G. Ward Beaudry
I Had to Rewrite My Post-Election Thoughts
Like the pollsters and the majority of our political pundits, I expected to wake up on November 9 with Hillary Clinton as our new president. I had already written a draft of my post-election comments. Oops! I had to start over. My opinions are below, along with the announcement of a new associate and some other information I hope you will find useful.
MY POST-ELECTION THOUGHTS FROM
AN ESTATE PLANNING PERSPECTIVE
We're finally through one of the nastiest presidential elections. Whether you are pleased or horrified, I am certain you are relieved it is over. It was one of the most unconventional and tense U.S. presidential elections seasons in recent memory.
By virtue of the Electoral College, Donald Trump, a businessman, television celebrity and political outsider, will become the 45th president of our country. The Senate will remain Republican with a slim majority and the House and governorships remain heavily Republican.
Our dollar is stronger against many currencies in anticipation of renegotiations of U.S. trade agreements. The stock market has steadied and infrastructure spending that is promised by Trump should drive up those companies involved.
The "experts" indicated the Fed may again postpone the anticipated December minimum interest rate increase because of the uncertainty resulting from the election. I doubt it and anticipate a slight increase.
I had anticipated a different result and planned to advise estate and tax planning decisions based on proposed tax increases. Instead, this President-elect focuses on the tax and repatriation plans which he espoused during the campaign, specifically, lowering corporate tax rates and encouraging corporate cash held abroad be returned to the United States.
My recommendation is to stay the course with what you have in place with your estate plan,
assuming you have a plan in place.
Of course, Congress must approve tax changes and having the Republican majorities in the House and Senate should be a positive for success.
The President-elect's website focuses on four key issues:
- Comprehensive immigration reform, including building the Mexican border wall, ending catch-and-release and removing criminal illegal aliens from our nation.
- Passage of an infrastructure spending bill.
- Repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act.
- Revision and update of individual and corporate tax codes.
Additionally, Trump might use executive orders to undo some of President Obama's executive actions, and quickly submit his Supreme Court nominee.
You can see an analysis of President-elect Trump's proposals
, and an analysis of the House GOP plans
I'm always ready to take your call or respond to your email about estate issues and other issues related to your family or business life.
Welcome Fred O. Hull, Jr.
I am pleased that Fred O. Hull, Jr. has joined our firm in an "of counsel" position. Fred brings more than 20 years of legal expertise in a number of areas that enhance the capabilities of Winn, Beaudry & Winn. His top areas of expertise include acquisitions, divestitures, legal transactions, contracts, oil & gas, civil litigation, docket administration, litigation management and risk mitigation.
Fred's background is broad as he was a solo practitioner with his own firm in Houston, worked for three law firms and then served as senior general counsel for Noble Royalties, Inc., in Dallas from 2007 until joining Winn, Beaudry & Winn.
Fred received his undergraduate degree in Political Science at the University of Texas at Austin and his law degree from South Texas College of Law in Houston.
Competent assistance from Fred, or any of our team, is just a phone call or email away.
Pre-Planning Is Key with Incapacitating Illnesses
The Alzheimer's Association says 5.4 million U.S. citizens are experiencing some form of Alzheimer's Disease. This is an incurable disease that is expected to grow in scope. Alzheimer's presents several significant financial problems:
- The cost to care for the patient
- The increased potential to fall for scams via the internet, mail and telephone
- The loss of income produced by a productive, healthy person.
Planning before the onset of the illness is essential to minimize both the emotional, physical and financial impact of this insidious disease.
Everyone should have a durable power of attorney that names someone you trust to make your financial decisions as well as a healthcare power of attorney to make medical decisions. Also, a trust established with your assets can designate a successor trustee to take over for you if you become unable to act as the trustee because of a mental impairment.
We seriously recommend planning ahead of diagnosis to minimize the impacts of this disease and any other illness that might affect one's capacity to deal with life's challenges.
Call me or email if you want to discuss this or any legal issue.
Happy Birthday to the Estate Tax
With all the hype of the 2016 presidential election, we all missed a very important birthday - the centennial birthday of the estate tax. (It also was the 241st birthday of the United States Marine Corps, in which I served).
On Sept. 8, 1916, the estate tax was born. It was first enacted under Woodrow Wilson as part of the Revenue Act of 1916. Originally, there was a $50,000 exemption for U.S. residents with tax rates between 1% and 10%.
In 2016 dollars, the exemption would safeguard $1.1 million with the top rate only applying to estates in excess of $110 million. However, at that early point in history, without the gift tax, the estate tax was easily avoided as wealthy individuals could give it away over the course of a lifetime.
Obviously, the estate tax has changed its appearance and approach during its 100-year life span.
For the record, President-elect Trump has said he would repeal it.
For more on the estate tax birthday, see
in Accounting Today.
Do you have estate tax questions? Just phone or email and let's talk.
Why I Might Recommend a Trust
From its origins as a way to avoid the restrictive feudal transfer rules involving the King, Knights, barons, etc., the concept of a donative trust has evolved into a device for management of property by a fiduciary for the benefit of families through generations (a management trust).
Property included in a properly drafted and managed trust avoids probate; the trust is a Will substitute with respect to the trust assets. Also a trust can avoid the restrictions and expense of a guardianship for a minor beneficiary or an individual who is not competent to manage their own affairs.
The laws dealing with irrevocable and revocable trusts have evolved to accommodate their purposes, whether as a management trust or as a will substitute trust. In some instances the conservatorship purpose of revocable trusts has been denied by courts. The court may conclude that if the trust is revocable, that the assets are accessible by the beneficiary's creditors, divorcing spouse or minors for child support. Proper drafting to convert from a revocable to an irrevocable trust can minimize the potential problem.
Clearly, if real property of a Texas resident exists in another state or nation, placing that property into a trust for the owner's benefit is a "No-brainer."
I can help you determine if a trust is right for you. Just phone or email and let's talk.
Vatican Issues Cremation Guidelines
The Vatican recently published guidelines for Catholics who want to be cremated, requiring their remains not to be scattered, divided among family or kept at home.
The ashes are to be stored in a sacred, church-approved place to remember the dead properly and prevent the appearance of "pantheism, naturalism or nihilism." The guidelines confirm that burial remains the preferred method due to resurrection beliefs.
G. Ward Beaudry, Esq.
4200 Thanksgiving Tower
1601 Elm Street
Dallas, Texas 75201-7203
This E-letter is intended to stimulate thought and discussion, and to provide you with some useful ideas and guidance in the areas of estate planning and business law. The materials and comments made herein do not constitute and should not be treated as legal advice regarding the use of any particular estate or business planning or other technique, device or suggestion or any of the tax or other consequences associated with them. Although we have made every effort to ensure the accurancy of this information, Winn, Beaudry & Winn does not assume any responsibility for any individual's reliance on the information presented in this document. Each reader should verify independently all statements made in this E-letter before applying them to a particular situation and should determine independently the tax and other consequences of using any particular device, technique or suggestion before recommending it to others.
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Treasury Circular 230 Required Statements:
Tax practitioners authorized to practice before the Internal Revenue Service are subject to the requirements of "Circular 230" (31 CFR part 10), as published by the Treasury Department. The Treasury Department has made significant changes to Circular 230, effective June 20, 2005, that affect the form and content of tax advice that we provide. In order to comply with these new changes, while minimizing the cost to our clients, we are including the following statements in all of our e-mail communications. If you have any question about the statements, please do not hesitate to contact the sender.
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Senior Discounts Honored
Over many years, we have received frequent referrals from AARP members via the organization's legal services discount program for seniors. The AARP has chosen to abandon this program, but Winn, Beaudry & Winn will continue to offer a 20 percent reduction off our normal hourly rates for those 65 and older. Please contact us for details.
Ward was honored again in 2016 as an AV Preeminent, Top-Rated Lawyer and will be featured as such in Texas Lawyer Magazine.
Among G. Ward Beaudry's qualifications
- Accredited by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
- Member, National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys
- Member, College of the State Bar of Texas