Attention, trust-fund babies: Now, you can have your cake and eat it, too. Thanks to a recent Internal Revenue Service ruling, the owners of a popular breed of trust -- irrevocable grantor trusts -- can now cover their trust's income-tax tab without fear of repercussions. Why pay someone else's taxes? Because if a trust owner (a parent or grandparent, perhaps) writes a check to Uncle Sam, the trust doesn't have to, leaving more money for heirs. Another benefit is that by paying the income taxes, trust owners can reduce their taxable estates, says Jere Doyle, a senior director at Mellon's Private Wealth Management Group.
The best part: It's all tax-free. Until now, the IRS hadn't clarified whether it considered the tax payment subject to a gift tax of up to 49%. But in its recent ruling, the agency indicated that no gift is involved. Still, for trusts drafted after Oct. 4 of this year, the ruling contains a caveat: If the trust is required to reimburse the owner for the tax bill, the trust's value will be included in the owner's estate.
Remember when electric fans were about as low tech as you could get? Not anymore. The Deluxe Spire Feel-Good Fan from Sharper Image (SHRP) ($100, sharperimage.com), a slim, vertical model, blows out negative ions to freshen stale air. (Fresh air has a higher concentration of negative ions -- oxygen molecules with an extra electron attached.) Lasko Group's Night Watch Pedestal Fan ($35, www.laskoproducts.com) has a digital thermostat you can set so the fan shuts off if temperatures drop. And if you want to cool off outside, Hammacher Schlemmer's Cool Mist Outdoor Fan ($150, hammacher.com) connects to a garden hose and sends out a superfine mist.
From a nude, androgynous figure dancing along the Great Wall to a crumbling old building set against a stark modern skyscraper, the images in a new exhibit on China reveal a society in transition. "Between Past and Future: New Photography and Video from China" features 130 works by 60 young Chinese artists. It's on view through Sept. 5 at New York's International Center for Photography and the Asia Society & Museum, with different works at each. Then it travels over the next two years to Chicago, Seattle, Berlin, and Santa Barbara, Calif. For a preview and a calendar of the tour, visit icp.org.
If you're looking to book a vacation with the kids, Zagat's new U.S. Family Travel Guide just made it easier. Based on surveys of 11,000 parents, the guide rates 554 family attractions by child appeal, adult appeal, public facilities, and service. It also reviews 150 family-friendly hotels and 1,152 restaurants.