Wrongdoing by trustees and personal representatives can take many forms. It could be outright theft from an estate or a long-term scheme to embezzle funds from a trust. The wrongdoing might be hard to uncover if it involves decisions that routinely favor one beneficiary over another or self-dealing, such as purchasing a vehicle at lower than a fair market price.
Giving strategies are as varied as the family. And while lifetime giving has tax advantages, it is often about more than tax planning.
A couple months ago, a Fort Collins couple faced felony theft by exploitation accusations in South Dakota. The couple in their 60s allegedly stole funds from an elderly relative.
The estate tax is a resilient part of the U.S. tax code. Despite calls to abolish the so-called federal “death tax,” it remains. An increase in the gift tax exemption from $5.49 million to $11.2 million (double this figure for couples), however, means fewer estates will have to pay – at least those who pass away between 2018 and 2025.
From an adopted chihuahua to a special cat or bird, pets brighten days for many in various stages of retirement. And in some cases, they may even serve in a support role helping their person through Arrhythmia attacks or other medical conditions.
With every day that passes, adult siblings who grew up together get farther away from their common upbringing. Over time, many relationships become frayed - and often break down altogether after a parent's death gives rise to an inheritance dispute.
Since 2004, Colorado has allowed families to use beneficiary deeds to transfer real property (a home in Denver or a family cabin in the mountains) outside of probate. We must again stress that this strategy cannot replace a comprehensive estate plan. Get legal advice as well, because simple mistakes can invalidate a transfer – e.g. failing to record a beneficiary deed before a death.