A Boutique Trusts & Estates Law Firm

Choosing a Crummey trust isn’t a crummy idea!

Friday, July 19th, 2013

Deriving its name from a taxpayer that succeeded in getting an annual exclusion when setting up a trust for his children, a Crummey trust can help shield money from gift and estate taxes if it is properly set up and administered.

Here is an example of how a Crummey trust works: Your estate planner will help you set up a trust that purchases a life insurance policy on your life. The insurance premiums will be funded by gifts that you place into the trust. Each year you are entitled to give as much as $14,000 per family member named in the trust. Because the trust owns the life insurance policy, the death benefits will eventually go to the trust and then get distributed to the trust’s beneficiaries, avoiding gift and estate taxes.

The only catch is administrative in nature. To receive the benefits of a Crummey trust, each year, the trustee must send out “Crummey letters” informing beneficiaries that they are entitled to withdraw the gifted amount for a certain period of time. This is because the IRS only considers a gift to be tax-free if the recipient has the right to take it. However, it is usually understood that Crummey rights will not be exercised. Therefore, the gift should remain in the trust until the time period to exercise the withdrawal right expires, when the funds can be used to pay premiums.

While a fairly recent case came down in favor of an estate that neglected to send out annual Crummey letters, it is always safest to use them. For a Crummey trust to work, these letters should be sent out and acknowledged by each beneficiary of the trust, and a record should be kept of this correspondence. This will ensure that there are no issues when the life insurance policy pays the trust, and the trust, in turn, distributes the funds to beneficiaries.

Frankel Sims Law assists its clients in preparing, mailing and maintaining records of Crummey letters. If you have questions regarding a new or existing Crummey trust, please contact us at (410) 828-7775.


For Immediate Release

Contact: Jane Frankel Sims


Contact: Frank Campbell


Sims & Campbell Estates and Trusts

Frankel Sims Law and Holden & Campbell
Merge to Form Sims & Campbell

Firm will offer comprehensive Trusts & Estates services through offices in Towson and Annapolis

TOWSON, Md. (April 26,2019)  Frankel Sims Law and Holden & Campbell have jointly announced the merger of their firms to create a boutique Trusts & Estates law firm providing comprehensive services in the fields of Estate Planning, Estate Administration, Trust Administration and Charitable Giving. The combined firm will be named Sims & Campbell and have offices in Towson, Md. and Annapolis, Md.  Jane Frankel Sims and Frank Campbell will lead and hold equal ownership stakes in the firm.

Sims & Campbell will have 9 attorneys and 15 legal professionals that handle every facet of estate and wealth transfer planning, including wills, revocable living trusts, irrevocable trusts, estate and gift tax advice, and charitable giving strategies.  The firm will focus solely on Trusts & Estates but will serve a wide range of clients, from young families with modest resources to ultra-high net worth individuals.  This allows clients to remain with the firm as their level of wealth and the complexity of related estate and tax implications change over time. 

“By joining forces, we have expanded our footprint to conveniently serve clients in Maryland, D.C. and Virginia” said Jane Frankel Sims.  We are seeing some of the greatest wealth transfer in our country’s history, and we want to continue to be on the leading edge of helping our clients maintain and enhance their family’s wealth.  In addition, we aim to serve our clients for years to come, and the new firm structure will allow Sims & Campbell to thrive even after Frank and I have retired.”    

“Jane and I have always admired each other’s firms and recognized the need to provide even greater depth and breadth of focused expertise to help families amass and protect their wealth from generation to generation,” said Frank Campbell.  “Now we have even greater capabilities to make a real difference for our clients.” 

The Sims & Campbell Towson office is located at 500 York Road, on the corner of York Road and Pennsylvania Avenue in the heart of Towson.  The Annapolis office is currently located at 716 Melvin Avenue, and is moving to 181 Truman Parkway in August, 2019.  For more information, visit www.simscampbell.law.