Estate Planning, Trusts, and Tax Program
For beneficiaries of trust assets looking to increase their competence in the areas of trusts and estate planning, this self-paced, online learning program is designed specifically for you. With coursework that progresses from more basic to rigorous content, students of all knowledge levels gain an understanding of estate planning, trusts, and trust administration, as well as practical guidance on how to work effectively with advisors to a trust. This targeted learning experience features engaging content such as movie excerpts, a celebrity interview, reviews of famous people’s wills, readings from industry experts, articles, real-life case studies, and applied learning homework assignments that increase retention. Students have the option to enroll and continue their education in the Accredited Beneficiary Stewardship Program to pursue the Accredited Beneficiary designation without penalty.
This program is comprised of nine courses and introduces intermediate level content on the legal structure and tax considerations for U.S. estate planning, trusts, and tax planning.
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This learning program is ideal for the adult who is interested in learning more about the mechanics of estate planning, how trusts are structured and operate and a deeper understanding of the U.S. tax system. The concepts covered are specific to beneficiaries in the U.S., as this learning program does not cover international jurisdictions and planning considerations. The courses are delivered in English, and there is no assumption that a beneficiary has knowledge about the family’s current estate plan, trust structures, or knowledge of tax history and policy.
This learning program benefits those who want a stronger foundation in estate planning goals, techniques, and process. Further, the trust course aids learners regarding the various types of trust structures, how they are set up, administered, taxed, and monitored. The tax course provides insights to tax history, tax forms, and the application of tax considerations to a learning case study. The learner will benefit from the applied nature of the content to start and enhance their relationship with the various parties to a trust.
Outline of Lessons
Introduction to Estate Planning - Course 1
Course 1 of the Introduction to Estate Planning course reviews the five estate planning phases and the five basic goals of the iterative estate planning process. Triggering events that impact estate planning, either anticipated or unanticipated, are discussed. Further, outside influences such as tax law changes and economic downturns, family culture influences, the concept of “ruling from the grave,” and modern perspectives with a timely example of an inheritor are explored.
Introduction to Estate Planning - Course 2
Introduction to Estate Planning Course 2 introduces estate planning as both an efficient and effective means of passing along property. The course explores how, through estate planning, grantor’s may express their intention around what they leave to beneficiaries. This course also explains the critical documents to estate plans including power of attorney, living wills, healthcare power of attorney, and advanced directives.
Introduction to Estate Planning - Course 3
Introduction to Estate Planning Course 3 focuses on wills, including their key components to making them valid, the process of establishing a will, the dangers of not having a will, and what may happen if someone passes without a will. This course discusses all aspects of the process of establishing an estate plan and the important decisions that must be made in doing so. Finally, the course reviews the methods in which an estate may allocate assets, as a means to understand the intentions of the individual passing on property and potential issues of fairness and equity over generations.
Trust Fundamentals - Course 1
In Course 1 of Trust Fundamentals, both the purpose of trusts and the history of trusts, dating back to the Roman Empire and the Crusades, are reviewed. The course proceeds with the nuts and bolts of the primary trust categories, trust income distribution categories, and complex trust language. Students learn about the main parties to a trust as well as the additional parties to a trust, either individuals or corporate. The role of a trustee in a dynastic family trust is explored through a fictional case of a family grappling with complex estate planning issues.
Trust Fundamentals - Course 2
Trust Fundamentals Course 2 describes the forms that trusts can take and the different types of trusts in each category that have different rules, terms, tax consequences, purposes, powers, and limitations. By the end of this course, students will know how a trust can substitute for and can be used with a will, how a trust interacts with a power of attorney, and the laws that govern the lifecycles of trusts.
Trust Fundamentals - Course 3
Trust Fundamentals Course 3 explores the most widely used type of trust, irrevocable trust structures and it is variations in greater detail. How these trusts can be used to achieve philanthropic, asset protection, wealth transfer, and legacy goals is discussed. Students will learn about “The Principle of Future Interests” as it relates to the wishes of grantors. Finally, the course reviews some of the legal background for trusts and critical case law that have influenced trust law.
Foundations of Tax - Course 1
In this course, the complex and ever-changing world of taxes is introduced. Students learn about the history and evolution of taxes in the United States. An overview is provided of the conceptual underpinnings of the U.S. tax code, the most common taxes and tax forms, and how recent tax law changes have affected some taxpayers. Learning from this course is put into action with a tax mini-case and wraps up with an overview of tax planning tips and key dates to remember.
Foundations of Tax - Course 2
This course focuses on the taxes that specifically impact estates, trusts, and wealth transfers. The origins of these taxes are explored as well as their intentions. Taxes for beneficial owners are more complex than for most Americans. With an understanding of these taxes and one’s beneficial asset holdings, beneficiaries can work more productively with their trust advisory team. To this end, students will begin to learn about the tax landscape they face and how to take a more strategic approach through tax planning.
Foundations of Tax - Course 3
In this course, the different types of entities that accomplish both tax-related and non-tax related goals are discussed. Students explore how flow through entities, such as LLCs, LPs, and S-Corps, and non-flow through entities, such as C-Corps, achieve goals for business owners. In addition, an overview is provided of private foundations and public charities, including their pro's and con's, and the key differences between the two to help guide philanthropic goals.