Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Estate planning with a non-citizen spouse

Citizenship is extremely important when it comes to estate planning. In general, a US citizen may transfer an unlimited amount of assets to their citizen spouse during life or after death.  However, this is much more limited when a spouse is not a US citizen.

If there is a concern that your estate could be valued over the estate tax exemption amount, then a Qualified Domestic Trust (“QDOT”) should be considered.  The QDOT trust allows a non-US spouse to take the marital deduction on estate taxes.  Interested in learning more? Contact the experienced attorneys of Morris Law Group.  

Monday, February 4, 2019

Divorce Settlements after the TCJA

The Tax Cut and Jobs Act (“TCJA”) of 2017 has had a significant impact on divorce and divorce settlements.  The TCJA eliminated the deduction for alimony payments and made this income non-taxable.  This change is permanent and does not revert back in 2026 like many other provisions in the TCJA.  

If you have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, it is advisable to have it reviewed by a qualified professional to determine if an adjustment should be made.  Trusts can also be utilized to avoid the impact of the loss of the alimony deduction.  These changes generally apply to divorces executed after December 31, 2018.  If you are interested in revisiting your prior documents or may be in the process of a divorce, contact the experienced attorneys of Morris Law Group for a consultation on how the TCJA may impact you. 

Monday, January 28, 2019

Real Estate Asset Protection

A valuable asset protection strategy for real estate investors is to place each separate real estate property into it’s own LLC.  The LLC shields the owner from potential liability or debts that may result from the real estate properties. By each property being owned by a separate LLC, this also shields the liability of one real estate property from being impacted by another separate property that may be underperforming or be subject to a lawsuit.  
Florida is a state with very strong LLC protection.  However, in order to obtain this asset protection, the LLC must have more than one member.  A multimember LLC in Florida can not have its assets attached by a single members individual creditors and is an excellent safeguard that should be utilized by real estate professionals.  Interested in preparing a proper asset protection plan for your real estate assets? Contact the experienced attorneys of Morris Law Group.   

Monday, January 21, 2019

Co-Trustee vs. Sole Trustee

There is a debate in the estate planning community regarding how restrictive trusts should be with respect to having beneficiaries serve as sole trustee over their trust portion.  The attorneys of Morris Law Group typically recommend that beneficiaries should become a co-trustee at a certain age and sole trustee at a later age.  This allows the beneficiary to learn how to manage their trust funds and gives the beneficiary time to familiarize themselves with the roles. 

While every situation is different, the age we typically recommend that a beneficiary become a co-trustee of their trust is 25 and sole trustee is 35.  Interested in putting a plan in place to better prepare your beneficiaries for managing their trust assets? Contact the experienced attorneys of Morris Law Group for an immediate consultation. 

Monday, January 7, 2019

Upstream Planning

Upstream Planning

While upstream planning may be unconventional, it is a unique approach that can take advantage of elderly relatives or friend’s exemption amounts.  This approach involves shifting a value, usually a highly appreciated asset, to an individual whose estate can afford to absorb the asset without having to pay estate tax.  When that individual dies with the asset as part of their estate, the beneficiary of the asset can receive it in return with a step up in basis. 

To learn more about upstream planning, contact the experienced attorneys of Morris Law Group to discuss your options.   

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Estate Tax- Higher estate tax exclusion amount in 2019

Estate Tax – Higher estate tax exclusion amount in 2019

The IRS recently announced the new estate tax numbers for 2019.  Per Rev. Proc. 2018-57, the new estate tax exclusion amount will be $11.4 million for an individual and $22.8 million for a married couple.  This number is a slight inflation adjusted increase from the 2018 estate tax exclusion amount of $11.18 million for an individual and $22.36 for a married couple.  The annual gift tax exclusion remains at $15,000 and does not change from the 2018 number. 

As the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is set to expire in the end of 2025, now may be the best time to do your estate planning.  If you have any further questions related to the increased estate tax, please do not hesitate to contact our office.  

Monday, December 10, 2018

Charitable Giving

Charitable Giving after the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017

Under the new tax act, the standard deduction has been raised to $24,000 for a married couple.  As such, many taxpayers will not reach this deduction threshold thereby losing the tax benefits of charitable giving. Experts estimate that the raise in the standard deduction will lower charitable giving by more than 13$ billion per year. 

Although this change may affect standard charitable giving, charitable gifting has shifted to other methods that still provide advantageous tax benefits. One popular way to donate post Act is the gifting of the required minimum distribution (RMD) from an IRA.  Donating this RMD can allow one to gift an appreciable asset and avoid the tax on the appreciation. Another method of charitable giving that has gained popularity is the Donor Advised Fund.  Donor advised funds (DAF) allow one to reduce tax burdens after a windfall situation by taking the immediate tax deduction when you make a donation to your DAF.  Also, contributions of appreciable assets to a DAF can eliminate capital gains under certain guidelines. 

If you wish to make a charitable donation, the attorneys of Morris Law Group can help you structure an effective charitable plan.