Category Archives: Estates & Trusts

Happy National Healthcare Decisions Day: Why an Advance Directive is a Crucial Part of Estate Planning

Today is a day that, until recently, I wasn’t aware had any independent significance other than being April 16. However, April 16 is – and has been for the past seven years – National Healthcare Decisions Day. You can see the website dedicated to this purpose here: www.nhdd.org Planning with an advance directive for health care decisions is only …

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Illinois Trust Taxation Deemed Unconstitutional

In Linn v. Department of Revenue, the Illinois Fourth District Appellate Court reviewed the state’s statutory framework for taxing trusts. Linn v. Department of Revenue, 2013 Il App (4th) 121055.  On constitutional grounds, the court limited Illinois’ power to impose taxes under its “once subject to tax, forever subject to tax” regime. This case creates planning opportunities to …

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Has Your Trust Lost Touch With Illinois? If So, It May Not Be Subject to Illinois Income Tax

  Overview In December 2013, an Illinois Appellate Court of the Fourth District held that an inter vivos trust – that had no connections with Illinois other than the fact that the settlor of the trust was residing in Illinois when the trust was created – was not subject to Illinois income taxation.  Linn v. Department …

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The Complicated Landscape of US Estate Tax

Canadians who own assets in the U.S. may be subject to U.S. estate tax. This tax is based on the fair market value of all U.S. assets owned at the time of death. It can reach 40%, depending on the value of U.S. assets and the world-wide estate. But not all Canadians who own U.S. …

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Planning for Disabled Beneficiaries in Ontario

Whether you own Cross-Border assets or not, when dealing with the transfer of assets to a disabled beneficiary who is resident in Ontario, special planning may be needed to preserve your disabled beneficiary’s entitlement to certain benefits he or she may be receiving, or may be entitled to receive in future. The Ontario Disability Support Program (“ODSP”) is a …

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Same Sex Marriages: Are You Filing Your Taxes Properly?

  In late 2013, I met with my first same sex couple clients since the U.S. Supreme Court overruled the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) last year.  If you recall, DOMA  was the federal law barring the federal government from recognizing same sex marriages legalized by states.  It was ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court as …

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Is a U.S. Revocable Trust Okay for Canadians?

Revocable trusts are a common estate planning tool in the U.S. Also referred to as living trusts and grantor trusts, they provide a method of avoiding costly probate and incapacity proceedings. A well written revocable trust will also include tax and creditor protection planning for future generations. In addition to all of these benefits, the individual …

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2013 Year-End Planning for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Taxpayers

2013 has been a year of historic change for the LGBT community. The landmark Supreme Court decision in U. S. v. Windsor, decided on June 26, 2013, held that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) (defining marriage for federal purposes as being between a man and a woman) violates the equal protection …

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The Gift of Education Re: Estate Planning

  Many grandparents want to enrich the lives of their grandkids, but are not sure the best way to accomplish this with their estate plan. I encourage clients to consider helping their grandchildren with the future costs of education. The proper planning can help grandkids avoid hefty loans and be tax-efficient for the donor. A …

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The IRS/Treasury Department Announcement & Estate Planning Ruling Re: Same-Sex Marriage

On August 29, 2013, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS“) issued Revenue Ruling 2013-17. The ruling establishes that the IRS will recognize same-sex marriages for all federal tax purposes regardless of where the couple lives, as long as the couple was married in a jurisdiction that recognizes such marriages. So, for example, …

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