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    Category Archives: IDGTs

    “Defective” Trusts – A Confusing Name For A Trust That Could Be Ideal For Many Newport Beach Families

    Defective grantor trust is a really confusing name for something that, in the right circumstances, can be a very good
    idea.  Somewhere along the line somebody
    realized that people might be disturbed by hearing that their trust was
    defective so the term became Intentionally Defective Grantor Trust.  Kind of like – “Hey that defect in your
    trust.  We put it there on purpose.  So you should feel good.”

    Confused ManIf you are an estate planning
    insider, then you understand the legal-speak, the acronyms, and maybe even the
    latest estate law jokes. On the other hand, if you are not, then you may get
    bogged down in some of the insider jargon and, well, find yourself downright
    confused. So it is with “defective” trust planning, as reported in a recent Forbes article titled “Don't Freak Out If You Hear Your Trust Is

    The defective grantor trust, and
    more specifically the Intentionally Defective Grantor Trust (IDGT), is more
    often than not the source of confusion estate planning greenhorns face. That’s
    unfortunate. Why? Because so-called “defective” trusts usually work pretty
    well, and they work well precisely because they are defective.

    Here’s the rub: sometimes you
    want your trust to be a trust and sometimes you don’t, and a defective trust
    only fails when you want it to. The heart of the matter, defective or otherwise,
    is simply to say that there is a lot to learn about this weird intersection
    between your life, unique legal entities, and weird tax laws that we call
    estate planning.

    In the end, you should know your
    tools and how to use them. Work with an open and inquisitive mind, and then
    work with Meier Law Firm to examine your options.

    Contact your Newport Beach estate planning attorneys at Meier
    Law Firm to discuss all of your estate planning needs

    Reference: Forbes
    (October 15, 2012) “Don't Freak Out If You Hear Your Trust Is

    Fiscal Green Book Fidgets with IDGTs

    IDGTs and GRATs (along with many other income, gift and estate planning strategies) came under attack in the Obama Administration’s Fiscal Year 2013 Revenue Proposals (the “Green Book”) which, if enacted into law, could essentially eliminate the use of IDGTs and greatly
    reduce the effectiveness and flexibility of GRATs. This latest, although not totally unexpected, development prompts me to continue to passionately stress that there may never be a better time to engage in sophisticated estate and gift planning than now.

    The calm before the storm. That would be an accurate characterization of how 2012 is shaping up, especially when it comes to estate planning. Our regular readers will likely remember why.

    Nevertheless, along with the estate and gift taxes, there are a few more laws to watch as they worm through Capitol Hill. As a result, 2012 may be the last truly advantageous year for certain trusts like Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts (GRATs) and a somewhat lesser known vehicle, the Intentionally Defective Grantor Trust (IDGT).

    A recent Forbes article cast the spotlight on the IDGT, so I thought I’d do the same here.

    An IDGT lives up to the name, or at least it does when formed properly. In essence, the trust is set up by a Grantor (i.e., the Trustmaker) who then sells assets to the trust in exchange for a note at a very low interest rate. This is not uncommon with many trusts, but since it’s defective it also places the interest rate burden back on the grantor. Result: The Grantor gets an initial market value on their sale, which is likely to be low, and then continues to pay for those assets. Sounds a little weird, but stick with me.

    Here’s what the Grantor is betting: The asset sold is presently, legitimately “undervalued,” but
    is expected to greatly increase in value if the economy returns to full swing. As a consequence, the undervalued asset appreciates at a greater rate than the very low interest rate and thereby locks that value into the trust for beneficiaries, and keeps that added value from ballooning the size of an estate instead. Moreover, since the assets were sold in the first place, the use of such a trust wouldn’t waste the valuable lifetime gift tax exemption.

    Not everyone likes this strategy, however. The threat, at the moment, to GRATs and IDGTs is the most recent budget proposal put forward by President Obama. Accordingly, the seeds are thereby sown and we can only expect much more (negative) attention to be drawn to these estate planning tools in the future.

    For more information take a look at the original article or you can learn more about the budget challenge to IDGTs and GRATs here.

    Reference: Forbes (February 22, 2012) “Estate and Gift Tax Considerations for 2012: IDGTs – And you Must Act Now!

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