Category Archives: Taxes

Trust the Trusts

divorceFor an “average person” who cares about their finances, “using trusts is one of the most important things [they] can do,” according to director of Pioneer Wealth Partners, John Blattmachr. This is what the New York attorney said at the recent estate planning conference held in Northern Trust, Naples.  In its third year, the event was attended by 60 tax planners and financial analysts who heard Blattmachr say “in trusts we trust.”

He then went on to explain the reasoning for this statement.  He said that: “it protects funds from claims from creditors, divorcing spouses and the government,” and, given that nearly 50% of marriages end in divorce these days, it is essential that one finds a way to protect their assets from an ex-spouse for the same of safeguarding family funds.

It is not only Blattmachr who understands the importance of trust funds.  In an article written by Selena Maranjian, it was explained how “A trust, or trust fund…is especially useful for people with children who are still minors or for those who would like some of their assets to go to their beneficiaries without the hassle of probate.”  She also said that it can actually “help you care for your loved ones, and defer taxes too.”  Those are attractive concepts to everyone.

Blattmachr also points out that he believes trust funds come with no disadvantages, “unless the trustee is dishonest or becomes incompetent…[which can be a] problem, particularly for the elderly,” given that there is a significant increase in dementia with age, rendering seniors much more “vulnerable to sticky-fingered trustees.”  But that issue, he adds is exactly why “people should not wait until they’re in their twilight years to set up an estate plan and choose a reputable and experienced trustee.”

Cutting Property Taxes in the City

taxesA bill was recently passed in the senate requiring NYC to put a limit on how much money it raises from property taxes to a maximum 2 percent increase per year. The fact is, the limit is already in use in the rest of New York State. It is just NYC that is lagging behind.

However it might not be put in place so easily. The de Blasio administration is seriously against it, claiming it would result in a serious deprivation of billions of dollars for the city. Sometimes the property tax can get incredibly burdensome, such as what happened in 2003 when the property tax rate was increased by 18 percent in an attempt to stabilize recession revenues.

In 2004 property owner tax has increased 84 percent (totaling $22.6 billion). Further, homeowners have seen their yearly tax bill increase from an average of $4,607 from $2,354.

So this tax cap might be a welcome amendment to the city of New York.