Wills, Trusts, & Estate Planning Constitutional Law

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Supreme Court Approves Same-Sex Marriage: Tax and Legal Implications for Same-Sex Spouses

On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court handed down its decision in the landmark case of Obergefell v. Hodges. The Court held that the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution requires all states to license a...more

Eight Key Estate Planning Opportunities Arising from the Supreme Court's Decision on Same-Sex Marriage

On June 26, 2015, the US Supreme Court ruled that a state ban on same sex marriage is unconstitutional, in violation of the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The landmark ruling in the combined cases known...more

Supreme Court Decides Wellness International Network, Ltd. v. Sharif

On May 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Wellness International Network, Ltd. v. Sharif, (No. 13-935), holding that Article III does not prevent bankruptcy judges from entering final judgment on claims that seek only...more

North Carolina Business Court Rules Tax on Trust Unconstitutional

The North Carolina Business Court held North Carolina’s taxation of a trust unconstitutional in Kaestner v. North Carolina Department of Revenue. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 105-160.2 imposes a tax on the undistributed income of a...more

North Carolina Court Holds Statute Taxing Trust Income Unconstitutional Kimberly Rice Kaestner 1992 Family Trust v. North Carolina...

On April 23, 2015, Judge Gregory P. McGuire of the Business Court division of the Superior Court of Wake County, North Carolina, issued a decision in the matter of the Kimberly Rice Kaestner 1992 Family Trust v. North...more

T&E Litigation Newsletter- April 2015

On April 6th the Appeals Court issued a decision concerning standing in guardianship proceedings under the Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code (“MUPC”) that may influence future cases involving the interpretation of other...more

Same-Sex Marriages Recognized for Inheritance and Realty Transfer Tax Purposes

In Inheritance Tax Bulletin 2015-01 and Realty Transfer Tax Bulletin 2015-01, issued on February 25, 2015, the PA Department of Revenue announced its policy concerning same-sex marriages and the impact of the May 20, 2014...more

Court Hears Arguments in Litigation Challenging the Constitutionality of North Carolina’s Taxation of Trusts

The Kimberly Rice Kaestner 1992 Trust (the “Trust”) originated from the Joseph Lee Rice, III Family 1992 Trust (the “JLR Trust”) created in 1992. The JLR Trust was created in New York when its initial trustee and settlor were...more

Debtor-trustees can run but they can’t hide behind the Fifth Amendment

Judgment debtors often try to use the Fifth Amendment’s privilege against self-incrimination to avoid post-judgment discovery of their assets and income. However, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri...more

Beneficiaries Lack Standing to Challenge Trustee's Actions in Bankruptcy Court

In a recent ruling on In re Land Securities Investors, Ltd., the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Colorado ruled that trust beneficiaries do not have standing to appear in a bankruptcy case even when the...more

U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Cases Regarding the Constitutionality of Same-Sex Marriage Bans

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear four cases from Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, and Tennessee, respectively, regarding the constitutionality of same-sex marriage bans by the states. ...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

Arizona Court of Appeals Recognizes Right of Publicity While Protecting Free Speech in Precedent Setting Case

For the first time ever, an Arizona state court has recognized that individuals enjoy a right of publicity that protects them from the unauthorized use of their name or likeness for commercial or trade purposes. In its April...more

Bankruptcy Bleak House—The Limited Ability of Bankruptcy Courts to Enter Final Judgments

In Stern V. Marshall, ____ U.S ___, 131 S. Ct. 2594 (2011), the Supreme Court held that bankruptcy courts cannot issue final judgments on state law counterclaims even though they are “core proceeding”. Stern V. Marshall is...more

Is a human corpse property that can be made the subject of a trust?

While a pet may be put into a trust, its human owner may not be. Nor under traditional principles of property and trust law may the corpse of a deceased human being be made the subject of a trust. Charles E. Rounds, Jr.,...more

The Woodward Case: Guidance to Trustees on Their Duties Under the Massachusetts Prudent Investor Act

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court recently ruled that, with few exceptions, trustees have a duty to invest with inflation in mind. While not required to follow an investment advisor’s guidance, they can’t ignore the...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

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

Religious Institutions Update - April 2014

Does a closely held for-profit corporation have a constitutionally or statutorily protected right to exercise religion under the Free Exercise Clause or the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA)? The U.S. Supreme...more

Illinois Trust Taxation Deemed Unconstitutional

Ruling creates planning opportunities to minimize income taxes. In Linn v. Department of Revenue, the Illinois Fourth District Appellate Court reviewed the state’s statutory framework for taxing trusts. Linn v....more

Standing: How Much Is A Ticket To The Dance?

The purpose of this article is to explain the concept of “standing” in probate and guardianship actions, to discuss how the topic should be raised, and to provide some specificexamples of situations where the standing of a...more

Estates Are Claimants Entitled to Rebates

In a four to three decision, the en banc Commonwealth Court held that a senior citizen’s estate was entitled to a rebate under the Senior Citizens Property Tax and Rent Rebate Assistance Act, 53 P.S. §§ 6926.1301-6926.1313...more

IP/Entertainment Law Weekly Case Update for Motion Picture Studios and Television Networks -- January 30, 2014

Smith v. Sunshine Sound Enterprises, Inc., USCA, 11th Circuit, January 22, 2014 - Eleventh Circuit reverses dismissal of estate’s claims for copyright infringement, holding that songwriter who assigned his legal rights...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

Federal Tax Law Changes and Opportunities for Same-Sex Married Couples

What you need to know: As the result of the Supreme Court’s recent decision in United States v. Windsor and a subsequent ruling by the IRS, same-sex couples who are legally married in a jurisdiction that recognizes...more

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