnesota Tax Court concluded that denying the trusts’ refunds was an error by the Commissioner. Courts in New York, Pennsylvania, and Illinois reached similar conclusions regarding cases focused on the constitutionality of taxes.

The Minnesota Department of Revenue appealed the Fielding decision, and the case is now being decided in the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Constitutional Basis of Appeal

Two primary issues are being presented to the Minnesota Supreme Court.

  1. Are the four irrevocable trusts connected to Minnesota sufficiently enough to justify the taxation of the trusts as residents of Minnesota for the 2014 tax year while adhering to the Constitution’s Due Process Clause?
  2. Should the Constitution’s Commerce Clause disallow Minnesota from taxing the trusts as Minnesota residents for 2014?

If the Court decides in favor of Fielding, the impacts are far-reaching.

Location, Location, Location

Should the court decide in favor of Fielding, the precedent set could impact living trusts that were originally established in Minnesota and then amended as irrevocable while residing outside of Minnesota. If a trust paid income tax to Minnesota after being administered in another state while the grantor resided outside of Minnesota, the trust would be entitled to a refund.

At Alliance Trust Company of Nevada, we believe there are opportunities for decanting Minnesota trusts to domiciles with no income tax, such as Nevada, while also gaining asset protection advantages.

We are closely monitoring the Fielding case and will provide an update when a decision is reached.

Learn how the recent Nevada Supreme Court case, Klabacka v. Nelson, set a precedent for asset protection in Nevada.

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.

Why Private Label Trust Services Are Right For Your Company

Expand Your Offering and Strengthen Client Relationships With Private Label Nevada Trust Administration

If you’re currently outsourcing your trust administration services to other companies, now is the time to bring them under your branding. Many financial institutions including law and accounting firms, banks, and brokerages don’t have a branded trust solution to keep client relationships strong.

Alliance Trust Company of Nevada wants to change that.

By using our trust administration services under your brand with our Private Label Trust Administration service, you’re able to provide a trust administration infrastructure to your clients while keeping wealthy families under your umbrella.

Why Use Private Label Trust Administration?

A Turn-Key Solution

Attempting to build a trust company on your own is a significant, time-consuming undertaking with significant demands on corporate, capital, human resources, operating infrastructure and regulatory compliance.

On the other hand, sending your clients to outside companies to manage their family trusts often weakens your long-term relationship with them.

So, how do you provide your clients the benefits and advantages of trust strategies without damaging the relationship you have worked so hard for years to build?

By using Alliance Trust Company of Nevada’s Private Label Trust Program, you can quickly provide trust administration services to your clients with little or no cost up front. In addition, you’ll start generating revenue from your trust relationships at a fraction of the cost of building your own internal trust company. Most importantly, your clients receive the unique benefits of Nevada-based estate planning while you maintain and deepen your client relationship.

Consistent Branding and Client Experience

The communication that your client receives regarding their trust will always highlight your company’s branding and have the same look and feel as your current collateral. When you use Alliance’s Private Label Service, the fiduciary decisions related to the trust are made in Nevada, but you continue to perform all of the client relationship management, asset management, and related activities. From a client perspective, their advisor experience remains the same, with the added benefits of Nevada trust planning.

Additional Estate-Planning Services

Alliance Trust Company of Nevada offers a full range of trust and estate planning services under private label including fiduciary administrative functions and compliance, custodial services, asset management, recordkeeping, trust distributions, tax services, fiduciary liability and more.

Again, by providing comprehensive estate planning services to your clients, their commitment to your institution is strengthened, and you’ll be able to retain that relationship for many generations.

Other Business Benefits of Expanded Trust and Estate Planning Services

Private label services will allow your company to focus on its core business and increase service offering at the same time. Not only does this increase the business you’re doing with your clients, but it gives your organization a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

You gain the administrative infrastructure of Alliance Trust Company of Nevada while leveraging our trust and marketing experience.

Why Nevada?

Offering trust services to your clients via Alliance Trust Company of Nevada is a smart move for any organization and a great benefit to your clients. Nevada has the most wealth-friendly trust laws in the world offering flexibility and privacy, with external asset managers.

Nevada trust laws allow for self-settled spendthrift trusts, asset protection trusts, and dynasty trusts. Additionally, there are no individual or corporate income taxes, or estate taxes in the state of Nevada.

Why Alliance Trust Company of Nevada?

At Alliance Trust Company of Nevada, we work with attorneys, CPA’s, financial advisors, brokers and insurance professionals globally to provide flexible trustee services and benefits on a third-party basis.

Alliance Trust Company of Nevada is an independent trust company – we are not an affiliate or subsidiary of any brokerage, bank, or insurance company, which enables us to engage our clients and their teams of professionals without corporate interference or product motives.

Take Advantage of Alliance’s Private Label Trust Services

A competitive practice advantage is necessary in today’s ever-changing world, and making your company a one-stop financial and professional services shop for your higher-end clients will position you and your client’s for continued success.

To learn more about how Alliance Trust Company of Nevada can help you expand your service offering and retain clients for years to come, contact us today!

STEP LatAm 2017

Join us at STEP LatAm!

Join Alliance Trust Company of Nevada at The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) conference in September, hosted at the Hilton, Cartagena in Cartagena, Colombia. As sponsors of this event, we firmly believe in the value you’ll receive as an attendee.

STEP is the preeminent conference for wealth structuring and trust estate planners. This two-day event on September 28th and 29th will equip you with industry trends and information that will inform and engage.

What is The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP)?

The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) is a professional organization focused on providing its members with local, national and international learning. The society is passionate about responsible stewardship of assets in both today’s financial environment and that of future generations.

Members of STEP receive education, training, representation and networking benefits. In addition to what members receive, they also provide advice to clients in the areas of management and personal finance.

Becoming a full member of STEP means that you are an extremely experienced and senior practitioner in the trusts and estates space.

Who Will Be Speaking?

You’ll have the opportunity to hear from leaders in the trust and estate space and participate in breakout sessions in both Spanish and English. Topics include everything from taxes to privacy to wills and more.

STEP features 26 speakers including professionals from all over the world who are leaders in their fields. Every session will feature supplemental materials you can take with you when the conference is over.

About Cartagena, Colombia

Founded in the 16th century, Cartagena is a port city located on Colombia’s Caribbean coast. As a popular beach destination with a tropical climate, you’re sure to enjoy your time exploring during conference breaks.

STEP has reserved a block of hotel rooms at the Hilton Cartagena, or you can choose one of the many beautiful boutique hotels in the Walled City including the nearby Hotel Estelar Oceania

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.

We’d Love to See You There

As sponsors of STEP Latin America, Alliance Trust Company of Nevada will be attending the conference and located in the exhibitor hall.

Our Chief Financial Officer, Louis Robinson, TEP will be attending the event, so come visit him during the conference and say “hello.” Lou would love to explain the many advantages of utilizing Nevada in your clients’ strategies.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Nevada’s Unparalleled Asset Protection

Klabacka vs. Nelson sets precedent for Asset Protection in Nevada

The recent Nevada Supreme Court case of Klabacka vs. Nelson has had an unprecedented impact on protective trust laws. Not only did the case defy similar rulings passed down in other states such as South Dakota, Wyoming, and Florida but it also firmly established Nevada as having the strongest asset protection laws in the United States.

The case remarkably upheld the obligation of the defendant to follow-through on his court mandated alimony and child support while maintaining protection of his assets within the trust. This ruling is the first of its kind among the 17 states that allow asset protections trusts to exist.

Klabacka vs. Nelson in a Nutshell

When Lynita Sue Nelson and Eric L. Nelson divorced, the court rejected her request that alimony and child support be taken out of his self-settled spendthrift trust account. This ruling protected the trust and mandated that the $800,000 in alimony, back child support and private school tuition support for his daughter be paid out of his liquid assets instead.

The Nelson’s had their assets divided by a considerable amount of time before the court ruling last May. The Nelson’s initially divided their property in 1993, and in 2001 they opened two separate self-settled spendthrift trusts.

Official divorce proceedings for the couple began in 2009, and the district court ruled that the alimony and child support that Lynita Sue Nelson was seeking should be taken out of Eric L. Nelson’s trust. Precedents supporting this ruling include similar cases in South Dakota, Wyoming, and Florida. The Supreme Court of Nevada overturned this ruling in May of this year.

What is a Self-Settled Spendthrift Trust (SSST)?

Nevada Self-Settled Spendthrift Trusts (Domestic Asset Protection Trusts) permit a grantor to secure assets into an irrevocable trust while remaining a beneficiary of that trust. The state statutes necessitate the use of an independent trustee before making distributions to the grantor.

The assets are secure from the claims of creditors after the statute of limitations, and as Klabacka vs. Nelson has proved, they are also secure from alimony and child support. However, Eric is still required to pay spousal support from liquid assets or other investments.

The Nevada Self-Settled Spendthrift Trust is one of the most robust and effective asset protection and estate planning strategies available in the United States.

How Klabacka vs. Nelson Affects Other States

Only 17 states allow asset protection trusts and the ones that do have varying degrees of protection. So the question becomes, will other states follow Nevada’s lead?

Because the Klabacka vs. Nelson case has set a new precedent, it’s certainly possible that other states will follow suit. However, Nevada remains the only state to have ruled in favor of supporting their established trust laws in this manner, and the only state where you can be sure that your assets in trust are truly protected.

As far as protecting those who live outside of Nevada but have a trust established in Nevada, there is no existing precedent set to know how the courts will respond. It’s possible that other states will defer to Nevada’s ruling, but that’s not necessarily the case, and it’s something to consider.

Florida is another state that allows asset protection and attorneys in the state have paid close attention to the Klabacka decision. Respected private client attorney in the state of Florida and managing member of Chodos & Associates, Adam Chodos anticipates that this decision will be a benchmark for other states.

“The recent Klabacka decision reaffirms Nevada’s strength in the self-settled spendthrift trust world. While statutes are a foundational component of trusts, when they are interpreted and enforced is when their true efficacy can be seen.” said Chodos, “Residents of states that do not have statutes or case law as well developed will look to Nevada as an attractive option.”

Are Obligations Fulfilled When Trusts Are Protected?

A good attorney will ensure that there are significant assets outside of a self-settled spendthrift trust (domestic asset protection trust). Domestic asset protection trusts are utilized as part of an estate planning strategy leaving a bulk of assets outside of the trust. By design, Nevada Asset Protection laws are not in place to shield grantors from their financial responsibilities created by divorce.

Thus, even though Nevada has the best asset protection laws in the country, child support, alimony and other court mandated financial obligations are nearly always paid.

The self-settled spendthrift trust is not a workaround when it comes to fulfilling child support and alimony mandates, those who can pay will still have to pay.

Nevada Paves The Way

Residents of Nevada can now rest assured that their assets in trust are safe, and the courts won’t allow them to be tapped. Nevada now has the most current and strongest precedent when it comes to asset protection and other states would be wise to follow suit.

Alliance Trust Company of Nevada is proud to support asset protection trusts and may serve as an independent trustee if the grantor is out of state. Now is the time to take advantage of the strongest asset protection laws in the country. Need help creating a Nevada Asset Protection Trust? We work with a network of attorneys that specialize in Nevada Asset Protection.

How to fill out your PDF form

Once you know how you can quickly and conveniently fill out PDF forms

There are two types of PDF forms you may encounter: interactive and flat. Interactive forms have live fields you can place your cursor in and fill out. Flat forms contain no live fields and you will have to use a program to add text to them.

The forms you will be completing for Alliance are all interactive forms, so you shouldn’t have to create your own fields to complete them.

Download and submit forms with Alliance Trust Company of Nevada in 5 Easy Steps

  1. Find and download the requested form from our Forms Page.
  2. Fill out all fields of the form from any device.
  3. Save completed form to your chosen device.
  4. Open ShareFile link and fill in your name and email address and click “Continue.”
  5. Either drag your form to the Upload Window or click “Browse files” and select the form. Then click “Upload.”

As stated above, our forms are interactive and should not require additional apps or software to complete. However, if you encounter any issues with our PDF forms, there are a few programs we recommend that will assist you.

3 Great Programs for Filling Out PDF Forms

Here are a few programs you can use to fill, sign and save your PDF forms no matter what type of field you encounter.

Adobe Acrobat or Acrobat Reader

Works with Any Operating System Adobe Acrobat and Acrobat Reader are paid applications that you may not have access to, however, if you do have these programs you can easily fill out your PDF forms with them.

If your form is interactive:

1. You will see a purple bar at the top of the PDF, within that purple bar there will be a button that says, “Highlight Existing Fields,” click that to see what areas have been made fillable on your PDF.

2. Your cursor should change to an I-beam when you hover over form fields, and you can fill out accordingly.

3. You will be able to submit the form by clicking the “submit” button, which will send the information you entered either to a server or create an email you can send.

If your form is flat:

1. There will be no fields that you can automatically fill in on a flat form. First, you’ll need to download the PDF form to your computer and open in Adobe Acrobat or Acrobat Reader.

2. Select Tools > Fill & Sign, this will open up a toolbar at the top of the PDF.

3. In this toolbar select Add Text, it looks like this ->.

4. Place your cursor over the area where you want to add text and click and start typing. You will be able to resize the text box and format as needed.

5. You can even add annotations (check marks, cross marks, circles, lines, and dots) to a flat form by selecting them from the toolbar. Select the annotation you want and then click on the form where you would like it to go.

6. If you need to sign your form, select the Sign icon from the toolbar and choose from the provided signatures. Then place your signature where you want it on the form.

7. Save your PDF to your computer.


Works With Any Operating System This program is free and entirely online, no downloading necessary. You can fill out PDF’s with pre-existing form fields or add text to flat forms. All you have to do to get started is create a free account.

If your form is interactive:

1. Upload your PDF into PDFescape.

2. Fill out the existing form fields.

3. Select “Save and Download” from the menu.

If your form is flat:

1. Upload your PDF into PDFescape.

2. Select “Form Field” from the options on the top left and place the field in the appropriate spot on your PDF form.

3. Click in your newly created form field and type your response.

4. If you would like to add annotations, select “more” from the menu on the top left and choose your annotation. Place your annotation in the appropriate spot on your PDF form.

5. If you need to add a signature you can either use the “freehand” option and draw your signature with your cursor, but a better way is to add your signature as an image and place that image on the PDF.

6. Select “Save and Download” from the menu.

Preview for Mac

Works on Mac OS X If you have a Mac, this option is free for you. You can fill out any existing forms with Preview for Mac, but you cannot create new form fields. You can add a signature to any PDF whether it’s an interactive or flat form.

If your form is interactive:

1. Open your PDF in Preview.

2. Click within your form field.

3. Type your text.

4. Save your PDF to your computer.

To add a signature:

1. Click the Show Markup Toolbar button.

2. Click the Sign button on the toolbar.

3. Follow the prompts to create your signature and save it. You can either use your trackpad to sign or add an image of your signature.

4. Drag your signature to the appropriate place on your PDF.

5. Save the PDF to your computer.

Join Us at the 2017 STEP International Tax and Estate Planning Forum

Covering Tax Transparency, Tax Planning, and Other Estate Planning Matters During the Trump Era

The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) is hosting their annual STEP International Tax and Estate Planning Forum on Thursday, May 4th, and Friday, May 5th in Los Angeles, California. As a proud sponsor of this important estate planning conference, we are looking forward to meeting and learning from some of the top minds in the estate planning industry.

Conference Schedule for the STEP International Tax and Estate Planning Forum: Around the Globe in 2017

The topics for this estate planning conference include:

  • Global tax transparency and the need for effective dialogue with onshore governments
  • Tax planning for private clients in a changing world
  • International enforcement cooperation on tax and related matters in a Trump era
  • Ethical issues for the international private client advisor
  • Privacy, transparency, and wealth planning for today’s international client

The conference also includes networking lunches on both days, as well as a networking reception.

Day One: Thursday, May 4, 2017, from 7:00 am to 5:30 pm

The schedule events for Thursday are as follows:

  • 7:00 am – Continental Breakfast and Registration; Exhibits Open
  • 8:00 am – Pictet North America Advisors SA Special Presentation
  • 8:30 am – Opening Remarks by M. Katharine Davidson TEP, STEP USA Chair
  • 8:50 am – Keynote: Tax Planning for Private Clients in a Changing World
  • 9:20 am – Panel 1: International Enforcement Cooperation on Tax and Related Matters in a Trump Era
  • 10:20 am – Networking Break
  • 10:45 am – Panel 2: Special Issues Involved in Cross Border Family and Marital Disputes
  • 11:45 am – Panel 3: Understanding the Real Needs of Wealth Owning Families Connected to Asia: Focus on Greater China and Links with U.S.
  • 12:45 pm – Lunch
  • 2:00 pm – Panel 4: Ethics and the International Advisor
  • 3:00 pm – Panel 5: Practical and Technical Issues for the Immigrating Client: Income Tax, Transfer Tax, and Immigration
  • 4:00 pm – Networking Break
  • 4:30 pm – Panel 6: The Art Market 2017: Issues and Red Flags for Collectors and Their Professional Advisors
  • 5:30 pm – Reception
  • 8:00 pm – Dinner on your own in Laguna Beach


Day Two: Friday, May 5, 2017, from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm

The schedule events for Friday are as follows:

  • 8:00 am – Continental Breakfast and Registration; Exhibits Open
  • 8:55 am – Opening Remarks by Lawrence H. Heller TEP, Former U.S. Council Representative for STEP Worldwide
  • 9:00 am – Keynote: Global Tax Transparency and the Need for Effective Dialogue with Onshore Governments
  • 10:00 am – Panel 7: Challenges of Cross-Border Trust and Estate Administration
  • 11:00 am – Networking Break
  • 11:30 am – Panel 8: Advanced Planning for the U.S. Beneficiaries of Foreign Trusts: Technical Session by a Panel of U.S. Tax Practitioners
  • 12:30 pm – Lunch
  • 1:30 pm – Panel 9: Does My Family Need Family Governance or a Family Office?
  • 2:30 pm – Panel 10: Exchanging Information by Fair Means or Foul: The Impact on Wealth Planning and Structure for International Private Clients
  • 3:30 pm – Networking Break
  • 4:00 pm – Panel 11: U.S./Canada: U.S. New Canadian-style Deemed Disposition Rules: Put on Your Income Tax Hat
  • 5:00 pm – Sponsor Drawings, Final Remarks and Close

See the full conference brochure here.

How to Register for the STEP International Tax and Estate Planning Forum

If you are a STEP member, you only have to pay $895. Otherwise, the cost of admission for non-members is $995.

Registering for the conference is simple. Follow these steps:

  1. Click this URL
  2. Enter your email address and select the registration type, then click “Continue”
  3. Follow the instructions provided to complete your registration

Shortly after registering, you should receive a confirmation email that includes information about the event.

Where to Stay When Attending the STEP International Tax and Estate Planning Forum

The conference will be held at the Surf & Sand Resort in Laguna Beach, CA. You can stay there for the most convenient location or you are welcome to stay anywhere else in the area. Room availability is on a first-come-first-serve basis, so you should book your hotel room promptly to ensure you get a room before they sell out.

We are excited to sponsor and attend this conference and hope to see you there. You can meet the Alliance Trust Company of Nevada team at the International Estate Planning Institute for a cup of coffee or a handshake and hello. Email Greg Crawford

Why Nevada is the Ideal Situs for Your Dynasty Trust

A Nevada Dynasty Trust Proves to Be More Secure Than a Delaware Dynasty Trust

When you are searching for a state with friendly trust laws to protect your family’s assets, two states at the top of your list are undoubtedly Nevada and Delaware. Although Delaware is a great state overall for establishing a trust or business entity, more people realize that Nevada might be a better choice.

Before we discuss some of the benefits of a Nevada Dynasty Trust, we are going to share a recent case in Delaware in which a divorcing spouse was able to break the assets free from a Delaware Dynasty Trust. Since protection from divorcing spouses is one of the top concerns for those establishing a Dynasty Trust, it is important to know where each state stands on this issue.

A Potential Problem with a Delaware Dynasty Trust

Kiplinger recently published an article that explains why a Nevada Dynasty Trust may have an advantage over a Delaware Dynasty Trust. The article was written by Jeffrey M. Verdon, Esq., a California-based lawyer who specializes in taxation and comprehensive estate planning.

Mr. Verdon discusses two cases where a divorcing spouse was granted access to the assets in a Delaware Dynasty Trust established for the support and maintenance of the beneficiaries. In the more recent legal case, the ex-wife gained access to assets in a Delaware Dynasty Trust – despite the fact that the trust dictated the husband, his spouse, and descendants as the sole beneficiaries.

“[…] in Nevada, a divorced spouse will not be permitted to bust into a validly formed DDT or DAPT that was timely and properly established without the intent to defraud a creditor.

With the Kloiber v. Kloiber decision, Delaware’s case law now clearly allows for claims from these exception creditors. Therefore, as any qualified Nevada trust lawyer will tell you, the safest way to form a dynasty trust is to draft it as a discretionary trust, in a no-exception creditor state like Nevada, in which only the trustees have the sole authority to provide funds to beneficiaries.”

Mr. Verdon makes a strong point – Nevada’s trust laws have the upper-hand for those concerned about exception creditors possibly breaking into their trust.

The Nevada Dynasty Trust

A Dynasty Trust is an irrevocable trust that is exempt from estate tax, gift tax, and generation-skipping transfer tax. Beneficiaries of a Dynasty Trust can use all of the property and assets owned by the trust without the risk of losing those assets to creditors and divorcing spouses.

The Nevada Dynasty Trust is one of the most favored tools for asset protection by domestic and international families alike. It offers more thorough protection for a longer period than virtually any other trust available today.

In 2005, Nevada legislators passed Senate Bill 64, which amended Chapter 111 of the Nevada Revised Statutes, allowing a Nevada Dynasty Trust to protect assets for beneficiaries for 365 years. Previously, a Nevada Dynasty Trust was limited to 90 to 120 years.

Recently, this law was challenged in the Nevada Supreme Court – Bullion Monarch Mining, Inc. v. Barrick Goldstrike Mines, Inc. The court ruled unanimously in favor that the 365-year limit is the law in Nevada. This court ruling assures those considering a Nevada Dynasty Trust that their assets will indeed be protected as the law describes.

The Advantages of Nevada Trust Laws

Nevada’s trust laws are among the most friendly in the world for wealth management and asset protection. Below are more advantages for U.S. and non-U.S. citizens establishing a trust in Nevada.

Nevada Asset Protection Advantages:

  • Nevada has one of the shortest “seasoning periods” in the United States – a statute of limitations of two years on asset transfers to self-settled spendthrift trusts.
  • There is no prohibition on the settlor’s powers over the trust, except for making distributions to him or herself.
  • A Nevada Asset Protection Trust settlor can serve as co-trustee and manage the assets of the trust.
  • The single attack allowed on Nevada Asset Protection is a fraudulent conveyance, which requires a very high burden of proof.
  • Trustees cannot be forced to make discretionary distributions.

If you are interested in setting up a Nevada Dynasty Trust or learning more about your options for asset protection, please contact our team at Alliance Trust Company of Nevada today.

Want us to give you a call?

Let our experienced team help you with your trust needs