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

Certain Changes Effective in 2019

The gift, estate and generation-skipping exemptions are $11.4 million per taxpayer in 2019. Keep in mind that if a Credit Shelter Trust was earlier created at the death of a family member, that trust ordinarily will not be included in the estate of the beneficiary. With the larger estate tax exemption, the family may not care about estate tax inclusion, but they may want a “stepped up basis” for the assets in the trust at the death of the current beneficiary to minimize capital gains taxes. If this applies to your situation, you probably need to take some actions now in order to obtain the stepped-up basis for the trust assets on the death of the current beneficiary.

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Pay Me My Money Down

"Fraudsters continue to be one step ahead of technology..."

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Make Sure Your Surviving Spouse is Provided for in Your Estate Plan

     The Colorado Probate Code affords a surviving spouse, who may be unintentionally omitted from his or her deceased spouse’s Will, an intestate share. The rationale for this provision of the Code is the presumption that the Decedent would have wanted the surviving spouse to receive his or her estate rather than beneficiaries named in a prior Will that predates the marriage.

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“Sound Mind”, “Lucid Intervals” and “Insane Delusions” – What Does It All Mean?

Author and director William “Tim” Burton is quoted as saying, “They say that one person’s insanity is another person’s reality.” Recently, Wade Ash has been involved in several interesting cases involving testators suffering from cognitive impairment when they prepared their Will or Trust. Even persons who are declared mentally incompetent, incapacitated or suffering from various types of mental illness or addiction, may still have sufficient capacity to prepare a Will or Trust. A testator may even lack testamentary capacity, but still have “lucid intervals” enabling them to prepare a Will.

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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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Leggo My Eggo -or- Who Gets My Gametes When I Die?

Among the many wonders (and occasional terrors) of modern medicine, few strike more of an emotional chord than advances in reproductive technology. Preserving our genetic material for use after death has passed from science fiction to scientific fact; but the law remains unestablished in Colorado as to what happens if there is a dispute about ownership of frozen sperm, ova, or embryos after the death of one or both of the donors.

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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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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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Our Furry Friends

In perusing the bulletin board in our office lunchroom I notice that we have posted ten photographs of our loved ones. Seven are pictures of pets and three are pictures of children.

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Death, Taxes, and the Business of Dead Celebrities

Prince, the artist formerly known as Prince Rogers Nelson, died on April 21, 2016 at the age of 57. While people all over the world are mourning the loss of this music icon, his surviving family and the lawyers for his estate may soon be mourning his lack of legal planning for his death.

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Robin Williams Leaves Behind $50 Million Estate

According to a recent Trust Advisor article, the late Robin Williams left behind an estate valued at $50 Million to his three children, with his wife Susan Schneider cared for under the terms of a prenuptial ageement. According to Williams' legal documents, a financial trust was established for his children. As always, if you have questions about your own estate plan, feel free to contact us. For more information, go to Robin Williams.

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65-Day Rule and New 3.8% Medicare Tax

For Trusts (and Estates) that report income on a calendar year, distributions can be made to beneficiaries up to 65 days after the end of the calendar year, or March 6, 2014, that carry out taxable income from 2013.  New for 2013 is the 3.8% Medicare Tax on Net Investment Income over a threshold amount.  For trusts and estates the threshold is $11,950.  For single individuals, the threshold is $200,000 and for married filing jointly, the threshold is $250,000.  Because of the relatively low threshold for estates and trusts for the imposition of this added tax on net investment income (defined as not earnings/wages and not income from an active trade or business, but will include interest, dividends and passive rent), a trustee or personal representative should carefully consider whether to make distributions of taxable income from the trust or estate to the beneficiaries so that they report it on their personal returns, and are subject to the higher individual thresholds.

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