Beneficiaries

News & Analysis as of

Impact of Supreme Court’s Recent Actions on Employee Benefits

Did the Supreme Court legalize same-sex marriage? On October 6, 2014, the Supreme Court of the United States denied review of seven petitions challenging federal court of appeal rulings in the Fourth, Seventh, and...more

National Estate Planning Awareness Week

This week is National Estate Planning Awareness Week. It is a common misconception that only the very wealthy need estate plans. This may explain why 55% of Americans do not have estate plans. However, the truth is...more

California Guardianship Law: Transferring Assets to a Non-Resident Guardian

California guardianship law can be confusing and complex, and guardianship issues that involve a non-resident guardian can be even more complicated. If you have nominated a guardian who does not live in the United States, you...more

Should I Name My Minor Child as a Beneficiary or Contingent Beneficiary of My Life Insurance Policy?

As an estate planning attorney in Mesa, Arizona I am frequently asked the question by parents: Should I name a minor child as a beneficiary or contingent beneficiary of a life insurance policy? This question has very...more

Estate Planning Pitfall: Watch out for IRA traps

An IRA can be a valuable estate planning tool, offering tax-deferred growth (tax-free in the case of a Roth IRA) and asset protection. But two recent developments create traps for the unwary: the “one-rollover-per-year” rule...more

The Crummey trust: Still relevant after all these years

Traditionally, trusts used in estate planning contain “Crummey” withdrawal powers to ensure that contributions qualify for the annual gift tax exclusion. Now that the gift and estate tax exemption has reached a higher level,...more

California Trust Attorney – Three Things You Should Know About a Trust

What is a trust and how does it differ from a will? Before planning your California trust you should know three important things: 1. A Trust Defined - A trust provides for the allocation of assets when you...more

401(k) Plans and the Free Market: Is Your Vendor Ever a Fiduciary?

The Department of Labor and plaintiffs class action lawyers have been urging the courts to find that 401(k) vendors are fiduciaries when they design investment platforms or have contract provisions permitting them to adjust...more

ERISA: 11th Circuit Says “Show Me The Money” In Equitable Recovery Of Medical Expenses Even After Disbursement Or Commingling Of...

Can the Plan get reimbursed even when the beneficiary’s settlement funds have been disbursed or commingled? Yes in the 11th Circuit. But watch out in the 9th Circuit....more

What We Can Learn About Estate Planning From Robin Williams’ Death

When Robin Williams died of an apparent suicide on Monday, August 11, he left behind millions of long-time fans, dozens of memorable movies, and a successful career in comedy and acting. He also left behind three children and...more

Fifth Circuit Court Reverses Tax Court Ruling on Fractional Interest Valuation Discounts

On September 15, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit reversed a 2013 Tax Court decision that had allowed only a nominal, 10% fractional interest discount for artwork included in a decedent’s estate....more

Solicitors’ negligence – loss for intended beneficiary under a will

The NSW Court of Appeal has found that the fact that a person has reached a great age does not necessarily mean they are at death’s door or about to lose their marbles....more

Appellate Court Notes

?AC35507 - State v. Wright - ?AC35289, AC36395 - Southport Congregational Church-United Church of Christ v. Hadley - The doctrine of equitable conversion did not apply when the decedent contracted to sell real...more

ERISA Fiduciary Obligations: More on Application to Life Insurance Coverage

This article examines the case of Biller v. Prudential Insurance, in which the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia denied a motion to dismiss a claim brought against an employer by the beneficiaries of a...more

Medicare Beneficiaries Sue HHS Over 489-Day Backlog in ALJ Appeals

The Center for Medicare Advocacy (CMA) filed a complaint last week on behalf of five Medicare beneficiaries in federal district Court in Connecticut requesting a court order requiring the Secretary of HHS to clear a massive...more

September 2014 Estate Planning Update: When to Review and Update Your Estate Plan

Have you recently married or gotten divorced? A change in marital status definitely warrants another look at your estate plan. If a person gets married and fails to update their estate plan, it can result in the new spouse...more

The fiduciary exception to the attorney-client privilege: A recent development

In a suit by the beneficiary against the trustee, is the trustee entitled to assert the attorney-client privilege against the beneficiary, or is there a fiduciary exception to the attorney-client privilege? As to...more

Obermayer’s Estate Planning newsletter - Summer 2014 - Snowbirds Beware: The Pennsylvania Tax Man Wants to Know Where Your Heart...

In this issue: - Snowbirds Beware: The Pennsylvania tax man wants to know where your heart is - Some reminders about Federal Estate and Gift Tax Exclusions - . . . and about IRAs - A consumer...more

Termination and Reversion of Copyright Grants and the Termination Gap Dilemma

The 1976 Copyright Act (the “Act”) has been in effect since January 1, 1978. Since that time, the Act has provided authors (and some heirs, beneficiaries, and representatives) with the right to terminate prior grants of their...more

T&E Litigation Newsletter – August 2014 #2

In Lowell v. Talcott et al., Case No. 13-p-1053, 2014 Mass. App. LEXIS 98 (August 18, 2014), the Appeals Court considered whether a child born in the 1960s while her mother was married to a man who is not the child’s father...more

Are Your Beneficiary Designations Heir Tight?

An often-neglected area in the world of benefit plan administration is the beneficiary designation form. Many participants complete their beneficiary designations incorrectly because they don’t read the instructions carefully...more

Righting a Wrong: The “Claim of Right” Doctrine and Other Tax Considerations for the Repayment of Pension Plan Overpayments

Pension plan overpayments to participants and their beneficiaries are an all-too-common occurrence. When overpayments occur, a plan administrator’s duties are fairly clear. Typically, the plan administrator must seek...more

If You Die Intestate (Without A Last Will And Testament), Will Your Same-Sex Spouse Be Considered A “Spouse” For Purposes Of...

Yes. One of the effects of the Whitewood decision is that same-sex spouses are considered a “spouse” for purposes of Pennsylvania’s intestate succession process. A person domiciled in Pennsylvania who dies without a will is...more

How will the GST tax affect your estate plan?

A new grandparent often considers making a gift to the newest member of the family. However, before taking action, it’s important to understand how the generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax may affect an estate plan. The GST...more

T&E Litigation Newsletter – August 2014 #1

After a quiet start to the summer for probate litigation cases, the Supreme Judicial Court recently issued its much-anticipated decision in The Woodward School for Girls, Inc. v. City of Quincy, Case No. SJC-11390, 2014 Mass....more

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