Cleveland, Ohio estate planning attorney

Grantor vs Non-Grantor Trusts

Cleveland, Ohio estate planning attorney, Daniel A. Baron, offers information on the differences between and Grantor and a Non-Grantor Trusts and further considerations to as part of your Tax and Estate Plan:

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Understanding tax benefits and pitfalls of a trust and putting together a trust which is most beneficial for your personal situation is best left to an experienced trust attorney who can explain the differences in trusts and customize your Estate Plan.

Consequently, understand that the term used; Grantor Trust and Non-Grantor Trust are important.  These terms mean very different things but are both associated with tax implications.

The Grantor is the party who establishes the trust and maintains control while living and mentally capable.

Some examples of Grantor Trusts

  • Revocable Living Trust
  • Dynasty Trust
  • Grantor Retained Annuity Trust (GRAT)
  • Spousal Access Trusts
  • The majority of Irrevocable Trusts
  • Defective Grantor Trust (IDGT or DIGIT)

When setting up your trust as part of your Estate Planning, tax planning is an integral part of each and every plan and is as individual as you are.

Planning for Tax implications

How is the trust going to be taxed? Does the American Tax Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA) affect the taxes of your trust?  By setting up a Grantor Trust you can realize a number of tax advantages.  Some of these advantages are but not limited to:

  • Sell assets to the trust and not have to pay for the gains of the sale
  • Loan money to the trust – keeping in mind that the trust must pay the minimal IRS interest rate; however the income recognized from the interest is not taxable to you
  • The trusts income tax, paid by you (the Grantor), is not viewed as a gift to the trust

Plain and simple, the assets of the trust grows, which in turn benefits the beneficiaries without paying income tax. Essentially this is a tax free gift.

Non Grantor Trust

A Non-Grantor Trust is where the donor of the assets relinquishes all control within the trust. The donor of the trust funds is not a beneficiary or a trustee and has no input on how the funds are disbursed or controlled.  When the donor establishes a Non-Grantor Trust (aka irrevocable trust) they give up their rights to amend, revoke, or terminate the trust as this now becomes the functions of the trustee(s) either acting by themselves or with a Trust Protector.

Although the assets used to establish the trust were once owned by the donor, they are now owned by the trust. Any income being generated from the assets now is the sole responsibility of the trust.  As is with the Grantor Trust, any distribution to a beneficiary must now the proper IRS forms issued and provided to the recipient.

When a non-grantor trust is established it becomes a taxable entity and a Federal Employer Identification Number is issued. This also means that an income tax return needs to be filed on behalf of the trust each year.

Understanding tax benefits and pitfalls of a trust and putting together a trust which is most beneficial for your personal situation is best left to an attorney who can explain the differences in trusts and customize your Estate Plan. Contact Daniel A Baron of Baron Law Cleveland, Ohio at 1-216-573-3723.

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Incorporating Long Term Care to Avoid Accidents and Falling

Cleveland, Ohio estate planning and elder law attorney, Daniel A. Baron, offers the following information on Long Term Care and incorporating it into your Estate Planning:

Elder Care Attorney Cleveland Ohio

If you are over aged 65, a fall could leave you incapacitated or worse, it could be fatal. Having a Non-fatal fall could leave you unable to care for yourself for either a short period of time or a long period of time.  Should this happen, who is going to pay for your Long Term Care?

One in every three Americans falls each year. Falls for the elderly are the leading cause of non-fatal and fatal injuries for those aged 65 or older.

If you happen to fall you run the risk of:

  • Head Injuries
  • Broken Bones
  • Hip fractures
  • Significant loss of independence

If you should take a fall and you are over the age of 75 the chances of you being admitted to a skilled nursing facility are four times greater.

Even if you should fall and do not sustain a major injury, you become fearful of falling again and thus becoming less active. With this said, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of falling.

Information Source – National Council on Aging

Six steps to Reduce Your Risk of Falling

In order to help your aging loved one, friend, or neighbor follow these steps to reduce their risk of falling.

Enlist their support in taking simple steps to stay safe. For example:

  • Ask your aging loved one, friend, or neighbor if they have a concern about falling.
  • Although many older adults recognize the risk of falling exists, they do not believe it will happen to them, or if they fall they will not be hurt – even if they have fallen in the past.
  • A good place to start is by sharing NCOA’s “Debunking The Myths of Older Adult Falls”. If they show a concern about falling, dizziness, or balance suggest they discuss it with their Health Care provider who can assess their risk and suggest programs or services that could help

Discuss current health conditions

  • Ask your aging loved one, friend, or neighbor if they are experiencing problems managing their own health
  • Ask whether or not they are having trouble remembering to take their medications, or are they experiencing any side effects
  • Ask if it is getting more difficult for them to do things they used to do easily
  • Ask if they are taking advantage of ALL the preventative benefits now offered under Medicare such as the Annual Wellness visit. Encourage them to speak openly with their health care provider about ALL their concerns

Ask about their last eye checkup

  • If your aging loved one, friend, or neighbor wears glasses or contact lenses, make sure that their prescription is current and they are using their glasses or contact lenses as advised by their eye doctor
  • Keep in mind that wearing tint changes glasses or contact lenses can be hazardous when going from bright sun into darkened buildings and homes. A simple strategy is to change glasses upon the entry into a building OR stop until the tint has changed
  • Bifocals can also be problematic on stairs, so it is VERY important to be extra cautious on the stairs. For those already struggling with low vision, consult with a low-vision specialist for ways to make the most of their eyesight.

If you are noticing your aging loved one, friend, or neighbor is holding onto the walls, furniture or someone else while walking or if they have difficulty arising from a chair:

  • These are signs that it might be time to see a physical therapist
  • A trained physical therapist can help your loved one improve their balance, strength, and gait through exercise
  • They may also suggest that your loved one use a cane or walker. The physical therapist will also offer guidance on how to use these aids.  Make sure you heed their advice
  • Poorly fit aids can actually increase your risk of falling, so make sure that all aids are fitted correctly

Talk about their medications

  • If your aging loved one, friend, or neighbor is having difficulties managing their own medications or they are experience side effects, encourage them to discuss their concerns with their doctor or pharmacist
  • Suggest they review their medications each time they get a new prescription
  • Your loved one may find it useful to use a chart of some sort to keep track of their medications and their scheduling. Adding a time medication dispenser that can be refilled every week or month by a family member, friend or neighbor can promote peace of mind and ensure that medication is being taken as prescribed
  • Be aware if your aging loved one, friend, or neighbor is taking non-prescription medication that may contain sleep aids – including painkillers with “PM” in their names. These can contribute to balance issues and dizziness.  If your aging loved one is having sleeping difficulties encourage them to speak with their health care professional for different alternatives

Do a walk-through safety assessment of their home

There are many simple and inexpensive ways to make a home safer. For Professional Assistance, contact an Occupational Therapist.  Some examples for making your loved ones home safer:

  • Lighting: Increase lighting throughout the house especially at the top and bottom of stairs.  Ensure that lighting is readily available when they are getting up in the middle of the night
  • Stairs:  Make sure there are two secure railings on both sides of the staircase
  • Bathrooms:  Install Grab bars in the tub/shower area and near the toilet.  Make sure that grabs bars are installed in places where your loved one will be able to use them as intended.  Consider installing an ADA toilet which has a higher seat then standard toilets.  Perhaps having a shower chair would help as well as installing a hand held shower.

For more information on reviewing your goals for Long Term Care as part of your Estate Planning, contact Daniel A. Baron of Baron Law at 216-573-3723.

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The Marital Deduction – What are the benefits?

Cleveland, Ohio estate planning attorney, Daniel A. Baron, offers information on The Marital Deduction as well as other Tax Planning Advice and what to make part of your Estate Planning.

What are the benefits?

The most important deduction a married couple has is the The Marital Deduction.  The amount of assets which can be passed upon death from one spouse to the other is unlimited and is also used to defer ALL estate taxes until the surviving spouse passes.  Current tax laws allow one spouse to give the other spouse assets where there is little to no tax imposed upon the transfer of these assets.  No matter what the value of the assets which are being transferred, whether it is $50,000 or $50,000,000.

What if there is a divorce?

If you happen to be divorced from your spouse, you can still pass assets to the ex-spouse after you pass with little or no tax being imposed if it is stated in the divorce decree.

My spouse is not a U.S. Citizen – Do the same tax laws apply?

The Marital Deduction is unlimited as long as both spouses are U.S. Citizens. So what happens when one of the spouses is not a US Citizen?

Should the first spouse to pass away be a U.S. Citizen and the surviving spouse a noncitizen of the U.S., unfortunately the unlimited marital deduction for Federal Estate Taxes is not available.

However, the taxes can be deferred by setting up a Qualified Domestic Trust (AKA QDOT), and having the assets pass through this specialized trust.

Should you own real property, consider adding this to the trust as the taxes will be deferred until the noncitizen spouse passes away.

For more information on The Marital Deduction and implementing other tax savings ideas as part of your Estate and Tax Planning, contact Daniel A. Baron of Baron Law to maximize tax savings upon your passing.  Contact us today at 216-573-3723.

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QDOT – What is it and should I have one?

Cleveland, Ohio estate planning attorney, Daniel A. Baron, offers information on a Qualified Domestic Trust and the benefits realized from including this as part of your Tax and Estate Planning:



The specific goal of a Qualified Domestic Trust (or QDOT) is to defer Federal Estate Tax on assets which are transferred from a spouse who is a US Citizen upon their death to the other spouse who is not a citizen of the US. If your marriage consists of both a US Citizen and a non US Citizen and your assets are minimally several million which the non US Citizen spouse has the possibility of inheriting,  it would be wise for you to secure a Qualified Domestic Trust.

What are some of the tax issues for spouses who are not US Citizens?

In the absence of Qualified Domestic Trust the non-citizen spouse now has to pay Federal Estate Tax on any assets transferred from the US Citizen spouse into the non-citizen spouse’s name, just as any other party who inherits assets from any other person when they pass.


What happens when no Qualified Domestic Trust exists and the spouse who is the

US Citizen passes away first?

If the surviving spouse is a non-citizen of the US, then as stated previously, Federal Estate Taxes will need to be paid on any assets which transfer to the surviving spouse. The surviving spouse would not have the unlimited Marital Deduction as it is should both spouses be US Citizens.  Paying the Federal Estate Taxes is the government’s way of collecting taxes so that the non-citizen spouse does not take all the assets back to their native country and avoid paying the necessary taxes.

There are two avenues which could be taken to avoid paying any inheritance tax:

  • Become a US Citizen
  • Set up a Qualified Domestic Trust

There are a number of requirements however set forth for set up a Qualified Domestic Trust after the spouse who is a US Citizen passes away, but it can be done. If your family situation is such that one spouse is a US Citizen and the other is not and has no intention of becoming one, it would be most advantageous for you to contact an Estate Planning Attorney to set up a Qualified Domestic Trust while you are both still living and of sound mind.

For more information on setting up a Qualified Domestic Trust as part of your Estate and Tax Planning, contact Daniel A. Baron of Baron Law to maximize your Federal Estate Tax savings upon your passing at 216-573-3723.