Final Regulations on Increased Gift and Estate Tax Exclusion Amounts

The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service issued final regulations on November 22, 2019, confirming that individuals taking advantage of the increased gift and estate tax exclusion amounts in effect from 2018 through 2025 will not be adversely impacted after 2025 when the exclusion amount is scheduled to drop to pre-2018 levels. The final regulations largely adopt the proposed regulations from last year.  The final regulations also contain four examples which illustrate the impact of inflation adjustments.  Individuals who are planning to make large gifts between 2018 and 2025 can make such gifts without concern that they will lose

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Mental Illness and Lack of Testamentary Capacity

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On September 25, 2019, the Iowa Court of Appeals issued a ruling in the Matter of the Estate of Freeman Adams.  Freeman Adams died in December 2016.  Dorothy Ruth Fisher, the sister of the decedent, petitioned in probate to open an intestate estate for the decedent.  Ms. Fisher acknowledged that the decedent executed a Last Will and Testament in 2011 and asserted that such document was invalid due to lack of testamentary capacity or the product of undue influence, or both.  Two beneficiaries of the Estate objected to Ms. Fisher’s petition. The facts of the case show that the decedent

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New Retirement Bill Passes House

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On May 23, 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives passed (417-3) the Secure Act with the support of both Republicans and Democrats.  The purpose of the bill is to improve the country’s retirement system.  The bill is currently in the U.S. Senate awaiting passage.  Some of the main provisions that the Secure Act provides are as follows: It will repeal the maximum age for Traditional IRA contributions, which is currently 70. It will change the age to begin required minimum distributions from 70½ to 72. It will allow long term, part time workers to participate in 401k plans; It will

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Fiduciary Obligations on a 529 Account Owned by a Trust

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On May 15, 2019, the Iowa Court of Appeals issued an Opinion in the case of Alberhasky v. Alberhasky.  The Opinion has received national attention.  The plaintiff, Max Alberhasky, sued his father, Rodney Alberhasky, alleging that Rod breached his fiduciary duties as a trustee of assets transferred to Rod’s mother.  Rod filed for divorce in 1999.  Rod has two children, Max and Grayson.  In 2000, Rod’s mother, Allie, set up a Revocable Trust and named Rod and her daughter, JoEllen, as successor trustees.  Rod and JoEllen became co-trustees for Allie’s Trust in 2009.  In 2010, Allie’s Trust enrolled in an

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Changes to Guardianships for Minors

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The Iowa Legislature recently passed and the Governor signed legislation which makes significant changes to the Iowa law regarding guardianships and conservatorships for adults and minors. Last month my blog dealt with the changes regarding guardianships for adults and conservatorships for adults and minors. This month I will discuss changes for guardianships for minors. The new law will apply to new minor guardianships opened after December 31, 2019 and will also apply to minor guardianships which were opened prior to January 1, 2020. The provisions in the Code regarding minor guardianships have been moved from Chapter 633 to Chapter 232D.

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Changes to Guardianship and Conservatorship Statutes

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The Iowa Legislature recently passed and the Governor signed legislation which makes significant changes to the Iowa law regarding guardianships and conservatorships for adults and minors.  This month I will deal with the changes regarding Guardianships for adults and Conservatorships for adults and minors.  Next month, I will discuss changes for Guardianships for minors. For new guardianships and conservatorships which are opened after December 31, 2019, there are new requirements requiring professional evaluation of the proposed protected person and a requirement for a background check for all proposed guardians and conservators.  The guardian and conservator is required to file an

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New Law Regarding Certification of Trust

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The Governor has recently signed Senate File 112 amending the requirements for certifications of trust. The new Act becomes effective July 1, 2019.  The certification of trust must do all of the following: State that the Trust has not been revoked, modified or amended in any manner that would cause the representations in the certification of trust to be incorrect. Be signed by a currently acting trustee or the attorney of an acting trustee. Be subscribed and sworn to under penalty of perjury before a notary public as provided in Chapter 9B. The new Act is broader than the current

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Trust Case Decided By Iowa Supreme Court

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On April 5, 2019, the Iowa Supreme Court issued an opinion in the case of Serena Konrardy and Carrie Rigdon n/k/a Carrie Burmeister vs. Vincent Angerer Trust and DeWitt Bank & Trust Company, as Trustee of said Trust. The Trust provided that on the death of the Trustor, equal shares would be established for each of the Trustor’s five siblings.  Each share was to be placed in individual trusts for the sibling and the spouse of a deceased sibling.  If both a sibling and the sibling’s spouse had died, the Trust directed the trustee to distribute the Trust share to

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Tax-Free IRA Distributions to Certain Public Charities for Taxpayers 70½ and Older

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The Federal Path Act includes provisions to allow a taxpayer who is age 70½ or older to make tax-free distributions from their IRA’s to qualified charities. The Path Act allows an individual who is over the age of 70½ to make a direct distribution from their IRA account to a charity.  The benefit of doing such is that the amount transferred to the charity will be counted as part of the taxpayer’s qualified minimum distribution and it will also not be included in the taxpayer’s gross income for Federal and State income taxes.  In order to qualify as a qualified

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IRS Guidance on Large Gifts Made Prior to 2026

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Last month the Internal Revenue Service issued a proposed regulation addressing large gifts made prior to 2026.  The basic exclusion amount for estate or gift tax for the year 2017 was $5,490,000.00.  The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act increased the basic exclusion amount from 5 million to 10 million for tax years 2018 through 2025 with both dollar amounts adjusted for inflation.  For the year 2018 the basic exclusion amount adjusted for inflation is $11,180,000.00 million.  For 2019 the basic exclusion amount adjusted for inflation is $11,400,000.00.  Under the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in the year 2026,

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