News & Resources

Monthly Archives: October 2018

Tue, Oct 30, 2018| | Blog

What Happens When Trusts and Estate Laws Become Outdated – Melbourne, FL, Vero Beach, FL

Laws change all the time. This is especially true of estate and tax laws. An estate planning method that may have been at the leading edge at one time can become out of date or even illegal. Federal estate taxes, capital gains taxes and trusts have all changed over the years. Your estate plan needs to be reviewed on a regular basis to make sure it still works. There was a time when irrevocable bypass trusts were highly favored by estate planning attorneys as one of the best estate planning methods for married couples. It worked like this: one spouse would fund the trust with an amount that was just under the estate tax exemption. At the time that the funding spouse passed away, funds in the trust were available for the heirs, and the balance of the estate was inherited by the surviving spouse. Consequently, this approach lowered the size of the surviving spouse’s eventual estate and lessened the estate tax burden for the married couple. However, as Kiplinger’s Retirement Report points out in “Old Trusts Create Tax Issues for Heirs,” estate tax laws have changed significantly since the time when many of these trusts were created. The estate tax exemption is far higher than it used to be (now close to $11 million). Spousal portability now allows a married couple to double its estate tax exemption. The problem for irrevocable bypass trusts is that assets in them do not receive the step up basis for purposes of the […]

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Tue, Oct 23, 2018| | Uncategorized

New Legislation Enacted in Certain States to Protect Elderly Investors – Melbourne, FL

After a long and high profile life of philanthropic endeavors, socialite Brook Astor died in 2007 with an estate worth $200 million.  Two years later, her son Anthony Marshall was convicted of stealing millions from her. Astor suffered from dementia, and Marshall was paying himself from her assets. While not all families enjoy this level of wealth, the fact pattern is not all that unusual.  A large and growing number of Americans suffer from dementia-type illnesses and a equally large number of them will be taken advantage of by family members. States are now trying to provide greater protection for elderly investors, according to a recent Reuters article titled “Protecting dementia sufferers from scammers gains ground in U.S.” Retail brokers – in three states thus far, have been permitted to help deter scams against people with dementia. The laws, which are being examined by other state legislatures, allow brokerages to halt an older client’s request to transfer money to others (at least temporarily) if a wealth manager suspects that his or her customer may have dementia and may be unknowingly be the victim of a scheme. More than 5 million Americans over the age of 65 have Alzheimer’s disease, which is the most common form of dementia, the article says. Citing the Alzheimer’s Association, that figure accounts for roughly 1.5% of the U.S. population. Experts say this could grow to 7.1 million by 2025.  The elderly are often easy targets for con artists and unscrupulous family members. In fact, U.S. […]

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