Decanting Pre-ATRA Trusts
By: Robert L. Moshman, Esq.
Decanting a fine wine can enhance its flavor when done properly. Awaken the grapes and celebrate life! However, a wine decanting miscue can leave you with woe and sorrow, not to mention a sour taste, an expensive bottle that no one wants, the scorn of afficiandos and a decanter that needs to be washed out and put away.
Decanting assets from a trust can be equally tempting and rewarding, especially in the wake of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA). However, there are many more considerations and variables than one might think. States have different statutory and common law parameters and the IRS may also have something to say about decanting from a trust.
Decanting Wine Looks Simple
Bonjour! Today we shall see that transferring funds from an existing trust to a new trust is as simple as decanting wine from a bottle to a decanter. Here’s how it works with wine.
Step #1: Open zee wine.
Step #2: Pour zee wine into zee decanter. Voilà!
No, no, no! Sacré bleu! Arrêtez s’il vous plaît! Wine connoisseurs are cringing at the previous instructions (and not merely at the faux français).
Decanting wine is both an art and a science. One doesn’t just oxygenate a Beaujolais the same way as a Lafite Bordeaux! Older wines are more fragile. There are crucial adjustments for age and origin. Every vintage is different.
And what of the sediment, Monsieur? There are surgeries less complex than the detailed procedures for positioning the
bottle, removing the cork, and pouring wine into a decanter. Temperature and timing are also critical. The stakes could not
be higher—channel one’s inner grape or you’ll end up drinking vinegar.
Decanting Trust Assets
The analogy of decanting wine is suitable to trust assets in that the process looks easy, but there are many details to consider...