5 Estate Planning Highlights From The Heckerling Conference

The Heckerling Conference in Miami, Florida provided a wealth of information on the recent developments on trusts and estates and tax issues.

Here Are 5 Of The Important Estate Planning Topics Discussed At The Heckerling Conference

Highlight #1 - Secure Act

The Secure Act was passed in December and affects the ability to stretch payments for retirement plans. While some number crunching will be needed,  Roth conversions, charitable remainder trusts, and planning for siblings close in age may be some planning options to achieve some pre-Act stretch benefits.

Highlight #2 - Inflation Adjusted Amounts

ICYMI and as a reminder, some of the important information from the 2020 conference included: basic exclusion amount of $11.58 million, annual exclusion gifts to non-citizen spouse of $157,000, and standard deductions of $24,800 for married individuals filing jointly, $18,650 for heads of household, and $12,400 for unmarried individuals and married individuals filing separately. Annual gift tax exclusion remains at $15,000.

Highlight #3 - State Income Taxation of Trusts

The U.S. Supreme Court held unanimously that it is unconstitutional for income taxation of an out-of-state trust based solely on a beneficiary’s residence. 

Highlight #4 - Notable State Law Developments

In re Cameron Gift Trust is a case where a spendthrift clause trumped a child support clause, peculiar to South Dakota law.  However, this is not a self-settled spendthrift trust case. More importantly, the case involves a trust situs change in which the administration was moved from a creditor-friendly state (California) to a jurisdiction less so (South Dakota).

Highlight #5 - Electronic Wills

As a reminder, the Uniform Electronic Wills Act was approved at the Uniform Law Commission 2019 Annual Meeting. The Act allows for the electronic execution and enforcement of wills, enabling online estate planning services. Much remains to be seen whether states will adopt it.