Recently, the Alaska Supreme Court in Toni 1 v. Wacker put a nail in the coffin of domestic asset protection trusts as effective creditor protection for out of state donors.   After a Montana state court issued a series of judgments against Donald Tangwall and his family, the family members transferred two pieces of property to

The new tax act temporarily increases the lifetime estate exemption to $11.2 million.  This change took effect on January 1, but sunsets on December 31, 2025.  On January 1, 2026, the exemption reverts back to the current $5.6 million, subject to inflation adjustment.  It is quite possible that the larger exemption doesn’t make it to

As we wait to see if Congress can pass a tax bill, we now know that estate taxes for the very wealthy will not be repealed immediately or at all.  The House bill that was passed yesterday bumps the lifetime exemption to $10 million indexed for inflation and retains the estate tax through 2023.   The

The probate question I get asked the most often is whether a client should use a living trust to avoid probate.  In many states the answer is an unqualified “yes.”  In Texas, the answer is “it depends, but probably not.”

A living trust is a revocable trust to which the client will transfer his or

As we watch Congress for clarity on tax reform, I am reminded of the Tom Petty song “The Waiting.”   Many clients are frozen, unwilling to do any planning.  However, the fact is tax law changes all of the time, and any “reform” today may be gone tomorrow.  Life and death go on.  The real reasons

Charitable remainder trusts (“CRTs”) are split interests trusts, with the taxpayer retaining an income interest and charity receiving the remainder.  The CRT often is used to defer gain on the sale of highly appreciated property.  The taxpayer receives an income deduction for the value of the remainder interest going to charity and defers the capital