February 23, 2016   Estate Administration

Could a Corporate Trustee Help You?

If you can relate to any of these situations, you could probably benefit from the services of a corporate trustee:Building Wealth with Professional Asset ManagementMy spouse took care of all our investments. Since he (she) died, I don’t know what to do or whom to trust.I don’t know where I should invest my money. I’m so confused by everything I read.I just received a large inheritance. I’ve never had to invest this much money before.I travel a lot now (business or pleasure) and I don’t have time to manage my investments like I used to.I recently sold my business (or other assets). Now I just need to figure out how to invest my money.I just received a large settlement from a lawsuit, divorce, etc.Wealth Protection with Retirement/Estate PlanningI’m retiri...
April 11, 2012   Estate Planning

Estate Planning Lessons from Whitney Houston’s Legacy

By Maria C. Schmidlkofer, J.D.
Why a Living Trust May be Preferable to a Will. Whitney Houston’s Last Will and Testament is a prime example of the problems that arise when insufficient estate planning is in place.  Whitney Houston left her entire estate to her 19 year old daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown.  Various news reports state Bobbi Kristina turned to drugs to cope with her 48 year old mother’s premature death and the public pressure of constant media attention. In addition, she will also need to cope with becoming a multi-millionaire over the next few years.  This article reviews Whitney Houston’s will and suggests ways in which estate planning could have aided Bobbi Kristina and the legacy Whitney Houston left behind.Privacy It is amazing that a simple Google search allows anybody...
January 25, 2012   Trusts

Ins and Outs of Trusts

By Gary B. Garland, J.D., CELA
Some of the public does not know what a trust is. Others think it is merely for the rich. Many others have come to me and said something like “I need a trust,” as if it is aspirin or some panacea. What most of the public (and most non-estate planning attorneys) don’t realize is that there are roughly 65 different types of trusts, some more broad than others, some quite specialized, and many share similar features. This brief overview should be a simple reminder for the seasoned practitioner, or a starting point for those new to the wonderful world of trusts.First, let’s start with the basics – the Trust has three “points” – a Grantor (Settlor, Trustmaker), a Trustee, and one or more beneficiaries. The Grantor creates the trust, the Trustee ca...
December 15, 2011   Disability & Illness

The Special Needs Trust

Planning for a Disabled Dependent If you have a child, sibling, parent, spouse, or other loved one who is physically, mentally or developmentally disabled -- whether from birth, illness, injury or drug abuse -- he or she may be entitled to valuable government benefits (SSI and/or Medicaid) now or in the future. Unfortunately, most of these benefits are available only to those with very limited means.As a result, you may find yourself faced with a difficult choice. If you leave a substantial inheritance to your special needs person, he will be disqualified from receiving government benefits which may be crucial for his care. On the other hand, you may not want to have to disinherit him in order to preserve these benefits.Fortunately, a special needs trust will keep you from having to make t...
October 20, 2011   Giving

Testamentary Charitable Lead Annuity Trusts (A Brief Overview)

By Sean R. Kenney, J.D.
Charitable lead annuity trusts (“CLATs”) are an interesting vehicle for testamentary planning due to the historically low interest rates. Further, proper use of a testamentary CLAT not only zeroes out the estate tax but also offers a donor the chance to leave a charitable legacy with the organization of his or her choosing. This short article has two main goals: (1) to present the estate planner with a brief overview and description of a testa­mentary CLAT and (2) suggest assets this author finds most suitable for funding a CLAT. As the title suggests, this is a brief overview of these two topics, and for those who want a more in-depth discussion, I suggest visiting the Leimberg Information Services website at, and doing a search fo...
September 1, 2011   Trusts

Niche Trusts

Revocable Living, Irrevocable Life Insurance, Charitable Lead, and Grantor Retained Annuity - these are trust descriptors that are familiar to estate planning professionals. However, there are many less well-known types of trusts that clients may ask about or benefit from having. Some of those other types of trusts will fill an estate planning need like no other arrangement can. Some arrangements called "trusts" do not fit the traditional trust definition. Still other things called "trusts" are outright shams.As professionals, we need to know about the lesser-known trusts, when to use them, when to avoid them, and when to warn our clients to get out of them.In this issue of The Wealth Counselor, we review some trust basics and then provide an introduction to a number of...
July 17, 2011   Estate Planning

How Do Parents Keep Control

By Bruce Givner, J.D. and Owen Kaye, J.D.
Parents want to be in dictatorial control. However, trusts must be irrevocable for estate tax and asset protection planning purposes. Many people get turned off when the word “irrevocable” is raised. We must be able to assure them that they can “have their cake and eat it too.”   Magic Formula. The goal of planning is to “own noth­ing and control everything.” The magic formula is “con­trol.” “Own” looks and sounds like an English word, but it is not. It is a legally defined concept. By contrast, “con­trol” is what it seems to be. To paraphrase U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, (who was describing hard core pornography), you know it (control) when you see it.   Children’s Trust. So h...
July 15, 2011   Trusts

Using the Power of Trusts to Spur Your Estate Planning

Estate planning changed again on January 1, 2011, when certain key provisions of the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010, signed by President Obama on December 17, 2010, took effect.Suddenly, the federal estate tax exemption increased to $5 million ($10 million for a married couple with proper planning). As a result, most people are not affected by the federal estate tax if they die this year or next. Because the news reports did not focus on the "this year or next" part, many people took this to mean that they no longer need to do any estate planning. But that couldn't be further from the truth. Most of the reasons families need to plan their estates are unrelated to estate taxes, and those tax changes are only until 2013.In this a...
July 14, 2011   Estate Planning

Revocable Living Trusts: Not Just for the Rich

By Martha J. Hartney, Esq.
“They’re too young to have a trust.”   “They don’t own enough for a trust.”   Some attorneys have even said that recommending a trust-based plan for young families is tantamount to malpractice. I’m certain that not only is it not malpractice to recommend a trust for some families, it’s potentially malpractice not to.   Many practitioners believe young families with kids don’t need trust-based planning. It’s more accurate to say they don’t believe they can afford it.   But nothing could be farther from the truth. Families with children at home and any assets at all cannot afford not to plan properly. Here’s an example:   A (Non-Fiction) Story Seventeen years ago, my cousin, a young mother, beca...
July 11, 2008   Estate Planning

Mediation: The Hottest New Specialty in Trusts & Estates

By Irina Shea, Esq.
Our clients have traditionally come to us needing many services: designing new estate plans, carry­ing out estate administrations, setting up business and charitable structures and so on. As estate planners we thrive on helping families achieve their family and financial goals with our careful advice and expert writ­ings. It is enormously satisfying to guide a family through a process where they finally organize their affairs, imple­ment tax savings and protections for their dependents and achieve peace of mind about the future. As attorneys we are well compensated for our guidance both financially and spiritually. In order to continue to serve our clients well, we must evolve and adapt to current trends and one of the biggest wealth transfer trends will be managing family con...
Free Estate Planning Checklist

Free Estate Planning Webinar

Stay Updated

Stay updated by receiving updates to's free resources, latest topics, premium content, upcoming events and more!

Subscribe to Our E-Newsletter