Wills, Trusts, & Estate Planning Civil Procedure

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Wealth Management Update - February 2016

February Interest Rates for GRATs, Sales to Defective Grantor Trusts, Intra-Family Loans and Split Interest Charitable Trusts - The February § 7520 rate for use with estate planning techniques such as CRTs, CLTs, QPRTs...more

The Double-Fraction Dilemma: Intent-Focused Inquiry Prevails

As the oil and gas industry has moved away from the legacy of the 1/8th royalty, double-fraction language has generated a multitude of disagreements as to whether a royalty interest should be construed as "fixed" or...more

Fiduciaries And Beneficiaries Should Be Aware Of Criminal Statutes

There are several criminal statutes that implicate fiduciary activities in Texas that are not well-known: misappropriation of fiduciary property and financial exploitation of the elderly. Though these may be similar in some...more

“No Contest” Clauses Part 3: The Rafalko Dissenting Opinions

This is the third in a three-part series of blog posts on “no contest” clauses. In this post, I’ll discuss some of the key points in the dissenting opinions in the recent Virginia Supreme Court ruling in the Rafalko case (777...more

Avoiding the Upsurge in Trust, Probate and Estate Planning Malpractice

The number of lawsuits against trust, probate and estate planning attorneys has significantly increased over the last several years. Today, trust, probate and estate planing attorneys are charged with legal malpractice and...more

Alert: The Importance of Beneficiary Designations

Who really benefits? You may be surprised! If you participate in a 401(k) or other retirement plan, have one or more IRA accounts, or life insurance policies, you need to designate beneficiaries to receive the benefits...more

Lodestar Methodology for Determining Reasonable Attorney Fees is Rejected

Fla.Stats. §736.0708(1) tells us that unless the trust agreement says different, "a trustee is entitled to compensation that is reasonable under the circumstances." The statutes do not tell us how to compute what is...more

Taxpayer Prevails in Family Limited Liability Company Case

In a recent taxpayer victory, the Tax Court found in favor of the taxpayer with respect to three hotly contested gift and estate planning issues involving family limited liability companies. The Tax Court decided the case of...more

FERC dam license transfers, death and estates

What happens when an individual person dies holding a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission license for a hydroelectric project? While their will may specify an heir for the dam and project works, the process of inheriting a...more

2016 Tax Update Letter

Re: 2016 Tax Update - Dear Clients and Colleagues: This letter is an update on the most recent estate and gift tax developments and serves as a follow-up to our previous annual tax updates....more

Court Affirmed Judgment That A Deed By A Trustee Without Specifying The Trustee’s Capacity Transferred Trust Property

In West 17th Res. LLC v. Pawelek, children of a grantor sued the grantees, alleging that the grantor did not convey a trust’s ownership interest in the property because the grantor did not indicate her capacity as a trustee...more

Court Disqualified Attorney Where Attorney Would Testify As Witness

In Matthews v. Stolier, litigation arose regarding several transactions, including a power of attorney document. No. 13-6638, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 171752 (D.C. La. December 23, 2015). Some of the parties retained an attorney...more

The challenge of maintaining the privacy of a non-testamentary discretionary trust with multiple permissible beneficiaries

Assume X is an innocent discretionary beneficiary of an irrevocable non-testamentary trust with multiple permissible beneficiaries (the “trust”). Y is a not-so-innocent co-beneficiary, that is to say he has not been paying...more

Filing Trust Modification As Public Record Started Statute Of Limitations

Fiduciaries should always be thinking of ways to get the statute of limitations started. Why have a claim hanging over your head for many years, when you can take actions that shorten the time in which a claim may be brought...more

Before Signing Anything on Behalf of Someone Else, Talk to Your Special Needs Planner

People lack the ability to sign documents for various reasons. In some cases, a person has suffered from a disability since birth and has never had the mental capacity to make decisions for himself. In other cases, an injury...more

Focus on Tax Controversy - December 2015

IRS Updates Administrative Appeals Process for Cases Docketed in Tax Court - In Notice 2015-72, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) provided a proposed revenue procedure to update Rev. Proc. 87-24, 1987-1 C.B. 720, which...more

Happy Birthday To You: Blow the Candles Out

On two previous occasions, I wrote about the court battle and decision regarding the copyright status of the lyrics to the song, Happy Birthday to You. As noted in my September 2015 post, the U.S. District Court in California...more

High Net Worth Family Tax Report, Vol. 10, No.3

Don’t Forget Year-End Gifts, etc. - A variety of planning steps should be considered before the end of the year. One of these is to make any $14,000 annual exclusion gifts you wish to make. This annual exclusion amount...more

CPA-Client Privilege Doesn't Extend to Criminal Proceedings

It's Monday morning and your client, who recently retained you for estate tax planning advice, informs you that the IRS is auditing her income tax returns from the past three years. In reviewing her tax returns and financial...more

How Property Was Titled Did Not Control Disposition Of Asset

A deed transfers a lake cottage to a revocable living trust. Title to the cottage is still in the name of that trust when the grantors die. The cottage gets distributed according to the terms of that trust, right? ...more

Court Concludes Spouses’ Joint Will Was a Contractual Will and Imposes Constructive Trust to Enforce Terms of Joint Will

In Estate of Pursley, a husband and wife (Harold Sr. and Mildred) with three children executed a joint will in 1975 that provided the survivor would take the entire estate “to be used, occupied, enjoyed, conveyed and expended...more

Bank of America as Trustee v. Commissioner of Revenue: Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Will Hear Case in 2016

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) will hear the appeal of Bank of America against the Massachusetts Commissioner of Revenue in 2016. The SJC accepted Bank of America’s application for Direct Appellate Review on...more

Donald Sterling Loses Appeal of Clippers Sale: Court of Appeal Rejects Bid To Regain Team’s Ownership

The California Court of Appeal today affirmed the sale in August 2014 of the Los Angeles Clippers for a record-shattering price of $2 billion to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. In a unanimous decision, the three justices...more

Wealth Management Update - November 2015

November Interest Rates for GRATs, Sales to Defective Grantor Trusts, Intra-Family Loans and Split Interest Charitable Trusts - The November § 7520 rate for use with estate planning techniques such as CRTs, CLTs, QPRTs...more

The Bank of America Case: May Massachusetts Tax the Trust Fund Income of Non-Resident Families with Unborn and/or Unascertained...

Background - Before addressing the Bank of America case, it is necessary to understand the Massachusetts taxation of trustees and their beneficiaries, which is described in 830 CMR 62.20.1: Income Tax on Estates and...more

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