Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Estate Planning Advice from Influencers

 We now live in a world that's 240 characters or 90 seconds or less of information and gratification. Facts sometimes matter, but more often its shock, awe, and something off the wall that gets "likes". 

I used to have to battle the "estate planner at Golden Corral" seminar where an elderly couple gets sold an overpriced "living trust" that is never completed but they paid thousand for a binder with a set of documents that normally they didn't need. Now its youtube and tiktok from some person in their parent's basement telling you how the tax code works. 

Old man rant over, but I'm getting a couple calls a week or a text/email with a link to some internet person who has the key to a magical trust where you don't have to pay taxes anymore and the government can't touch your money forever. 

These are not real. Sure, you can have a (insert random state) irrevocable/statutory trust with a (insert another random state) LLC inside a pumpkin on top of a rainbow. But what will you have at the end of the day? Something that cost you more than nothing, and not the thing you hoped for. 

Look, I try to stay on the cutting edge of this stuff. I don't want to pay taxes, and I don't want you to pay them either. Until a better solution comes, we are stuck. Let's minimize them and take advantage where we can, but there is simply not a magic solution that makes all your taxes go away. You will have to file and pay something, unless you have corresponding credits, deductions, or other offsets. Consider the cost of annual tax returns before you set up that new trust or LLC.

The basic rules still apply- limit your liability wherever you can. Have an entity structure that provides governance, rules, and succession if something goes south. Just please, before you go down a social media rabbit hole, consider the source, consider the cost, and analyze exactly what you are trying to accomplish.