April is around the corner, so it’s time for the March review of elder law issues. At the end of each month, we like to survey the internet and share items of interest. Here’s what we found this month:
Estate & Tax Planning
We never pay that much attention to the president’s “Green Book” – proposed budget measures that almost never happen, at least not right away. Biden’s plan came out on March 9, and here’s a three-part look at what’s in there that could have an impact on estate planning:
- Part 1—Taxing those with high-net worth and treating tax paid on grantor trusts as gifts
- Part 2—Targeting GRATS and CLATS
- Part 3—Limiting defined value clauses
If you’d rather plan for the world we now live in, here are some more useful bits:
Something we recommend for all clients (and not just in March): Clean out your estate planning file from time to time. This article is a comprehensive look at what to get rid of and why.
If your plan is in order (and even if it’s not), consider adding one more thing: a financial file to help guide those you have entrusted to manage your affairs. We speak from experience (our firm serves as trustee, executor, and agent under power of attorney); having accurate information about assets makes for a faster, more efficient (aka less expensive) administration.
Planning by the Numbers
10 costly mistakes to avoid. We like them all but if we had to choose just one, it would be “Not doing an estate plan.”
5 key steps to creating a plan. We take issue with No. 4, “Consult with advisors to support and help implement components of your plan.” It then talks about meeting with a “wealth planner” – substitute “attorney,” please.
3 things most people get wrong. We take issue with No. 3: You can cut costs using online platforms. That’s true, but errors can be very costly later on.
March Review: A Few More
- Why it’s important to fund your revocable trust
- Did you know low stock prices can be a plus for estate planning?
- Want to give gifts while you are alive? There are many important things to consider, including gift tax limits. And if you are giving to charity, you have new options for retirement accounts.
- People can inherit more than property – how about hobbies like beekeeping and birdwatching?
Aging & Care
Kaiser Health News zeroed in on Medicaid estate recovery, using Iowa as its example. In Arizona, that means ALTCS (Arizona Long-Term Care System), and recipients are often surprised that our state has a recovery program, too. ALTCS won’t “take your house” (as many believe), but that doesn’t mean the state doesn’t get anything.
Dead Celebs & Suits
Soccer great Pele, in his will, gave 30% of his assets to his widow and 70% to his six, or maybe seven, kids. The will acknowledges an additional possible child, and says she’s included if DNA tests confirm paternity.
Leonard Cohen’s children have filed a lawsuit to remove the singer-songwriter’s manager as trustee of Cohen’s trust. They say he forged the document naming him trustee, and he seems to have admitted it. The kids want any fees he took since Cohen died in 2016 returned to the trust.
In another trustee-family dispute, the bank trustee of Thomas Hart Benton’s estate says his kids made up stories of trust mismanagement.
Coming in May is another opportunity to collect celebrity mementoes. The estate of author Larry McMurtry (Lonesome Dove, Last Picture Show) is auctioning items via Vogt Auction Galleries in San Antonio. Included: McMurtry’s personal green Hermes 3000 typewriter, firearms, and boots (pictured above). The full catalog will be out May 5, and the auction starts at 1 p.m. May 29.