To try to show the dynaimcs behind the delay of the estate tax return, the letters about the reasons given to the IRS for the delay; the appraisal, gifts, and debt, are grouped below. Please judge for yourself.
(1) Does division and delay divert attention from the actual money trail?
(2) Does it look as if the accountants use a trusting family member to frame another family member to make it appear that the family, rather than the accountants, is responsible for the division and delay?
I don't understand the timing:
Gift of $15,000.
I was lucky; I was forewarned. Innocent Jean Nader had me sent me a copy of Edward White's 1992.05.04 letter ("If we have knowledge of a gift to Tony of $15,000, we must report it. Tony is going to have to answer that question before we can be satisfied. If he claims he did not receive the money, he will have to supply us with an affidavit to that effect.."). I called the CPA firm and asked the receptionist for a copy of the 1988 gift tax for Jean O'Connell and the receptionist sent me a copy. So after receiving Edward White's letter of July 16, 1992 ("At any time prior to your mother's death did you receive in any one or more calendar years, gifts from her totaling more than $10,000.00? If you did, please list the dates and amounts of each gift."), I had a copy to send him. There is no reason that I should have had a copy of the 1988 gift tax return prepared by Joanne Barnes for Jean O'Connell. I could never have convinced innocent Jean Nader that it was not my fault if I could not have gotten a copy.
Gift(?) of vehicle.
This is complicated and is addressed in depth where I address Note 7. Based on the accountant's Note 7 at Bk467p194, and the following document Edward White had my sisters sign when he apparently meet with them personally:
"AGREEMENT CONFIRMING DISTRIBUTION OF VEHICLE
We, Jean M. Nader and Sheila O'Connell-Shevenell, hereby confirm that one 1988 Plymouth Van was distributed to our brother, Anthony M. O'Connell by the Estate of Jean M. O'Connell, and that we hereby confirm and agree to that distribution. We further confirm and agree that this distribution shall not be charged against Anthony M. O'Connell's share of the estate and that the remaining net proceeds of the estate after settlement of all debts and obligations shall be divided in three equal shares.
DATE: May 1, 1992
Jean M. Nader (seal) Sheila O'Connell (seal)"
The vehicle was apparently treated as a gift. I was surprised to see Note 7 because I had sent Edward White the original receipts signed by my sisters where they had each sold me their interest in the vehicle for one dollar. The sale did not create any accounting entanglements. As a gift the accountants apparently treat it as Edward White described in his May 4, 1992, letter to innocent Jean Nader:
"The summary of the estate tax computation and the interplay of the gift tax is as follows: 1. In computing the estate tax, the gross estate (which includes anything which passes due to death whether in the probate estate or not) is figured, the debts subtracted and the "taxable estate" is ascertained.
2. The tax is then computed on the taxable estate. From this figure is subtracted a "unified credit" of $192,800 (equivalent to a taxable estate of $600,000).
3. Lifetime gifts in excess of $10,000 to any one individual are taxable at the estate/gift tax rates. Each year the donor should have filed a gift tax return, though no Lax is due unless the entire $192,800 credit has been used in making the gifts.
4. Each gift over $10,000 uses a portion of the unified credit, thus reducing the amount of that credit available to apply to the estate tax.
In our case the lifetime gifts used up $9784.00 of the available credit. A list of the gifts is enclosed. Returns for 1989 and 1991 must be filed. As fiduciaries we must certify to the IRS that the return is true and correct. We have personal liability in that regard. If we have knowledge of a gift to Tony of $15,000, we must report it. [Gifts] Tony is going to have to answer that question before we can be satisfied. If he claims he did not receive the money, he will have to supply us with an affidavit to that effect."
Edward White instructions to the family says that an Estate accounting and return cannot be done without an accounting from the Trust. This is not true. The Trust and the Estate are two separate entities.The Trust is not responsible for the Estate's accounting. The Estate's relationship to the Trust is similar to any other entity that pays the Estate interest, such as a bank. To put this in perspective, substitute the word "bank" for "trust". Try to imagine the accountants treating the managers of a bank as they do the Trustee of the Trust. I am not responsible for the Estate's accounting.
The accountants used this special trust accounting (prepared by Joanne Barnes) to create accounting entanglements between the estate and the trust and the beneficiries and Jean O'Connell as an individual. See "Edward White's letter of May 19, 1992 ("Are there any other debts which your Mother owed the Trust"), and Joanne Barnes's [assistant Forest Balderson] letter of February 12, 1993.
Their accounting entanglements are ubiquitous and cover the accounting trails at Bk467p191 and have put our sale of Accotink on hold for 18 years now.
I don't understand why Joanne Barnes, who did the accounting for the trust for 1991, created the debts that Edward White asks about, or why Edward White asks me, instead of Joanne Barnes, to explain them. I don't understand why I am made to appear responsible forJoanne Barne's accounting.
The trust, like the estate, is terminated when the paperwork is done. I don't understand why Joanne Barnes who is doing the accounting for the estate and the trust is silence on this. Can we get Joanne Barnes to take an position on this?