Tax planning is usually part of a larger estate plan to ensure your money goes where you want it to go. We can help you design a custom estate plan to carry out your dispositive wishes while minimizing or eliminating gift taxes, estate taxes, income taxes, capital gains taxes and generation-skipping transfer taxes (GST taxes). A tax plan is not just about avoiding the so called “Death Taxes”.
There are thousands of different types of trusts including Marital Trusts, Bypass Trusts, Age Restriction Trusts, Special Needs Trusts, Education Trusts, Animal Trusts, Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts (ILITs), “IRA Stretch Trusts”, Qualified Personal Residence Trusts (QPRTs), Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts (GRATs), Dynasty Trusts, Charitable Lead Trusts and Charitable Remainder Trusts, among others. Funding one or more of these trusts can potentially help minimize or entirely eliminate some of your tax liabilities.
When you are transferring a closely held business, it may provide you with the ability to make gifts to your loved ones in an exceptionally tax efficient manner because of the lack of marketability or lack of control in the gifted business interest.
Many clients wish to establish a charitable foundation or non-profit organization; others simply want to donate a little money to charity. Either way, we can help you gift money to charity in a tax efficient manner.
A quintessential part of any good estate plan is making maximum use of the gift tax credits and the gift tax exemptions that the government allows you to use. We help you understand your tax credits and exemptions so that you maximize the amount of wealth that you can transfer.
Coordination of Assets
One of the biggest reasons to hire a competent estate planning attorney is to help you coordinate your Wills and Trusts with Beneficiary Designations on your Retirement Plans, Annuities and Life Insurance Policies. This coordination is necessary not just for estate planning but also for tax planning.
Titling of Assets
It is imperative that a tax planning lawyer knows how your assets are titled to maximize the tax efficiency of the plan. For example, we must often transfer assets between spouses during life to maximize their tax exemptions on death. Additionally, when setting up a life insurance trust, the life insurance must actually be owned by the trust, not the insured, to receive the tax benefits.
Preparing Private Letter Ruling requests.
A private letter ruling a way to request a binding ruling from the IRS on a tax issue that you may have. Typically it is used to request an answer to a specific tax question and to clarify the tax consequences of such action. You may not legally rely on another person’s private letter ruling even if your situation is identical. However, other private letter rulings can be persuasive.
Preparing gift tax returns, estate tax returns, inheritance tax returns and trust returns.
When someone passes away or makes a large gift, a tax return will often need to be filed with the appropriate government agency. Our estate administration department prepares gift tax returns, estate tax returns and inheritance tax returns. We are also happy to work with your tax counsel if you prefer it. We usually do not prepare income tax returns for individuals, estates or trusts, though and we will work with your accountants or CPAs to make sure they get filed properly.
Representing clients in audits.
When submitting an estate tax return, gift tax return, inheritance tax return or trust return, the tax authority frequently has questions. We assist our clients in answering any questions the government might have.