Thursday, January 19, 2017

What he wants to accomplish vs. what he needs to accomplish…

As the United States rings in a New Year, it also welcomes a new president. All eyes are trained on Washington in anticipation of what President-elect Donald Trump will tackle in his first 100 days in office. Trump’s initial success will depend on how well he defines his own agenda and how he navigates the difference in details between his goals and the policy priorities of Congressional Republicans. Trump will also need to divide his political capital between the things his administration wants to do versus what it needs to do in the New Year.

Click here to read the Alert by David C. Russell and Miguel Rodriquez.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

On February 13, 2016, Doug Stanley, partner in the Private Client Services group at Bryan Cave, and Justin Flach of The Commerce Trust Company (an alumnus of the Bryan Cave Private Client Services group), will present “Creating A Living Legacy”, addressing estate planning basics to a group of artists.  The presentation is hosted by the Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts and will be held at the Regional Arts Commission, 6128 Delmar, St. Louis, Missouri.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The 7520 rate for January 2017 has increased to 2.4%.

The January 2017 Applicable Federal Interest Rates can be found here.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

(This is an updated post from December 2015)

With the end of the year approaching, we thought now would be a good time to re-post and update this blog from the end of 2015.

For 2017, the annual exclusion gift amount will remain the same at $14,000 but the lifetime gift and estate tax exemption will increase to $5,490,000 (up from 2016’s $5,450,000).

With fourteen days left in the year, many people are still planning how to make 2016 gifts, whether by making “annual exclusion” gifts of $14,000 per beneficiary, or by taking advantage of the 2016 gift tax exemption amount of $5,450,000.  Whatever the reason for the last-minute gifting, as the end of the year approaches, people may be tempted to make a “quick and easy” gift to their beneficiaries by simply writing a check. As the year draws to a close, however, if your gift is dependent on utilizing 2016 tax law, beware of the potential trap of making a gift by check.

A gift is not complete for tax purposes until the gift is no longer revocable.  However, if you write someone a check, until that check clears, you could always “revoke” the check by alerting your bank to stop payment, or by emptying your account of sufficient funds to pay on the check.   Until the check clears the bank, your gift is still revocable.  Therefore, if your beneficiary doesn’t deposit the check in time for the banking system to clear the check, your gift may not be considered irrevocable until 2017, and you have therefore made a gift in 2017 instead of 2016.

If you are planning to make 2016 gifts over the next 10 days by means of a check, be wary and let your beneficiaries know that they need to deposit that check as soon as possible.  Better yet, make the gift by means of a cashier’s check, which is considered irrevocable as soon as you hand it over.  That way, you don’t have to rely on the promptness of your beneficiaries’ next trip to the bank, and the promptness of the banks in processing the checks.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

(This is an updated post from December 2015)

Need a New Year’s resolutions to kick start 2017? Here is an idea you probably hadn’t considered: review your estate planning documents.

If you are like most people, you are probably thinking that reading legal documents does not sound like an even remotely enjoyable way to start a new year. But, it doesn’t have to be as unpleasant as it sounds. Reviewing your documents does not mean you have to read them cover to cover. If you know what are the most important elements, it is easy to review your will, trust, and powers of attorney regularly to ensure they still comply with your wishes. These documents not only determine who will receive your property when you die, but also likely determine who has the right to make financial and major medical decisions during your lifetime. Needless to say, it is important that you are still comfortable with the designations you have made.

To get you started, below is a basic checklist of items we suggest you review annually (make it a New Year’s tradition!).

1. Assess the changes in your life since you last updated your estate planning documents.

Have you gotten married or divorced? Had a child or adopted a child? Moved to a different state? Had a death in the family? Had a major financial event? Any of these life changes may affect your estate planning, and your documents may need to be revised. (more…)

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

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While there is considerable uncertainty among wealth planners and tax professionals regarding how the incoming administration will impact the federal tax code, nearly everyone agrees that change is imminent. With that in mind, we have assembled this chart, which compares current tax rates with President-elect Donald Trump’s proposed tax plan, and the House Republicans’ Blueprint plan (released in June, 2016).  Click here.

Friday, November 18, 2016
Written by in: Valuation
 

The Section 7520 rate is 1.8%
  AFRs
Annual Semi-annual Quarterly Monthly
Short-term 0.74% 0.74% 0.74% 0.74%
Mid-term 1.47% 1.46% 1.46% 1.46%
Long-term 2.26% 2.25% 2.24% 2.24%
Monday, November 14, 2016

Bryan Cave’s Private Client Group was recently recognized by US News & World Report’s 2017 “Best Law Firms” as a “National Tier 1” practice in the Trusts and Estates category.

best-law-firms

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Originally posted by our employee benefits and compensation team, here.

2017 Qualified Plan Limits Released

Posted: 31 Oct 2016 12:15 PM PDT

The IRS recently released updated limits for retirement plans.  Our summary of those limits (along with the limits from the last few years) is below.

Type of Limitation 2017 2016 2015 2014
Elective Deferrals (401(k), 403(b), 457(b)(2) and 457(c)(1)) $18,000 $18,000 $18,000 $17,500
Section 414(v) Catch-Up Deferrals to 401(k), 403(b), 457(b), or SARSEP Plans (457(b)(3) and 402(g) provide separate catch-up rules to be considered as appropriate) $6,000 $6,000 $6,000 $5,500
SIMPLE 401(k) or regular SIMPLE plans, Catch-Up Deferrals $3,000 $3,000 $3,000 $2,500
415 limit for Defined Benefit Plans $215,000 $210,000 $210,000 $210,000
415 limit for Defined Contribution Plans $54,000 $53,000 $53,000 $52,000
Annual Compensation Limit $270,000 $265,000 $265,000 $260,000
Annual Compensation Limit for Grandfathered Participants in Governmental Plans Which Followed 401(a)(17) Limits (With Indexing) on July 1, 1993 $400,000 $395,000 $395,000 $385,000
Highly Compensated Employee 414(q)(1)(B) $120,000 $120,000 $120,000 $115,000
Key employee in top heavy plan (officer) $175,000 $170,000 $170,000 $170,000
SIMPLE Salary Deferral $12,500 $12,500 $12,500 $12,000
Tax Credit ESOP Maximum balance $1,080,000 $1,070,000 $1,070,000 $1,050,000
Amount for Lengthening of 5-Year ESOP Period $215,000 $210,000 $210,000 $210,000
Taxable Wage Base $127,200 $118,500 $118,500 $117,000
FICA Tax for employees and employers 7.65% 7.65% 7.65% 7.65%
Social Security Tax for employees 6.2% 6.2% 6.2% 6.2%
Social Security Tax for employers 6.2% 6.2% 6.2% 6.2%
Medicare Tax for employers and employees 1.45% 1.45% 1.45% 1.45%
Additional Medicare Tax* .9% of comp >$200,000 .9% of comp >$200,000 .9% of comp > $200,000 .9% of comp > $200,000

*For taxable years beginning after 12/31/12, an employer must withhold Additional Medicare Tax on wages or compensation paid to an employee in excess of $200,000 in a calendar year for single/head of household filing status ($250,000 for married filing jointly).

Thursday, October 27, 2016

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The Private Client group of Bryan Cave is proud to announce that Kimberly E. Civins has been elected as a fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC).

ACTEC is a nonprofit association of lawyers established in 1949 whose pre-eminent members are elected to the College by demonstrating the highest level of integrity, commitment to the profession, competence and experience as trust and estate counselors. Membership in ACTEC is by election of the regents of the College. Individual lawyers meeting the criteria for membership are nominated for membership by fellows of the College, and subjected to careful review by state and national membership selection committees, prior to consideration by the regents of the College.

All ACTEC members have made substantial contributions to the field of trusts and estates law through writing, teaching and bar leadership activities. The members work together in a collegial manner to enhance their ability to provide the most efficient and highest quality services to their clients; develop qualified trust and estate counselors; improve and reform probate, trust and tax laws, procedures, and standards of professional responsibility; and cooperate with bar associations and other organizations with similar missions.  For more information about the College, click here.