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Scott T. Ditman, CPA/PFS

Scott T. Ditman, CPA/PFS
Scott T. Ditman, a tax partner and Chair, Personal Wealth Services at Berdon LLP, advises high net worth individuals and family/owner-managed business clients on building, preserving, and transferring wealth, estate and income tax issues, and succession and financial planning.
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Recent Posts

T&E TALK: Appointing the Right Trustee for Your Living Trust Provides Peace of Mind

Posted by Scott T. Ditman, CPA/PFS on Jan 8, 2018 9:21:00 AM

A living trust is a cornerstone of many estate plans. During your life, you can serve as the trustee and manage the assets just as you would if you owned them outright. However, you must choose a trustee to oversee and administer the trust after your death (and during your lifetime, should you become unable to act as trustee).

Trustee Job Description

  • Manage all trust assets, perhaps including securities and business and real estate interests, until they’re distributed;
  • Maintain detailed records and prepare transaction statements;
  • Handle collections, distributions and payments;
  • Ensure all tax returns are prepared and filed; and
  • Settle the trust.

In addition, the trustee must be available to respond to all inquiries from beneficiaries.

Trustee Types to Consider

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Topics: T&E TALK

T&E TALK: Address Your Pet in Your Estate Plan Using a Pet Trust

Posted by Scott T. Ditman, CPA/PFS on Jan 2, 2018 7:00:00 AM

A pet is often considered a member of the family. So if you want to ensure that a beloved pet is cared for after you’re gone, one way is to make provisions for your pet through a trust.

This legally sanctioned arrangement allows you to set aside funds for the animal’s care. After the pet dies, any remaining funds are distributed among your heirs as directed by the trust’s terms.

Pet Trust in Action

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Topics: T&E TALK

T&E TALK: Who Should be the Guardian of Your Minor Children?

Posted by Scott T. Ditman, CPA/PFS on Dec 18, 2017 7:00:00 AM

If you have minor children, arguably your most important estate planning decision is choosing a guardian for them should the unthinkable occur.  It’s critical to put much thought into this decision to ensure your children would be cared for as you wish in such a situation.

Evaluating Candidates

Here are a few issues to consider when evaluating potential guardians:

  • Do they want to serve as guardians?
  • Does your estate plan provide sufficient resources so that caring for your children won’t cause an economic hardship?
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Topics: T&E TALK

T&E TALK: Second Marriage? Time to Update your Estate Plan

Posted by Scott T. Ditman, CPA/PFS on Dec 11, 2017 7:03:00 AM

If you’re in a second marriage or planning another trip down the aisle, it’s vital to review and revise (if necessary) your estate plan. You probably want to provide for your current spouse and not inadvertently benefit your former spouse. And if you have children from each marriage, juggling their interests can be a challenge. Let’s take a look at a few planning tips.

Take Inventory

Have you updated your will, trusts, and beneficiary designations to name your current spouse where desired? Bear in mind that the terms of your divorce may require you to retain your former spouse as beneficiary of certain pension plans or retirement accounts.

Next, assess your financial situation and think about how you want to provide for various family members. For example, do you want to provide for all children equally? Will you favor biological children over stepchildren?

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Topics: T&E TALK

T&E TALK: Make the Holidays Bright with Annual Exclusion Gifts

Posted by Scott T. Ditman, CPA/PFS on Dec 4, 2017 7:02:00 AM

As the holiday season approaches, gift giving will be top of mind. While gifts of electronics, toys, and clothes are nice, making tax-free gifts of cash using your annual exclusion is beneficial for both you and your family. Even in this potentially changing estate tax environment, making annual exclusion gifts before year end can still benefit your estate plan.

Understanding the Annual Exclusion

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Topics: T&E TALK

T&E TALK: Tax Reform and Estate Planning - What’s on the Table?

Posted by Scott T. Ditman, CPA/PFS on Nov 27, 2017 10:30:52 AM

As Congress and President Trump pursue their stated goal of passing sweeping new tax legislation before the end of the year, many taxpayers are wondering how such legislation will affect them. One area of particular interest is estate planning; specifically, the future of gift, estate and generation-skipping transfer (GST) taxes.

Potential Estate Tax Law Changes

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Topics: T&E TALK

T&E TALK: Consider a Letter of Instructions to your Heirs

Posted by Scott T. Ditman, CPA/PFS on Nov 20, 2017 7:03:00 AM

When you draft your estate plan, the centerpiece is your will or living trust. Such a document determines who gets what, where, when, and how, as well as tying up the loose ends of your estate. A valid will or living trust can be supplemented by other legally binding documents, such as trusts (or additional trusts), powers of attorney and health care directives.

But there’s still a place at the table for a document that has absolutely no legal authority: a “letter of instructions” to your heirs. This informal letter can provide valuable guidance and act as a road map to the rest of your estate.

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Topics: T&E TALK

T&E TALK: Leverage the Benefits of a Charitable Remainder Trust

Posted by Scott T. Ditman, CPA/PFS on Nov 13, 2017 7:00:00 AM

If you’re charitably inclined but concerned about having sufficient income to meet your needs, a charitable remainder trust (CRT) may be the answer. A CRT allows you to support a favorite charity while potentially boosting your cash flow, shrinking the size of your taxable estate, reducing or deferring income taxes, and enjoying investment planning advantages.

How a CRT Works

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Topics: T&E TALK

T&E TALK: A Dynasty Trust keeps on Giving Long into the Future

Posted by Scott T. Ditman, CPA/PFS on Nov 6, 2017 7:05:00 AM

With a properly executed estate plan, your wealth can be enjoyed by your children and even their children. But did you know that by using a dynasty trust you can extend the estate tax benefits for several generations, and perhaps indefinitely? A dynasty trust can protect your wealth from gift, estate, and generation-skipping transfer (GST) taxes and help you leave a lasting legacy.

Dynasty Trust in Action

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T&E TALK: Who Should Own Your Life Insurance Policy?

Posted by Scott T. Ditman, CPA/PFS on Oct 30, 2017 7:00:00 AM

If you own life insurance policies at your death, the proceeds will be included in your taxable estate. Ownership is usually determined by several factors, including who has the right to name the beneficiaries of the proceeds. The way around this problem is to not own the policies when you die. However, don’t automatically rule out your ownership either.

It’s important to keep in mind the current uncertain future of the estate tax. If the estate tax is repealed (or if someone doesn’t have a large enough estate that estate taxes are a concern), then the inclusion of your policy in your estate is a nonissue. However, there may be nontax reasons for not owning the policy yourself.

Plus and Minuses of Different Owners

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Topics: T&E TALK

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