Quote for the Day

Failure to address the new issues raised by Rule 41F will expose owners of firearms trusts to the risk of committing a new kind of accidental felony, i.e. related to a failure to document an RP [responsible person]. Firearms trusts must be reviewed–and likely revised–to clarify the roles of the parties involved and whether or not they are RPs. If new NFA applications are made following implementation, it might be advisable to limit the number of “responsible persons” as defined by Rule 41F to avoid substantial paperwork or risking liability for unlawful transfer of an NFA firearm. The legal consequences of failing to comply with the NFA can be severe, including fines of up to $250,000 and up to 10 years in prison, as well as confiscation of the firearm(s) involved.

C. Dennis Brislawn, JD and Matthew T. McClintock, JD, WealthCounsel Federal Rules Brief: The Impact of BATF Rule 41F on Firearms Trusts

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If your goal is to ensure your retirement plan is able to provide income, tax-deferred growth, and long term security for your family, a Trusteed IRA may be a good option for you. It may give you peace of mind, knowing that your hard earned money will not be blown or diverted to spouses, creditors, or anyone else outside of your family.

Leland Stanford McCullough II, Lee S. McCullough III, L. Stanford McCullough IV, “How a Trusteed IRA Can Improve Your Retirement Plan,” Utah Bar Journal, vol. 29, no. 1

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Farm and ranch estate planning and business planning involve countless choices and numerous wrenching decisions but none that ranks with pursuing fairness between and among the heirs.10 In almost every situation where it is planned for the farm or ranch business to continue into the next generation, and it appears that there will be both on farm heirs and off-farm heirs, the issue of fairness is paramount if one of the objectives of the parents as property owners is to assure harmony within the family after the deaths of the parents.

Neil E. Harl, Farm and Ranch Estate (and Business) Planning–Part 1, Farms and Ranches, March 2015

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After years of studying family businesses, we believe it’s possible to identify one just by walking into the lobby of its headquarters. Unlike many multinationals, most of these firms don’t have luxurious offices. As the CEO at one global family-controlled commodity group told us, “The easiest money to earn is the money we haven’t spent.” While countless corporations use stock grants and options to turn managers into shareholders and minimize the classic principal-agent conflict, family firms seem imbued with the sense that the company’s money is the family’s money, and as a result they simply do a better job of keeping their expenses under control. If you examine company finances over the last economic cycle, you’ll see that family-run enterprises entered the recession with leaner cost structures, and consequently they were less likely to have to do major layoffs.

Nicolas Cacher, George Stalk, and Alain Bloch, “What You Can Learn from Family Business,” Harvard Business Review

Quote for the Day

The bottom line today is that water continues to be an under appreciated and under-valued asset. But water prices will eventually start to rise more quickly – as a result of on-going population and demand growth, drought and increasing scarcity. More and more major urban areas are beginning to bump up against the challenges of true scarcity. And as water prices increase, we will gradually pay more attention and modify our behavior – toward improved conservation and more efficient use. As prices inexorably rise, we will eventually be forced to confront and solve these problems, and truly recognize water’s fundamental value. But we aren’t there yet.

Steve Maxwell, “Talk is Cheap, Water is Cheaper,” 2014 Water Market Review

Quote for the Day

What is decanting and how does it relate to trusts?

The term “decanting” sounds mysterious, but in reality, decanting is simply a form of trust modification initiated by a trustee. The trustee accomplishes the modification by moving assets from one trust to a new trust with different terms. Estate planning attorneys draft trusts designed to last for generations based on assumptions about the beneficiaries that may bear no semblance to reality. Decanting then stems from the desire to make changes to an otherwise irrevocable trust.

Gerry W. Beyer and Melissa J. Willms, “Decanting is not just for sommeliers,” Estate Planning Studies, July 2014

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On becoming a trustee one enters a relationship which is governed by rules and bounded by limits. A trustee who thinks of himself or herself as controlling the relationship is far more likely to encounter serious trouble than a trustee who recognizes that the more practical characterization is that of a faithful partner with the grantor and the beneficiaries, in fulfilling the trust’s objectives.

“What It Means to Be a Trustee: A Guide for Clients,” by the Fiduciary Matters Subcommittee of the ACTEC Practice Committee, 2005

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Regarding one of the drawbacks to joint trusts in a non-community or separate property state:

Loss of Creditor Protection

All of the assets of both spouses may become subject to the claims of creditors of just one spouse. In addition, all of the assets of both spouses may become subject to the environmental liabilities of just one spouse’s separate property. These results can usually be avoided if separate trusts are used.

Louis S. Harrison, “Marriage is Joint; Why Not Your Trusts? When to Use a Joint Trust As a Passthrough Entity in a Separate Property Jurisdiction,” Journal of Passthrough Entities, May-June 2005.

Quote for the Day

“Revocable living trusts are useful vehicles for many people. Establishing a trust is certainly an act of love for one’s heirs – the streamlined transfer of assets upon one’s death being the main benefit of a revocable trust.”

Susan Bondy National Financial Expert and Columnist September 23, 2001

Quote for the Day

“Income tax returns are the most imaginative fiction being written today.”

Herman Wouk

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