Articles Tagged with Trust

12.6.19There are different types of property. What we informally call real estate, is known in the law as “real property.” That includes any property that is made of land and any structure that sits on it. That also can include assets that appear on that piece of land, like crops, water, livestock or other natural resources.

The ownership of real estate takes several different forms, and each has different requirements for transferring ownership, obtaining financing, paying taxes and collateralization. How the property is owned is based on its title, which is used to convey ownership.

Investopedia’s recent article, “5 Common Methods of Holding Real Property Title,” explains that each title method has its pros and cons, depending on a person's specific situation and how they want ownership to pass after death, divorce, or sale. The most common of these methods of title holding are joint tenancy, tenancy in common, tenants by entirety, sole ownership and community property.

11.27.19Estate planning is even more important for individuals and couples without children. Without an estate plan, your assets may go to long-lost relatives you’ve never met. You also need to plan for incapacity, especially if there are no living relatives.

While your legacy may be different if you don’t have children, you still need to have an estate plan.

Motley Fool’s article, “5 Estate-Planning Tips for Child-Free Couples,” suggests that you may want to leave some of your money to friends, family members, charitable organizations, or your college. No matter the beneficiaries you choose, these estate planning tips are vital for childless couples.

7.15.19There are definitely advantages to all the perks of fame and fortune that come with being a celebrity. However, aging celebrities are just as vulnerable as regular people, when it comes to elder financial abuse. The major difference is that their stories are reported in the news.

Recent news stories about both the late legendary Marvel comic book creator Stan Lee and ‘60s psychedelic artist Peter Max are sad reminders that elder abuse can happen to anyone, no matter how famous or talented they are. There are a few striking similarities in what happened to Peter Max and Stan Lee, as reported by Next Avenue in the article “Stan Lee and Peter Max: What to Learn From Their Elder Abuse Cases.”

Both of these highly creative and successful men were taken advantage of by people who they trusted and who they were close to. In Stan Lee’s case, Keya Morgan, his former business partner and caretaker, was arrested for elder abuse, false imprisonment and grand theft of an elder dependent adult. The family says Lee was isolated from the family and then moved out of his home. There is now a restraining order against Morgan.

Man with magnifying glassCertain celebrities continue to earn phenomenal amounts of money, even though they are deceased. Using advanced technology, audiences enjoy what appear to be live performances and new material from actors and singers who have been gone for decades. Holograms are good enough to convince stadiums filled with fans that they are seeing the real deal.

For the estates that hold the rights to the likenesses of celebrities this can earn millions of dollars a year. Such is the case with the likenesses of Michael Jackson, James Dean, Betty Page and many others.

Not every celebrity, however, is comfortable with the idea of their name and likeness being used after they pass away to make money.

Estate libraryA lawsuit was filed against the Salinger Literary Trust by the Devault Graves Agency, a publishing house, in March 2015. The publishing company said that the trust was interfering with its ability to license its edition of a book titled J.D. Salinger: Three Early Stories that it wanted to publish in foreign countries. The lawsuit was filed in Tennessee because the Devault-Graves Agency is based in Memphis, Tennessee. The court dismissed the lawsuit saying it had no jurisdiction to hear the case, and granted the publisher's request to transfer the case to New Hampshire, the author's home state.

Publisher's Weekly reported on this development in "Court Punts Salinger Copyright Case to New Hampshire."

The details of this lawsuit are complex. The stories in the book are part of the public domain in the United States, which means they do not have copyright protection and anyone can publish them.

Stack of law booksToday’s low interest rates create special problems for those focused on income, including retirees and the income beneficiaries of trusts.

Prolonged periods of low interest rates can result in low trust income, creating conflict among beneficiaries. Many trusts are set up in a way that creates two different groups of beneficiaries. The first group are income beneficiaries who have a right to the current income the trust property generates. Another group are remainder beneficiaries. They get what is left in the trust when the trust ends. Income beneficiaries naturally want the income maximized and remainder beneficiaries want the principal maximized.

As Forbespoints out, in an article titled With Interest Rates Low, Here's How To Boost Income From A Trust, low interest rates make it difficult for trustees to keep both groups happy. There simply are not enough good investment vehicles available to keep both groups of beneficiaries happy in low interest rate environments. The solution is known as the power to adjust. This allows trustees to reclassify trust assets. Forbes has an example of how it can work: “By utilizing the power to adjust, trustees are able to invest in the best total return portfolio without regard to the amount of income it generates; so, for example, in the current low-rate climate, this may result in a portfolio that is primarily equity.  The power to adjust allows the trustee to take a certain amount of principal, reclassify the assets as income, and distribute the assets to the income beneficiary.”

Breaking the bankWorried about your adult children blowing through their inheritance? Two strategies can help holders of individual retirement accounts curb an heir’s impulse to “cash out.”

You may have many assets to leave behind for your heirs. However, an IRA is unique enough to be easily squandered in taxes, as MarketWatch noted in a recent article appropriately titled “Protect your heirs from an IRA tax trap.

IRAs are some of the most common high-value assets. That noted, because they are such unique accounts, there are some equally unique rules regarding inherited IRAs that are either amenable to diligent financial planning or a short-term high of a cash-out.

Money with watchEstate freezing, under the right circumstances, can become a vital component of an intelligent wealth preservation strategy.

A “frozen asset” can be viewed as an investment that refuses to move with the market. Fewer things are more annoying to a savvy investor! If an investment isn't growing, what is the point?

No, Gordon Gekko is not the only one to see it this way, either. Then again, if you are not investing in growth, but in your family and a powerful estate plan, there are some times when capping or transferring growth and, yes, even “freezing” assets is a definite boon.

MP900407458Whichever way you pass on your retirement account assets, leaving an IRA can provide a grandchild with a significant financial foundation.

Think of an IRA as a potentially powerful estate planning tool. Properly structured, an IRA may transfer wealth to younger generations. In fact, the younger, the better.

Kiplinger raised this point in its January edition with an article titled “Pass an IRA to Young Grandkids With Care. 

Puppy"Pet trusts aren't just for the wealthy," says Frances Carlisle, a trust and estates attorney in New York. For most pet owners, she adds, the goal "is to make sure a plan exists for the care of the animal."

Do you own a pet? It seems as though more and more people are taking in pets these days. In fact, from 2010 to 2012, the number of pet-owning households increased from 62% to 68%. Consequently, more pet owners are taking their beloved pets into consideration when it comes to their estate plans.

Maybe you have heard the term “pet trust” before. Even if you have, The Wall Street Journal has provided the latest information on planning for your pet and some noteworthy statistics in a recent article titled “More Americans Are Writing Their Pets Into Their Wills.

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