The Impact of New Federal Tax Laws on Existing Trusts and Estates

It’s Time to Revisit Old Trusts – New Federal Exemptions Could Give Wealthy Families a False Sense of Security

The end of 2017 saw significant changes in federal tax law when President Donald Trump signed the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.” The impact of the Act on estate planning could affect those with existing estates and those who might be considering drafting a trust in the future. While many changes will work to benefit estates, there are several things to be aware of and consider.

Changes to Exemption

Before the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, federal exemptions for wealthy families were capped at 5 million dollars but has now been increased to $11.18 million per person (including inflation). This means that before 2018, married couples could have exemptions up to $23.36 million. Any gifts under these new exemptions can be made tax-free during your life and also upon your death as an inheritance.

Something to consider about the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is its expiration date. The new regulations will expire at the end of 2025. They are then expected to revert to the previous amount of 5 million per person barring any changes from Congress. While past amounts will be adjusted for inflation, the new model for calculating inflation is expected to change and will yield a lower rate of inflation year-over-year.

However, estates valued at less than $5 million are less impacted by the new regulations.

How Federal Tax Reform Affects State Tax

Estate tax on the state level has remained unchanged. If your state assesses estate taxes, you will still be required to pay those taxes. The state of Nevada has some of the most favorable tax laws in the country and many people establish Nevada trusts to take advantage of them.

If you currently live in a state which assesses high taxes on estates or income produced by your estate, you may want to consider moving your trust to a state with no income tax, no estate tax, and favorable tax laws such as Nevada.

Some great news about exemption limits is the ability to gift more freely until 2025 when the limits expire. It will be easier to gift estate assets without incurring federal gift and estate taxes until that time. The state of Nevada has no gift tax, so staying under the federal cap is your only concern for assets established in Nevada.

Nevada does not have an inheritance tax either, but keep in mind that even if your state does not have an inheritance tax, if you gift assets to someone in a state which does, it’s possible for the beneficiary to get taxed on those assets.

What to Watch Out For

Higher exemptions have caused one big problem that could go undetected: accidental disinheritance. If you have an older trust that was written for a smaller tax exemption and your trust stipulates that the exempt amount of your estate should pass to your children and the rest to your spouse – you may accidentally leave up to $11.2 million to your children and nothing to your spouse depending on the size of your estate.

Learn more about Trust Decanting.

Regardless of estate size, it’s important to review your old trusts to make sure that the terms of that trust still make sense for your current life situation.

Does a Trust Still Make Sense in Light of New Federal Exemptions?

Some people may be compelled to review their old trusts and choose to allow their assets to pass into a “credit shelter” trust. This tactic does pass your income along to your spouse and children. However, families who use such trusts miss out on a huge tax break from stock and real estate assets.

Trusts also help shield assets from federal estate tax even with higher exemptions and allow more control over assets. Another thing to keep in mind as you choose whether or not to create a trust is that the higher exemptions put into place by President Trump will only last until 2025. It may be better to think of them as being artificially high.

Learn More About the Tax-Favored State of Nevada

You don’t have to live in Nevada to take advantage of its favorable tax and trust laws. By establishing your assets in the state and using a Nevada resident trustee, like Alliance Trust Company of Nevada.

There are more benefits than favorable tax law in the state of Nevada. Those who establish trusts in the state can also experience benefits like short seasoning periods, iron-clad asset protection laws, and the ability to develop dynasty trusts that last hundreds of years and more.

Contact Alliance Trust Company of Nevada to learn more about how you can make the most of higher federal exemptions and benefit from fewer state taxes.

Potential Upcoming High-Profile IPOs In Bay Area Make NINGs An Attractive Solution

Softening the Blow of California Income Taxes with a NING Trust

The New York Times recently published an article about how the California Bay Area is about to experience a huge financial shakeup. Several high-profile companies are about to go public including Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, and Pinterest. With what the NYT refers to as “IPO-palooza,” companies worth upwards of $200 billion will create millionaires overnight.

While this is great news for the newly minted millionaires, it could cause a strain on San Francisco’s economy, displacing many people from their homes and making the already expensive city even less affordable. Moreover, with the new State and Local Income Tax (SALT) deduction capping at $10,000, even the new wealthy Californians will be scrambling looking for ways to protect their assets from massive capital gains and income taxes.

With new money (and lots of it) in their bank accounts, this new generation of millionaires will be looking to buy homes, cars, boats, and more. But, hopefully, they will also be interested in investing and protecting their wealth. We’ve had a favorable economy for a while now, and a correction will inevitably come.

While a luxury or two is certainly well-deserved, ensuring that this hard earned financial windfall lasts for generations is also important. In order to grow and compound wealth, the new Bay Area wealthy might consider working around the state’s high-income tax rate by establishing an ING trust.

Should New Millionaires Establish California Trusts?

California has notoriously high taxes all around, but its state income tax can be a real burden, up to 13.3%. Often, wealthy California residents will establish trusts outside of the state of California to avoid these high taxes with some even physically moving their residences outside the state of California.

However, even moving out of California right before an income event may not even insulate a wealthy California resident from taxes. The state’s aggressive Franchise Tax Board has found ways to tax people regardless of their move. A newer approach is to create a Nevada Incomplete Non-Grantor Trust or NING. Moving a portion of assets as incomplete gifts to a no income tax state, like Nevada, will protect those assets from hefty taxes created by the new SALT cap.

NINGs Could be the Answer to California State Tax

New and established millionaires alike could benefit from establishing a NING trust in which the donor makes an incomplete gift to the trust and assigns an independent trustee. Alliance Trust Company of Nevada provides independent trustee services for many families establishing NING trusts.

By establishing an independent trustee the grantor is still involved, but not considered the owner. A NING trust allows any income or gains by the trust not to be taxed until it’s distributed, at which point the trustee may have moved out of California and can avoid income tax on these gains.

Deferring taxes over years creates a compounding effect that can yield high returns even when just working around state income tax. Utilizing a corporate trustee, such as Alliance Trust Company of Nevada, to administer an incomplete non-grantor trust (ING) in a state with no income tax is becoming a popular solution for wealthy entities in high-tax states.

Why Nevada?

The state of Nevada is one of a few states with no state income tax, but more than that, Nevada’s trust protection is considered to be the best in the country. With several cases which have set precedents in favor of protecting trusts, Nevada has proven to be more in favor of trust protection than any other state including protection from creditors and divorcing spouses.

You never have to live in Nevada as long as you maintain a Nevada trustee. Other benefits include a short seasoning period on trusts and no corporate income tax. You can see a full list of Nevada’s advantages over other states here.

Does the Benefit Outweigh the Risk?

There are quite a few hoops to jump through when establishing a NING, however, with an experienced trust attorney, this should not be a barrier. After establishing a NING, it may be that you will have to pay some California tax.

Alliance works with many attorneys specializing in NINGs. Architecting a NING that focuses on your individual situation and the specific assets being placed in the trust is crucial to meeting your objectives with a NING. We would be happy to refer you to an appropriate attorney.

ING trusts are still being tested in the courts of every state but New York, so there’s not certainty about how California will react yet. It does seem that the state will react with audits before their legislature.

So if you’re about to hit a financial windfall, the calculated risk of establishing a NING could pay off exponentially when it comes to income tax. In which case, the benefit would certainly outweigh the risk.

If you want to learn more about establishing a NING trust contact our experienced team for more information.

Can Incomplete Non-Grantor Trusts (INGs) Really Save Wealthy Californians Money on SALT?

A Proactive Approach to Wealth Management May provide Families Significant Savings on State and Local Income Tax (SALT)

Taxpayers could be scrambling after the Federal Tax Reform passed at the end of 2018 capping state and local income tax (SALT) deductions at $10,000. For many wealthy families in high-tax states, this deduction will only cover property tax and won’t touch capital gain income or other investment income.

While California is attempting to pass the Protect California Taxpayers Act which allows taxpayers to deduct some taxes as “charitable contributions,” for many the bill feels like a workaround or even tax evasion, and it’s unclear whether the IRS will allow such a bill to pass.

Rather than waiting for legislation to pass that is more protective of taxpayers, many residents from states like California are considering leaving the state or taking other measures to protect their wealth.

Moving out-of-state is not a feasible option for many. However, moving assets out of a high-tax state may be an ideal solution.

What are My Options?

Traditionally, grantors gift away income-generating investments to beneficiaries who live in tax-favored states. However, these gifts often incur federal gift tax or utilize some of the grantor’s exclusion for a gift and estate tax.

A newer option is the NING trust or Nevada Incomplete Gift Non-Grantor Trust. There are several tax-sheltered states in the U.S., but only a few allow Incomplete Gift Non-Grantor Trusts and the most tax-favored state for such a trust is Nevada. The NING allows a trust to avoid taxation by the grantor’s home state until assets are distributed, or, rather, the gift is complete.

Why Choose a NING?

By transferring assets into a NING, the assets become a separate taxpayer receiving the tax benefits of Nevada. Because transfers are not completed gifts, there is no federal gift tax exclusion.

For those who live in high-income tax states, such as California, establishing a NING to transfer some of the tax burdens to Nevada allows them to take advantage of Nevada’s no income tax benefit.

Additionally, Nevada has the most robust creditor protection and protection as its considered a “spendthrift trust” in Nevada. Nevada also has tested protection from divorcing spouses which has held up in Nevada Supreme Court with Klabacka v. Nelson.

The Components of a NING Trust

An ING trust only works in a state with no state income tax. Otherwise, a tax will apply to the trust. Nevada is the preferred state for an ING trust as it carries many other protections and benefits to grantors and beneficiaries.

ING trusts cannot be grantor trusts under the income tax laws of the grantor’s state of residence. Only states that allow self-settled spendthrift trusts (asset protection trusts) can form non-grantor trusts enabling the settlor to be a beneficiary, such as Nevada.

The incomplete gift portion of the ING trust is critical to ensure that the contributions to the trust are not treated as a gift and subject to federal gift tax. It’s essential for the settlor to have lifetime power of appointment and post-death power – which the ING trust allows.

NING trusts will be subject to federal estate tax when the settlor dies, however, if the estate is not large enough to trigger federal estate tax, this is not an issue.

Who Should Consider Establishing a NING

Although a NING has many benefits, the benefits may not be for every grantor. Here are some of the criteria which would make someone a good candidate for a NING trust.

  • Grantor lives in a high-income state – such as California.
  • Grantor carries intangible assets with substantial tax exposure.
  • Grantors in the highest federal tax bracket who would remain in that bracket after transferring assets to a NING.

Should YOU Establish a NING?

NING trusts can be an excellent option for those looking to preserve wealth and protect it from their state’s high tax rates. Since changes to SALT are recent, there are still some questions about how the IRS will respond to attempts to shield wealth from taxes. However, the NING appears to be the best option to do so.

It’s important to work with a trusted advisory team or trust company that is familiar with Nevada Tax Law and NINGs to ensure it’s the right choice for your family and that you’re gaining the most benefit possible.

At Alliance Trust Company, we’re experts in Nevada Trust Law and have a network of attorneys specializing in NINGs. We are available to walk you through your particular situation regarding NINGs. Contact us to learn more about preserving your wealth in the state of Nevada.

Using NING Trusts to Significantly Reduce State Income Tax Liabilities

Why Wealthy Families are Choosing to Shift Their Wealth to the Tax Favored State of Nevada

The state of Nevada is considered a tax-favored environment, allowing maximum tax protection over trusts and estates. That’s just one of the reasons why more and more people are choosing Nevada as to establish their trusts.

The “NING” trust or Nevada Incomplete-gift Non-Grantor trust reduces state income tax liabilities and simultaneously provides asset protection benefits.

For people with substantial income, assets or large capital gains who could generate significant Federal and state income tax shifting a trust from its current state to a state with more favorable tax laws, such as Nevada, could create significant income tax savings.

While moving to Nevada would allow someone to take advantage of these benefits, relocating family is often not an option. However, by establishing a NING and transferring assets from the existing trust into the NING, the trust will only face Federal capital gains taxes.

Non-Grantor vs. Grantor Trusts

Trusts are set up as either grantor or non-grantor, and it’s important to understand the difference.

Grantor trusts expose the creator of the trust to the taxes incurred by the trust. Non-grantor trusts are set up as their own entities incurring all taxes at the trust level instead of passing them on to the owner of the trust.

Things get murky because every state has its own taxation rules and definitions about which trusts should be considered a resident.

For example, to take advantage of a NING or Nevada’s favorable tax laws in general, a non-grantor trust with a Nevada trustee should be established. By establishing a non-grantor trust in Nevada and appointing a Nevada trustee you can be sure that you’ll minimize or completely eliminate taxes from your state of residence.

A New Aggressive Strategy for Substantial Gains

If a substantial gain is on the horizon, wealthy families can take advantage of ING trusts to adopt a more aggressive tax strategy. ING’s help reduce state income tax at the trust level by establishing it one or more years before a large gain becomes available.

One word of caution, there are specific steps you should follow to ensure that your strategy is not viewed as tax evasion, it’s always best to employ professional guidance to understand how to establish your ING ethically.

Structuring a NING for Maximum Benefit

Since the purpose of establishing a NING trust is to avoid additional taxing, it’s important to properly structure the trust to avoid gift tax. Proper structuring also ensures that the trust really is taxed in Nevada instead of the settlor’s home state.

Remember that NING stands for Nevada Incomplete-Gift Non-Grantor Trust, so when assets are transferred to the trust, it must be in the form of an “incomplete gift.”

Transferring assets as an “incomplete gift” allows the owner of the trust to include your investments in your estate without needing to file a Form 709 gift tax return.

NING Trusts vs. DING Trusts

The DING Trust did come before the NING trust, so one may wonder which is the better situs for a trust, Nevada or Delaware?

While both states allow settlors to appoint a grantor for their trust and take advantage of favorable tax laws, several Delaware rulings have allowed divorcing spouses and creditors to gain access to an asset protection trust. Nevada has never allowed such access in rulings and therefore has more iron clad protection than any other state.

How the Other States Feel About ING Trusts

It’s no surprise that other states aren’t happy about non-grantor trusts and their tax-avoidance benefits, some have even gone as far as banning such trusts.

While both Delaware and Nevada have successfully deflected attempts by other states to tax grantors, that likely won’t stop states from attempting to gain access whenever they can.

However, several statutes in the state of Nevada prove that the state values and protects trusts and estates which are established there and is the safest bet when choosing where to create an ING trust.

To learn more about establishing a NING, please contact Alliance Trust Company.

Alliance Presentations in San Diego – Recap of the Gathering

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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.

Californians Using NING Trusts to Protect Assets and Trim Taxes

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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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