McGuireWoods is thrilled to announce the launch of a new podcast hosted by Steve Murphy, chair of the firm’s private wealth services practice group. “Once Removed” explores estate planning and provides steps for the management of wealth throughout life and upon death. Steve showcases meaningful ways to pass wealth on to others and accomplish donors’ financial short- and long-term goals.
Over the next 25 years, baby boomers will pass an unprecedented $68 trillion to beneficiaries and charities. The key challenge of legacy planning lies in how to use wealth to help the next generation be productive and independent.
Podcast topics focus on beneficiary designations and property ownership, estate and gift tax, and best practices for productive investment, wealth management and transfer of wealth.
Episode 15 – The Rich Relative Playbook
For this podcast and in general, we think a lot about wealth and the transfer of wealth. Of course, we should define “wealth” broadly, to include not just money and property, but also relationships, values, history and wisdom. On this podcast in particular, we talk about ways to transfer wealth to encourage and foster the right kinds of values and behavior, rather than enabling the worst kinds. This is a difficult and complex process.
In this episode, Steve explores one type of person, whom he calls the “rich relative,” who seems to do a great job of sharing wealth — including money and wisdom — in a positive way. He discusses the concept of the “rich relative” and this person’s approach to sharing of wealth, and what the rich relative’s playbook might teach us about the opportunities and pitfalls of transferring wealth.
Episode 14 – Leaving It All to Charity: Lessons From Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis
Celebrities Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis recently made the news with their comments about their estate planning. They plan to give all of their money to charity upon their deaths, as part of their plan to raise well-adjusted kids. In this episode, Steve unpacks the comments they have made about their estate plan. He identifies some opportunities and pitfalls, and he distills some lessons others can consider in structuring their own estate planning to achieve their goals.
Episode 13 – It’s 5 o’Clock: Do You Know Where Your Will Is? A Lesson From Aretha Franklin
If you had to say where your will is located right now, could you? Despite the importance of that document, many clients are not sure where the original is located. In this episode, Steve discusses the case of Aretha Franklin’s will, and how the location of her will led to uncertainty and litigation regarding her true intent. In that case, two potential wills of Franklin’s were found in two separate locations, and the jury had to determine which one was her true last will and testament. This case is a cautionary tale in many ways, but it especially highlights the need to store original documents in the proper place. Tune in for tips on where to store your will, who else should know its location, and how you can keep track of that information throughout your life.
Episode 12 – SLATs and the Case of McKim vs. McKim
Steve Murphy, chair of the private wealth services group, dives deeper into the subject of SLATs in this episode. SLATs can work well with estate tax benefits and creditor protection benefits, all while giving the spouse access, flexibility, and control. But in the event of death or divorce, suddenly some of those advantages evaporate. To explain this, Steve explores the case of McKim vs. McKim, which presents a challenging situation where the husband set up a SLAT with his wife as beneficiary and trustee however, they divorced.
Episode 11 – Spousal Lifetime Access Trusts, or SLATs
Steve Murphy, chair of the private wealth services practice group at McGuireWoods, discusses the Spousal Lifetime Access Trust, also known as the SLAT. Steve explains the rights that your spouse can have in this trust through the categories of access, flexibility, and control. And it is ultimately up to you, the client, to determine what level of access, flexibility, and control you would like to give your spouse as you draft a SLAT.
Episode 10 – Trustee Removal and Case Update on Leo Kahn Revocable Trust
In this episode, Steve discusses the importance of the rule-based power to remove and replace a trustee. He explores this topic through the Leo Kahn Revocable Trust case in Massachusetts. In this case, the settlor named three trustees, and one trustee eventually wanted to remove the other two. The trust, however, included provisions that prevented this action, which landed the matter in court to resolve potential ambiguity in the document. Throughout his discussion, Steve stresses the importance of the power to remove and replace trustees – and the importance of making this power as clear as possible.
Episode 9 – Selecting the Right Trustee
In this episode, Steve provides insights on selecting a trustee of an ongoing trust, who may be the beneficiary or a third-party trustee. Steve will explain the advantages and disadvantages of each option, in addition to the three categories of functions your chosen trustee will manage.
Episode 8 – Trusts and Trustee Discretion
In this episode, Steve discusses the terms of a trust, how to ensure that the best trust structure is in place, and how to establish the right directions for a trustee to follow. He unpacks the differences between a rules-based approach with automatic steps for distribution of the trust versus a standards-based approach, where you give your discretion to your trustee, but the decision making is really vested to them with your guidance.
Episode 7 – Trust Income Tax
Steve has covered the transfer tax system of estate tax and gift tax, and generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax thus far in the Once Removed series. But there’s a separate tax regime everyone should be mindful of in estate planning: the income tax. Steve details the income tax and the particular rules of how it applies to trusts. He will explain how you can build in flexibility to make sure your intent is carried out in the future, and is carried out in a tax-efficient manner.
Episode 6 – In re Harrison and “Holdback” Trusts
Steve Murphy, chair of the private wealth services practice group, presents the case of In re Harrison. In this case, the settlors of a trust tried to go the simple route – they had the assets pass outright to their grandson for the most part. The assets would be held in trust for his benefit for a period of time. But when the time came for those distributions, the trustee wasn’t so sure the grandson was ready for those funds. As Steve walks you through this pivotal case, he’ll underscore the important principles of making the right decisions when planning that will benefit your beneficiaries and yourself.
Episode 5 – Trusts
Steve Murphy, chair of the private wealth services group, discusses four potential benefits of a trust structure and ways to balance potential concerns for your estate plan through simplicity and flexibility, on the one hand, or structure and certainty, on the other. He addresses the question of when you should have a gift or bequest held in a long-term, irrevocable trust for a beneficiary.
Episode 4 – Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax
There is a limit on how much you can benefit future generations without incurring additional transfer tax. Tune in to this episode to learn about the Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax (GST). This is a complex tax that applies to transfers of wealth between multiple generations. Steve Murphy, chair of the private wealth services practice group at McGuireWoods, shares the history of the GST tax and how it could affect different generations.
Episode 3 – Estate and Gift Tax
What is the goal for transferring wealth during life and upon death? Whatever your plan may be, taxes will be a part of it. However, they don’t need to be the sole factor.
Steve Murphy, chair of the private wealth services practice group at McGuireWoods, explains why taxes should not be the most important factors in the transfer of your wealth this episode of the Once Removed series. Steve provides substantive information on the importance of ultimately knowing where you fall on the estate tax spectrum and explains the exceptions that exist to assist you with management of your wealth.
Episode 2 – Property Ownership, Beneficiary Designations, and Avoiding Probate
How do you ensure that your assets are passed as simply and efficiently as possible?
Steve Murphy, chair of the private wealth services group at McGuireWoods, will walk you through the classes of property involved before probate, the process of probate, and the importance of keeping a well-maintained list of your assets and checking it twice. Steve shares that avoiding probate is just a factor in your estate planning, not a means to an end.
Episode 1 – Once Removed: A Thoughtful Estate Plan
Once you are removed from the equation, what kind of structure can you leave behind to increase your chances that your wishes will be carried out? Steve Murphy, chair of the private wealth services group, introduces his new podcast series in this first episode. He explains the thought behind the “once removed” concept and how our actions affect our wealth in life and upon death.
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