205 Newbury St, Framingham, MA 01701 (508) 875-5222
189 Wells Ave, Newton Centre, MA 02459 (617) 618-9160

Estate Planning

Thursday, July 13, 2017

2018 U.S. Tax Reform is Here: What You Need to Know About Estate Planning Implications

In December 2017, Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that changes significantly tax planning for corporations, small businesses and individual creating unprecedented planning opportunities for both individual and business clients.

This memo focuses on some of the estate planning implications:

Gift Planning

The doubling of the estate, gift and generation-skipping tax (“GST”) exemptions means that, beginning in 2018, taxpayers can transfer up to $11.2 million of assets without transfer tax consequences. Between January 1, 2018 and the sunset of the increased exemptions on December 31, 2025, clients have the opportunity to remove assets from their estates and exempt future appreciation from taxation.

Whether a client should make taxable gifts depends on many factors, including the effect of state-level estate taxes and the tax basis of the property to be gifted. If the client is considering gifts for non-tax reasons (such as asset protection), the increased exemption amount may be enough to tip the scales in favor of a lifetime gift. This is especially true if the client has a gross estate significantly above the exemption amount.

Read more . . .


Thursday, July 13, 2017

Stand-Alone Retirement Plan Trusts

Dear Clients and Friends,

IRA’s, and in particular inherited IRA’s, represent one of the greatest sources of family wealth, yet many clients and estate planners are not aware of the significant benefits of utilizing Stand-Alone Retirement Plan Trusts, sometimes referred to as Stand-Alone IRA Beneficiary Trusts.

Who should read this letter? Owners of substantial IRA’s or benefits under retirement plans that permit a stretch-out of benefits.

What is a Stand-Alone Retirement Plan Trust? A trust document established by an IRA owner or participant in a qualified retirement plan. It is separate from the IRA agreement and the beneficiary designation form. The trust is a revocable standby trust which is not funded during the IRA owner’s lifetime but becomes the beneficiary of the IRA or qualified plan benefits upon the death of the IRA or plan owner or the death of the owner’s spouse, whichever is later.

What’s at Stake?

  1. Protection of children and grandchildren from divorced spouses and creditors.
  2. Providing for maximum stretch-out of benefits for maximum income tax deferral and wealth accumulation.

Read more . . .


Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Importance of Updating Your Estate Plan

What steps should I take to update my estate plan?

Creating an estate plan is only the first part of the estate planning process.  It clarifies your wishes and provides for those you love. However, because your life and the lives of those around you are constantly evolving, we recommend that you review your estate plan at least every five years. Circumstances that may require you to alter your original estate plan include: marriages, divorces, births, illnesses, deaths, and buying or selling of real estate or businesses. There may also be more subtle changes in relationship or status that influence your decisions about how you want to distribute your assets.

Read more . . .

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Recent Death of Prince Shows the Need for Thoughtful Estate Planning

The death of the renowned musician Prince at age 57 shocked the world. It also brought into focus for many of us the need for us to be mindful about our own estate planning. Not only was Prince's death untimely and unexpected, it was the death of a celebrity with a substantial estate who died without a will.

Read more . . .

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Keeping Life Insurance Out of Your Taxable Estate

How can you use life insurance trusts to minimize estate taxes on the proceeds of life insurance policies?

Life insurance can be an effective way to leave a large sum of money to a loved one free of  income tax. But mistakes may prevent beneficiaries from reaping the full advantages as well as create adverse estate tax consequences.

Read more . . .

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Why is estate planning for your business so important?

If you are a business owner, you are probably overwhelmed as it is. You might feel you are too busy to think about what will happen to your business when you die. So, you push these thoughts out of your mind and resolve to consider it when you have more time. However, putting off Read more . . .

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Sometimes Seemingly Simple Estate Planning Ideas Add Complexity and Confusion

Why is giving title of your assets to your children not a good idea?

Contemplating one's own death is never easy, so we often look to simplify the estate administration process. Unfortunately, unless we do this with the assistance of a competent estate planning attorney, we are likely to create additional issues.

Adding your children to the title of your assets, so that they already have possession of your assets if you become incapacitated or die, may seem appealing. The idea here is that, once you put your child's name on your home, bank accounts, vehicles or any other titled assets, that property avoids probate when you die and passes directly to your child.  In addition, your child is able to manage these assets if you become physically or mentally incapable of doing so.

Read more . . .

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

CLIENT ADVISORY October, 2015 - Trust for Child included in Child’s Marital Estate in a Divorce

Dear Clients and Friends:

On August 27, 2015, the Massachusetts Appeals Court ruled that a husband’s interest in a lifetime trust can be included in the marital estate and be subject to division in a divorce proceeding.  The case, Pfannenstiehl v. Pfannenstiehl, has significant ramifications for those clients seeking to protect their children’s inheritances from divorces.

Read more . . .

Tuesday, January 26, 2016


Dear Clients and Friends:

We provide this advisory to inform you of three planning opportunities:


The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 unexpectedly sets the exemptions for estate, gift and generation-skipping tax at $5 million per person, indexes those exemptions for inflation, provides a fixed tax rate (40%) and allows portability of a deceased spouse’s exemption.

However, on April 10, the Obama administration’s 2014 budget proposal and the companion Treasury Department Greenbook propose returning estate, gift and generation-skipping tax exemptions and rates to 2009 levels (45% tax rate, a $3.5 million estate and generation-skipping tax exemption and $1 million lifetime gift tax exemption, both indexed for inflation). Absent Democratic control of the House of Representatives after the 2014 elections, Congress will not likely adopt these proposals.  The White House proposal would grandfather transfers made prior to date of enactment.

Read more . . .

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205 Newbury Street, Framingham, MA 01701
| Phone: (508) 875-5222
189 Wells Ave, Newton Centre, MA 02459
| Phone: (617) 618-9160

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