If you are feeling uncertain starting the new year about where your personal situation will fit into the overall picture then you are in good company. What to do for investments you might ask.
Stock market investment is typically higher stakes meaning greater risk and does not protect your principal (your nest egg). Unless you can afford to lose it (or the amount you start with), stock market investment is not for everyone. There are NO guarantees. However, if some money loss is acceptable then I would encourage investors to consider investments which enhance a sustainable future. Think of investment as a tool to force the market to respond where it really counts – maximize the future return for children and grandchildren.
Knowledgeable and the wealthy have continued to utilize Trusts. Trusts can accommodate generation skipping and build a portfolio for beneficiaries not even born if designated in a “class status” while trusts provide legal protection from third party law suits and avoids probate.
Common Law Trusts
Common law existed long before statutory law and is codified into all state statutes or it stands alone https://www.law.berkeley.edu/library/robbins/CommonLawCivilLawTraditions.html. Take for example, William Bingham who was described as a “land developer” and had become the richest man in the thirteen (13) colonies. He used that wealth to buy up land. In one transaction, he bought 7,032 acres for 20 cents an acre during the Revolutionary War. Interesting to note that Bingham was married to the daughter of Thomas Willing. Thomas Willing was the first president of the First National Bank of the United States.
Bingham had the foresight to create a pure contract trust for his estate, which had held over two (2) million acres in Maine alone. The 1835 patent map of where all the land was located that Bingham had owned and vested in his Trust became available only in 1964 – some 160 years after the creation of the Trust and when the natural life span of the Trust ended.
Depending on how the Trust is set up, income tax is still an obligation of either the Trust or Grantor but what a Trust does do is avoid other transfer related issues to beneficiaries. Senator Grassley during the APRIL 5, 2001 Senate Finance Hearing on IRS Oversight – TAXPAYER BEWARE: SCHEMES, SCAMS AND CONS stated: “The focus of this hearing is solely on those tax schemes that are wholly outside the tax laws. This hearing is not about the gray areas of the tax law that have been referred to as corporate tax shelters.” Hello! Corporate tax shelters are also called LOOPHOLES.
It is odd that corporate tax shelters are considered an acceptable exception. After the I.R.S. finally broke the Swiss Bank code as was initially announced in 2009 (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/20/business/global/20ubs.html). Names of wealthy, presumably individual Americans were going to be exposed who had off shore, hidden bank accounts. (Hidden is the key word here) Personally, I believe the trigger causing claims of an I.R.S. Tea Party “scandal” – predominately announced by a “shocked” Congress during 2013 was the I.R.S. going hard after off shore tax havens. The I.R.S. scrutiny of off shore bank accounts and the Congressional proclamation that the I.R.S. had unduly attacked certain tax exempt organizations is somehow related (http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2013/07/irs-tea-party-congress-no-politics-progressive). It was an effort to interfere with agency enforcement actions against rich tax dodgers who also are wealthy donors to U.S. politicians.
Regardless as to the connection, if any, Congress has lavished so much tax relief on the very richest Americans, in fact, that their burdens are falling even though overall income tax burdens are rising, especially for the middle class. And those with the very highest incomes have such abundant resources that they can neither consume much of their income nor find profitable places to invest their wealth. (See more at http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2015/6/the-top-001-percent-are-different-from-you-and-me.html and http://www.salon.com/2013/04/12/10_tax_dodges_that_help_the_rich_get_richer_partner/.
Why Are People In The Business of Avoidance?
The leading reason people are missing out on the best in Trusts is because the majority have done nothing to prepare leaving assets to their children and heirs. Most people must feel that they have plenty of time and will eventually do what needs to be done. Buy a copy now of my legal Guide and learn what you need to know! (#legalguides)
Thank you. Helen Nowlin, Attorney and CEO