Explaining Income Trust Strategies

Posted on November 28th, 2013 at 11:26 AM

By Robert L. Moshman

It is the time of year when professionals and their clients maximize stress for each other and then arrive in the New
Year with a hangover.

Professionals — bombarded by the annual pageant of year-end planning strategies in professional literature and lectures, and pressured by the hard deadline of December 31that terminates most effective tax moves for the year — feel obligated to inform their clients of the potential tax-saving moves that can be made.

For their part, some clients become aware of the savvy tax-saving maneuvers of others and clearly want in on that action — being decisive, avoiding taxes, outsmarting the IRS, and being able to able to brag about it to in-laws, golf buddies, colleagues, and the collective universe of people who will be irritated and jealous of the cool, smart moves that they missed out on.

Other clients who haven’t had a concern about their estate plan for years can encounter one piece of information and contact their financial advisor about it with three weeks left in the year. “Do I need a trust?” “Should I make a gift?” “Should I revise my entire estate plan before the end of the year?”

Last year’s exercise (the end of 2012), with the potential expiration of the $5.12-million gift tax exemption, prompted great concern at the end of the year. Transfers of a number of rushed gifts were subsequently regretted (which in turn led to a pronounced interest in the topic of decanting trust funds during the past year)...

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