Family Law Wills, Trusts, & Estate Planning

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Appellate Court Notes

?AC35507 - State v. Wright - ?AC35289, AC36395 - Southport Congregational Church-United Church of Christ v. Hadley - The doctrine of equitable conversion did not apply when the decedent contracted to sell real...more

Video Clip: Family Wants Access to Son’s Digital Data After Death

Minnesota’s KMSP-TV Fox 9 News ran a video story on September 9, 2014, by Ted Haller about a family wanting access to their deceased nineteen-year-old son’s digital data. They have been seeking access to his text messages,...more

September 2014 Estate Planning Update: When to Review and Update Your Estate Plan

Have you recently married or gotten divorced? A change in marital status definitely warrants another look at your estate plan. If a person gets married and fails to update their estate plan, it can result in the new spouse...more

If You Die Intestate (Without A Last Will And Testament), Will Your Same-Sex Spouse Be Considered A “Spouse” For Purposes Of...

Yes. One of the effects of the Whitewood decision is that same-sex spouses are considered a “spouse” for purposes of Pennsylvania’s intestate succession process. A person domiciled in Pennsylvania who dies without a will is...more

Unintended consequences: After divorce, review your estate plan to avoid surprises

The recently divorced have likely had their fill of legal documents and proceedings, but it’s important that they review their estate plan as soon as possible to ensure they’re protected against unintended consequences. This...more

Insight on Estate Planning - August/September 2014

In This Issue: - Unintended consequences: After divorce, review your estate plan to avoid surprises - Protecting your real estate assets - How will the GST tax affect your estate plan? - Estate...more

Designating Your Same-Sex Spouse as the Sole Beneficiary in Your Will

Estate planning can be a very stressful time for all married couples, especially when children and other relatives need to be considered. However, under normal circumstances, one need not be overly concerned with the...more

CFPB Clarifies Heirs, Divorcees and Estate Planning Transferees Are Not Subject to Ability-to-Repay Rules

The CFPB issued an interpretive rule to clarify that when a borrower dies, the name of the borrower’s heir generally may be added to the mortgage without triggering the Bureau’s Ability-to-Repay rule. This clarification will...more

Spotlight on Mississippi: Domestic Asset Protection Trust Legislation

Mississippi recently became the 16th state to pass legislation permitting the creation of domestic asset protection trusts. The new law was effective July 1, 2014. Under the new Mississippi Act, a domestic asset...more

Colorado Court Leaves Valuation Question Unanswered When Valuing GRAT Appreciation

On March 20, 2014, the Colorado Court of Appeals, in Malias v. Malias, upheld the trial court’s determination that grantor retained annuity trust (GRAT) remainder interests were “property interests” for property division...more

Control Is Everything

In Private Letter Ruling 201423043, (“PLRs” only apply to the taxpayer involved but are often used as “guidance”, and not “precedent”, by taxpayers and the IRS.) the IRS ruled that a surviving spouse could roll over her...more

Does the settlor of a trust have standing to seek its enforcement in the courts?

As a general rule, any beneficiary of a trust would have standing to seek its enforcement in the courts. The Restatement (Third) of Trusts is sending mixed signals as to whether the settlor of a trust, qua settlor, would have...more

Your dead ex-spouse's debt can become your problem

This CNN Money Article features quotes by Kirton McConkie attorney Geoff Germane. If you're divorced and your ex-spouse dies, you might find yourself dealing with a range of emotions. You might be surprised to learn...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

Gift tax Consequences of Real Estate Transfers

Often times, one partner in a same-sex couple owns real property and seeks to add the other partner to the title or deed for no consideration (i.e. when no money or other type of payment is received in return). Though this...more

June 2014 Estate Planning Update: Short-term Guardians for Minor Children

Nevada law (NRS 159.205) allows parents to appoint short-term guardians for their minor child(ren) without the approval of the court so long as the parent has legal custody. The short-term guardianship can last for up to six...more

The confusion being engendered by the Uniform Trust Code’s default trust-revocation methodologies (§ 602(c)).

In the pre-Uniform Trust Code UTC), unless the terms of a revocable inter vivos trust provided otherwise, the trust could not have been revoked by the settlor’s will. A will speaks at the time of the testator’s death, an...more

"Insights" Newsletter - Spring 2014

In this issue: - Supply Chain Finance as the "New Normal" - Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Implements Regulations for Covered Mortgage Loans - Arbitration Guidelines - Navigating Foreclosure...more

Privacy or Property? Arizona Court Adopts Post-Mortem Right of Publicity In Intra-Family Online Dispute

The right of publicity, i.e., the right not to have others appropriate your name or image for commercial purposes, is an odd duck. It was described by Professor Prosser in 1960, and later in the Restatement of Torts, as of...more

Baby Boomers: California Dreaming Requires Planning When Divorcing

There are 80 million Baby Boomers and they are getting divorced in record numbers. Recent and newsworthy divorces in this demographic involved Al and Tipper Gore, and the unforgettable daily onslaught of Frank and Jamie...more

Is a quiet (silent) trust illusory?

Is a quiet or silent trust illusory? The question is intentionally ambiguous. Is the question whether the trust itself is illusory, or just its quietness? A quiet or silent trust has been defined as “an irrevocable trust...more

LLC Preferred Interest Qualifies For Marital Deduction

In a recent private letter ruling, the question was raised whether an LLC interest that received a preferred return with additional LLC cash flow going to other common interests could qualify for the marital deduction if...more

Could it be that the Uniform Trust Code would effectively immunize the trustee of a revocable inter vivos trust from liability for...

Section 603 of the Uniform Trust Code provides that while a trust is revocable and the settlor has capacity to revoke the trust, rights of the beneficiaries, such as the equitable remaindermen, are subject to the control of,...more

Who Gets Your IRA? – Six Common Mistakes

Do you want your heirs to have to chase after your 401K or IRA money? It is important to make sure you have an up-to-date beneficiary form. On January 26, 2009, the United States Supreme Court unanimously ruled in the case of...more

Distributions From A Texas Trust Deemed Separate Property

Conventional wisdom is that a spouse’s earnings from separate property are community property. But it’s not that simple. In Benavides v. Mathis a Texas court denied wife Leticia’s claim to one-half of the income derived from...more

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