Revocable trusts have long been a mainstay of American estate planning. A trust is relationship between three parties: (i) the settlor who creates and funds the trust, (ii) the trustee who manages the assets held in trust, and (iii) the beneficiary who enjoys the assets. Each of these parties can be a single person or […]
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Entries by Christian Kelso
A Late 2019 tax change will have a major impact on retirement planning! On December 20, 2019, President Trump signed the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019, better known as the “SECURE Act.” Although it passed the House in July, the SECURE Act only recently passed through the Senate on December […]
Trustees have a duty to share trust information with beneficiaries. The nature and extent of the duty to inform is not well defined in the Texas Trust Code, however, and there is little case law on point. There is slightly more guidance with regard to the duty to account, which is a subpart of the duty […]
Under the Internal Revenue Code (the “IRC”), employers must withhold certain taxes from employee pay. These monies are referred to as “trust fund taxes” because they are held in trust on behalf of the government, and employers must turn these withheld amounts over to the government on a regular basis. For various reasons, employers sometimes […]
Many trust instruments prohibit trustees from relieving themselves of a legal duty under applicable law. Such language, which is sometimes referred to as an “Upjohn” clause after the case of Upjohn v. U.S. (30 A.F.T.R. 2d. 72-5918 (W.D. Mich 1972)), is most often, intended to prohibit a trustee from using trust assets to pay for anything […]
Portions of this article were originally printed in Dallas Bar Association Headnotes, December 2017. When it comes to luxury property, such as beach houses, lake houses, ski condos, hunting leases, aircraft, watercraft, limousines, and the like, two rules almost always apply: First, they are expensive to own and operate. Second, they tend to sit dormant […]
Different legal actions require different levels of mental capacity to be valid. For example, the level of mental capacity required to sign a will, referred to as “testamentary capacity,” is lower than the level of capacity required to sign a contract, called “contractual capacity.” The various standards are discussed below. Capacity to Sign a Will […]
Trusts and estates often pay more tax than individuals in like circumstances. This is not because they are taxed at higher rates, but rather because the same rates applicable to individuals are “compressed,” meaning that each marginal rate increase happens at a lower level of income than it does for individuals. For example, the highest […]
It is a little known fact among us mere mortals, but the über-rich have a trick for both keeping the peace in their families and preserving their vast fortunes. They engage in something called family governance planning. Most of us are unfamiliar with this concept although those working in family law like for example Goodman […]
One of the most common misunderstandings about estate planning is the belief that it is only for the wealthy. Anyone who owns property of any kind has an estate. Basic estate planning is an important component of an organized and responsible life, whether or not your estate is large enough to be subject to federal […]