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Estate Planning

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1. Boilerplate trust clauses  

BY Patricia M. Annino, J.D., LL.M.
Many clients sign estate planning documents without paying much attention to the clauses they contain. One clause that few clients pay attention to is the one governing how that client’s incapacity could be determined—and therefore how the client could be removed from serving as a fiduciary or trustee.

2. Avoiding the squeeze: Trusts, estates, and the new ATRA tax regime   CPEDirect

BY Robert S. Barnett, Esq., CPA, and Elizabeth Forspan, Esq.
Trusts and estates are recognized as separate taxable entities for federal income tax purposes. The estate or trust must file a return on Form 1041, U.S. Income Tax Return for Estates and Trusts, on or before the 15th day of the fourth month following the close of the tax year if it has gross income of $600 or more.

3. New portability rules: A cure for incomplete estate planning   CPEDirect

BY Jerome A. Deener, Esq.
Many CPAs are involved in representing estates of decedents who died in 2011 and 2012. In dealing with such estates, it is important to focus on the new Code provisions allowing portability of the decedent’s unused lifetime gift and estate exclusion amount to the surviving spouse. A failure to do so can result in the loss of a significant estate and gift tax benefit for the surviving spouse that could easily be overlooked.

4. The 10 most powerful postmortem planning pointers for trusts and estates  

BY Karen S. Cohen, CPA
After a client passes away, there is much more to do than just prepare a final Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. Taking control of the postmortem planning process can be a powerful way to save tax dollars for the decedent’s estate and family. Postmortem planning also applies to Form 706, United States Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return; state death tax returns, if needed; and income tax returns for the estate and any revocable trusts set up during life.

5. Estate Planning Action Steps  

BY Martin M. Shenkman, Esq., CPA/PFS
CPAs should play a more significant role than they often do in facilitating, implementing and monitoring client estate plans. National Estate Planning Awareness Week, Oct. 17–23, is an ideal time to encourage clients to address planning. To download a sample client letter on estate planning, click here.

6. A Sea Change for Gift and Estate Planning   CPEDirect

BY Paul Bonner
Martin Shenkman, Esq., CPA/PFS, is the author of numerous books and articles on tax and financial planning, including the AICPA-published Estate and Related Planning During Economic Turmoil, and with Steve R. Akers, Estate Planning After the Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2010: Tools, Tips, and Tactics.

7. Estate Tax or Carryover Basis?   CPEDirect

BY Justin P. Ransome, CPA, J.D. and Frances Schafer, J.D.
For decedents dying in 2010, Congress provided two systems of taxing estates and determining basis of their assets. Executors of those estates must determine the better course. To do so, especially for valuations of gross estates above the new $5 million exclusion, they must take many factors and considerations into account.

8. Post-Death Estate Planning Issues for 2010   CPEDirect

The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (2010 Tax Relief Act) (PL 111-312) revised tax law for estates of decedents dying in 2010, 2011 or 2012. The new rules apply for 2010 unless an executor elects to use prior law. Elections for 2010 decedents can be made for at least nine months from Dec.

9. IRS Delays Due Date for Choosing Basis Allocation for Decedents Dying in 2010   WebExclusive

The IRS announced that it is delaying the due date for Form 8939, Allocation of Increase in Basis for Property Acquired From a Decedent, past its original April 18 due date, but did not announce what the new due date will be (IR-2011-33). Therefore, for decedents who died in 2010, the form does not need to be filed with a decedent’s final Form 1040.

10. New Life for Charitable Lids  

BY Wayne E. Nix, CPA, DBA, Lee G. Knight, Ph.D. and Ray A. Knight, Esq., CPA/PFS
One common estate planning technique the IRS has opposed or blocked for years is “charitable lid planning.” This technique relies on “defined value” and “value adjustment” clauses or similar provisions in wills, deeds or other transfer documents to cap the transfer taxes on estates, gifts or generation-skipping trusts at some predetermined amount.
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