Wills, Trusts, & Estate Planning Updates

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News & Analysis as of

Is Attorney-Client Privilege Affected By Who Pays Counsel Fees?

After receiving great interest from our “Fiduciary Exception to the Attorney-Client Privilege” article, we provide this follow-up article to address a possible “exception to the exception” that may still protect documents...more

This is Why You Need a Will

Let’s talk title disputes, especially ones between those with record title and those claiming title by possession: - They are complicated (There were 229 defendants in today’s case) - They happen when there is a lot...more

Recent Tax Developments

The following is a summary of the most important tax developments that have occurred in the past several months that may affect you, your family, your investments, and your livelihood. Please call us for more information...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

Status Updates - July 2014 #9

..According to a current study by Bank of America, Americans are very closely attached to their smartphones. Of those surveyed, 85 percent said they check their phone at least a few times a day and 35 percent say they check...more

Charitable Trusts and Estate Planning

There are a number of ways in which clients can incorporate their desire to benefit charities into an estate plan. At the most basic level, the Internal Revenue Code (the “Code”) generally provides for a federal estate tax...more

Estate Planning Is Not Just for the Rich and Famous

It can be hard to get folks to think about estate planning—especially the younger ones in the beginning stages of their careers. They believe that there will be many changes in their life before end-of-life planning becomes...more

Reporting Foreign Account Gifts

One of the areas of inquiry that is certain to receive increased attention by the IRS and Department of Justice (DOJ) is the claim that the funds in offshore accounts were the result of a “gift”. The proper documentation of...more

Transitioning the Family Business to the Next Generation

The transition of a family owned business involves a variety of legal and tax issues. While most business owners plan to avoid taxes and develop creditor protection strategies, business owners also should be focused on...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

Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (UFADAA)

On July 16, 2014, the Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (UFADAA) was passed by the Uniform Law Commission. My colleague Gene Hennig and I originally proposed this uniform law in May of 2011, and I’m very happy...more

Fourth Circuit Rejects Widow’s Claim for Equitable Relief

The Fourth Circuit recently rejected fiduciary breach and equitable estoppel claims for life insurance coverage by Leslie Moon, the widow of a deceased employee, who claimed that the employer’s actions resulted in Mr. Moon’s...more

Five Estate Planning Tips to Prepare For Your Upcoming Trip

After surviving this past winter’s polar vortex, it is hard to believe that summer is flying by and that vacation season is in full swing. Summer vacation, or any trip, is a great opportunity to relax and recharge by spending...more

CERCLA Contribution and Trust Funds: A Matter for State Law

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York recently held that the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), commonly known as Superfund, does not require contribution from...more

Are Inherited IRAs Exempt Property in California Bankruptcy?

The law says that retirement funds are exempt property in bankruptcy, but the Supreme Court has held that this exemption doesn’t apply to inherited IRAs. End of story? Not quite....more

For Love or Charity – A Charitable Bailout Using Charitable Remainder Trusts for the Sale of a C Corporation

I have personally observed in my professional travels that many taxpayers are reluctant charitable donors. However, we you remind a business owner that they only have three choices when it comes to taxes (1) Pay yourself;...more

How to Fight a STOLI Scheme: Court Rulings Offer Clues

Two recent court decisions provide potential road maps for insurers in the fight against Stranger-Originated Life Insurance (STOLI) schemes. Ohio Nat’l Life Assurance Corp. v. Davis involved a STOLI scheme so obvious that...more

New Statutory Elective Share for Surviving Spouses in Rhode Island

A surviving spouse’s rights and interests to assets of a deceased spouse have been clarified and expanded by a new spousal “elective share” statute in Rhode Island (R.I.G.L. § 33-28-1 et. seq.). ...more

“Ladybird Deed” Language Removed from Michigan Tax Guidelines

Many people have heard of a "Ladybird Deed," but few understand how Ladybird Deeds work. In essence, this type of deed allows property to pass automatically upon an individual's death without the need of probate, offering a...more

False Foreign Gift Claims and Wire Fraud

A scheme that some dual national taxpayers have used involves claiming exemption from foreign jurisdiction taxation because they are U.S. taxpayers and then not reporting the offshore account or its income as required by U.S....more

New Yorker Cartoonist Lauds Elder Law Profession in Interviews About Her Book

The popular New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast has created a graphic memoir of coping with her parents’ final years, titled Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? The book has received widespread attention and critical...more

My parents died and now their creditors are calling me to pay their debts!

When your parents die owing money, are you responsible for paying that money back?...more

Cutting Your Kids Out of $300MM: That Stings a Little

Legendary rock artist Sting recently acknowledged that his fortune of approximately $300MM will not be passing to his six children. In a recent interview with the U.K.’s Daily Mail, Sting said that he told his children not...more

5 Questions to Ask Before Making Gifts for Medicaid or Tax Planning

Many seniors consider transferring assets for estate and long-term care planning purposes, or just to help out children and grandchildren. Gifts and transfers to a trust often make a lot of sense. They can save money in taxes...more

Swimming in the Deep End – The Surprising Utility of Pooled Income Funds for High Net Worth Tax Planning

Overview - The old cliché about Charity is that “Charity begins at home.” The federal government has always recognized the social benefit of providing tax incentives for individual and corporate taxpayers in order to...more

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