What is an intentionally defective grantor trust?

What is an intentionally defective grantor trust?

An intentionally defective grantor trust (IDGT) is a very interesting estate planning tool. It can be used to freeze certain assets for estate tax purposes, but not for income tax purposes. It is best used, for example, for a business that you own that is expected to greatly increase in value over the upcoming years and is a business that you plan to transfer to your heirs upon your death. The intentionally defective trust is created as a grantor trust that ensures that the individual continues to pay income taxes. There are many benefits of an intentionally defective grantor trust. Below are some highlighted key points to keep in mind: There is no tax on sale of stock to the trust The trust income is taxed to the grantor Transfer freezes asset value for estate tax purposes at time of transfer No tax to beneficiaries when grantor dies Transfer can be by gift or sale using lifetime exemption Sale is done with a note due in typically 10-15 years with interest just below 1% interest only loan with a balloon payment (income from interest is taxable) Sale does not realize any gain for the grantor To retain control of assets, your attorney must separate voting and non-voting stock Client retains 100% voting stock (1% of overall) and transfers the rest to the trust Children are the beneficiaries and become owners upon death There is no tax upon the transfer to children Grantor is not entitled to any trust distributions but does enjoy the interest from the “loan” for the “sale” of the stock to the trust Powers retained by...
If you are Divorced, update your Estate Plan today!

If you are Divorced, update your Estate Plan today!

In the aftermath of a divorce, updating your estate plan may not be at the forefront of your mind. You may still be distraught and emotionally and/or physically exhausted. However, many clients don’t realize what could result if they don’t update their current estate plan in the face of a divorce. In the event of a post-divorce unanticipated death, your assets could end up being distributed to your ex-spouse. Exactly what you don’t want to have happen. The first and most important step one should take to avoid this outcome is to revoke one’s current will or trust and write a new one that excludes your ex-spouse. Because most of us, when we are happy and in love leave everything to our spouses upon our deaths, in the event of a divorce, you will most likely want the result to be different. Once your divorce has been finalized, or even if you are in the process of a divorce, you need to update your estate plan as soon as possible to make the desired changes in light of the resulting divorce. You should also think about who you now want making your decisions for you in the event your physician deems you to be disabled or incapacitated for some reason. Your ex-spouse may no longer be the person who you want making your decisions for you, but is probably still listed as your decision maker for healthcare and/or financial decisions. Some people may still trust the ex-spouse to be making those decisions for them, however, that is the exception, not the rule. In my experience, most clients want the...
Estate planning billing, at Lauren Jackson Law

Estate planning billing, at Lauren Jackson Law

When clients come to me for Estate Planning, one of their biggest concerns is what is it going to cost? Most attorneys will be very vague about their billing processes and one of the more popular complaints from clients is when they get their bill and they are shocked by the total amount due. Here, we are committed to providing our clients with excellent service and benefits. One of our benefits that distinguish us from other law firms in the area, is our base rate billing. After we meet and have our initial consultation, I will tell you the total cost of what your estate plan will cost to be completed.  My clients love that there will be no surprises when the monthly bill comes. For the last two years since I have started this policy, my clients have loved this practice. When it comes to billing, nobody likes surprises. What goes into the price quote? Two meetings One initial consultation One meeting for explanation of all documents and document signing A third party witness and notary will be provided All telephone calls All email communications Any research needed All original signed copies of documents Plus all documents will be emailed to you in electronic PDF form Along with time involved and materials, you have to think about the real value value that you are getting from a properly executed Illinois estate plan. There is no point to pay money and draft an estate plan if it is not properly executed with the right witnesses, notarized signatures, and all necessary forms. I have seen and fixed many errors over...
Top Five Provisions to check before signing a Real Estate Contract!!!

Top Five Provisions to check before signing a Real Estate Contract!!!

When the time comes for you to sell your home it may seem like a very daunting process. If you are using a realtor, he or she should have the contract properly filled out before you sign anything (if you are not using a realtor, I can make sure the contract is filled out correctly for you). However, the contract is a 13 page document that you have never seen before and with which you are not familiar. What should you check before signing it? Below are the top five provisions you should review before signing your real estate contract: FIVE PROVISIONS TO CHECK BEFORE SIGNING A CONTRACT Purchase price Personal property to be transferred Real estate tax proration Plat of survey inspections Closing cost credits, if any If you review those five specific provisions and all five of them seem correct, you are safe to go ahead and sign the contract. If the seller accepts it by signing it, forward the fully signed contract to your real estate attorney as quickly as possible. There is a short time period during which your attorney can propose changes to any of the provisions that may be incorrect in the contract. This is called the attorney review period. Don’t worry if you feel this is too daunting a process to handle yourself, let us become the law firm that you know, like, and trust by handling it for you. Your time is just as important as mine, that is why all meetings are by appointment only at either one of my convenient office locations: 200 West Main Street, St. Charles, Illinois...
What does a Donald Trump presidency mean for Estate Planning?

What does a Donald Trump presidency mean for Estate Planning?

Following the election of Republican candidate Donald Trump as well as the GOP’s retainment of a Congressional majority, significant tax reform has a distinctly higher probability of occurring now than it had under previous administrations. This is largely due to Donald Trump’s tax plan being substantially in agreement with the Tax Reform Tax Force Blueprint proposed by Republicans; both intend to have the alternate minimum tax eliminated, repeal the current estate tax, reduce & simplify income tax brackets, and lower taxes on businesses. Alternatively, Republicans could propose a budget reconciliation bill as a more stable solution, but since it necessitates an approved budget that is unlikely due to its inefficiency. Trump’s administration is also anticipated to affect a small number of regulatory initiatives, the two most prominent being the regulations regarding consistent basis reporting and the proposed regulations under Section 2704 of the Internal Revenue Code. The first of these regulations was announced by the IRS on March 4, 2016; this regulation would be administered in order to guarantee “a recipient’s basis in certain property acquired from a decedent be consistent with the value of the property as finally determined for Federal estate tax purposes.” The second was published by the Treasury Department on August 4, 2016, which proposed intricate regulations on valuation discounts for family-owned businesses under 2704; these regulations were deemed by the vast majority to be beyond the Treasury’s authoritative reach, as well as potential threat to family-owned businesses. These proposed regulations are intertwined with the federal estate tax; in the event that the estate tax is repealed, these regulations will no longer be applicable. With...
Do I need an attorney to purchase a new construction home?

Do I need an attorney to purchase a new construction home?

A lot of people are attracted to the comfort of buying a brand new home. The homebuilder makes it so easy now. You get to pick the land and customize the house just the way you want it. They may even make the sale offer extra enticing with additional “discounts” if you use their lender and title insurance company. When you have all the necessary components in front of you, some buyers may feel wrapped in a fake blanket of security. So, the question is, do you need an attorney when buying new construction? The simplest answer depends on how much you trust the title insurance company and lender. When purchasing a new construction home without an attorney, on closing day, you will go to the title office, sit down, and a title agent will place a large stack of papers in front of you. The title agent may tell you where to sign your name on each legal document, but she is not required to and will most likely not explain the documents. Once you sign all the documents, she will send them to your lender for approval. No one there will double-check the transfer documents i.e. deed and HUD form, to make sure they are correct. On more than one occasion, I have found a dollar error made by either the title insurance company or lender in favor of my client. If I weren’t there, the client would have been out that money. In those instances, the error that I found and corrected amounted to more than my attorney fee . So, how much do you really...
When and how should you update your estate plan?

When and how should you update your estate plan?

Updating one’s estate plan is usually not a complicated act when working with an estate-planning attorney. Depending on what has already been drafted, there are different options available. I recommend to all my clients that they should review their plans periodically. A very general rule to go by is that you should change your documents any time they are no longer what you want. Some obvious times when you should review you estate plan is any major change in your family – such as marriage, divorce, death, adoption, birth, etc. If one of your successor trustees or guardians for your minor children can no longer fulfill his or her responsibilities (because of a move away, become ill or die or change their mind), you should replace them. It is important to know that when you do need to change something in your estate plan, do not write on the original documents. Once you have signed the documents and it has been notarized, it must not be altered. If you need to change anything, an attorney will need to prepare an amendment to your documents that will be signed by you, have the proper amount of witnesses, and notarized to be valid in the state of...
Big News…We are expanding

Big News…We are expanding

It is with great pleasure and excitement that I announce a second office location for my clients. Over the past couple of years I have tried my hardest to give my clients a great legal service along with a friendly and accepting environment. Well, my past clients have spoken loud enough with numerous positive reviews and the professional world has noticed. Starting immediately, I have taken a position as, Of Counsel, for VLK Law Firm located at 200 West Main Street, Suite 102, St. Charles, IL 60174. What does this mean for you and for me? It means that you will be getting a better client experience with the option of meeting me at two different locations: downtown Elgin or downtown St. Charles. It means that I will have a better support staff with VLK on my side. And finally, it means that if you have a legal problem of any kind, think of Lauren Jackson Law, and we will be able to find the right attorney for your...
How to protect your family with no savings?

How to protect your family with no savings?

When sitting down with concerned parents, one topic that often arises: How do I protect my family if I have no savings? If you do not have a lot of savings in the bank but are concerned with, or just want to make sure that your family is taken care of (financially), life insurance could be the answer. You have insurance for your car, you have insurance for your house, and you have insurance for your property, but what about your most important asset, your life? I do not sell life insurance but I can tell you what I learned while shopping for life insurance after having my first child. First, there are multiple types of life insurance. The two most common types are term life insurance and whole life insurance. Of these two types, term life will be your much cheaper option. With term life insurance you can get a large policy, 1 million dollars or more (depending on your age and health factors) for around $50 a month. This type of insurance is very simple. You pay your monthly fee for every month for the length of the term that you choose and once you hit the end date of the insurance, your policy cancels. Whole life insurance is a policy that you could have for the remainder of your life. This type of policy has many benefits. You can actually borrow money against the policy, or at a certain point if there is enough money in your account, you will be able to stop making contributions but your policy will stay intact. The only downside with...
What is the attorney review period for a real estate transaction?

What is the attorney review period for a real estate transaction?

When you are buying real estate you have to sign a contract. Once the contract is signed by the seller time becomes of the essence. People believe that once you sign a real estate contract, everything in the contract is final. That is not true. Although I tell my clients to let me know before they sign a contact, the fact of the matter is, once you sign a real estate contract an attorney has five business days for a “review period” and to propose modifications. During the review period the attorney reviews the contract, makes sure all the appropriate signatures and initials are in the proper places, and verifies the contract states what was intended. If the contract does not state what you wanted, it may be cancelled. Also, during this time period, you (the buyer) should get an inspection on the real estate. Once we have the inspection report, we will review the inspection and use that report to ask the seller to fix any items that are covered. If you are unable to get an inspector out within five days, I am able to ask for an extension of the review period. As long as you have something scheduled, asking for an extension should not be a problem. In summary, once you sign a real estate contract you still have time to change the contract if you are within the attorney review period. When considering whether to sign a contract, please get a copy over to my office as soon as possible....