Wills, Trusts, & Estate Planning Updates

Read Wills, Trusts, & Estate Planning updates, articles, and legal commentary from leading lawyers and law firms:
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Wealth Management Update - April 2015

Obama Administration Announces Revenue Proposals - The Obama Administration has recently announced its Fiscal Year 2016 Revenue Proposals in its annual "Greenbook." The Greenbook sets forth the Administration's proposals...more

Planning for Incapacity

While an estate plan has obvious uses - i.e., planning for the disposition of estate assets after the death of a testator - some of the lesser-known benefits of a well-written plan are the provisions that provide for both...more

High Net Worth Family Tax Report, Vol. 10, No. 1

Recent Case Illustrates Importance of Keeping Legal Entities in Good Standing - A recent United States Tax Court case illustrates the importance of keeping legal entities in good standing. In Medical Weight Control...more

Tax Policy Update

NUMBER OF THE WEEK: 6.5 percent. The tax rate at which companies could voluntarily repatriate their foreign earnings under the Invest in Transportation Act of 2015 (S. 981). Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Rand Paul (R-KY)...more

West Virginia Becomes Latest State to Adopt Asbestos Transparency Legislation

On March 15, 2015, West Virginia became the fourth state to enact legislation aimed at increasing transparency between the civil tort and asbestos bankruptcy trust systems. Senate Bill 411, also known as the Asbestos...more

Estate Planning for Man’s Best Friend

Did you know that you can provide for your four-legged family members in your estate plan? Plans can be as informal as an agreement with a friend or family member to care for your pet when you are unable, or as formal as a...more

No Federal Estate Tax?

On April 16th, 2015 the U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to repeal the federal estate tax. Is this the death knell for the death tax? Probably not this year. But if there is a Republican President after...more

House Approves Estate Tax Repeal, Permanent Extension of State and Local Tax Deduction

The House today passed the Death Tax Repeal Act (HR 1105) and the State and Local Tax Deduction Fairness Act (HR 622). The two bills would repeal the estate tax and the generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax (but not the gift...more

Unclaimed Property Audits: Don’t cheat on escheat!

The Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts has contracted with out of state third parties to perform unclaimed property audits on holders of property. National banks are subject to these reviews provided there is “reasonable...more

Special Needs Trust Fairness Act Reintroduced in Congress

After falling short in the previous Congress, Congressmen Glenn 'GT' Thompson (R-Pa) and Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) recently introduced the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act of 2015, a bill designed to make it easier for people...more

A Trust May Be Subject to California Income Taxation if the Trustee Resides in California

California aggressively taxes non-grantor trusts. A non-grantor trust with a California resident trustee may be subject to California income taxation even if none of the assets of the trust are located in California, none of...more

Ruling Highlights the Need for Testamentary Intent for Holographic Codicil

Last month, the Fairfax, Virginia Circuit Court issued a written opinion that, while it does not break new law in Virginia, illustrates how a writing must demonstrate “testamentary intent” to qualify as a valid holographic...more

60 Crummey Withdrawal Beneficiaries Allowed

For many years, courts have recognized that gifts to a trust can qualify for the gift tax annual exclusion as “present interest” gifts if withdrawal powers are granted to beneficiaries.The IRS is hostile to persons being...more

Recreational Vehicles and Government Benefits Are Not a Walk in the Park

If you own or are thinking of owning a recreational vehicle (RV), you need to consider the vehicle's impact on your government benefits, especially Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid....more

Tax Policy Update

NUMBER OF THE WEEK: $1.4 Trillion. The estimated total of individual income taxes the Internal Revenue Service is expecting to collect on April 15. The U.S. House of Representatives has returned from recess and is planning to...more

Estate Planning for Your Digital Assets

If you use a computer, you likely have digital assets that should be addressed as part of your estate planning. Access to digital assets is governed by an evolving and complicated technical and legal framework, including...more

QTIP Trust Frequently Asked Questions

QTIP trusts are excellent options for a number of married couples, especially those who have been married two or more times, or those with blended families. However, not many people understand what a QTIP trust is, what the...more

Life After Death: No Longer Inconceivable

Recent legislation provides a framework for inheritance rights of children conceived after the death of one or both parents in very specific circumstances....more

California Estate Planning Myths & Misconceptions (Part 2)

In our last post, we outlined four common myths surrounding estate planning in California. Today, we’ll look at four more common misconceptions that we hear in our office from individuals new to estate planning....more

Deceased Employee's ADA Claim Becomes Property of Estate

What happens when a plaintiff pursuing a disability discrimination claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act dies during administrative or judicial review? Are the claims of such a personal nature that they expire along...more

Special Needs Trusts and Financial Aid: What Should Applicants Do?

Out of all of the stress-inducing steps in the college application process, the financial aid application may be the most confusing and stressful of all, especially when an applicant can't afford to attend college without...more

California Estate Planning Myths & Misconceptions (Part 1)

One of the reasons that far too many people don’t take care of their basic estate planning needs is that they hold common misconceptions about what estate planning is, how it works, and whether they need to worry about it....more

Copyright Co-Owner’s Ability to Grant an Exclusive Right to a Third Party - Corbello v. DeVito

Revisiting the issue of a copyright co-owner’s right to grant an exclusive right to a third party, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit clarified its prior ruling in Sybersound v. UAV, and explained that a...more

Estate Planning Pitfall: You haven’t named backup beneficiaries

To ensure that a person’s wealth is distributed according to his or her wishes, it’s important to designate both primary and secondary (or “contingent”) beneficiaries for a will, trusts, retirement plans and life insurance...more

Avoid state income taxes with an incomplete nongrantor trust

Now that the federal gift and estate tax exemption has reached an inflation-adjusted $5.43 million, many people are shifting their estate planning focus to income tax reduction. One potentially attractive strategy for...more

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