Estate Planning

Estate Planning is a process where individuals prepare or plan for the settlement of their personal affairs in the event of incapacitation or death. Estate plans typically include provisions relating to the... more +
Estate Planning is a process where individuals prepare or plan for the settlement of their personal affairs in the event of incapacitation or death. Estate plans typically include provisions relating to the disposition of assets, guardianship of minor children, and appointment of representatives to make medical and financial decisions. Effective estate planning can decrease tax liability and facilitate the probate process.  less -
News & Analysis as of

New Maine Budget Brings Significant Change to Estate Tax Law

With Tuesday’s override of Governor LePage’s veto of Maine’s 2016-2017 budget, the Legislature has approved a significant change to the state’s estate tax law. The Maine estate tax exemption amount for individuals dying in or...more

Low Interest Rate Is High Time for Some Estate Planning Ideas

When practitioners and clients think of estate planning, several goals typically come to mind: (1) identifying family members and charitable organizations to whom or for whose benefit assets are to be given; (2) ensuring that...more

The Same-Sex Marriage Ruling: Key Employee Benefits Take-Aways

Last Friday, the Supreme Court of the United States issued its highly-anticipated decision in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges, ruling that all 50 states must license marriages between two people of the same sex and must...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

Estate Planning for Young Families

Proper estate planning for young families is essential, despite often being overlooked by both clients and attorneys. Many young families view their estate as being “simple” because in their minds they “don’t have much,” and...more

Till Death Do Us Part. . . or at Least Until the Divorce Becomes Final

When important changes occur in life, it is advisable to reevaluate your estate planning to ensure it continues to meet the goals and objectives you have for your estate and your beneficiaries – and going through a divorce is...more

Estate Planning for Real Estate

Almost all estate planning clients own real estate in one form or another – a residence, a vacation home, or rental property. Real estate presents unique challenges in estate planning because debt is often associated with the...more

Trustees Beware: Which Fiduciary Standard Applies to Your “Business Judgments”?

To what legal standard must a trustee adhere when he or she also participates in the control of a family or closely held business? Courts continue to grapple with this question. The high courts in both Georgia and Nebraska...more

Asset Protection Strategies

During the estate planning process a question we are frequently asked relates to the best way to protect assets from creditors. The easy answer, although not the most satisfactory, is to give the assets in question away,...more

Estate Planning Pitfall: Your IRA owns real estate

Most people invest their IRA funds in stocks, bonds and mutual funds. But others may opt for nontraditional investments, such as real estate, in the hope of boosting their returns. As this article details, when choosing to...more

Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts: An Estate Planning Strategy

In the current economic environment, IRS-prescribed monthly interest rates for certain intra-family transactions are at historic lows. As a result, an excellent opportunity exists to transfer wealth to lower generation family...more

California introduces ‘opt-in’ digital assets bill

On June 8, 2015, it was reported that the California legislature is considering a new bill, A.B. 691, which would set forth the procedure for handling a deceased individual’s digital assets, including their social media...more

Estate tax relief for family businesses

If a substantial portion of a person’s wealth is tied up in a family or closely held business, he or she may be concerned that the estate will lack sufficient liquid assets to pay estate taxes. If that’s the case, heirs may...more

What Happens to Your Digital Life After Death? Planning for the Transfer Of Digital Assets

Most people do not think about the large digital footprint that they have created. More importantly, they do not think about how their digital assets might pass (or not) at death. Since these assets may have value, either...more

Does a private annuity have a place in your estate plan?

A private annuity can be a powerful strategy for passing assets to heirs in a tax-efficient manner. In a typical private annuity transaction, a parent transfers property to his or her children in exchange for their unsecured...more

Insights Newsletter - Spring 2015

In This Issue: - The Importance of Accredited Investors for Small Business Capital Formation - “All Appropriate Inquiries”: Update on the Environmental Due Diligence Standard - A Hunt for Justice Erodes...more

The basics of basis: Basis planning can result in significant tax savings

Because the gift and estate tax exemption is at a record high of $5.43 million for 2015, many people have shifted their focus from estate planning to income tax planning. An understanding of basis — and the benefits of the...more

Nowotny on Private Placement Group Variable Deferred Annuity Contracts for Tax Exempt and Foreign Investors [Video]

The Private Placement Group Variable Deferred Annuity Contract aka GAC has quietely been used by tax-exempt organizations for some time. As far as I can count, $50 billion of tax exempt transactions have utilized the GAC as a...more

Insight on Estate Planning - June/July 2015

In This Issue: - The basics of basis: Basis planning can result in significant tax savings - Does a private annuity have a place in your estate plan? - Estate tax relief for family businesses - Estate Planning...more

Nowotny on Private Placement Life Insurance [Video]

This is the first in what will hopefully of a series of videos on private placement insurance products and planning. This is a topic of increasing interest and popularity with high net worth clients and their advisors. My...more

Tax Law Blog: Legislature Passes Bill Affecting Iowa Trusts and Estates

The Iowa Legislature just passed House File 661, which was proposed by the Probate and Trust Law Section of the Iowa State Bar Association and supported by the Iowa Academy of Trusts and Estates Lawyers. ...more

Buy-Sell Agreements: Good For Business and Good For Your Estate Plan

From unwanted business partners to burdensome estate taxes, the death of a business co-owner can have negative implications for surviving owners as well as for the estate of the deceased. A well drafted buy-sell agreement can...more

Intra-Family Loans: An Estate Planning Strategy in a Low-Interest-Rate Environment

In the current economic environment, IRS-prescribed monthly interest rates for certain intra-family transactions are at historic lows. As a result, an excellent opportunity exists to transfer wealth to lower generation family...more

Estate Planning for Non-U.S. Citizens

In This Presentation: - Basic Rules - Determination of Residency for Estate Tax purposes - Tax Rules - Estate and Gift Tax Treaties - Asset Situs Rules - Taxation of Life Insurance...more

Lessons Learned from the Robin Williams Litigation

Robin Williams died on August 11, 2014, and it did not take long for litigation to be filed over his estate, or more specifically, his living trust. Mr. Williams last rewrote his trust in January 2012, not long after marrying...more

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