Constitutional Law Wills, Trusts, & Estate Planning

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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

Bankruptcy Bleak House—The Limited Ability of Bankruptcy Courts to Enter Final Judgments

In Stern V. Marshall, ____ U.S ___, 131 S. Ct. 2594 (2011), the Supreme Court held that bankruptcy courts cannot issue final judgments on state law counterclaims even though they are “core proceeding”. Stern V. Marshall is...more

Is a human corpse property that can be made the subject of a trust?

While a pet may be put into a trust, its human owner may not be. Nor under traditional principles of property and trust law may the corpse of a deceased human being be made the subject of a trust. Charles E. Rounds, Jr.,...more

The Woodward Case: Guidance to Trustees on Their Duties Under the Massachusetts Prudent Investor Act

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court recently ruled that, with few exceptions, trustees have a duty to invest with inflation in mind. While not required to follow an investment advisor’s guidance, they can’t ignore the...more

Federal Practice & Bankruptcy: SCOTUS on Bankruptcy: Jurisdiction and Inherited IRAs Clarified

In a rare burst of bankruptcy enthusiasm, the US Supreme Court in June issued two decisions on matters important to the administration of bankruptcy cases. In re Bellingham, decided June 9, addressed a seemingly...more

Lift of Prohibition on Same-Sex Marriages in Pennsylvania Provides New Estate Planning Opportunities

On May 20, 2014, in the case of Whitewood v. Wolf, Judge John E. Jones III of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania struck down Pennsylvania’s ban on same-sex marriages. Like many of the rulings...more

Religious Institutions Update - April 2014

Does a closely held for-profit corporation have a constitutionally or statutorily protected right to exercise religion under the Free Exercise Clause or the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA)? The U.S. Supreme...more

Illinois Trust Taxation Deemed Unconstitutional

Ruling creates planning opportunities to minimize income taxes. In Linn v. Department of Revenue, the Illinois Fourth District Appellate Court reviewed the state’s statutory framework for taxing trusts. Linn v....more

Standing: How Much Is A Ticket To The Dance?

The purpose of this article is to explain the concept of “standing” in probate and guardianship actions, to discuss how the topic should be raised, and to provide some specificexamples of situations where the standing of a...more

Estates Are Claimants Entitled to Rebates

In a four to three decision, the en banc Commonwealth Court held that a senior citizen’s estate was entitled to a rebate under the Senior Citizens Property Tax and Rent Rebate Assistance Act, 53 P.S. §§ 6926.1301-6926.1313...more

CalPERS May Calculate Retirement Benefits for a City Council Member Separately From His Benefits as a City Employee

A city administrator-turned-elected city council member believed his retirement benefits would be based on his highest salary multiplied by all his years of service, including his years on the city council; however CalPERS...more

IP/Entertainment Law Weekly Case Update for Motion Picture Studios and Television Networks -- January 30, 2014

Smith v. Sunshine Sound Enterprises, Inc., USCA, 11th Circuit, January 22, 2014 - Eleventh Circuit reverses dismissal of estate’s claims for copyright infringement, holding that songwriter who assigned his legal rights...more

Motion to Strike Under Anti-SLAPP Statute Erroneously Granted in Connection With Conversion, Unjust Enrichment and Breach of...

A motion to strike under California’s anti-SLAPP statute was filed in response to a lawsuit initiated by beneficiaries against a trustee and executor of an estate. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit...more

Equal Tax Treatment for Same-Sex Couples in the Wake of Recent Supreme Court Ruling and IRS Guidance

Same-sex marriages now are being recognized under federal tax law for the first time. In June 2013, the Supreme Court released its decision in United States v. Windsor, 530 U.S. 12 (2013), declaring Section 3 of the federal...more

Federal Tax Law Changes and Opportunities for Same-Sex Married Couples

What you need to know: As the result of the Supreme Court’s recent decision in United States v. Windsor and a subsequent ruling by the IRS, same-sex couples who are legally married in a jurisdiction that recognizes...more

Pennsylvania Tax Developments - A Reed Smith Quarterly Update (3rd Quarter 2013)

This is a brief update on recent Pennsylvania tax developments. It is intended to provide an overview of issues and cases to watch, as well as administrative and legislative developments. ...more

All Federal Benefits Apply To Same-Sex Marriages

Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which, for federal purposes, defined marriage as between one man and one woman. United States v. Windsor, 570 U.S. ____...more

Wealth Management Update - September 2013

The September §7520 rate for use with estate planning techniques such as CRTs, CLTs, QPRTs and GRATs is 2.0%, which is the same as the August rate and an increase from July's rate of 1.2%. The applicable federal rate ("AFR")...more

The Post-DOMA World Relating to ERISA-Governed Employee Benefit Plans

As a result of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor, 133 S. Ct. 2675 (2013), in which the Court held that Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”) was unconstitutional, same-sex...more

Legal same-sex marriages to be recognized for federal tax purposes

A new federal policy will allow legally married same-sex couples to get the same federal tax benefits as married heterosexual couples. The policy applies even if the same-sex couple lives in a state that does not recognize...more

Estate Planning Opportunities Arising from Recent Revenue Ruling Concerning Marriages of Same-Sex Couples

Revenue Ruling 2013-17 - On August 29, 2013, the US Department of the Treasury (“Treasury”) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Revenue Ruling 2013-17 (the “Ruling”) holding that, for purposes of...more

Supreme Court’s Windsor Decision May Create Opportunities for Tax Savings

The Supreme Court’s recent Windsor decision, overturning a section of the Defense of Marriage Act, may allow significant tax savings for certain married same-sex couples. In light of the decision, married same-sex couples,...more

The Impact of the Supreme Court’s Windsor Decision — Death Benefit Goes to Spouse in Same Sex Marriage

See how the Supreme Court’s June 26, 2013 United States v. Windsor decision, which concluded the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutionally restricted spousal benefits to members of the opposite sex, affects ERISA beneficiary...more

Federal Income Tax Implications of Supreme Court Decision United States v. Windsor

The U. S. Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor, 570 U.S. ___ (2013) implicates important changes to the interpretation and administration of federal tax laws (including, income, gift and estate taxes). On June...more

Rhode Island, Same Sex Divorce and Portability: Imperfect Together

Rhode Island, Same Sex Divorce and Portability: Imperfect Together by James F. McDonough, Jr. on August 13, 2013 Rhode Island Governor Chafee issued an executive order directing the state to recognize same-sex marriages...more

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