The SECURE Act of 2020 (Setting Every Community Up for Retirement):

  • is changing retirement, and it may change how your wealth is distributed;
  • it may require a check-in with your estate planner to adjust your estate plan’s language and/or structure to do what you originally intended;
  • or if you’re an advisor, it may require a check-in with the estate planner and other financial professionals in your client’s sphere

Timestamps

:30 Krystal and Merrell introduce the impacts to qualified retirement plans and what changes after the planholder passes away. What should advisors expect from other advisors in response to the SECURE Act?

1:30 The rules before 2020…inherited IRAs, rollover IRAs, and ability of a beneficiary to stretch distributions over their life expectancy

2:33 As estate planning attorneys we considered passing wealth to another generation in IRA trusts. (A two-year old grandchild as example)

3:38 Krystal outlines the rules now, as of January 2020. If you inherit an IRA and are not a spouse, the entirety of the retirement plan must be paid out within ten years (and associated income tax)

5:00 Merrell discusses the SECURE Act in context of leaving wealth to grandchildren…

5:52 Exceptions to the ten year rule include: a surviving spouse; and person that fits the SECURE Act’s definition of  disabled and chronically ill persons; a beneficiary that is fewer than ten years younger than the planholder; and a minor child – not grandchild – until the age of majority

7:30 Krystal talks about revisiting client goals and trust provisions with CPAs and financial advisors

8:30 Merrell compares beneficiary possibilities – either as a trust or as a human, and the respective tax rates for each; she explains how the trust may need to have accumulation language so as not to force distributions and give the trustee some discretion

10:52 Common trusts (aka pot trusts, multiple beneficiary trusts) vs. Separate trusts; spreading the IRA tax hit

14:43 Explaining to the client how the 2020 SECURE Act laws are different than when we did their initial planning, and opening up the possibility of letting other assets appreciate

16:00 Merrell compares the relative risk of setting up a structure that requires the trustee to distribute wealth that will harm the beneficiary vs. taking the tax hit under the new law

17:28 Takeaways for estate planning clients as well as their advisors; revisiting your plan with your estate planning attorney to make sure it still makes sense and if an advisor, reaching out to make sure the client has the option to make changes

Resources

Other provisions of the SECURE Act 

If you like charts, National Association of Planners’ summary points of SECURE Act

 

When is estate planning through beneficiary designations and/or payable on death designations a good idea? Merrell and Krystal discuss the very particular situations and criteria that makes this a safe estate planning tool.

Timestamps

:30 Merrell discusses her perfect client for this kind of estate plan – life insurance, homestead, checking account, and a retirement account, a modest estate and two adult children that are in good places in their life.

1:47 Krystal elaborates on additional things she looks for in trying to plan outside of a will, recommending estate planning through beneficiary designations: children that get along and have a good relationship if they will inherit assets together; no special needs issues, and more

3:08 The estate planning quadrant (take a trip inside Merrell’s head). “The Asset Action Plan” is divided into 1) own it with someone else, joint tenants, rights of survivorship, 2) assets that have beneficiary designations, 3) in their own name, not owned with anyone else and without a beneficiary designation (this kind of asset would go through probate), and 4) if a revocable living trust, the things that are titled in there.

4:08 How the Asset Action Plan works to avoid probate – moving all assets into box 1 or 2. Caution – this does not provide asset protection to the next generation.

4:36 What about business ownership transfers upon death?

5:30 If you’re going to do estate planning like this, you MUST have a good Durable Power of Attorney. A good one!

6:14 When other advisors tell you to use beneficiary designations and screw up a carefully crafted trust-based estate plan. (Advisors and estate planners, this is why we need to work together.)

7:22 For example, financial advisors, our mutual client may not be comfortable discussing her daughter’s bad marriage and why I have things set up so that she won’t inherit everything outright.

Resources

When is not making a last will and testament a bad idea? See Your Caring Law Firm’s article about jointly owned accounts and Quit Claim deeds.

 

 

Everything you need to know about a planned giving plan and the IRS:

Timestamps

1:00 Merrell explains why she generally advises against her clients gifting large amounts

1:25 Krystal discusses a client who wants to gift the proceeds from a house sale to her children, and whether or not she’d be better off paying off their mortgages or making smaller gifts over the years to fall under the reporting requirements

2:06 Tax reporting, and IRS form 709

3:05 Gift tax rules, what has to be reported and what doesn’t

4:25 Gifts that don’t count toward the gift tax limit (tuition, medical expenses directly to the provider, charitable giving, etc.)

5:50 Splitting gifts with a spouse

6:45 What about gifting portions of a Family Limited Partnership?

10:00 Gifting a house – now or after you get on the bus?

12:00 Summarizing – conversations that need to be had about reporting, basis, and getting a professional to help fill out a 709

 

 

 

What can you do when your client already knows what they want, and it’s not a good fit?

Timestamps

:37 Case example – clients wanted a charitable remainder trust set up using retirement assets.

2:50 Counseling the client, thinking about the next generation that is living through decisions

3:45 Case example #2 – Mom set up a special needs trust. Dad set up a trust that split assets three ways, including to the special needs sibling. Trust administration issues abound.

6:13 Case example #3 – three siblings, five years, and one of them wants to make a deal. Merrell counsels holding sibling #1 to the fiduciary standard rather than accepting the deal.

8:28 Clients ultimately need to make the decision. We provide the best advice we can.