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Kentucky Estates | Estate and Trust Administration

In the 90s, when the Internet was new and Bill Clinton still had more tomorrows than yesterdays, the estate tax exemption was $600,000, an amount even Thomas Piketty might think was rather low. In that sort of environment, credit shelter trust planning for married couples felt almost mandatory. We live in a very different world today. [...]

Certainly one of Adam Smith's core insights in The Wealth of Nations was that incentives matter. I believe examples are everywhere about how Smith was correct - ranging from California water shortages and student loan debt, to tax policy and white collar crime. If incentives matter in these areas, shouldn't they matter in designing trusts that maximize successful outcomes for [...]

These are interesting years in estate planning for families in the Upper Middle and Lower Upper Classes. As a high estate tax exemption has reduced the tax-driven imperatives for using trusts to hold inheritances, non-tax applications of trusts come to the fore. As non-tax issues in trust design assume greater relative importance, what factors should [...]

I often work with "Wealth Creators" who have built substantial wealth themselves, most notably as founders of companies or early-stage employees at startups. I also work with "Inheritors" managing wealth built in prior generations for the benefit of descendants. Although every instance has unique aspects, in general, I find that Wealth Creators have conflicted feelings about what being [...]

During an estate or trust administration, it’s easy to divide and distribute financial assets. Distributing tangible personal property (such as furniture, collections, artwork, jewelry, etc.) can be much harder. Executors, trustees, and beneficiaries are usually very surprised by how little household goods and personal property are worth in an estate administration context. Nonetheless, simply because [...]

Estate administration can be a frustrating experience for families and their advisors, because it's an occasion when families fight. Sometimes the fights are necessary, and unavoidable. Many other times, to a detached observer, the fights seem silly. Whether justified (or not), whether necessary (or not), conflict makes estate administration cost more (even when litigation doesn't [...]

Many clients I work with have done a little bit of research about estate administration before we meet.  Often, they are surprisingly focused on "avoiding probate." This is such a common part of the client mind map that I think it's worth examining myths and realities of avoiding probate in Kentucky. Myth: Probate is expensive, so [...]

It's not uncommon for an old irrevocable trust to no longer fit a family's circumstances, for the simple reason that Yogi Berra was right when he noted that "It's hard to make predictions, especially about the future." Trusts provide advantages, including protection from creditors, divorce, or spendthrift behavior. To obtain these advantages, trusts place restrictions on a beneficiary's access to [...]

Even in an era of relatively high estate tax exemptions, I work with many families who want to use a trust to provide for the management of a child's inheritance. How a son in law or daughter in law should be treated in a parent's estate plan, though, is a more subtle issue that families [...]

The popular financial press is pretty crowded, just like the blogosphere. Yet every once in a while, an article says something pretty simple that's also really important, something that connects strongly with issues we see time and again in our practice. Last week, Howard Gold published that sort of piece on Marketwatch.com: "The biggest retirement [...]

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