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

Do You Have a “Day After” Insurance Policy?

Insurance is a form of risk management, designed to minimize the loss associated with certain events like flood, fire, accidents, disability, and even death. Most insurance requires an agent and the payment of premiums. ...more

5 Important Estate Planning Lessons for Parents in Manchester by the Sea

When released in late 2016, Manchester by the Sea, directed by Kenneth Lonergan and starring Casey Affleck, received nearly unanimous critical acclaim for exploring themes related to family, personal tragedy, and grief. For...more

A Deceased Can't Always Will What They Want

There is a common misconception that the testator is free to leave their estate to anyone they choose. While this is largely true, certain family members who were left out or feel they were inadequately provided for under a...more

How do recent updates to estate tax laws impact your future?

In 2013, Kiplinger ranked the states with the scariest "death taxes." At that time, New Jersey topped the list, with an estate tax exemption of only $675,000, and with an inheritance tax imposed upon transfers to other than...more

Potential Repeal of the ‘Death’ Tax

Assuming you have not been living under a rock for the last two years you have heard of Donald J. Trump, now President Trump, speak about the need to repeal the so-called “Death tax”. In addition, you are likely aware that...more

Estate Tax Reform Predicted for 2017

A key goal for those of us who practice with Ward and Smith is to inform our clients and future clients of potential developments that may impact them.  With respect to Trust and Estate Law, the potential for repeal of the...more

Should You Invest In Long-Term Care Insurance?

It is very difficult to predict whether you or a loved one will one day need long-term care insurance. A diagnosis like Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia can drastically change your life and your financial plans. With...more

Understanding UPMIFA: Delegation of Management and Investment of Endowment Funds

The Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act (UPMIFA or the Act) was adopted in 2006 by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, as the successor to the Uniform Management of Institutional...more

Estate Plan Taxes | Estate Planning Attorney

What Does a Trump Presidential Victory Mean to My Estate Plan and Estate Taxes? Regardless whether you lean towards the political left or right, the results of the 2016 Presidential and Congressional elections will...more

Client Alert: Captive Insurance on 2017 IRS “Dirty Dozen” Listing

For the third consecutive year, “abusive micro-captives” make an appearance on the IRS’ annual “Dirty Dozen” list of tax scams in 2017. Last year’s information release on abusive tax shelters, found in IR-2016-025, included...more

Please Release Me, Let Me Go: Court Affirms The Appointment Of A Receiver Over Ray Price’s Assets Pending A Contest

In In re Estate of Price, Ray Price, a renowned country music singer and songwriter, died in 2013 and was survived by his wife and his biological son. No. 06-16-00062-CV, 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 1265 (Tex. App.—Texarkana...more

Changing Your “Home” For State Tax Purposes – Not So Easy

It’s February, the middle of winter, and many of us are longing for warmer weather. Some with second homes in Florida or Arizona and the like start thinking about changing their primary residence for state income and estate...more

Client Alert: Florida Passes the Florida Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act

The Florida Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (the “Act”) took effect as of July 1, 2016. The digital world is growing at an exponential rate. The Act provides much needed guidance for digital asset owners of how they...more

Michael Jackson Estate Tax Case Moving Forward

Most estate tax practitioners will tell you estate tax it is all about valuation when assets are other than cash and marketable securities. The estate tax case of the Michael Jackson estate is an ideal demonstration. Tax...more

Michigan’s Legislature Passes Significant Laws During the Last Days of 2016

In late 2016, Michigan lawmakers passed a good deal of new legislation. One of the laws, the Qualified Dispositions in Trusts Act, enables an individual (the “settlor”) to create a trust that, in certain circumstances, can...more

When the Wall of Secrecy Collapses

Foreign Accounts, Shell Companies, Blind Trusts, Asset Protection Trusts, Offshore Trusts, Global Citizenship and US Residency are just a few of the Terms highlighted in the mega divorce proceedings of a Palm Beach County...more

New laws may give fiduciaries power to access digital assets

Historically, estate planning has been concerned with tangible assets, such as real estate and personal property, and intangible assets, such as securities and other investment assets. In the digital age, estate planning...more

Late Portability Election Denied for Estate That Was Over the Estate Tax Return Filing Threshold

One of the key changes of the 2010 Tax Relief Act is the addition of “portability” of the first deceased spouse’s unused basic exclusion amount, commonly referred to as the deceased spousal unused exclusion amount. Under...more

Joint Trusts: A Useful Tool for Some Married Couples

Though not a silver bullet for every situation, in appropriate circumstances, a Joint Revocable Living Trust ("Joint Trust") can provide a married couple with significant benefits and simplify the administration of assets...more

A Guide To: How to Challenge a Trust in Michigan

The death of a loved one is a difficult and emotional event. In addition to dealing with the loss, family members, friends and/or trusted advisors are tasked with settling the decedent's final affairs, which, in many...more

What is Undue Influence in Will Caveat Cases?

In order to set aside a Will after a person has died, a Caveator (the person attacking the Will) has three courses of action under the law. First, he can assert that the Testator (the person making the Will) was incompetent...more

A 2017 Repeal of the "Death Tax?"

The estate tax, also referred to as the "death tax," is a tax on the property you own at the time of your death. Currently, there is a federal estate tax exemption of $5,490,000 per person, up from $5,450,000, in 2016. This...more

Estate Planning Pitfall: You’ve videotaped your will

Technology enables a deceased person to express wishes to his or her assembled family from beyond the grave, but states generally require wills to be physical documents that are written, signed and properly witnessed during a...more

Court Holds That A One-Line Will Should Have Been Admitted To Probate

In In the Estate of Setser, the decedent signed a 1993 will naming his daughter as the sole beneficiary. No. 01-15-00855-CV, 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 937 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] February 2, 2017, no pet. history). Later,...more

Trump Administration's Perception in the UK

It’s fair to say that Donald Trump’s surprise victory in the US Election in November was not universally welcomed. In the UK, it was widely reported that as the result unfolded, the Canadian immigration website crashed...more

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