Cindy J. Ackerman, Attorney

Case Studies

A Sound and Sensible Business Transfer

Business owners were facing major challenges in transferring valuable businesses to the next generation, and they needed to avoid significant estate taxes and liquidity issues upon their deaths.  Moss & Barnett successfully transferred the enterprises without incurring any estate or gift taxes by using the following techniques: 

(1) converting the stock in the enterprises to voting and nonvoting stock;

(2) gifting a portion of the nonvoting stock to special trusts designed to reduce income taxes and provide protection for the benefit of the second generation; 

(3) selling a portion of the nonvoting stock to a specially designed trust that resulted in no income taxes payable on the gain resulting from the sale; and

(4) using significant discounts for lack of control and lack of marketability.

Sibling Will Dispute Resolved

We represented one of the disputing siblings in a family will contest, which involved claims that our client had forged the mother’s signature. During the trial in probate court, Moss & Barnett attorneys convincingly attacked the credibility and reliability of the other side’s handwriting expert during cross-examination, and eventually helped our client prevail.

Preserving Wealth in Charitable Giving

Maintaining large amounts in IRAs or other retirement plans, which are subject to income taxes and estate taxes upon death, can result in as much as 75 percent of those savings being paid to federal and state governments.  One solution Moss & Barnett estate planning attorneys have devised for many clients with charitable wishes is to create their own private foundation.  The foundation is named as the beneficiary of the IRA or retirement plan proceeds, and all income and estate tax on those proceeds is eliminated.  Clients’ families then have the full benefit of managing all of the funds to accomplish their charitable objectives.

Keeping a House a Family Home

Frequently, clients have valuable and highly sentimental residential property, such as a lake home or second home in a warmer climate.  We have assisted many families by developing trusts, limited liability companies, or other ownership vehicles to maintain those second homes indefinitely.  One key planning technique is to provide for proper funding of the expenses of the home, to help assure continuing family harmony in the use and enjoyment of those properties.