Estate Planning

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How to Protect a Trust’s Assets

Among the myriad of duties you assume as trustee is a duty to protect the trust assets. In today’s financial world, protecting the assets most likely doesn’t mean hanging on to those assets with which [more…]

Revocable versus Irrevocable Trusts

Estate planning often involves setting up revocable or irrevocable trusts. Each one of those trusts begins with an intervivos trust — a trust you set up that goes into effect while you're still alive. [more…]

Tax Forms to Know as the Fiduciary of an Estate or Trust

When you’re administering an estate or trust, you may have to prepare a seemingly endless array of tax returns. The following table lists some of the most popular ones. Check with your accountant or attorney [more…]

What to Do When Someone Dies

If you’re an executor, personal representative, or administrator of an estate, your job begins at the death of the person whose estate you’re administering. The following list contains tasks you need to [more…]

Estate & Trust Administration For Dummies Cheat Sheet

As the fiduciary of an estate or trust, you have many duties, beginning immediately upon the decedent’s (deceased person’s) passing. You’re also guaranteed to become intimately familiar with a host of [more…]

Eight Transfer and Income Tax Provisions in the "Fiscal Cliff Act"

The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (the Act), fondly known as the "Fiscal Cliff Act," contains a number of provisions affecting estates and trusts. It makes permanent a number of expiring tax provisions [more…]

What Powers Are Granted to a Trustee?

The powers the grantor gives you, the trustee, in a trust instrument include the buying and selling of assets, determining distributions to the beneficiaries, and even the hiring and firing of advisors [more…]

10 Common Pitfalls for Estate and Trust Administrators to Avoid

When you’re asked to administer a trust or estate for a relative or friend (especially if that person didn’t have a will), this important responsibility can feel overwhelming during an already difficult [more…]

How to Recognize Estate or Trust Malpractice

Everyone makes mistakes. When determining if a mistake with your estate or trust is malpractice, it’s the nature of the error and what steps are taken to rectify it that counts. [more…]

How to Take Small Estate Shortcuts for a Probate Estate

If your decedent’s probate estate (assets in his or her name alone, payable to the estate, or held jointly for convenience only) is of limited size, it may qualify for one of several small estate procedures [more…]

How to Perform Traditional Probate Proceedings

In many states, traditional probate proceedings can be supervised or unsupervised, and unsupervised can be formal or informal. Consult with an attorney experienced in probate matters in your state if there [more…]

How to Find a Decedent’s Digital Assets and Important Info

If your decedent owned a computer or other electronic device, it’s an important resource for sorting out what the decedent owned. If the decedent and/or his estate planner were really on top of things, [more…]

How to Complete Part 6 of Estate Form 706

Part 6 of Form 706 is where you elect Portability of Deceased Spousal Unused Exclusion (DSUE) for the estate. This list details what do for each section of Part 6: [more…]

How to Deal with Outliers after the Trust Terminates

We’d love to tell you that, when you’ve completed the estate’s final tax returns, the final accounts, crossed your t’s and dotted your i’s, that you’re done, finished, complete. We’d be lying. No matter [more…]

Does Your Estate Qualify for the Deceased Spousal Unused Exclusion (DSUE)?

As of January 1, 2011, one spouse can elect to transfer any unused exclusion amount to the surviving spouse. So, if your decedent doesn’t have a taxable estate but the surviving spouse has or may have [more…]

How to Time Payments In and Out of an Estate

After death, the rules governing receipt of income in an estate and the payment of its expenses loosen up somewhat. It’s not as though the electric company can threaten the decedent with shutting off the [more…]

How to Invest an Estate to Minimize Income Taxes

Not all estate investments are created equal, and certainly not in their treatment by Congress and the Internal Revenue Code (IRC). There are many types of investments, such as wages, rental income, deferred [more…]

Where to Pay State Income Taxes on an Estate

There are state-specific rules regarding where you pay income tax on the income in an estate or trust. The obvious one is that you file, and pay taxes, in the state where the estate or trust is resident [more…]

What You Should Know about the Unearned Income Medicare Contribution (UIMC) Tax to Manage an Estate

Effective January 1, 2013, there is an additional 3.8 percent tax on investment income in estates and trusts, thanks to provisions in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010. Now, to be [more…]

How to Create Nominee Form 1099s for an Estate

Sometimes, even when the trust or estate doesn’t have to file Form 1041, you still receive tax information from other sources. When you won’t be preparing a [more…]

What You Should Do Immediately after Your Appointment as Executor of an Estate

Handling an estate can be confusing and overwhelming. After you’ve been appointed as executor, there are some important first steps every executor should take to make things as simple as possible. [more…]

What Taxes Might an Estate Need to Pay?

Because federal and state tax authorities are much more concerned with how much of the decedent’s property they can tax, they allow for a much broader definition of what the decedent owned at the time [more…]

What You Should Know about Trusts Created during Lifetime and after Death

By the time you start administering the trust, the distinction between a trust created during the grantor’s lifetime or after his or her death is probably moot. Still, you need to know whether the trust [more…]

What are Irrevocable Trusts?

When it comes down where the action is as far as administration is concerned, the real meat and potatoes of trusts are the irrevocable trusts, or trusts that grantors have created to hold property where [more…]

What are Marital Trusts?

Leaving a trust behind for your husband or wife after you die isn’t a sign that you don’t think he or she can handle your money; instead, it’s a crafty tax technique designed to minimize the taxes paid [more…]

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