Gift and Estate Planning

Charitable Remainder Trusts and Other Exotic Ways to Give to Charities While Retaining Income From the Donated Property

In the right setting, these “planned giving” ideas are great.  The concept is that you can get an up-front charitable deduction, collect investment income, reduce estate taxes and, if you donate appreciated property, avoid capital gain taxes — while helping your school or some other charitable institution you are fond of.  But in my opinion, […]


The tax reform that cleared Congress and is awaiting President Trump’s signature is the biggest overhaul in the tax laws since the Tax Reform Act of 1986.  This is a massive and complex series of new laws – not just in the magnitude of the cuts, but because it fundamentally alters many principles we’ve been […]

The Annual Gift Tax Exclusion Will Increase to $15,000 Next Year

It had been fixed at $14,000 since 2013. This is not the largest gift that can be made, obviously. Rather, it is the maximum amount that can be gifted without eating into your $5,490,000 lifetime gift and estate tax exemption. And, these gifts could be made to an unlimited number of people. Married couples can […]

Family Limited Partnership Update

On April 21, 2017, President Trump issued an executive order instructing the Treasury Secretary to review all significant tax regulations issued on or after Jan. 1, 2016 and identify those that caused undue burdens to taxpayers, added too much complexity to the tax laws or exceeded the IRS’s authority.  The final report is due on […]

Small Estates Must Still File an Estate Tax Return (Form 706) if They Want Portability of the Decedent’s $5.49M Exemption Amount

Portability means that if the decedent doesn’t use all of his or her estate tax exemption amount, the unused portion can be used when the surviving spouse eventually dies.  But, it is not automatic.  It has to be elected on the first spouse’s estate tax return.  If the estate is under $5.49M, then a tax […]

What Happens to Property Gifted From Parents When a Child Divorces?

The rules will vary from state to state, and judge to judge, and the couple’s  situation.  But a key point is often whether the property is retained by the child and kept separate and distinct from the couple’s other property.  If it is converted into joint-type property, it can lose its protection.  For example: A […]

Estate and Gift Tax Opportunity for Grandparents Contributing to Grandchildrens’ 529 Plans

There is a wonderful gift and estate tax advantage in the tax laws where a person (say, a grandparent) can contribute in one year up to $70,000 ($140,000 if coming from a couple) without any adverse gift tax consequences if the money is treated as advance funding of five years’ worth of the annual $14,000 […]

The Trump Victory is Good News for Family Limited Partnerships

Last August, the Obama administration instructed the IRS to issue controversial regulations that would have likely ended this popular estate planning technique.  The regulations would have eliminated the valuation discounts that wealthy parents use when gifting ownership interests in FLPs to their heirs.  They are now expected to be withdrawn or dramatically scaled back.  Plan […]

HSA Beneficiaries

What happens to your HSA on your death?  It passes to the named beneficiaries.  If this is your spouse, then your HSA becomes your spouse’s HSA and he or she can continue the tax-free growth and tax-free distributions for the remainder of his or her life.  If children are named, then they can’t continue the […]

An RMD Donation to Charity is Nice, But Donating Appreciated Securities is Nicer

Many Newsletter readers take advantage of the new rule permitting IRA owners to make their required minimum distributions directly to a charity.  If the IRA owner doesn’t need the money to live on and is charitably inclined, then this makes good sense.  Up to $100,000 of the RMD goes directly to the charity, counts towards […]

close all