Estates and Trusts Expert Opines on Negligent Trust Formation


Trusts and estates expert witnessThis case involves a defendant who created a revocable trust instrument in Maryland. The defendant prepared both a restarted trust instrument as well as a separate will and testament. Based on the advice of the defendant, the decedent signed and executed the trust instrument. One of the main purposes of the trust instrument was to provide appropriate bequests to the relatives and friends of the decedent. There is no evidence that the defendant ever discussed the concept of the generation skipping transfer tax with the decedent, or discussed with him how these taxes could be reduced or eliminated. Following a number of specific bequests, the decedent directed that a large portion of the estate should be distributed to a young beneficiary, and an abnormally large portion of the estate went to taxes.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Do you have extensive experience with providing tax advice with special consideration to the generation skipping transfer tax?

Expert Witness Response E-032851

I discuss estate tax and GST tax issues with every client who has a taxable estate or who has utilized lifetime GST exemption and their estate exceeds their remaining GST tax exemption. For such clients, we either make sure to avoid “skips” or engage in lifetime planning to minimize GST tax impact. Clients who choose to defer planning are advised again of tax impact and the cost associated with no action. Some clients still choose to forego additional planning – but I make sure they know the choice at hand. Failing to apprise clients of the impact the GST could have on their estate is a significant error.

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