Colorado Probate Blog - Wade Ash Woods Hill & Farley, P.C.

Annual Review Checklist

January is the perfect time for the annual review of estate plans, particularly if you have had significant changes in your life such as deaths, relationships or assets. Here are a few questions to help get started.

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What’s So Bad About Donor-Advised Funds?

Last Friday, the New York Times published a very negative article about donor-advised funds (DAFs), calling them a “Philanthropic Loophole” in its headline and quoting a tax professor at the University of Southern California as calling DAFs “a fraud on the American taxpayer.” What, exactly, is a DAF, and are DAFs really so bad?

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226 Hits

Making the Law Keep Up

Intestacy laws determine how a person’s assets pass if there is no will. What should intestacy law provide with regard to same sex marriage and with respect to parentage involving genetic materials. Under the Uniform Parentage Act a person may have three parents (and correspondingly more grandparents).

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228 Hits

Tax Update

This Tax Update article is authored by Laurie A. Hunter, Kevin D. Millard, Jonathan F. Haskell and Heidi J. Gassman.

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Selecting Your Trustee

Selecting your trustee is one of the most important decisions to make when creating a revocable trust. The trustee is a fiduciary with the legal obligation to carry out the directions set forth in the trust agreement. The responsibilities and duties include collection and management of assets, preparing tax returns and distributing the income and principal of the trust as the document sets forth.

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498 Hits

Third Party Rights: Small Estates and Non-Probate Assets

Many of our probate statutes are designed to carry out a decedent’s intention as expressed in his or her will. Certain rules of construction (survivorship, substitution of assets) apply to wills and revocable trusts as will substitutes. The statutes also provide for recognition and ordering of third party (non-beneficiary) interests in probate and revocable trust assets. These would include taxes, creditor claims, and family protection entitlement during the period of administration.

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929 Hits

Some Thoughts on Gifting

This commentary is provided by an author who is both a senior lawyer on the one hand and a father and grandfather on the other.

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623 Hits

Don’t Defer Planning Your Estate Because The Estate Tax Might Be Repealed

In 2001, when the estate tax exemption was $675,000 and George W. Bush was President, Congress “repealed” the estate tax. But the repeal was phased in over ten years and was then scheduled to last for only one year. Instead of actual repeal, what we got, under President Obama, was a reinstated estate tax with a much higher exemption of $5 million, indexed for inflation. The Republican party now controls both houses of Congress as well as the White House, and we are again hearing calls for repeal of the estate tax.

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Timeline for Preparing and Updating Wills and Trusts

The law allows a person to sign binding contracts including Wills at age 18, the age when young adults should begin to plan to avoid financial and medical complications in the event of debilitating illness, injury or death.  Wills, Medical and Financial Powers of Attorney, and Advanced Directives are the basic documents that every person should have in place.

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Colorado's New Trust Decanting Statute

Effective August 10, 2016, the Colorado legislature enacted C.R.S. § 15-16-901 et seq., the Colorado Uniform Trust Decanting Act (the “Act”). “Decanting” generally refers to the distribution of trust property from one trust to another trust pursuant to a trustee’s discretionary power to make distributions for beneficiaries. New York was the first state to enact a trust decanting statute in 1992; now, nearly half of the states, including Colorado, have specific statutes addressing and authorizing trust decanting in various forms.

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2521 Hits

Year-End Tax Planning

Annual Exclusion Gifts. The gift tax annual exclusion is $14,000 for 2016, and stays the same for 2017. You can make gifts of this amount to each of any number of people in a calendar year and not have to file a gift tax return, and the gifts will not use up part of your estate tax exemption. You can also make gifts of an unlimited amount by directly paying a donee's medical expenses to the provider, or tuition to the educational institution. If you make the gift by a check, the donee must deposit the check and the amount must clear your account prior to the end of the year.

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571 Hits

Is It Time to Update Your Estate Plan?

We recommend that our clients review their estate plan every few years to make sure that it remains current. Here is a list of “life events” and other things that should trigger a review of your estate plan.

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552 Hits

Draft Instructions to 1041 Include Basis Reporting

As noted in a post last summer, the "Highway Bill" signed into law on July 31, 2015 requires executors of estates filing U.S. Estate Tax Returns (Form 706) on or after that date to file a statement with the IRS within 30 days, and to report the fair market value of assets on the return to the beneficiaries. These values must be used by the estate on its Form 1041, and the beneficiaries for basis-reporting purposes, but only if the estate was taxable. In Notice 2015-57, 2015-36 IRB, the IRS delayed the due date for both the information return and the statement until February 29, 2016. The draft instructions to the 2015 Form 1041 that were just released also require consistent basis reporting. The instructions to Schedule D include the statement: "The beneficiary must use a basis consistent with the estate tax value of the property to determine his or her gain or loss when the property is sold or deemed sold."

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933 Hits

IRS Delays Basis Reporting Due Date

As noted in an earlier blog, the "Highway Bill" signed into law on July 31, 2015 requires executors of estates filing U.S. Estate Tax Returns (Form 706) on or after that date to file a statement with the IRS within 30 days, and to report the fair market value of assets on the return to the beneficiaries. In Notice 2015-57, 2015-36 IRB, the IRS has delayed the due date for both the information return and the statement until February 29, 2016.

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953 Hits