One guarantee of states and municipalities across the United States is a type of probate court, which allows people to legally take responsibility for assets that used to belong to someone else. Each jurisdiction has its own rules and laws to follow, which often deal with how assets are divided or distributed when there is no directive from the deceased person.
It is rare but reasonable that a decision on the federal level changes how estates are managed or planned by savvy strategists. One recent example is the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which included a provision raising the minimum for estates taxed by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
A recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling underwhelmed many observers by having a limited effect on the estate planning landscape. The case in question centers around a trust with a value in excess of $1.3 million which had not made any payouts to beneficiaries. The state of North Carolina had imposed taxation on the trust because some of the potential beneficiaries resided there.
The highest court in the nation ruled this could not happen because the residence of named beneficiaries who had not yet received payouts was not strong enough to warrant taxation. The trustee resided in Connecticut and had full control of the funds available.
Unusual legal precedents and rules are one of the reasons that you should have an experienced attorney help you develop your estate plan. They can help resolve any fears or questions about the fate of trusts and other financial instruments as well as the assets included in the plan.