Unless you have not had to access to social media, a newspaper, or television in recent weeks, it is likely you have heard the name, Jeffrey Epstein. Epstein is now widely known for his alleged sexual assault of underage girls spanning a number of years. Allegations include assaulting girls in New York, Florida, and other locations, and more recently, he was charged with one count of sex trafficking of a minor and one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking. He pled not guilty to these crimes and was being held in jail in New York.
Two days before committing suicide in his jail cell, Epstein signed a will. Victims who allege assault by Epstein have filed a lawsuit against his estate. In his will, Epstein left his estate to a private trust. It is estimated that his estate is worth more than $577 million. The victims of Epstein suing the estate might have a difficult time making a claim on his assets now that they have been left to a private trust.
The use of a private trust in an individual’s estate is not new. Using a trust is often a strategic move based on the needs and wants of the individual preparing the estate documents. Accusers who filed a civil suit against Epstein’s estate face a tough legal battle for monetary damages. The criminal suit against Epstein died with him, but his estate is still subject to civil suits. If the criminal case had gone to court and Epstein had been convicted, it would have likely been easier to collect monetary damages in a civil suit. The elimination of the criminal suit does not eliminate the possibility of recovering in a civil suit, however.
One possible scenario for those suing Epstein’s estate is that they will be locked in a legal battle for many years. Epstein’s will was filed in the Virgin Islands. There will be no money leaving the trust until all claims are settled.
While the use of a trust could create some legal roadblocks, there is the possibility that all of Epstein’s assets were not transferred into the trust before his death, especially since it was signed only two days before his death. Additionally, even if all assets were transferred before his death, there is a possibility that the transfer could be deemed fraudulent. This is because Epstein was facing criminal charges when the transfer was made and the courts could rule the transfer of property as fraudulent and therefore the assets would be available to those pursuing damages because they are not a part of the trust.
While your estate plan will likely never be as contested as Jeffrey Epstein’s, it is important to have a solid and legal plan nonetheless. Knowing that your assets will be handled in your preferred way after death provides peace of mind to most people. The estate planning attorneys at the Law Office of Kris Mukherji are here to help you create an estate plan specifically tailored to your needs and wants. Contact us today for a consultation.Read More
Both individuals and businesses make donations to charities. While donations are generally always welcomed, there are financial implications and considerations surrounding a donation that must be considered. A donation does not need to be an outright gift; there are other options available for donation purposes. It can be beneficial to set up a charitable remainder trust to donate to charity. A charitable remainder trust is an instrument that provides for donations to charity, while still allowing the donor to make income off of the property in the trust. A charitable remainder trust is an essential part of a financial plan that should be considered before making a large charitable donation or gift.
The Basics of Charitable Remainder Trusts
A charitable remainder trust is made by the settlor (the person setting up the trust) and transferring the property that is intended to be in the trust into the trust. The charity intended to receive proceeds from the trust is the trustee. The principal of the trust is invested and the settlor receives a portion of the trust in the form of an annuity. If the settlor dies, or the period of time specified for the trust elapses, the remainder of the trust is then distributed to the charity.
A charitable remainder trust is irrevocable, meaning that the trust cann ot be changed. When the property or assets are transferred into the trust, the trust is then the owner of the assets or property. Legal control of the property is transferred the trust. The charity must be an approved charity. Approved charities are usually those that are a tax-exempt organization under IRS definitions.
Types of Trusts
There are two main types of charitable remainder trusts:
- Charitable Remainder Unitrust: The annuity amount that is paid to the settlor is calculated annually as a percentage of the fair market value of the property donated in the trust.
- Charitable Remainder Annuity Trust: The annuity amount is a fixed percentage, meaning the settlor receives the same amount throughout the life of the trust
Benefits of a Charitable Remainder Trust
There are many reasons you might choose to set up a charitable remainder trust for donations.
- Tax Breaks: There are tax implications of a charitable remainder trust. The settlor is able to take a deduction over five years for the value of the gift being given through the trust. Additionally, there are no capital gains tax when the asset or property is sold.
- Receiving Income: The settlor is able to receive income over the life of the trust.
- Pursuing Philanthropic Goals: The settlor is encouraged to make charitable contributions, but is able to still generate income for themselves.
- Creditor Protection: Assets in the trust are generally protected from any creditors.
If you want to set up a charitable remainder trust, consult with an experienced attorney at the Law Office of Kris Mukherji. All of the benefits of the trust do not eliminate the complex process of setting up the trust. Contact us today to get your trust set up in the correct manner.Read More