Decanting Pre-ATRA Trusts

Posted on March 27th, 2013 at 12:54 PM

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...

Read the full PDF here


Return to Archive



I want to thank you for your excellent professional representation. It was greatly appreciated.

Michael M.


January 21, 2022
CFP Board Establishes New Appeals Commission

The Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Board of Standards has established a new Appeals Commission. As the name suggests, the Appeals Commission possesses the sole authority to adjudicate appeal hearings.

January 20, 2022
Edward Jones Fails To Convince Supreme Court To Review Federal Preemption of Account Fee Suit

Edward Jones & Co. failed to convince the U.S. Supreme Court to analyze how a federal securities law impacts a client dispute pertaining to fee-based accounts.

January 19, 2022
SEC Charges Texas Entities Over Oil and Gas Fraud

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has charged The Heartland Group Ventures, Heartland Production and Recovery, six other Heartland-affiliated entities, four Heartland-affiliated individuals as well as several oil and gas operators.