Estate planning

How to work with a grieving client

A growing elderly population means an increasing number of clients losing spouses, and CPAs with strong emotional intelligence will have better relationships with their clients and get more referrals.

Other people’s money

Seemingly disparate services such as investment advisory, bill-paying, and estate planning all have a common denominator: the CPA’s involvement with other people’s money.

Boilerplate trust clauses

Many clients sign estate planning documents without paying much attention to the clauses they contain. One clause that few clients pay attention to is the one governing how that client’s incapacity could be determined—and therefore how the client could be removed from serving as a fiduciary or trustee. A high-profile

Avoiding the squeeze: Trusts, estates, and the new ATRA tax regime

The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 raised the top income tax rate to 39.6%, and a new 3.8% tax on net investment income also applies beginning in 2013. Both taxes apply to trusts and estates with income in excess of $11,950 in 2013, in contrast to much higher thresholds for individuals. This new tax regime necessitates drafting wills and trusts to give executors and trustees maximum discretion so they can reduce these taxes.

Immediate year-end planning opportunity for existing CRTs

On Dec. 2, the Treasury Department issued final regulations addressing the 3.8% net investment income tax under Sec. 1411 (T.D. 9644). Regs. Sec. 1.1411-3 addresses estates and trusts, including charitable remainder trusts (CRTs). The final regulations include an additional accounting method to tax CRT distributions. Distributions of income from a

New portability rules: A cure for incomplete estate planning

Many CPAs are involved in representing estates of decedents who died in 2011 and 2012. In dealing with such estates, it is important to focus on the new Code provisions allowing portability of the decedent’s unused lifetime gift and estate exclusion amount to the surviving spouse. A failure to do

The 10 most powerful postmortem planning pointers for trusts and estates

After a client passes away, there is much more to do than just prepare a final Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. Taking control of the postmortem planning process can be a powerful way to save tax dollars for the decedent’s estate and family. Postmortem planning also applies to

Estate Planning Action Steps

CPAs should play a more significant role than they often do in facilitating, implementing and monitoring client estate plans. National Estate Planning Awareness Week, Oct. 17–23, is an ideal time to encourage clients to address planning. To download a sample client letter on estate planning, click here. Here are some


Year-end tax planning and what’s new for 2016

Practitioners need to consider several tax planning opportunities to review with their clients before the end of the year. This report offers strategies for individuals and businesses, as well as recent federal tax law changes affecting this year’s tax returns.


News quiz: Retirement planning, tax practice, and fraud risk

Recent reports focused on a survey that gauges the worries about retirement among CPA financial planners’ clients, a suit that affects tax practitioners, and a guide that offers advice on fraud risk. See how much you know with this short quiz.


Bolster your data defenses

As you weather the dog days of summer, it’s a good time to make sure your cybersecurity structure can stand up to the heat of external and internal threats. Here are six steps to help shore up your systems.