Tag Archives: Trust Planning

“What Jeffrey Epstein Did to Earn $158 Million From Leon Black?”

A very interesting article in today’s NY Times Business Section.  Estate planners will be surprised at the issues discussed.

“The answer: help rich people pay less in taxes.  In the case of Mr. Black, the chief executive of Apollo Global Management, his advice could have been worth as much as $2 billion in savings, according to a law firm’s review of Mr. Black’s business dealings with Mr. Epstein….Mr. Epstein’s specialty was suggesting ways for wealthy clients to use sophisticated trusts and other investment vehicles to reduce their tax liability while passing on assets to their children, according to documents reviewed by The New York Times and interviews with 11 people familiar with his work. In the process, he collected hefty fees — usually based on a cut of the anticipated tax savings….In Mr. Black’s case, according to the review by the law firm Dechert, the savings were enormous: about $1 billion for a single GRAT.  Mr. Epstein’s detection of a problem in a trust set up in 2006 and his proposed solution were “the most valuable piece of work” that he performed, the report said.  “Outside legal counsel described the solution as a ‘grand slam,’” according to the Dechert report, which was commissioned at Mr. Black’s request after The Times reported in October that he had paid Mr. Epstein at least $75 million in fees.”

To read the full article, click here.

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Trust Modifications: Innovative Techniques for Outdated Instruments

Happy Thanksgiving to All:

“Although the grantor of an irrevocable trust surrenders the right to revoke the trust and amend its terms, the restrictions are no longer as limiting as they once were. Alternatives to judicial modifications abound. From nonjudicial settlement agreements to new trends in decanting practices to innovations in modifications by consent, clients, trustees, and beneficiaries have many potential avenues for modifying an irrevocable trust to accomplish their legacy planning goals.”

To read the full report, click here.

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Zooming Into a New Age of Trust Situs

“The novel coronavirus has led many people – trustees, trust beneficiaries and advisors alike – to relocate their primary workplace or residency for the time being, sometimes across state lines.  An irrevocable trust’s situs, or place of administration, may be impacted as this migration continues through the pandemic and likely into the future.  The results may be intentional or inadvertent, with each having its own benefits and risks that should be evaluated both opportunistically and out of an abundance of caution.”

To read the full report, click here.

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Case Study: The Reciprocal Trust Doctrine – A Trap for the Unwary

“The reciprocal trust doctrine can unwind legacy planning that involves mutually beneficial trusts; however, a careful and deliberate approach can shield transfers against application of the doctrine. In 2020, legacy planning for spouses and other related parties has focused largely on full use of their gift and estate tax exemptions due to the risk of prospective changes in the amounts of such exemptions. This type of planning often involves implementing mutually beneficial irrevocable trusts so that each party continues to have access to resources after the party gives assets away (e.g., spouses who each establish a spousal lifetime access trust (“SLAT”) for the benefit of the other spouse). However, such trusts can sometimes contravene the reciprocal trust doctrine, which applies to interrelated trusts that have substantially identical terms and are part of the same transaction or plan. While the facts of each case are unique, best practices indicate that related grantors vary several factors among the respective trust agreements to reduce the risk of reciprocal trust treatment.”

To read the full report, click here.

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AALU: Post-Mortem Liquidity Planning: A Fiduciary’s (Limited) Toolbox

“In the absence of life insurance, options for fiduciaries to generate needed liquidity for estate taxes and expenses may be limited, creating additional hurdles for estate administration and post-mortem planning.” 

To read the full report, click here.

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Watch Your Step – Fiduciary Pitfalls for Trustees of Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts


“Sample cases targeting trustees vividly illustrate unique fiduciary challenges in terms of trust administration and asset management, including for irrevocable life insurance trusts (“ILITs”).  The growing complexity of life insurance products and the potential for increased gifts in the next several years can make ILIT administration far more complicated than anticipated, particularly for non-professional trustees.”

To read the full report, click here.

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A Few Select Insights from the 2019 Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning

“Heckerling presenters emphasized that flexibility in planning will remain key for families and advisors through the on-going roll-out of the TCJA and related guidance.  Given the TCJA’s temporary nature, the possibility for future tax law changes depending on future election outcomes, and the many moving parts of planning for the “modern” family, successful plans will require active management and on-going monitoring of both federal and state tax and legal developments.” 

To read the full report, click here.

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Warning Will Robinson: Tax Reimbursement Clauses May Cause Problems

“As creators (“grantors”) of irrevocable grantor trusts must pay the trusts’ annual income taxes without receiving any trust benefits, advisors typically suggest incorporating a tax reimbursement power that gives the trust flexibility to reimburse the grantor for the tax payment. Despite their prevalence, however, tax reimbursement powers must be crafted and used with care, not simply exercised as a matter of course.” 

To see the full report, click here.

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Flipping the Script: Nongrantor Trusts with Grantor Trust Benefits – Can It Be Done?

“With careful planning, donors of nongrantor trusts can achieve benefits similar to those provided by typical grantor trust provisions without triggering grantor trust status.”

To read the full report, click here.

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Location, Location, Location: Changing the Situs of an Irrevocable Trust

“While changing a trust’s situs can be beneficial to both the trust and the trust’s beneficiaries, the process requires careful navigation of, and compliance with, the terms of the trust instrument and the statutes of both the current and proposed places of administration.”

To read the full report, click here.

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