Estate Planning Portfolios next to yellow pad and blue pen

Act Now! The IRS signals its intent to Limit Valuation Discounts on Family Business Entities in the near future.

The IRS recently signaled that it may be ready to issue new regulations that will affect valuation discounts on family business entities by early September.

What Are the Benefits of Planning With a Family Business Entity?Continue reading

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Skyrocketing Probate Fees – Another Reason to Avoid Probate Court

As of July 1, 2015, Connecticut probate courts earned the dubious distinction of charging the highest probate fees in the U.S.  Amazingly, the Connecticut legislature voted to completely cut general fund support for the state’s probate courts for the next two fiscal years, thereby creating a $32 million deficit.  In order to cover the shortfall, the fees charged for settling a deceased person’s estate in Connecticut were significantly increased and the $12,500 cap on probate fees was eliminated.  To make matters worse, these changes apply retroactively to all deaths dating back to January 1, 2015.  As a result, it is estimated that a handful of Connecticut estates will owe in excess of $1 million in probate fees and at least a dozen will owe in excess of $100,000.

Which Other States Also Charge High Probate Fees?

Connecticut’s new fee structure assesses a 0.5 percent fee on estates worth more than $2 million and most probate court filing fees were also increased from $150 to $225.  While both North Carolina and New Jersey assess probate fees of 0.4 percent, North Carolina’s fee is capped at $6,000, but New Jersey does not have a cap.  In Maryland the probate fee for an estate valued between $2 million and $5 million is $2,500 and for estates valued over $5 million the fee is $2,500 plus .02 percent of the excess over $5 million.Continue reading

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What if Treating Your Children Fairly Means Unequal Inheritances?

When planning their estate, most parents express the desire to treat their children equally out of a sense of fairness.  However, sometimes being fair or doing what’s right by your children may not mean equal or the same inheritances.

The Key TakeawaysContinue reading

Work material including a Certification of Trust contract

Trust Protector Superpowers Get Nod from Courts

When the trustee isn’t so trustworthy, and the beneficiaries can’t get along, there’s a superhero who is increasingly being called on to save the day—the trust protector. Trustees and trust protectors are designed to be symbiotic characters in the interactions of a trust’s life, but it hasn’t always worked out that way in the courts. In two state lawsuits—In re Eleanor Pierce (Marshall) Stevens Living Trust and Minassian v. Rachins—it was the trust protector’s rights that were upheld.

The message: State courts are willing to recognize the role and authority of trust protectors, even when other parties disagree.


White Court House building with a USA flag flying next to it

How Will the 2015 Supreme Court Decisions Affect You and Your Family?

While approximately 10,000 cases are appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court each year, only 75 to 80 make it to oral argument.  Of those cases, only a handful grab the media’s attention.  Below is a summary of three landmark decisions handed down in 2015 that could affect how you are taxed, pay for healthcare, and plan your estate.Continue reading