You are not my estate lawyer, finance lady, or tax guy. Can you help me find that person?
June 1, 2012 2:44 PM Subscribe
Grandma set up an uneven trust and we want to distribute it equally. Who do we talk to and what do we ask them? Questions about imbalanced inheritances, DIY redistribution of wealth, and taxes within...
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (14 answers total)
Situation: My father passed away recently, and a trust that his mother set up is being disbursed to my half-sister and me in the next 1-3 months. The total amount of the trust is about $108k (before assorted administrative fees, TBD, are taken out).
For reasons known only to her, my grandmother set up the trust to go 3/4 to me and 1/4 to my half-sister. I'd like to divide the money equally (unsurprisingly, half-sister is also ok with this plan). The bank which administers the trust says they can't change the distribution, so it's up to us to do it independently. I'm in Massachusetts and my half-sister's in New York; the trust was set up in New Jersey but is now administered by a big nationwide bank with offices in Philadelphia.
This is my first time being An Heiress and I could use some guidance. It's understood that you are not my lawyer, finance lady or tax guy; I'm looking for help finding the right person and asking them the right questions.
Things I'm considering now:
-Is it worth revisiting the distribution issue with the bank to see if there's a way they can divide things 50/50? They told me their hands are tied legally by the trust; could a financial or legal expert achieve different results?
-What are the income tax implications from receiving an inheritance from a trust, and what is the best way to minimize them? (Half of the trust is about a years' salary for me, so if it's counted as income it's a significant jump.)
-If I transfer a big chunk of what I inherit to someone else, what's the best way to estimate the taxes I'll be asked to pay on that particular chunk of money, as opposed to the inheritance I keep and my usual income, so that we can account for it fairly?
-I understand that there's a gift tax which I'm responsible for if I give an individual more than $13,000 in a year - what's the best way to avoid/minimize gift tax issues in this case, especially given that I would prefer to transfer all the money at once?
I'm happy to read answers/theories on the questions above, but what I could most use help with are:
-What type of expert or experts should I enlist to help walk me through this process - lawyer? Accountant? Financial adviser? Other?
-What vital questions have I neglected to consider?
Thanks for your help, AskMe!