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Attorney Randy Ratliff

Generation-Skipping Trusts

Estate Planning Lawyer Serving Nashville Residents

Every individual has a unique set of circumstances that should be taken into consideration when he or she sets to the task of estate planning. What is the overall value of the estate likely to be? What are best case and worst case scenarios when it comes to taxation of the assets left behind by the person setting his or her affairs in order? Are there any special situations that should be taken into consideration, such as a child from a prior marriage or a family business? Many potential problems can be avoided by careful advance planning. This applies both to issues of family discord as well as concerns regarding federal estate taxation. Nashville estate planning attorney Randy Ratliff assists clients with many different needs related to wills and trusts. We would be glad to sit down and discuss any questions that you have about your future estate, including whether a generation-skipping trust might be advisable in your situation.

Generation-skipping trusts do exactly what the name suggests: they can effectively transfer the grantor’s estate to his or her grandchildren, thus skipping the generation of the grantor’s children. In some cases, a grantor may have personal reasons for not transferring his or her wealth directly to his or her children after death. There may have been a troubled relationship, or the grantor may perceive the child to be a spendthrift who would not manage the hard-earned assets wisely. However, generation-skipping trusts are designed primarily for another purpose – minimization of federal taxes. (Simply passing assets directly to grandchildren can be effectuated with a basic will, and modest sums can be gifted to grandchildren free of tax during the giver’s lifetime).

How Generation-Skipping Trusts Operate

Currently, a generation-skipping trust can be used by a grantor to pass assets to anyone – related or not – who meets certain requirements, including being at least a set number of years younger than the trustor (although a current or former spouse cannot be the beneficiary). The primary goal of a generation skipping trust is to minimize the ultimate amount of taxes paid out of the trustor’s estate, but how effective the trust is at this task is a matter of federal laws and Internal Revenue Service regulations, which can change. If you believe that a generation-skipping trust might be appropriate for your situation, you should talk to an experienced estate planning attorney about your situation.

Because estate tax is a burden that the wealthiest families bear most heavily, individuals with sizable estates should consider talking to an estate planning lawyer regularly, even if they already have an estate plan in place. The laws that pertain to estate taxes, generation-skipping transfer tax, and related matters can change frequently, potentially rendering planning done in past years ineffective. In addition to a will or trust, a well-planned estate may also include provisions for health care (such as a health care proxy or living will), charitable gifts, care for a family member with special needs, and/or provisions for a long-term companion.

Review Your Estate Planning Needs with a Knowledgeable Nashville Attorney

Estate planning tends to be one of those tasks that most of us would prefer to put off. It brings up uncomfortable subjects for some, and areas that we would rather not discuss with a stranger. However, failure to consider one’s situation and plan accordingly can lead to hardships and difficulty, not to mention financial waste, for those left behind. At the Randy Ratliff Law Offices, PLLC, we serve a wide variety of estate planning needs for families and individuals with businesses in Nashville and throughout Davidson and Williamson Counties, including those in Antioch, Hermitage, Franklin, Madison, Goodlettsville, Brentwood, Joelton, and Cool Springs. To schedule a confidential consultation to discuss your legal needs, call us at 615-656-8282 or contact us online. We will do our best to understand your goals and concerns, and we will work hard to draft the most effective estate plan to carry out your wishes.