Natalie Choate

Natalie Choate

Natalie Choate, an estate planner and retirement benefits attorney, is author of Life and Death: Planning for Retirement Benefits and The QPRT Manual, both leading resources for estate planning professionals. She is America’s leading speaker on estate and distribution planning for retirement benefits and has taught hundreds of seminars to audiences who want to get the most out of their IRAs, 401(k)s and other retirement plans. Learn what’s new and what’s on the horizon in estate and distribution planning for retirement as Choate explains what Congress and the IRS have done for (or to) our retirement benefits.

Choate, former chairman of the Boston Bar Association State Planning Committee, which she founded in 1981, is a former Regent of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and currently serves as Chairman of its Employee Benefits Committee. A member and former officer of the Boston Probate and Estate Planning Forum, Choate has been named “Estate Planner of the Year” by the Boston Estate Planning Council, and was one of the first ten attorneys to receive the “Distinguished Accredited Estate Planner” award from the National Association of Estate Planners and Councils. She serves as editorial advisor for several professional periodicals including Trust and Estates, Ed Slott’s IRA Advisor, The Leimberg Information Service Employee Benefits Newsletter and Keeping Current, as well as a monthly column on retirement benefits for MorningstarAdvisor.com.

PROGRAM TOPICS

Roth-Ready… for 2011 and Beyond!
Everything you need to know about Roth retirement plans, to help your clients decide on, implement, or undo a Roth conversion. Roth IRAs, offering tax-free distributions and no required distributions during the participant’s life, are now available to high-income clients. To help you advise your clients regarding this significant planning opportunity, Natalie Choate explains the rules and shares expert tips about:

  • How to create a Roth IRA
  • Designated Roth accounts (“Roth 401(k)s”)
  • How the minimum distribution rules apply to Roth IRAs
  • How to get a “free” (or cheap) Roth conversion
  • Beneficiary Roth conversions
  • Estate planning with Roth IRAs
  • Which clients should (and should not) “go Roth”
  • How to undo a Roth conversion
  • Roth time bombs to avoid

When Insurance Products Meet Retirement Plans
The special tax rules that apply when a life insurance or annuity contract is held inside a retirement plan. Does your client own (or is he/she considering purchasing) an insurance policy or annuity inside a retirement plan? If so, then you need to know the special rules that apply to plan-owned products, including:

  • Tax treatment of plan-owned life insurance during employment
  • Tax treatment of plan-owned life insurance at employee’s death
  • How to “roll out” an insurance policy at retirement
  • The three different valuation rules for plan-owned annuities
  • Minimum distributions and “annuitized” IRAs
  • Scams and abuses to avoid
  • Which products can (and cannot) be held in a plan or IRA
  • Positive planning uses for life insurance and annuities in connection with retirement benefits

Lifetime Distribution Strategies for Retirement Benefits
Help your clients make tax-smart decisions regarding their retirement plan distributions. Learn how to grab the special tax deals and avoid the penalties including:

  • Three decisions at retirement (taking “LSD,” life insurance “roll out,” and defined benefit options)
  • Grandfather rules: Does your client have a pre-1987 403(b) balance or a TEFRA 242(b) election?
  • Ten things you must consider when a client is rolling money from one plan to another
  • What to do the year the client turns 70½ — and what to do the year before!
  • The best way to take required and non-required distributions
  • Reasons to take out money BEFORE you have to
  • The Roth IRA conversion decision

Understanding the Minimum Distribution Rules: The Estate Planner’s Guide to “Stretch” IRAs
The minimum distribution rules for retirement benefits are key to minimizing income taxes for your clients and their beneficiaries. Learn how your client’s benefits can qualify for the “stretch” life expectancy payout, and how to avoid missed deferral opportunities and costly penalties. Natalie explains:

  • How to compute required distributions, during participant’s life and after death
  • When distributions must start
  • Why the lifetime rules are a good deal for retirees (and their estate planners)
  • The post-death options for spouse, children, trust, or estate named as beneficiary
  • Effect of the one-year suspension of required distributions in 2009

Case Studies in Estate Planning for Retirement Benefits: Practical Ideas for Real Life Situations
Learn how to integrate retirement benefits into the typical estate plan. What approaches are available for the client whose major asset is an IRA or other retirement plan, and who wants to:

  • Use both spouses’ estate tax exemptions (the “credit shelter trust” problem)
  • Reduce estate taxes while deferring income taxes
  • Leave benefits to in trust for spouse (the “QTIP trust” problem)
  • Leave benefits to multiple children with each using his/her own life expectancy
  • Leave benefits to minor children

The 3 Whys, 8 Hows, 7 Whiches, and 9 Whens
Help your charitably-inclined clients save money while doing good. Learn:

  • Three reasons to fund charitable gifts with retirement benefits
  • Eight ways to leave retirement benefits to charity
  • The seven types of charitable entities (such as public charity, private foundation, charitable lead or remainder trust); which ones are (and are not) suitable as beneficiaries
  • Four situations in which charitable giving helps solve benefit-planning problems
  • Five scenarios for lifetime giving with benefits

Death and Taxes: The Inherited Retirement Plan
As more retirement plan owners die leaving significant plan benefits to heirs, the question of how to advise the decedent’s survivors, executor and trustees grows in importance. This seminar explains:

  • Estate tax valuation: are discounts available?
  • When and how a beneficiary should disclaim inherited retirement benefits
  • 6 differences between an inherited IRA and a regular IRA
  • Minimum required distributions — for year of death (and later)
  • How multiple beneficiaries can establish “separate accounts”
  • Rollovers and plan-to-plan transfers
  • Don’t forget the “IRD deduction”
  • Advising a surviving spouse
  • Cleanup strategies when the decedent named the wrong beneficiary

The 194 Best & Worst Planning Ideas for Your Client’s Retirement Benefits
Your clients are bombarded with dreams and schemes designed to reduce the tax value of their retirement plans. Learn which ideas work, which ones probably don’t, and which will win your client a midnight visit from the IRS. Plus, learn the tried and true estate planning practices, the nifty distribution tricks used by those in the know, and cutting edge ideas for the daring. Seminar outline provides a handy checklist of almost 200 ideas — what each idea is, whether it works or not and where to find out more details; plus, thumbnail “client profiles,” so the reader can go right to the ideas that his/her clients should consider. This seminar can emphasize areas of particular interest to your particular audience group (such as life insurance planning, trust drafting, Roth conversions, estate planning or lifetime distributions). Seminar Handouts Offered

What Congress, the Courts, and the IRS Have Done to Our Retirement Plans in the Last 12 Months
Learn what’s new and what’s on the horizon in estate and distribution planning for retirement benefits. Natalie Choate explains what Congress, the courts, and the IRS have done for (or to) our retirement benefits in the last year, including:

  • Suspension of required minimum distributions for 2009
  • “Bailout” and “Stimulus” bill provisions impacting retirement benefits
  • IRS pronouncement on “Rollovers as Business Startups”
  • Charitable IRA rollovers
  • Trends in IRS Private Letter Rulings
  • Roth plans for everybody! Preparing for 2010 (when the income ceiling disappears), and how to use the new 401(k)-direct-to-Roth IRA rollovers

A Workshop for Lawyers and CPAs: Pros, Cons, and Pitfalls of Naming a Trust as Beneficiary, Including the IRS “MRD Trust Rules”
How the IRS’s minimum distribution rules apply to retirement benefits payable to trusts. The five “trust rules” you must not ignore. How to be sure the trust you draft or review is “safe” under the IRS’s rules. How trust accounting rules apply to retirement benefits under the new Uniform Principal and Income Act and otherwise. This 1-hour seminar can be expanded to a 2-hour or 4-hour seminar. The expanded versions are suitable for audiences of primarily or exclusively attorneys since greater emphasis is placed on drafting considerations and technical tax issues. If you want to use the 2-hour or 4-hour version, it is suggested that this be the only topic of the day, since these longer versions duplicate parts of other Choate seminars.

 

Full Biography

Natalie B. Choate practices law in Boston, Massachusetts, with the firm of Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP. Her practice is limited to consulting on estate planning and retirement benefits matters. Her books Life and Death Planning for Retirement Benefits and The QPRT Manual are leading resources for estate planning professionals.

Miss Choate is a former chairman of the Boston Bar Association Estate Planning Committee, which she founded in 1981. She is a former Regent of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and former Chairman of its Employee Benefits Committee. She is a member and former officer of the Boston Probate and Estate Planning Forum. She was named “Estate Planner of the Year” by the Boston Estate Planning Council, and was one of the first 10 attorneys to receive the “Distinguished Accredited Estate Planner” award from the National Association of Estate Planners and Councils. She is listed in The Best Lawyers in America.

She is an editorial advisor for several professional periodicals: Trusts and Estates, Ed Slott’s IRA Advisor, The Leimberg Information Service Employee Benefits Newsletter and Keeping Current. Her articles have been published in ACTEC Notes, Trusts and Estates and Estate Planning magazine. She is a contributing author and former coeditor of the book Drafting Wills and Trusts in Massachusetts. She authors a monthly column and podcast on retirement benefits for MorningstarAdvisor.com.

Miss Choate has taught professional-level courses in estate planning for ALI-ABA (the American Law Institute-American Bar Association), American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, International Association of Financial Planners, MCLE, the Boston and Massachusetts Bar Associations, and other organizations, and has spoken at the Heckerling, Notre Dame, Heart of America, New England, Southern California, Mississippi, Southern Federal, and many other Tax Institutes. She has lectured in 49 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Her comments on estate and retirement planning have been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, Forbes, Financial Planning, USA Today, and Financial World magazines.

From 1990 to 1992, Miss Choate served as Chairman of the Boston Bar Association’s ERISA and Employee Benefits Law Committee. A Boston native, she is a graduate of Radcliffe College and Harvard Law School.