Tag Archives: estate

law

Frutkin Law Firm Continues to Grow

The Frutkin Law Firm has added James Arrowood to its growing roster of attorneys. This is the third attorney hired by the firm in the past year. Arrowood brings extensive experience in business law, dispute resolution, and business negotiations to the firm.

As a Senior Counsel Attorney at The Frutkin Law Firm, Arrowood focuses his practice in the areas of conflict resolution and litigation, real estate, strategic financial and tax planning, and business law. He has also developed an emerging practice related to the special legal and financial needs of successful medical professionals and groups.

Before joining the firm, Arrowood served as counsel at one of the largest law firms in the world and as in-house counsel at several companies. As a result of his experience, he gained a wide breadth of business and legal knowledge, including an appreciation for business considerations in light of legal issues. Arrowood also spent a year living in London, England where he studied international law and interned in the House of Lords (England’s equivalent of our Supreme Court/Senate at the time). After law school, Arrowood worked as a litigator for a large firm in Philadelphia and then continued on to Washington D.C., New York, and Los Angeles before making Arizona his home base in 2010.

Arrowood graduated from the law school at University of Notre Dame in 2002 after he earned dual Bachelor of Arts degrees from University of California, Irvine in 1999. He has bar admissions in Arizona, California, and New Jersey, as well as affiliations with the 9th Circuit, California District Courts, District Court for Arizona, Eastern District Court for Pennsylvania, and United States Tax Court.

The Frutkin Law Firm now consists of ten attorneys with decades of experience in the core areas of business law, bankruptcy, estate and tax planning, and civil litigation. For more information on The Frutkin Law Firm and practices areas, visit www.frutkinlaw.com.

Estate Planning: Planning Your Future

Morris, Hall and Kinghorn marks milestone

Morris, Hall and Kinghorn PLLC was honored at the annual Spring Summit hosted by the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys. This April’s conference in Philadelphia, PA was especially meaningful, both for the Academy and for MHK.  The conference marked both the 20th Anniversary of the Academy, and MHK’s proud affiliation as members of the organization. As part of the celebration, Academy founders Robert Armstrong and Sanford M. Fisch took time to thank  MHK for their participation, contributions, and friendship over the last 20 years.

Over the past two decades, the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys has become the premier national educational organization promoting excellence in estate planning by providing member attorneys with research and updates in estate, business planning, and tax laws.

According to co-founder Sanford M. Fisch, “When Robert Armstrong and I started the Academy in 1993, we had a vision and a passion for helping other attorneys transform their law firms into thriving enterprises with deep meaning, not just for the attorneys, but for their clients and their communities. It’s nice to take some time to pause and reflect on the past twenty years, but we’re also excited as we look toward what the future holds for the Academy and its members.”

For MHK, joining the Academy 20 years ago fast-tracked the firm’s evolution into the estate planning practice it is today; one that stays on the cutting edge of legal matters while keeping the firm focused on continually enhancing each client’s experience.

“Academy membership has given us the education, training, coaching, and resources to expand our practice while ensuring our clients and their experience stay at the center of the firm’s focus,” says Katherine O’Connell, the firms managing partner “The Summit was a nice opportunity to pause and reflect on the past twenty years, but it was also an exciting glimpse at what’s next in terms of the technological advances and the new legal strategies I’ll be able to use to help my clients”, stated Dan Morris.

MHK has devoted its practice to estate planning and elder law matters for more than 40 years and has been a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys since 1993. MHK is the only firm in Phoenix to be admitted to Academy membership. The firm has helped thousands of clients meet their estate planning goals and pass on meaningful legacies to their loved ones. To learn more, call 602-249-1328 or visit www.morristrust.com.

Estate Tax Laws Are In Flux - AZ Business Magazine Sept/Oct 2010

Estate Tax Laws Are In Flux — Start Strategizing Now

Let’s begin with a reasonably well-founded observation: The official repeal this year of estate taxes has seriously flawed most testamentary plans and created mild chaos for estate practitioners. Traditionally, estate planning attorneys have employed “word formula” dispositions phrased in terms of tax concepts for their drafted wills and trusts. For example, for people with larger estates, dispositions are divided into two categories:

One portion equal to the unused estate tax exemption often called the unified credit or the credit shelter trust for the benefit of a surviving spouse and descendents.

The other portion is allocated to equal the “optimum” marital deduction amount, usually expressed as the minimum amount necessary to reduce a person’s federal estate tax to zero.

In other cases, testators will cause a portion of their estate to equal the unused generation skipping tax (GST) exemption to pass in favor of or for the benefit of grandchildren. The word formula is applied because, historically, it has resulted in the optimal division or disposition of a decedent’s property.

Unfortunately, none of the above has any meaning if the concepts used to define them are no longer represented by federal statute. Accordingly, decedents of 2010 and their beneficiaries are confronted with impossible circumstances. An unintended outcome is the possible disinheritance of a surviving spouse or children.

Another interesting issue relates to existing generation-skipping trusts that are normally subject to GST on taxable distributions to “skip persons.” In
2010, none of the taxable distributions or “taxable terminations” will be subject to the tax. Possibly, the optimum outcome has arrived for GST trusts.

Within the current environment, grandparents can literally transfer fortunes to grandchildren and be subject to a one-time 35 percent gift tax.

Caution is appropriate, however, because it is impossible to predict what Congress will do. From a constitutional perspective, retroactive legislation remains a risk. If Congress retroactively reinstated estate and GST tax law, which Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) has formally pledged to accomplish, then the above identified actions would be problematic.

Reinstatement of the estate tax system, notwithstanding a valid constitutional argument, would represent a symbol of poor legislation, in this author’s opinion. Here’s why: Executors and trustees of estates created in 2010, as fiduciaries, must act on current law and distribute inherited assets in a timely fashion. Would it not be legally awkward for Congress to force executors and trustees to rescind those distributions and formally adjust all 2010 estate tax returns?

So given the testamentary chaos resulting from the political process, what can we expect? Many practitioners believe legislation will occur that will reinstate the 45 percent tax rate for estate and GST applications with a $3.5 million unified exemption for each spouse. But, if Congress fails to act this year, then beginning in 2011, we will face the imposition of a 55 percent tax rate and a $1 million unified exemption. Given the current federal budget crisis, inaction will produce higher tax revenue.

This uncertain environment may provide compelling reasons for proactive folks to act. Seek qualified help with your own estate planning issues now — not later.

Philanthropic causes are becoming more meaningful to us
Everyone has been affected in some way by the deep recession. As a result, nonprofit service demand is up, but contributions are down. However, more people are contributing their time and efforts to help others. Due to a strong philanthropic lobby and the generous nature of American values, Congress has not tinkered with key charitable planning techniques. Many creative planning options exist that can help one accomplish their nonprofit objectives and enjoy enormous tax and estate benefits.

Source: Coyote Financial

Trends in Estate Planning:
More families are seeking qualified help with their financial lives

Interestingly, the revolution in technology and communication has not changed the desire or need for a personal advisory (coaching) relationship with someone deemed competent and trustworthy. Technology may help you find the right person, but no substitute is yet available for a caring, personal relationship.

Opportunities in Estate Planning

  • A grantor retained annuity trust (GRAT) is an estate planning technique that allows one to utilize the currently low federal discount rate to transfer assets to the next generation in exchange for a note. All appreciation, above the interest payment, inures in favor of the next generation. Short-term, zeroed out GRATs have been popular, resulting in significant estate tax savings for many wealthy families. The House Ways and Means Committee has passed a bill designed to eliminate short-term GRATs and zeroed out techniques. President Obama has proposed (endorsed) similar legislation that would require a 10-year term and no zero out gifting for GRATs. The opportunity for short-term, zeroed out GRATs could disappear in the next several months.
  • Congress has pending legislation to limit fractional discounts for lack of control and marketability applicable to intra-family transfers. Historically, when assets are placed into properly drafted limited liability companies (LLCs) and family limited partnerships (FLPs), discounts on the transfers to children of financial units or limited units, respectively, apply. For the present, case law and court verdicts honor the integrity of fractional discounts. As in the proposed GRAT legislation, the new rules will not apply retroactively and will only take effect coincidental to formal enactment. Keep in mind that the Treasury Department is desperately seeking methods to raise revenue. The opportunity to sell, transfer or gift assets inclusive of a fractional discount, especially among family members, may disappear in the next several months.
  • In 1995, the federal discount rate represented 9.5 percent. Today, the rate ranges between 3.4 percent and 3.6 percent. The discount rate is indirectly associated with the applicable federal rate (AFR), which can be utilized on an “arms-length basis” to make loans to children. For example, the current mid-term intermediate rate equals 2.85 percent, whereas demand-note interest rates are currently less than 1 percent. The opportunity to initiate intra-family personal or business loans at de minimis interest rates could disappear in the next several years.
  • Since generation skipping taxes have been repealed for the 2010 tax year, and the federal gift tax rate has been reduced from 45 percent to 35 percent, the opportunity to transfer/gift assets to grandchildren is economically advantageous, as noted previously. The opportunity to transfer assets to grandchildren without the imposition of estate and generation skipping tax may disappear under new legislative regulations in the next several months.
  • Because of recent market conditions, the valuation of business and real estate assets has potentially decreased. Accordingly, the cost to sell or gift assets to the next generation is lower than it may have been in 2007. The opportunity to transfer assets to family members using low valuations may disappear in the next several years.
  • Source: Coyote Financial

    Arizona Business Magazine Sept/Oct 2010

    The multilevel Estate House offers elegant and cozy dining.

    Estate House Provides An Evening Fit For The Upper Crust

    With the sounds of trickling water and candlelight dancing across the tables, the Estate House in Scottsdale is as inviting as your own home. The multilevel restaurant includes a lounge, as well as indoor and outdoor dining, facing the beautiful Waterfront area of the Arizona Canal. Plants climb up the elegant columns, unique chandeliers exude soft lighting and whimsical wall embellishments make up the Euro-Sonoran décor. All these elements create a lovely backdrop for a relaxing meal.>

    The contemporary French cuisine was complemented by soft jazz music, floating delicately throughout the restaurant, adding to the intimate ambience. Our evening began with a delicious amuse bouche, a chilled parsnip soup served in a shot glass and topped with a crunchy panchetta. The bread basket proved too good to pass up and selections such as blue cheese rolls and baguettes were warmly placed on our plates. It was hard to say no the second time the basket came around, but alas, some room had to be left for dinner. A delicious wine and cocktail list enticed the taste buds even further, including a crisp pear martini made from freshly pureed pears. Yet, with such a plentiful menu in front of us, simple water allowed us to savor the rich taste of the food itself.

    With several ambrosial appetizers to choose from, our party decided on three starters with varied ingredients to please the palate. The wild mushroom robiola strudel was the hands-down favorite of the table, but the others were praised as well. Interesting elements in the dishes, such as a habanero tangerine mousse served with the chilled pomegranate duck breast, were found in each course. The tangy mousse was an unexpected flavor when biting into the duck, but proved to be a tasty addition.

    Small surprise details were found throughout the meal, keeping your taste buds on their toes. Even if you don’t enjoy eating greens, the salads were very well-prepared and tasteful, with choices for the pickiest of eaters. The grilled marinated feta salad was a delicate mix of romaine hearts, lemon oregano marmalade and a touch of olive oil. The baby herb salad was also a favorite with a muscat vinaigrette dressing, and roasted walnuts and grapes that together make eating your veggies a fun and flavorful experience.

    After all these courses, we realized that we hadn’t even had entrées yet! Luckily, our appetites were re-invigorated when we set our eyes on the delectable plates. The consensus among the table was that the shiraz molasses braised short rib was the most appetizing, yet the chef spared no expense when it came to the other dishes. The filet mignon was tender and juicy. Full of strong flavors of sun dried tomato and roasted garlic, the handmade tagliatelle was a great pasta dish. Butternut squash puree and garlic braccoli rabe complemented the entrees nicely, and rounded out the French feast. Conversation was hard to keep up with because the myriad of delectable foods kept our mouths full.

    Just when we thought we couldn’t eat any more, dessert menus were placed on the table. While freshening up with warm hand towels, we decided to sample several desserts. All the delicacies were regarded as perfect endings to the satisfying meal and declared “rich” and “delicious” between bites. One standout from the sweet treats was the gianduja raspberry torte, an exquisite mélange of chocolate and raspberry. A warm, hazelnut chocolate cake was served with a chilled shot of raspberry sorbet that was infused with a hint of mocha. Divine.

    The wonderful presentation of the dishes and friendly service matched the understated elegance of the restaurant. Whatever the occasion may be, from a romantic rendezvous to a corporate event, Estate House is the perfect place to go.