Clients often ask about a Trust "Certificate" or "Certification." A Trust Certificate serves as a summary of the Trust provisions, and is designed to provide third parties, such as banks, insurance companies, or financial institutions, with essential but basic information for purposes of asset transfers to the Trust, or naming the Trust as a beneficiary.
Although there is no universal form, a typical Certificate would include, at the least, the name of the Grantor, Trustee, Trust, and the date the Trust is executed. It typically would not include the beneficiaries.
A sample form is attached below.
CERTIFICATE OF TRUST EXISTENCE
I, the undersigned, do swear, affirm, and certify the following:
(1) The name of the Trust is the John Smith Revocable Living Trust dated January 10, 2013 ("Trust");
(2) I am the sole Grantor of the Trust;
(3) The Taxpayer Identification Number of the Trust is ____-___-_______ (my Social Security Number);
(4) The Co-Trustees are my wife, Mary Smith, and myself;
(5) Either of the Co-Trustees has full authority to act on behalf of the Trust;
(6) The Co-Trustees have the powers under Sections 64.2-105 and 64.2-778 of the Code of Virginia, as amended; and
(7) The first and last pages of the Trust are attached hereto and incorporated herein by reference/
WITNESS my signature and seal this _____ day of ____________, 2013.
COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA,
COUNTY OF FAIRFAX, to-wit:
I, the undersigned, a Notary Public in and for the jurisdiction aforesaid do hereby certify that John Smith, personally known to me to be (or satisfactorily proven to be) the person whose name is signed to the foregoing Certificate of Trust, has acknowledged the same before me in my jurisdiction aforesaid.
GIVEN under my hand and seal this ____ day of _____________, 2013.
In contrast to this time last year, when clients were frantically gifting to save estate tax before adverse tax law changes, this year has returned to the norm, with more traditional and routine end of year planning.
In December 2012, Congress at the last minute preserved the $5 million exemption instead of allowing it to drop to $1 million. This December, no law is imminent to reduce the $5 million exemption (indexed for inflation, so it is $5,250,000 per person).
So is this the calm before the storm? There is nothing to indicate significant changes in the estate and gift world are eminent. Although President Obama has proposed reducing the exemption to $3.5 million, the legislation would not be effective until 2018, and who knows if it would pass. Also, a proposed tax bill by Michigan Republican David Camp, will focus on non-estate and gift tax provisions. Last week he was quoted in the Daily Tax Report saying "I don’t think [estate and gift] policy needs the reform the rest of the Code does."
Thus, for wealthy taxpayers concerned about estate tax and intending to reduce or eliminate it, doing so early in 2014, rather than rushing to the finish line in December, would appear prudent. The only caveat is that although the exemption may not go down, there are other tax proposals that would limit the advantages of gifting. These would include eliminating or curtailing GRATs, sales to Defective Trusts, Dynasty Trusts, and discounts for transfers between family members. There is a danger restrictions pertaining to one or more of these areas could be enacted in 2014.
My partner, David Lawrence, attended the 24th Annual Virginia Tax Practitioners’ Roundtable on November 1, 2013, hosted by the Virginia Bar Association. A number of Virginia state representatives presented at the conference. Attached is David’s summary of the latest tax issues that were discussed.
Even Superman needs to be prepared. And Pat Brogan is Superman.
Pat was a college basketball player with skills that enabled him to play professional basketball in Europe and run 5 Minute miles in College. He was on his way to being one of the youngest Division One College Basketball Coaches in the NCAA when, in September 2001, while training for his first triathlon, he was the victim of a horrific bike accident. Pat suffered severe injuries that ultimately led to a diagnosis of Dystonia. After three years of pain and hardship, in September 2004, Pat underwent Deep Brain Stimulation. He now lives with battery operated monitors in his chest and brain, and periodic trips to doctors to "change his battery" - the marvel of modern science and medicine.
During this ordeal, Pat had his story broadcast on a PBS Documentary, "Twisted," which continues to be viewed by hospitals, doctors and patients about living with Dystonia. He has dedicated his life to raising awareness and a cure for Dystonia. (You can Google Pat and "Help Find A Cure 4 Dystonia Benefit.")
Pat's recovery is a feel good story in and of itself. But recovery alone is not enough for Pat: you want courage and perseverance? Over the last decade Pat has re-trained his battery operated body to run several road races and triathlons, the last being Saturday, September 14, in the Dewey Beach Triathlon, finishing in the top 15%. The fact that he needs to run bouncing a tennis ball for balance is just another obstacle he has overcome.
He also is back in coaching, taking over a High School girls team in Pennsylvania this year. Those girls will learn far more about life with Pat as their Coach than merely how to break a 1/2 court trap.
Pat was born with exceptional athletic skills. He is also blessed with incredible support from his wonderful wife, Cathy. (Hutch, Pat's service dog, is also a key member of the family.) But it is Pat's positive attitude and courage in the aftermath of an unthinkable hardship, that makes Pat Superman.
How does this fit with an Estate Planning Blog? Even Superman needs to be prepared.
John Dedon was selected by his peers for inclusion in the 2014 Best Lawyers in America® for Trusts and Estates.
John also was included among the 2012 Legal Elite and Virginia Business magazine published an extended profile of him. Learn what he believes make him an effective lawyer in the article online.