Constitutional Law Wills, Trusts, & Estate Planning

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Bank of America as Trustee v. Commissioner of Revenue: Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Will Hear Case in 2016

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) will hear the appeal of Bank of America against the Massachusetts Commissioner of Revenue in 2016. The SJC accepted Bank of America’s application for Direct Appellate Review on...more

IRS Proposed Regs Redefine the Terms “Husband” and “Wife”

The Supreme Court has recently struck down state bans on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional in Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 US ___ (2015), after previously striking down the federal exclusion of same-sex couples from...more

Treasury and the IRS Issue Proposed Regulations Implementing Supreme Court Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

In recent guidance, the Department of Treasury and the IRS issued proposed rules that clarify under the Internal Revenue Code (Code) that the terms “spouse” and “husband” and “wife” refer to individuals who are lawfully...more

The Bank of America Case: May Massachusetts Tax the Trust Fund Income of Non-Resident Families with Unborn and/or Unascertained...

Background - Before addressing the Bank of America case, it is necessary to understand the Massachusetts taxation of trustees and their beneficiaries, which is described in 830 CMR 62.20.1: Income Tax on Estates and...more

Some Tax Implications of Same Sex Marriage

By now, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges holding that the Fourteenth Amendment requires all states to license a marriage between two people of the same sex has been widely reported upon, including in...more

Trusts Find Shelter from State Taxes in State Courts

In two recent cases, taxpayers have successfully challenged state taxation of trust income on the basis that the taxing states had a minimal connection to the trust. In The Kimberly Rice Kaestner 1992 Family Trust v. North...more

The Effect of Obergefell v. Hodges for Same-Sex Couples

issued on the second-to-last decision day of the term, and provides that same-sex couples have had a constitutional right to marry since at least the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment. This ruling may come as a surprise to...more

The Obergefell Decision and Property Considerations for Married Same-Sex Couples

In Obergefell v. Hodges, the United States Supreme Court, in a 5-4 opinion, determined that prohibitions on same-sex marriage are an unconstitutional infringement of Fourteenth Amendment rights. This decision throws the doors...more

U.S. Supreme Court Strikes Down State Laws Banning Same-Sex Marriage - Same-Sex Couples Should Review Their Estate Planning...

The recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, 135 S.Ct. 1039 (June 26, 2015),answered definitively the lingering questions following the Court’s decision last year in Windsor about whether states could...more

A Nationwide Right: Same-Sex Marriage Legalized in a Monumental Decision and its Impact on Estate Planning

June 26, 2015. A date that will undoubtedly be added to our history books and remembered for generations. This is because on this day, the Supreme Court of the United States guaranteed the right to same-sex marriage...more

U.S. Supreme Court Holds Same-Sex Marriage To Be a Fundamental Right

The United States Supreme Court issued its opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U.S. ___ (2015) on June 26, 2015. In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court held that the Fourteenth Amendment requires a State to license a marriage...more

Moving Toward True Marriage Equality

With the recent decision of the U.S. Supreme Court, same-sex couples now have the freedom to marry, and divorce, throughout the Country. There is finally marriage equality. Certainly, being able to marry is important...more

Supreme Court Approves Same-Sex Marriage: Tax and Legal Implications for Same-Sex Spouses

On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court handed down its decision in the landmark case of Obergefell v. Hodges. The Court held that the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution requires all states to license a...more

Eight Key Estate Planning Opportunities Arising from the Supreme Court's Decision on Same-Sex Marriage

On June 26, 2015, the US Supreme Court ruled that a state ban on same sex marriage is unconstitutional, in violation of the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The landmark ruling in the combined cases known...more

Supreme Court Decides Wellness International Network, Ltd. v. Sharif

On May 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Wellness International Network, Ltd. v. Sharif, (No. 13-935), holding that Article III does not prevent bankruptcy judges from entering final judgment on claims that seek only...more

North Carolina Business Court Rules Tax on Trust Unconstitutional

The North Carolina Business Court held North Carolina’s taxation of a trust unconstitutional in Kaestner v. North Carolina Department of Revenue. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 105-160.2 imposes a tax on the undistributed income of a...more

North Carolina Court Holds Statute Taxing Trust Income Unconstitutional Kimberly Rice Kaestner 1992 Family Trust v. North Carolina...

On April 23, 2015, Judge Gregory P. McGuire of the Business Court division of the Superior Court of Wake County, North Carolina, issued a decision in the matter of the Kimberly Rice Kaestner 1992 Family Trust v. North...more

T&E Litigation Newsletter- April 2015

On April 6th the Appeals Court issued a decision concerning standing in guardianship proceedings under the Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code (“MUPC”) that may influence future cases involving the interpretation of other...more

Same-Sex Marriages Recognized for Inheritance and Realty Transfer Tax Purposes

In Inheritance Tax Bulletin 2015-01 and Realty Transfer Tax Bulletin 2015-01, issued on February 25, 2015, the PA Department of Revenue announced its policy concerning same-sex marriages and the impact of the May 20, 2014...more

Court Hears Arguments in Litigation Challenging the Constitutionality of North Carolina’s Taxation of Trusts

The Kimberly Rice Kaestner 1992 Trust (the “Trust”) originated from the Joseph Lee Rice, III Family 1992 Trust (the “JLR Trust”) created in 1992. The JLR Trust was created in New York when its initial trustee and settlor were...more

Debtor-trustees can run but they can’t hide behind the Fifth Amendment

Judgment debtors often try to use the Fifth Amendment’s privilege against self-incrimination to avoid post-judgment discovery of their assets and income. However, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri...more

Beneficiaries Lack Standing to Challenge Trustee's Actions in Bankruptcy Court

In a recent ruling on In re Land Securities Investors, Ltd., the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Colorado ruled that trust beneficiaries do not have standing to appear in a bankruptcy case even when the...more

U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Cases Regarding the Constitutionality of Same-Sex Marriage Bans

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear four cases from Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, and Tennessee, respectively, regarding the constitutionality of same-sex marriage bans by the states. ...more

Florida Becomes the 36th State to Allow Same-Sex Marriage

On August 21st, 2014, U.S. District Court Judge, Robert L. Hinkle, in the case of Brenner v. Scott, ruled that Florida’s constitutional and statutory bans on same-sex marriage were unconstitutional. Same-sex couples were...more

Arizona Court of Appeals Recognizes Right of Publicity While Protecting Free Speech in Precedent Setting Case

For the first time ever, an Arizona state court has recognized that individuals enjoy a right of publicity that protects them from the unauthorized use of their name or likeness for commercial or trade purposes. In its April...more

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