Family Law Wills, Trusts, & Estate Planning Tax

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Does a Tenant Cohabitate?

Marital agreements and trust agreements often employ the term “cohabitate” or “cohabitation.” Typically, these agreements provide for the end of trust distributions, alimony, occupancy of property, or other benefits, when the...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

How to Answer the Top Five Legal Questions You Will Get from Family Members at Holiday Gatherings

1. Should Mom and Dad give us the house as a gift now so that they don’t have to “give it to the government” later? This is a common question that involves technical medical assistance rules. Generally, the best way to...more

The liability of a trustee who honors a fraudulent exercise of a power of appointment

A trustee who transfers trust property to a permissible appointee for the benefit of an impermissible appointee such that the fraud on a special power doctrine is implicated incurs no liability as a consequence, unless the...more

How to Avoid Estate Taxes if You Have a Non-Citizen Spouse

In our last blog post, we discussed estate taxes, federal gift taxes, and how non-citizen spouses are treated differently in the eyes of the law. Unfortunately, while husbands and wives can leave an unlimited amount of money...more

The Marital Deduction: A Valuable Estate Planning Tool

The federal estate tax marital deduction is one of the most important estate planning tools available to a married couple. The basic marital deduction rule is that, upon the death of the first spouse, the value of any...more

The Unlimited Marital Deduction & Non-Citizen Spouses

Especially if you have significant wealth, planning carefully for your future and the future of your loved ones is vital. Although many people are familiar with the basics of estate planning, from drawing up a will to naming...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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s Not Too Late to Use Your Spouse’s Unused Estate Tax Exclusion

In Revenue Procedure 2014-18 the IRS provided an extension of time to those who wished to be sure that a decedent’s surviving spouse could benefit from the concept known as “portability”. In the Procedure, the IRS provides...more

2014 Tax Update Letter

Dear Clients and Colleagues, This letter is an update on the most recent gift and estate tax developments, including new provisions applicable to same-sex couples, and presents our current thinking regarding wealth...more

Simplified IRS Relief for Same-Sex Couples and Others

On January 27, 2014, the Internal Revenue Service announced in Revenue Procedure 2014-18 a simplified procedure for certain estates to make a late portability election under section 2010(c)(5)(A) of the Internal Revenue Code....more

"Portability" and Your Estate Plan

“Have you heard about portability?” “What does it have to do with my estate plan?” These are two questions we often hear from clients. “Portability” allows a widow or widower, in most cases, to add any unused estate...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

The charitable corporation: A trust in disguise?

The charitable trust can have certain practical advantages over the charitable corporation, at least in some quarters and under certain circumstances. Operational simplicity and low-cost maintenance are some of the pluses....more

The constructive general inter vivos power of appointment: A trap for the unwary trustee and his counsel

The constructive general inter vivos power of appointment is the product of the marriage of power of appointment doctrine and creditors’ rights doctrine. It is a topic that is taken up in §4.1.3 of Loring and Rounds: A...more

McNees Insights - Asset Planning & Federal Taxation: Fall 2013

In This Issue: Timely Year-End Tax Planning Can Reduce Taxes; Income Tax Cost Basis Planning; and Marriage and Taxes in 2013. Excerpt from Timely Year-End Tax Planning Can Reduce Taxes - Year-end tax...more

Marriage and Taxes in 2013

Two significant events in 2013 underscored the nexus of marriage and taxes that make it possible for many couples to radically simplify their estate planning. ...more

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