The Most Compelling Estate Planning Stories of the Decade (Part Two)

In last week’s blog, we shared a handful of the most compelling news items of the last ten years. So much has changed in the last decade, though – we couldn’t limit ourselves to just one post! Here are a few more estate planning stories that made headlines in the 2010s:

Bullion Monarch Mining, Inc. v. Barrick Goldstrike Mines, Inc.

A law review published in 2014 made waves after it proclaimed that state perpetuities statutes (length of time that a trust may exist) in North Carolina, Nevada, Wyoming, Tennessee and Arizona were unconstitutional. In spite of substantial authority to the contrary, the article was used by trust promoters to claim dynasty trusts in those states violate state constitution.

The fallout was widespread, but the debate ended for good in Nevada. The Nevada Supreme Court ruled in the infamous Bullion Monarch Mining, Inc. v. Barrick Goldstrike Mines, Inc. that the state’s perpetuities statute was indeed constitutional. Still, the initial law review spiked much-needed discussion around perpetuities, competition and jurisdiction.

The Rise of the Affordable Care Act

The introduction of the Affordable Care Act (the “Act”) – also known as “Obamacare”- meant little for the healthcare of wealthy Americans. Instead, the Act had serious tax implications for high earners. Before 2013, taxpayers did not have to pay Medicare taxes on dividends, capital gains, taxable interest and other investments. That changed with the implementation of the Act, with high earners owing a 3.8 percent Medicare tax on their net investment income.

While 3.8 percent might not seem like a big deal on its face, the additional tax combined with a federal tax bracket increase from 35 to 39 percent made for a heftier tax payment overall. This significant change has ultimately led to much less post-tax income for a large section of the American populace. No matter your feelings toward the Act, there’s no denying its impact on the world of estate planning!

The Impending New IRC Section 2704(b) Treasury Regulations

When plans for new treasury regulations were informally announced in 2015, estate planners everywhere began preparing. No official implementation of new IRC Section 2704(b) treasury regulations have been publicized, but estate planners have done all they can to anticipate the inevitable. Countless advanced estate plans have been hurriedly assembled in the wake of the informal announcement. This compelling estate planning story is still in the works – we’ll see it continue on into the 2020s!

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