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Winter 2016

Dear Friends,  

During 2017 we will continue to offer a client workshop entitled  Nuts and Bolts of Trust & Estate Planning.   Join us for this  refresher on how your trust works and changes in the law that may affect your estate plan.  If you cannot attend one of these dates, continue to check our website for additional offerings at

We hope to see you at one of the workshops or in the office to review or update your estate planning documents. In the meantime, please take a moment to read a couple of articles that we felt would be helpful at this time of the year.  

We hope you and your family have a safe and joyous holiday!  

The Attorneys at Carrell Blanton Ferris & Associates, PLC

Nuts and Bolts of Trust & Estate Planning

For more information and registration, click date below.

7275 Glen Forest Dr., Suite 310
Richmond, VA 23226


725 Jackson St., Suite 209
Fredericksburg, VA 22401

Registration is free. Seating is limited.

In This Issue




Are you struggling with whom to name as your Successor Trustee?
Perhaps you're concerned about whether any of your family members can handle all of the duties and responsibilities of administering your trust when you die. Or, perhaps you want to lift this burden from their shoulders altogether. Legacy Fiduciary Services, PLC (LFS) may be the solution. LFS was established by Carrell Blanton Ferris & Associates, PLC to serve as trustee of trusts created and governed pursuant to the laws of Virginia. LFS attorneys are experienced fiduciaries who are dedicated to ensuring that your careful planning will be implemented. We make it our job to stay current with changing trust laws and regulations, and will work closely with your financial advisor to help ensure that the needs of your loved ones will be met after your passing. For more information click here .
Please note: LFS does not manage the investment of trust assets but works with your financial advisor, who continues to manage your assets while we administer your trust. 

If you become incapacitated due to accident or illness, or you pass away, there may be a "glitch" in your plan that you never anticipated. You see, the person (or persons) you've named to act as "Successor Trustee" of your Living Trust may never have done anything like that before and will have no idea what to do! And if your Successor Trustee does things wrong, your beneficiaries may suffer and your Trustee may be held personally liable! That's why we've created a "Successor Trustee Manual" - - so you can enjoy the peace of mind that your plan will work properly, as you originally intended. Click here to find more information and how to obtain a manual for your family.

We present educational seminars on estate planning on a regular basis.  If you need a refresher or have friends and family who have not completed their estate planning, please share this with them.  For a full list of dates and locations, visit our website.  
Talk to Your Family over the Holidays about Your Estate Plan

(Original article prepared by WealthCounsel for Carrell Blanton Ferris & Associates, PLC.  Used by permission, edited, and modified by James W. Garrett, Esq.)

Many of us labor a lifetime to build up our assets and fight for causes that matter to us. Few things are more fulfilling than the thought of sharing wealth and legacy with our family.

Of course, it's impossible to plan for every eventuality, but careful planning can mitigate against the two primary risks:
a)    Your intentions regarding your estate weren't made clear, resulting in the potential for costly, time-consuming conflict.
b)    Your family did not understand or share your wealth management vision, resulting in the possibility of asset dissipation.

The good news is both of these issues can be prevented through honest communication with your family now. While it's not necessarily comfortable to broach this topic, a family gathering during a holiday period might be the best time to have a conversation with your children and loved ones about your estate plan.

Why it's important to talk to your family

Passing along our wealth is one thing, but what about passing along the values of work ethic and generosity that enabled us to acquire and grow that wealth in the first place? Too many fortunes built by one generation are lost by the next, not due to bad luck or the IRS, but due to a lack of understanding of wealth management and preservation. Also, when your family doesn't appreciate the rationale behind your estate planning choices such as the use of lifetime trusts, this lack of understanding can lead to conflict and resentment among family members. In a worst case scenario, your heirs end up suing one another. No one relishes the idea of a family being torn apart over antiques, heirlooms, or who gets the house at the beach. Nevertheless, it happens far more often than anyone cares to admit.

Should you tell your children about their inheritance?

The question of whether to tell the children about their inheritance is the subject of ongoing debate. Many people express concern that this information might reduce a child's work ethic or make children feel otherwise entitled, killing their motivation to seek a career and a "normal" life. Depending on the child's temperament, this might be a legitimate point. On the other hand, inexperience and lack of understanding about wealth can result in a quickly lost inheritance, only because your heir didn't know what to do.

The best path for most of us is a "happy medium," sharing your plan in general terms with your heirs, without necessarily telling them the dollar values. You might even entrust some heirs with some responsibility for investment and entrepreneurial opportunities now, before they inherit anything. This way, they begin to share your guiding values, and they are therefore better prepared to handle, manage and even grow their inheritance when they ultimately receive it.

Planning After the Election: What to Expect Under President-Elect Trump

(Original article prepared by WealthCounsel for Carrell Blanton Ferris & Associates, PLC.  Used by permission, edited, and modified by James W. Garrett, Esq.)

On January 20, 2017, Donald Trump will become the 45th President of the United States. Earlier in January, the Senate and House will convene with Republican majorities. How you update and manage your estate plan and financial plan under the Republican controlled Congress and Presidency can make a significant difference in your tax burdens and the way your wealth continues to accumulate. We're here to help guide you during this time of transition and change.
We are monitoring the situation vigilantly, and we are already strategizing for a wide range of potential tax and regulatory changes in order to provide you with the best possible advice about any changes to your estate plan.
Let's look briefly at how some of the preliminary details of President-elect Trump's proposals could affect your estate.
Donald Trump's Proposals
Donald Trump has proposed across-the-board reforms in the tax codes, and while he promises to close up some loopholes, the general trajectory of his proposals is toward lowering taxes overall.
You can find the details of his tax plan on his website , but the most pertinent points are:  
  • Lowering income tax rates across the board, including significant raises to the standard deductions
  • Reducing the number of individual income tax brackets from 7 to 3, with a maximum tax rate of 33 percent (down from 39.6% today)
  • Reducing the business tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent
  • Eliminating the estate tax. 
Remember that any change to the tax laws requires Congressional approval and won't happen automatically. In spite of Republicans being in control of the Presidency and Congress, there will still be negotiation and compromise reflected in the "final" tax law that comes out of Washington. And remember, the rules are only "final" until the government decides to change them again. This is one reason you will want to remain in contact with us as 2017 begins.
Recommendations, assuming President-elect Trump's agenda is put into law:  
  • Be cautiously optimistic. The elimination of the estate tax in particular is likely to be welcome news if you have higher net worth (or even if you are on your way there), but this proposal may be subject to opposition or compromise in Congress. This compromise could range from a "sunset" provision to gradual phase-in or something else entirely. We'll have to wait and see. Don't assume that the "death tax" is automatically gone on Day 1 of the Trump Presidency.
  • It's more than taxes. Although taxes have long had top billing in many conversations about estate planning, the real reasons for estate planning remain, no matter who is in the White House and Congress. This includes planning for medical or financial decisions during incapacity, directing your financial legacy to your intended beneficiaries, asset protection, and more. No matter how hard Congress may try, they can't seem to legislate away lawsuits, wasteful spending by young beneficiaries, and other issues that can be overcome through proper planning. The great news is that we might soon be able to focus our time with you on these issues almost entirely.
  • Stay tuned for updates. As tax and regulatory reform starts being fleshed out in Washington and ultimately enacted, we will provide recommendations to you. 
Preparing your Estate for the Next Administration
With all the volatility surrounding this now-concluded election cycle, the only thing of which we can be certain is change. Regardless of who you supported, any election requires you to take some action to protect yourself.  Depending on your circumstances, there may be actions that need to be taken now, some that might need to wait, and some that need to be back burnered until we know the "final" tax rules that come from President Trump and the Republican Congress.
As always, we are here to help. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment.

This newsletter is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be construed as written advice about a Federal tax matter. Readers should consult with their own professional advisors to evaluate or pursue tax, accounting, financial, or legal planning strategies. 


We would like to acknowledge Advisors Forum and WealthCounsel, LLC for their contribution to material included in this newsletter.  The contents of this publication are for informational purposes only. Neither this publication nor the lawyers who authored it are rendering legal or other professional advice or opinions on specific facts or matters, nor does the distribution of this publication to any person constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship. Carrell Blanton Ferris & Associates, PLC assumes no liability in connection with the use of this publication.
© Carrell Blanton Ferris & Associates, PLC



U.S. Treasury Department Regulations require that we advise you that unless otherwise expressly indicated, any federal tax advice contained herein is not intended or written to be used, and may not be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding tax related penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any tax related matters addressed herein.


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