Estate Planning & Probate Forum 2020

The TBA’s highly regarded Estate Planning & Probate Forum will return to the Embassy Suites Cool Springs on Friday, Feb. 21. This annual staple for planning professionals will feature best practices and tips regarding timely topics such as:
  • Practical will and trust drafting, including basic forms
  • A panel discussion regarding administration of trusts
  • Testimonials regarding probate litigation and will contests
  • What Tennessee has done to to become a top trust jurisdiction
  • A probate panel with representatives from the three grand divisions
  • Legislative updates
  • Ethics for planners
  • And more
Attendees of the forum who wish to stay at the hotel will receive a discounted TBA rate. You can reserve your room at the TBA rate by using this link, or by calling 1-800-EMBASSY and referencing the group code EPF. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from seasoned practitioners and top players in the field while being a beneficiary of necessary CLE credits. Missing out is irrevocable.
When: Friday, Feb. 21, registration begins at 8 a.m., CST
Where: Embassy Suites Cool Springs, 820 Crescent Centre Drive, Franklin
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New Federal Tax Changes on the Horizon

Kicking off in 2020, the IRS has made numerous revisions to both individual income tax brackets and retirement taxes. Among the changes are an increased standard deduction and a raise in the employee contribution limit for 401(k), 403(b) and most 457 plans. CNBC has provided a brief breakdown on recent changes to be aware of beginning this new year.

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Recent Changes to Secure Act Will Affect IRA, 401(k) Withdrawals

Recent changes to the federal Secure Act stand to significantly affect IRA and 401(k) disbursement to beneficiaries, the Washington Post reports. Currently, IRAs and 401(k)s are subject to required minimum distributions, but withdrawals can be extended over the course of a lifetime to mitigate the tax burden. Beginning this year, the Secure Act imposes a 10-year window to withdraw the money. According to the Congressional Research Service, the change is expected to generate $15.7 billion in tax revenue.

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Estimates Say Fewer Than 2,000 Households Will Pay Estate Taxes This Year

Fewer than 2,000 households are expected to pay estate taxes in the U.S. this year, according to a piece published yesterday in Business Insider. This marks a tremendous drop from the 52,000 estates subject to the tax at the start of the millennium. In 2018, the exemption essentially doubled the previous rate enacted in 2010, with exempted amounts now sitting at $11.4 million per person and $22.8 million for a married couple.

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Survey Suggests Only 1% of Americans Use a Financial Planner

A recent poll suggests that only about one percent of Americans rely on the guidance of a financial planner, with most respondents saying they feel that using a financial advisor is expensive and only for the wealthy, CNBC reports. While not unsurprising that most people handle finances themselves or through a spouse, the large disparity highlights those concerns and general misconceptions regarding the different functions a financial advisor can provide. CNBC Digital Financial Advisor Council member and president and founder of Bone Fide Wealth in New York, Douglas Boneparth, said that other contributors could be the numerous financial assistance products available online, increased debt among younger Americans and unawareness of advisors who will work with a less-wealthy population.

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U.S. Dept. of Treasury, IRS Propose Changes Regarding Net Operating Losses

The U.S. Department of Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service last week proposed new regulations regarding application of certain rules under Sections 382 and 383 of the Internal Revenue Code. The new regulations would lessen the ability of companies to use net operating losses and other tax saving measures by changing the “annual limitation” on the ability of a company to apply pre-change tax attributes to offset post-change taxable income. You can read more about these changes and submit a formal comment here. The deadline for comment on these proposed changes is November 12.

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Businesses Testify to USTR Regarding Additional Trump Tariffs

Some of the nation’s business leaders recently participated in seven days of hearings with the Office of the United States Trade Representative in an effort to sway the Trump administration from imposing tariffs on an additional $300 billion in Chinese goods, The New York Times reports. The group — comprised of toymakers, telecom officials, port workers and shoemakers — joined existing detractors, arguing that additional levies would further raise costs for consumers, disrupt supply chains and could force them to lay off employees or close. The administration says that these levies are necessary to curb China’s violation of international trading rules. President Trump will meet with President Xi Jinping of China at the end of this week to discuss the tariffs and a new trade deal, but business owners remain doubtful that an agreement will be reached.

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Coffee Co. Considers Additional Taxes for Bonnaroo

Following the first sold out Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in seven years, questions have risen about its future in Coffee County, The Tennessean reports. The festival and municipality have long been embroiled in a love-hate relationship; however, the recent move by the Coffee County Commission to instill a 2.5 percent tax on hotel room bookings just two days prior to this year’s events —which would also be charged to onsite campers — had organizers up in arms. Bonnaroo staff eventually made a deal with the commission to exclude campers this year, but Coffee County remains resolute in obtaining additional funds to pay for road and bridge upgrades in the county. The festival nets the municipality around $1 million annually in tax money from ticket sales and on-site services, and contributes about 25 percent of the county’s annual sales tax.

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Hamilton County to Consider Tax Relief Program for Seniors

Facing a tax hike for Hamilton County residents, Commissioner David Sharpe plans to propose an initiative to soften the blow to seniors on a fixed income, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reports. The program will supplement the state’s existing Property Tax Relief Program of 2018 that aids elderly homeowners, disabled homeowners, disabled veteran homeowners and widows of disabled veteran homeowners. Early estimates show that the program will cost the county about $360,000 annually.

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Study Credits Tennessee Tax Policies for Economic Growth

A new study by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative think tank comprised of legislators and business leaders, puts Tennessee in its top ten list of states with a positive economic outlook, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reports. Between 2007 and 2017, Tennessee’s GDP rose 43.1 percent, with the state growing payroll employment by 8 percent. The study credits Tennessee’s relatively low tax rates, lack of personal income tax and plans to phase out inheritance and unearned income taxes, among other reasons, for the state’s economic standing.

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