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■ Basis: Estate planning has taken on a new focus on the search for basis, i.e., maximizing the assets included in your estate (or others you select) so that the tax basis on which gain or loss is increased on death to the fair value of those assets (i.e., capital gains are eliminated).

While there is lots of talk about this how much cost and complexity are you willing to tolerate to accomplish this?

What techniques do you have the comfort to agree to?

Other states permit self-settled-like trusts (you can set up a marital trust for your spouse and on his or her demise the assets come flow into a credit shelter trust that you are a beneficiary of).

All told there is a significant number of states that permit self-settled trusts.

There are also a host of modifications or precautions you can consider: defer your right to receive any distributions for 10 years (the bankruptcy laws permit a trustee in bankruptcy to set aside transfers to self-settled trusts with 10 years); instead of having yourself listed as a beneficiary let a trusted person acting in a non-fiduciary capacity (i.e., not a trustee or trust protector) have the power to appoint descendants of your grandparents.

Thus, you are not a beneficiary when the trust is created, so arguably the trust is not a self-settled trust.

Most folks seem to feel that once the documents are signed their good to go. If you meet your wealth manager semi-annually, at least one of those meetings should have your CPA and attorney in attendance.

Few plans will have much chance of success without periodic professional involvement.

Domestic asset protection trusts (“DAPTs”) are trusts that you set up (you’re the settlor) but you are a beneficiary of, called “self-settled” trusts.

Although there have been a number of court cases suggesting that self-settled trusts might not work, the facts on all of those cases have been pretty ugly.

Example: You have a highly appreciated stock portfolio worth M.

You might choose to retain those stocks in your estate so that on death the significant appreciate is eliminated by a basis step up.

The Practical Planner is a bi-monthly electronic (or if you prefer, paper) sophisticated planning newsletter that provides practical and creative ideas to address estate, tax, business, personal, financial, and asset protection planning.

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