Considerations when planning trusts

In a recent post at, Virginia attorney and CPA Bob Carlson lists some often forgotten estate planning issues that may sometimes be overlooked. Does your estate plan take these important issues into consideration?

Cash to administer estate. Until an estate is settled, there are expenses that need to be paid – the regular expenses of the various assets, living expenses of the surviving spouse and other dependents, attorney’s fees, court costs, probate fees, taxes and debts. Not having enough cash to cover these expenses may mean having to sell or borrow against assets, which diminish the inheritance.

Taxes. Even if there are no estate taxes, there may be taxes due on the estate’s earnings income.

Estate inventory. If the executor is not left with a comprehensive list of assets, it may take unnecessary time and expense to locate all the assets.

Beneficiary designations. Bank accounts, insurance policies and retirement accounts should be listed in the estate inventory as well as who is the beneficiary for each. Beneficiary designations should be kept up to date and a file kept of all beneficiary forms.

Creditors. Creditors must be identified and paid before an estate is settled. A comprehensive list of creditors should be included in estate plan documents to verify or refute any creditor claims.

Value of assets. If an estate includes illiquid or hard-to-value assets, leave notes for the executor on how the values were determined. If values change, you may wish to incorporate a change formula in your will so heirs may benefit equally.

Gifts. Do not give assets that have current paper losses, because the recipient cannot deduct the loss. It is better to sell the asset and deduct the loss.

 Jay Lashlee, True Trust Book by Jay Lashlee