Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The 7520 rate for August has remained at 2.2%.

The August 2015 Applicable Federal Interest Rates can be found here.

Friday, July 10, 2015

ThinkstockPhotos-176603977The IRS issued final regulations for electing portability and use of a deceased spousal unused exclusion amount (DSUE) on June 12, 2015. Though the final regulations are fairly technical, they are worth understanding as applying them correctly can mean a $5,430,000 difference in the amount that passes through an estate tax free. The final regulations adopt the temporary regulations that were issued in 2012, with several changes and clarifications:

1. Upon request, the proposed regulations allowed for an extension of time to elect portability for those estates that did not meet the requirements for an automatic extension. It was unclear whether estates that exceed the basic exclusion amount (currently $5,430,000 indexed for inflation) could request such an extension because the filing deadline for such estates is prescribed by statute and thus cannot be modified by regulation. The final regulations clarify that (more…)

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

samesexmarriageIn light of the recent Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, we are re-posting this blog, which was originally posted on October 10, 2014.

We thought we’d share some of the information presented by our attorneys at the CLE presentation in our St. Louis office on Wednesday morning, “Same Sex, Different Day:  Estate Planning for Same Sex Married Couples (Post Windsor decision), co-sponsored by the Bryan Cave LGBT Affinity Group.  Presenters were Kimberly Civins, Stephen Daiker, and Douglas Stanley, along with Tony Rothert from the ACLU of Eastern Missouri.

Get income tax advice regarding amending returns and filing returns going forward

The sooner the better, as there is a 3 year statute of limitations for amending returns if filing as married achieves a better tax result! (more…)

Friday, June 26, 2015

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In a landmark opinion, the Supreme Court rules today that states cannot ban same-sex marriage. The majority opinion in the 5-4 decision was written by Justice Anthony Kennedy.  Today’s ruling overturned a decision from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, which said states had legitimate reasons for maintaining the traditional definition of marriage.

“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were,” Kennedy wrote. “As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death.” (more…)

Monday, June 22, 2015

The 7520 rate for July has increased to 2.2%.

The July 2015 Applicable Federal Interest Rates can be found here.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015
image from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gateway_Arch

image from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gateway_Arch

According to area newspaper the St. Louis Post Dispatch, one of St. Louis’ wealthiest families, that of Enterprise Holdings founder Jack Taylor, is making some very large charitable donations this week–a total of $92.5 million to 13 cultural institutions and charities, most local to St. Louis.

In light of this, we thought now would be a good time to remind everyone of some of the basic income tax deductions available for gifts to charities.

Section 170 of the Internal Revenue Code (the “Code”) governs income tax deductions for charitable contributions. In the case of an individual making a cash gift to a Section 501(c)(3) organization classified as a “public charity” (such as churches, schools, hospitals, and governmental units), the gift is deductible for federal income tax purposes so long as the aggregate gifts do not exceed fifty percent (50%) of the taxpayer’s adjusted gross income (“AGI”) for the taxable year. (more…)

Thursday, June 4, 2015

The trailers for the newest installment in the Mission: Impossible franchise, Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation, are being released and, as always when we see actors performing daredevil stunts, it makes us think about life insurance.  Hazard (I use the term loosely, in light of what these guys do) of the job, I guess.  So, once again, we thought we’d remind everyone about the use of life insurance trusts to reduce estate tax by re-posting the blog we wrote in after seeing his stunts for Ghost Protocol.

And, for your viewing pleasure, share another video of Mr. Cruise’s stunts.  (I’m starting to think Tom Cruise or Mission: Impossible should start sponsoring our blog!)

It’s true, it is possible to transfer life insurance proceeds to your beneficiaries without having to pay estate tax on those proceeds.  An insured can create an irrevocable trust that is designed to be the owner and beneficiary of a life insurance policy on the insured’s life.  The only amount that the insured would end up paying transfer tax on (or allocating unified credit to) would be the amount the insured transfers to the insurance trust to pay the premiums on the policy.  If the amount contributed to the trust does not exceed the annual exclusion amount allowable to each of the beneficiaries of the trust, and if the trust is designed to give the beneficiaries crummey withdrawal rights (the right to withdraw any such contributions to the trust over the period of 30-45 days after the transfer), the insured/grantor would not have to use any of his or her unified credit or pay any gift tax on these transfers, either. (more…)

Thursday, May 28, 2015

digitalassetsLast year, we told you about the Uniform Law Commission’s approval of the Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (“UFADAA”), the primary purpose of which is to empower fiduciaries, guardians, and agents with the power to “access, manage, distribute, copy, or delete digital assets and accounts”.

According to the Uniform Law Commission’s website, the UFADAA “is an important update for the Internet age. A generation ago, files were stored in cabinets, photos were stored in albums, and mail was delivered by a human being. Today, we are more likely to use the Internet to communicate and store our information. This act ensures account-holders retain control of their digital property and can plan for its ultimate disposition after their death. Unless the account-holder instructs otherwise, legally appointed fiduciaries will have the same access to digital assets as they have always had to tangible assets, and the same duty to comply with the account-holder’s instructions.” (more…)

Thursday, May 28, 2015

ThinkstockPhotos-88063929On Wednesday, the Cook County Clerk issued a statement reminding couples that the last day for same-sex couples in Illinois to backdate marriages to the date of their civil unions will sunset tomorrow, May 29.

Illinois’ gay marriage law took effect on June 1, 2014 and provided for the ability to backdate marriages for a period of one year.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

statuteoflibertyThe New York State legislature is considering becoming a directed trust state. In a directed trust, the trustee is allowed to act under the advice or direction of someone else, an advisor or protector, who could make decisions regarding investments, distributions or other trust matters. Earlier this year, the New York State Senate referred a bill to its Judiciary Committee which would expressly allow grantors to establish directed trusts in New York State and sets out general parameters for such trusts. (more…)