Gun Trusts: Feinstein’s Bill Addresses Handguns Too.

According to the Washington Post, Senator Feinstein’s gun control bill not only seeks to severely restrict the sale and transfer of modern sporting rifles, but also “prohibits the sale or transfer of high-capacity, ammunition-feeding devices currently in existence” – a clear reference to gun magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.

While most gun owners don’t own an AR-15, millions of Americans own handguns for personal defense.  Many if not most of these “regular” handguns are sold with magazines that hold 10 rounds.  It’s these personal defense weapons that Senator Feinstein seeks to restrict.  If her bill becomes law, millions of Americans will no longer be able to sell, give away or pass their handgun to their family in their will.

It is unlikely that the entirety of the proposed bill will become law.  However, is seems probable that portions of the proposed legislation will.  If you are interested in maintaining control of your firearms, call us now to set up a Gun Trust at 901-372-5003.

For more info, click here for our previous blog post about Gun Trusts.

URGENT UPDATE & PRICE REDUCTION -Time may be running out to protect your guns with a Gun Trust

Today, multiple U.S. Senators are formally introducing legislation that bans the manufacture and sale of hundreds, if not thousands of guns.  While the news coverage of the proposed legislation will characterize the proposed laws as being an “assault weapons ban,” in reality many handguns and shotguns will be included.  Additionally, gun owners’ ability to transfer their guns to their family members may be severely restricted or even banned.

In light of the short time frame that gun owners may have to legally protect their firearms, Wiseman Bray PLLC is now offering a basic Gun Trust for only $675.  Call us now to create your Gun Trust before it is too late: 901-372-5003.

For more info, click here for our previous blog post about Gun Trusts.

Let Us Help You Protect Your Guns With A Gun Trust – Before It’s Too Late

The current political climate creates tremendous uncertainty for gun owners.  If you act now by creating a Gun Trust, you can be assured that your guns can stay in your family forever.

A Gun Trust is typically used to streamline the purchase of class 3 firearms, suppressors, fully automatic rifles, or short rifles.  However, in light of the current political climate, gun owners should seriously consider a transfer of ALL of their guns into a Trust in  order to avoid certain proposals under consideration that would ban ALL transfers of any so-called “assault weapon” (which would include hundreds of guns) as well as any magazine that holds more than 10 rounds.

One of the key Senate proposals under consideration would ban any and all transfers of certain guns and magazines – to ANYONE – including your own children.  You wouldn’t even be able to have your guns pass to your children through your Will at your death!  Instead, your guns and magazines would presumably be confiscated by the government at your death.

If you have a Gun Trust, though, the Trust would technically own your guns and magazines, and as a legal matter, Trusts never “die.”  You can serve as Trustee during your own life, and therefore possess and use your guns just as you’ve always done with no change.  The difference is that when you die, or when you want to allow your brother/son/friend to use or possess your gun, you can simply appoint another Trustee, or a Co-Trustee, or a Successor Trustee that automatically takes over at your death.  Those persons can then use or share the guns just as you did.  The Trust always owns the guns so there is technically never any “transfer” – even at your death.

Most regular Trusts have no instructions regarding the purchase, use, or access to your firearms. They also do not give the people involved with the Trust enough information to properly transfer assets. Indeed, if you become incapacitated, it may be necessary to sell some of the guns to provide for your needs. And when you die, your firearms will need to be transferred properly. A Gun Trust specifically provides information to determine whether the firearms are transferable or need to stay in the Trust, whether they are legal in the state where they might be transferred, and whether the  beneficiary is legally able to possess the firearm.  Another important feature is the peace of mind of knowing that, if you desire to do so, you can empower the Trustee to determine if the beneficiary is mature and responsible enough to receive the firearms in the first place.

A Gun Trust amounts to simple insurance against some of the more extreme political proposals currently floating around Washington D.C.  But time is of the essence.  Creating the Gun Trust must be complete BEFORE any transfer restrictions might be passed by Congress.  Protecting your rights is simple and affordable.  Cost for a Basic Gun Trust is only $950 $675.

If you own guns, we would love the opportunity to talk with you about how a Gun Trust will complement your estate plan.  Please contact our office to learn more about potential opportunities for you and your family using Gun Trusts.  Call us at 901-372-5003.

Reminder: Final 2012 Estimated Tax Payment due TODAY! (Jan. 15)

For all you estimated tax filers, here’s a friendly reminder that your next payment (using IRS Form 1040-ES) is due TODAY, January 15, 2013.

NOTE: Estimated taxes are generally paid by self-employed persons, although others are potentially required to file. According to the IRS website instructions: “Estimated tax is the method used to pay tax on income that is not subject to withholding. This includes income from self-employment, interest, dividends, alimony, rent, gains from the sale of assets, prizes and awards. You also may have to pay estimated tax if the amount of income tax being withheld from your salary, pension, or other income is not enough.”

MORE:  Previous Blog Post — What is an Estimated Tax Payment, and Who is Required to Make Them?

American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012

Happy New Year!  We hope this finds you having enjoyed a joyous and relaxing holiday season.  As you may know, on Wednesday, January 2, 2013, the President signed into law the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. The new law contains some favorable provisions for taxpayers and donors and provides some certainty, for at least another year, and in some cases, permanently.  Below we have included some highlights of changes in effect for 2013 in the areas of charitable and estate planning:

The IRA Charitable Rollover

As we expected, donors age 70½ or older are once again eligible to transfer up to $100,000 from their IRAs directly to qualified charities without having to pay income taxes on the qualified distribution in 2013. In addition to the extension of the IRA Rollover provision for 2013, Congress provided two special transition rules:

1) Qualified distributions made by February 1, 2013, may be counted retroactively for the 2012 tax year.  This means that it is possible for those who act in a timely manner to make IRA Rollover gifts of up to $200,000 in 2013.

2) Another unexpected but welcome feature of the new law is the “do-over” provision.  Taxpayers who took a withdrawal from an IRA (mandatory or otherwise) during December 2012 may make a cash contribution to a qualified charity before February 1, 2013, and treat the gift as if it had been a direct distribution to charity that qualified as an IRA Rollover gift for 2012.

Estate, Gift and Generation-Skipping Tax Exemptions

The new law permanently preserves the current individual gift, estate and generation-skipping tax to a unified $5 million exemption level. This amount will be indexed for inflation – the inflation adjusted amount for 2013 is $5,250,000. The top gift, estate and generation-skipping tax rate was increased to 40 percent from the previous 35 percent. The new law also makes the portability of exemption between spouses permanent.  The higher exemption amount will certainly limit the number of estates subject to the federal estate tax which could provide opportunities to simplify estate plans.

However, keep in mind that Tennessee still has an inheritance tax.  The Tennessee inheritance tax will be phased out over the next three years.  For the remainder of 2013, the inheritance tax exemption will remain $1,250,000.  Beginning January 1, 2014, the exemption will increase each year  as follows:

$2,000,000—2014

$5,000,000—2015

Repealed—2016

As of January 1, 2016, the Tennessee inheritance tax will be eliminated, while the Tennessee gift tax was repealed last year.

Charitable Deduction Remains

Throughout 2012, a number of proposals were made to limit the charitable deduction.  Fortunately, the legislation as passed does not address or specifically limit the charitable deduction.

Individual Income Tax Rates

The new law permanently extends tax rates set by the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 and the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 for taxpayers earning less than $400,000 a year and married couples earning less than $450,000. It increases the tax rate for high-income households earning more than that to 39.6 percent. The 2013 tax rates will be 10 percent, 15 percent, 25 percent, 28 percent, 33 percent, 35 percent and 39.6 percent.

Capital Gains Tax Rates

The capital gains and dividend tax rates for high-income households ($400,000 a year for single taxpayers and $450,000 for married couples) will increase to 20 percent. There will be no capital gains tax for taxpayers whose income falls in tax brackets below 25 percent. The capital gains tax rate will be 15 percent for taxpayers whose income falls at or above the 25 percent tax bracket but below the new 39.6 percent rate.  A medicare contribution tax of 3.8% on capital gains, dividends, interest and other unearned income will also come into play in 2013 for those with adjusted gross income over $250,000 ($200,000 for single taxpayers).  With higher capital gains rates and the addition of the Medicare contribution tax, gifts of appreciated stock or other appreciated property (either outright or to fund a charitable remainder trust or charitable gift annuity) will once again provide taxpayers with the opportunity to diversify out of appreciated assets in a tax efficient manner.

The next logical question is, “How does the new law impact me and my family?”  Of course, it depends.  Certainly, the climate for gifting is excellent.  People with potentially taxable estates can make large gifts to take advantage of the high federal exemption amount without paying Tennessee gift tax.  Thus, the combination of a high federal exemption and no Tennessee tax can yield extremely favorable tax and other results for your family.

We would love the opportunity to talk with you about how these changes impact your estate plan.  Please contact our office to learn more about potential opportunities for you and your family with this new legislation.