One of the last and easier parts of Iraivan Temple is the flooring of the second prakaram, the 4,000 square-foot area between the perimeter wall and the main area of the temple (known as the first prakaram). The plan is to install two-by-two-foot handsome red granite tiles one inch thick. They will have a “flamed” finish, a process that seals the stone and slightly roughens the surface—a critical detail as they may often be wet from our frequent rains. Like the first-prakaram floor, this floor will slope toward drains so water does not accumulate. One of the major projects completed in 2016 was the installation of 12-inch-diameter piping that carries the drain water to southern hill slopes. Inset among the red stones will be 32 white-granite stones made in Bengaluru. Twenty-nine will be 24-inch squares, and three will be 48-inch squares. Each will have a unique kolam design carved on the surface. One has already arrived on Kauai and is pictured below. All thirty-two pieces will be completed at the same time as the perimeter wall. The pavers in the first prakaram, under the temple roof, were set on a bed of six inches of sand. These second-prakaram stones, exposed to the weather, will be set in mortar which cannot wash out in the heavy rain.
The 32 kolams (rangoli in Hindi) were selected from our large set of designs that the Ganapati Kulam has collected and created over the years. Kolams are traditional Indian decorations created during festivals or weddings, using plain or colored rice powder, pulse grains or flower petals (as in the photo below). Like the sand mandalas of Tibetan Buddhists—though nowhere near so complex—they are meant to be kept for just a few days. Iraivan’s kolams in stone will be a good deal more permanent!
Building Fund Donations
Thanks to Our August Temple Builders in 14 Countries
Twelve Month Summary: For the twelve months of September 2015 through August 2016, our minimum monthly building-fund goal was $780,000. Excluding contributions directed toward special project expenses, we received actual contributions of $799,872.40.
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How a Marital Bypass Trust May Save Thousands in Taxes
Dhaval and Radha’s attorney warned them to protect their $5 million estate with a marital bypass trust.
“What’s a marital bypass trust?” Radha asked during their first visit to his office.
“It’s the same as a credit shelter trust or an A-B Trust.”
“Yes, but what is it and what does it do?”
“Look at Dhaval,” the attorney said gesturing toward her husband. “Imagine him carrying a sack marked ‘$2 million’ over his shoulder. Dhaval dies. Not only he passes from this life, but so does that $2 million, unless you have a marital bypass trust.”
“But I thought on the death of the first spouse the surviving spouse got everything,” Dhaval said. “That’s true,” the attorney answered. “And if the surviving spouse is a US citizen, he or she gets everything free of federal estate tax. But that $2 million is not $2 million in cash or property; it’s a $2 million exclusion from estate tax.”
“But why do we need estate tax protection if everything passes to the surviving spouse tax-free?” Radha asked, wondering now why all this was so complicated.
“Because the day of reckoning has only been postponed, not eliminated,” the attorney explained.
“On the death of the second spouse, the estate becomes vulnerable to estate tax. Without a marital bypass trust, you will have lost one-half of the estate tax protection you have as a married couple.”
“So what should we do?” Dhaval asked. He had begun to tally in his mind the tax on $2 million of their estate that could be transferred tax-free.
“Here’s what I propose,” the attorney offered, looking up from his yellow legal pad where he had roughed out the $800,000-plus tax savings a marital bypass trust would provide. “I’ll write your estate plan so that the surviving spouse may either take the entire estate directly or choose to place part of the estate into a marital bypass trust. The choice will be yours, and you can make it depending on the size of your estate at that time and the current laws.”
“Since I have coronary artery disease, the bypass trust will be well named,” Dhaval quipped.
“Yes,” the attorney mumbled with a weak smile.
“Puns aside, the bypass trust will eventually pass to your children, but in the meantime the trust assets are invested exclusively for the surviving spouse who receives all the income and can invade principal if his or her health, education or welfare is at stake.”
Leaning toward the couple for emphasis, he added: “The fact that the surviving spouse does not directly own what’s in the marital bypass trust preserves the decedent’s $2 million exclusion from estate tax, or whatever that exclusion is at time of death.”
“But what if the trust grows beyond exclusion amount?” Dhaval asked.
“It doesn’t matter. The full amount in the trust, whatever it ends up being, is completely protected.”
Leaving the attorney’s office, Dhaval and Radha felt slightly woozy. Why, they wondered, did so much of their children’s inheritance depend on such obscure points of law? Still, it was helpful to have such sophisticated options.
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