Wills, Trusts, & Estate Planning Updates

Read Wills, Trusts, & Estate Planning updates, articles, and legal commentary from leading lawyers and law firms:
News & Analysis as of

California Passes Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act

On September 24, 2016, the Governor of California approved the California Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act, which “would authorize a decedent’s personal representative or trustee to access and manage...more

It's Time For Your Buy-Sell Checkup!

Shareholders, Partners and/or LLC members of any closely-held or family-held company should check the buy-sell formula contained in their Shareholder Agreement (sometimes called a Buy-Sell Agreement), Partnership Agreement or...more

New Delaware Unclaimed Property Decision Further Complicates Landscape

Another federal judge slams Delaware’s unclaimed property audit methodology but rejects the holder’s reliance on the priority rules as a defense to the audit demands. See Marathon Petroleum Corp. et al. v. Cook et al., No....more

Appellate Court Notes

Supreme Court Advance Release Opinions: SC19586 - Harrington v. Freedom of Information Commission - The Court started off by saying..... We have not previously had occasion to squarely address..... [this]...more

IRS Proposes Regulations That Would Increase Wealth Transfer Taxes in Family-Controlled Entities

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) proposed regulations on August 2, 2016, under which transfers to family members of interests in family-controlled entities — including partnerships, limited liability companies (LLCs) and...more

Exclusion for Qualified Small Business Stock

The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act, passed in December 2015, extended an often overlooked provision of the tax code with the potential to provide significant savings to small business owners and non-corporate...more

Texas Fiduciary Litigation Update: 2015-2016

The fiduciary field in Texas is a constantly changing area. Over time, statutes change, and Texas courts interpret those statutes, the common law, and parties’ documents differently. This paper is intended to give an update...more

The Four Corners Of The Trust Instrument Get Tighter

When a court is called upon to decide a trust dispute, it starts by looking at the intent of the settlor. Invariably there is some statement about the court being bound by the “four corners” of the trust. Only if the language...more

Proposed regulations will significantly impact the valuation of interests in many family-controlled entities

New rules have been proposed by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) which would regulate the valuation of transfers of business interests between family members. Based upon recent interpretation, it appears that the IRS is...more

Where Do Our Presidential Candidates Stand on Estate Tax?

Both presidential candidates have proposed changes to the estate tax regime. Coming as a surprise to nobody, the proposals are quite different....more

Hillary Clinton Advises of Changes She Would Make to the Estate Tax Rate

And its not downward – surprise! Last week, Hillary advised that she would like to move the highest estate tax rate from its current 40% to 65%. ...more

Jointly-Owned Property: Not Always the Right Plan

For any number of reasons, you have decided to add a partner, child, or close friend as a joint owner on one or more of your assets. Perhaps you are concerned about becoming disabled, and want to know that your loved one can...more

Proposed Regulations Under IRC Section 2704 Seek to Eliminate Discounts on Transfers of Family Business Interests

On Aug. 2, 2016, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service released proposed regulations under Internal Revenue Code (Code) section 2704 (the “Proposed Regulations”). The Proposed Regulations, if finalized in...more

Mission Near Impossible - Reliance on Professionals Defense to Late Filing and Payment Penalties

An estate sought relief for $1.189 million in penalties for the late filing of a Form 706 and the late payment of estate taxes when the filing and payment were over a year late. The U.S. District Court granted the...more

Estate Planning Valuation Discounts Under Section 2704: An Update

For about a generation, families have taken minority discounts when valuing interest in closely-held businesses for estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer tax purposes. This popular estate planning technique is often...more

Projected Inflation-Adjusted Estate, Gift and GST Tax Exclusion Amounts for 2017 Now Available

Based on the Consumer Price Index for the 12-month period ending August 31, 2016, Thompson Reuters Checkpoint has released their projected inflation-adjusted Estate, Gift, GST tax, and other exclusion amounts for 2017, as...more

IRS Proposes Valuation Discount Regulations: Implications for Family-Controlled Businesses

IRS issues new proposed rules aimed at eliminating valuation discounts for transfers of interests in family-controlled entities. Clients considering making transfers of interests in such entities should act soon....more

Who Would Inherit Darth Vader’s Estate?

Who would be the beneficiary of the estate of Darth Vader? The answer is more than just an exercise in Star Wars fiction; in fact, the answer can teach us important lessons about estate disputes in our real world....more

Valuation Discounts to Family-Controlled Entities in Peril Under Proposed IRS Regulations

On August 4, the Internal Revenue Service finally issued much anticipated proposed regulations under Section 2704 of the Internal Revenue Code, which regulations are intended to significantly limit taxpayers' ability to apply...more

IRS Provides Sample Language for “Qualified Contingency” to Meet “Probability of Exhaustion Test”

One of the many requirements that a trust must meet in order for it to qualify as a Charitable Remainder Annuity Trust (“CRAT”) is the “Probability of Exhaustion Test”. This test applies to CRATs whose annuity term is based...more

New Law Deals With Digital Assets After Death

In an article earlier this year we noted that at a large number of states had introduced legislation to address an emerging issue that is unique to our Information Age: how will our digital assets be accessed and used (or...more

Deloitte’s $500 Million Sentence

We have assisted many accounting firms in the creation or revision of their client engagement letters. They very often question the need to include certain provisions intended to limit their liability to their clients and...more

New Treasury Proposed Regulations: Bad for family farms

In transferring the ownership of family farms to the next generation, it is common to take advantage of certain valuation discounts in making transfers. The Department of Treasury recently released proposed regulations under...more

Health Care E-Note - September 2016

In an article published in the September 2016 MASA Newsletter, Jim Hoover and Angie Cameron Smith discuss how physicians should properly respond to subpoenas and requests for patients’ health information. They stress how...more

Understanding the Tax Consequences of Inheriting a Roth IRA

Passing down a Roth IRA can seem like a good idea, but it doesn't always make the most sense. Before converting a traditional IRA into a Roth IRA to benefit your heirs, you should consider the tax...more

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