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November 2015
Dear Friends,

A special greeting of Thanksgiving time to express to you our sincere appreciation for your confidence and loyalty.  We are deeply thankful and  extend to you and your family our best wishes for a happy and healthy Thanksgiving Day.
Estate planning has truly evolved over the past 20 years. Gone is the uncertainty about federal estate taxes and the absolute requirement for married couples to use complex trusts to minimize these taxes. But also gone is planning for the "traditional" family.
In this issue of New Dimensions in Estate, Trust and Business Planning, our first article discusses why estate planning has become more complicated and what you need to do now to insure your estate plan is flexible enough to roll with the changes. Our second article highlights two landmark U.S. Supreme Court decisions handed down in 2015 - King v. Burrell and Obergefell v. Hodges - that could affect how you are pay for healthcare and plan your estate.
Given the continued complexity of federal, state and tax laws, if you haven't had your estate planning documents reviewed in the last few years, you ought to do so. In addition, you probably know others - family members and friends - who need estate planning assistance. We continue to hold estate planning seminars at each of our office locations, so please encourage your friends and family to attend one of our workshops or to schedule a consultation with us. Your referrals mean a great deal to us, and we promise to treat them with the same legal knowledge, wise counsel and care we showed you.

The Attorneys at Carrell Blanton Ferris & Associates, PLC
In This Issue

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.




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. 


When your child turns 18 years of age, he is a bona-fide adult. This means that you as Mom or Dad cannot step in and make medical, legal, or financial decisions for him. And, if your child is in college, you are not even entitled to see his grades without his consent!

In order to protect your child, he should give you as parent all of the authority needed to work with third parties, particularly medical and educational institutions. 
What's Hot in Estate Planning Right Now May Surprise You
Content provided by The Advisors Forum
Edited by James W. Garrett, Esq.

Estate planning has truly evolved over the past 20 years. Gone is the uncertainty about federal estate taxes and the absolute requirement for married couples to use complex trusts to minimize these taxes. But also gone is planning for the "traditional" family.

Warning: Estate Planning Today is Harder Than Ever Before

In 1995 the federal estate tax exemption was only $600,000 and the estate tax rate was 55%. Back then it was easy to accumulate a taxable estate by simply owning a home, a few investments and some life insurance. And while married couples could pass on two times the exemption ($1.2 million) free from estate taxes if they incorporated Marital/Family Trusts into their estate plan, these trusts came with strings attached. Yet these inflexible trusts were worth it to avoid the hefty 55% tax on assets valued over $600,000. 

Aside from minimizing estate taxes, 20 years ago avoiding costly probate was another concern. No longer was a Last Will and Testament that required oversight by a probate court the preferred document for passing assets on to heirs. Instead the ultimate probate-avoidance tool - the revocable living trust - became the standard for estate planning.

Fast forward 20 years and in 2015 the federal estate tax exemption is $5.43 million and will continue to increase annually based on inflation. In addition, between 2002 and 2013 the federal estate tax rate dropped from 55% to 40%. On top of the generous exemption and lower tax rate, married couples can now combine their estate tax exemptions and pass on two times the threshold ($10.86 million) without Marital/Family Trust planning by making the "portability" election. Aside from this, probate can be easily avoided by establishing payable on death bank accounts and investment accounts and in some states payable-on-death vehicle titles and real estate deeds.

How Will the 2015 Supreme Court Decisions Affect You?

Content provided by The Advisors Forum
Reviewed by James W. Garrett, Esq.

While approximately 10,000 cases are appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court each year, only 75 to 80 make it to oral argument. Of those 75 to 80 cases, there are usually only a few that grab the media's attention. This newsletter highlights two landmark decisions handed down in 2015 - King v. Burrell and Obergefell v. Hodges - that could affect how you are pay for healthcare and plan your estate.

King v. Burrell - Obamacare Subsidies Are Available to All

Legal Issue: Can the IRS extend tax-credit subsidies to healthcare coverage purchased through exchanges established by the federal government under provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (the "Affordable Care Act," or "ACA," commonly referred to as "Obamacare")?

Decision, 6 - 3: Yes, Obamacare subsidies are available to individuals who obtain their healthcare coverage through either a state or a federal exchange.

Buried in the 2,700-page Affordable Care Act is a provision stating that tax-credit subsidies are available to individuals who sign up for healthcare coverage "through an exchange established by the state." After the ACA was passed, 34 states opted not to establish their own healthcare exchanges, leaving their residents to use the federally established healthcare exchange to obtain their coverage. The King case challenged the validity of federal subsidies given to these residents since the ACA appeared to limit subsidies only to individuals who relied on a state-established exchange. Writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts stated, "We doubt that is what Congress meant to do." Thus, the Supreme Court upheld the validity of subsidies given to residents of the 34 states that use the federal healthcare exchange.

Planning Tip: While there are still several cases challenging parts of the ACA winding their way through the U.S. court system, the King case was a linchpin to upholding the law. Nonetheless, with not one Republican voting for Obamacare and the 2016 presidential election fast approaching, you need to be aware that the Obamacare debate will not be disappearing any time soon but will continue to be hashed out in the political arena.

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.  

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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