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Understanding Estates and Trusts Laws: 5 Resources for Practicing Attorneys and Law Students

March 29, 2022 (4 min read)

Estates vs. Trusts

The demand for legal guidance on estate planning and administration, probate, trusts and gifts, and elder law issues has intensified, especially considering the hard lessons learned from a worldwide pandemic.

As the most populous generation continues to age and world events bring about unforeseen circumstances, trusts and estates issues are being redefined and tested.

It falls to practitioners to ensure clients’ long-term plans and assets are secure -- fortunately authoritative legal content from LexisNexis can help.

Law Books for Understanding Estates, Gifts and Trusts

1. Flexible Trusts and Estates for Uncertain Times

The Seventh Edition of Flexible Trusts and Estates for Uncertain Times confronts continued and increased instability in modern society. The new instability follows a relatively short lull after a period of unprecedented instability, including since 2001, increases in exemptions, reductions in rates, the repeal and restoration of the estate tax and the generation-skipping tax.

This edition also dives into the installation of a system of portability of the unused portion of the estate tax exemption of a predeceasing spouse, the advocacy by leading politicians of repeal of the taxes and, by others, of drastic increases in the taxes and the enactment of wealth taxes, and, probably most importantly, of a worldwide plague against which individuals, groups and even nations were unable to protect themselves

2. Modern Estate Planning

This work fully integrates estate, gift, and income taxation into a unified transactional approach to estate and financial planning. All key estate planning topics are explored. Coverage includes:

-Estate and gift taxation/general principles
-Transfers and interests subject to estate and gift taxation
-Estate and gift tax deductions, exclusions and credits
-Generation-skipping transfer taxation
-Special valuation provisions
-Basic principles of income taxation of trusts and estates
-Income taxation of non-grantor trusts and estates
-Income taxation planning issues
-Grantor trusts
-Future estate planning issues
-Client focused planning
-Valuation techniques and drafting considerations
-Forms and clauses, tax returns, state taxation
-Practice and procedure

3. Federal Taxation of Estates, Trusts and Gifts: Cases, Problems and Materials

This new edition of Federal Taxation of Estates, Trusts and Gifts  blends a traditional casebook approach with a problem method, to develop student understanding of the relevant rule structure pertinent to the transfer of wealth.

The transactional organization facilitates student comprehension by repeatedly exposing students to certain themes, such as reason for deductibility, taxation based on passage of economic benefit, and valuation. This Fourth Edition also uses structured problems to facilitate an understanding of the doctrinal framework, analytical processes, and policy issues. 

View a sample of this title using the ReadNow feature. View or download the free Latest Online Supplement for this product also.

4. How to Save Time & Taxes Handling Estates

 A comprehensive guide to the federal estate tax return, including:

-Schedule-by-schedule guide to preparing Federal Form 706 (Estate Tax Return), including completely filled-in forms and all the information needed for completion of the return in the most tax-saving manner
-Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax and Excess Retirement Accumulations Tax
-How to take full advantage of tax elections, pre- and post-mortem planning techniques in order to produce optimum tax savings
-Examples and practice tips are found throughout the text to aid in making computations and in planning
-How to handle the audit and appeals process, as well as payments, collections and refunds
-Filing the Decedent's Form 709 (Gift Tax Return)
-Appendix reproduces estate and gift tax sections of the Internal Revenue Code, valuation tables and forms

View a sample of this title using the LexisNexis ReadNow feature.

5. Federal Income, Gift and Estate Taxation

This comprehensive treatise on federal taxation combines the highest level of tax scholarship with a practical approach.

•   Seven text volumes cover a wide variety of federal tax issues relating to: individuals; corporations; partnerships; estate and gift transactions; pensions; debtors and creditors; foreign transactions; and charities
•   Planning volume includes Rates Tables, Checklist of Deductions, Tax Calendar
•   Separate index and table of cases, statutes, regulations and rulings

 What is an Estate?

According to the American Bar Association, trust and estate law deals with the protection of assets during a client's lifetime and the distribution of a client's assets after death. Trusts and estates are the two main legal structures for transferring assets to heirs and beneficiaries. Both determine how your assets are divided after death and both identify a person to carry out the purposes stated in the document.

While the two are related, each work in critically different ways – starting with a will. A will is a document that provides instructions for what to do with owned property after death.

An estate, in this context, is the property that is left over after someone dies. In general, the estate is a distinct legal entity that comes into existence after someone dies. The estate is usually represented by someone called an executor, whose job is to make sure the property goes where it is supposed to go and to defend the interests of the estate.

What is a Trust?

A trust is a legal entity created to manage some assets or property. In general, a trust is a right in property (real or personal) which is held in a fiduciary relationship by one party for the benefit of another. The trustee is the one who holds title to the trust property, and the beneficiary is the person who receives the benefits of the trust.

Trusts can be arranged in many ways and can specify exactly how and when the assets pass to the beneficiaries.

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