News & Analysis as of

Estate Planning Considerations for Millennials

I am a millennial. I grew up in the age of the Internet, computers, and text messaging. I had my first cell phone in late elementary school, where I mastered the game of Snake on a one-inch square screen. My generation then...more

What Is Cost Basis and How Do You Prove It?

Knowing the "cost basis" of your property is important for tax purposes, but proving cost basis can be difficult. Cost basis adjusts at death, so it is a good idea to appraise property when a joint owner dies. Cost basis...more

Top 10 Ways To Be Disinherited (And How To Avoid That) (Part 2)

This is Part 2 in the series of the top 10 factors that I’ve seen that lead to people being disinherited from a relative’s or friend’s estate plan. In Part 1, I discussed 5 of the 10 factors, and the following round out the...more

Addressing adopted children or stepchildren in your estate plan

Families that have children who are adopted, or stepchildren who haven’t been legally adopted, face unique estate planning challenges. Additional consideration must be taken when a family includes an unmarried couple in a...more

Top 10 Ways To Be Disinherited (And How To Avoid That) (Part 1)

I’ve handled over 100 estate disputes, and based upon my experience the following are 5 of the top 10 factors that I’ve seen that lead to people being disinherited from a relative’s or friend’s estate plan. I’ll follow this...more

Insight on Estate Planning - October/November 2015

In This Issue: - The net investment income tax and your estate plan: How one affects the other - Use a noncharitable purpose trust to achieve a variety of goals - Addressing adopted children or stepchildren in your...more

Trust and Estate Law: South Dakota Dynasty Trusts 101

Usually, estate planning involves the creation of an updated will, a health care directive, and assigning a power of attorney. But sometimes an estate needs more, especially when a large or growing inheritance is involved....more

Giving Up U.S. Citizenship - Estate and Gift Tax Traps

It may be a common misunderstanding that a U.S. citizen or permanent resident (Green Card holder) can give up their citizenship or surrender their Green Card and then as a non-U.S. taxpayer make gifts or pass their estate to...more

New Duty of Consistency and Basis Reporting Requirement

Under IRC §1014(a), the income tax basis of property acquired from a decedent is generally its fair market value on the date of death, or alternate valuation date if the executor makes an election under IRC §2032. Under Treas...more

Business Succession Planning in the Current Tax Environment

Business succession planning in the current tax environment may require an adjustment in thinking from traditional planning. Traditional planning usually attempts to transfer ownership of the business to the next owner (often...more

The Effect of Obergefell v. Hodges for Same-Sex Couples

issued on the second-to-last decision day of the term, and provides that same-sex couples have had a constitutional right to marry since at least the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment. This ruling may come as a surprise to...more

A Nationwide Right: Same-Sex Marriage Legalized in a Monumental Decision and its Impact on Estate Planning

June 26, 2015. A date that will undoubtedly be added to our history books and remembered for generations. This is because on this day, the Supreme Court of the United States guaranteed the right to same-sex marriage...more

Life After Death: No Longer Inconceivable

Recent legislation provides a framework for inheritance rights of children conceived after the death of one or both parents in very specific circumstances....more

Deceased Employee's ADA Claim Becomes Property of Estate

What happens when a plaintiff pursuing a disability discrimination claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act dies during administrative or judicial review? Are the claims of such a personal nature that they expire along...more

Titling Property & Same-Sex Couples in Kentucky

With the U.S. Supreme Court poised to hear the case that could decide the fate of same-sex marriage bans once and for all, legal ground in that area is now uncertain territory. Currently, however, Kentucky does not recognize...more

State of the Union Surprise: President Targets Inherited Assets in Middle-Class Tax Reform

After the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, many in the estate planning community thought that tax law dealing with estates and trusts was settled for some time. President Obama’s earlier budget proposals calling for a...more

Protecting Gifts or Inheritances in Divorces

On numerous occasions, we have been asked how inheritances and gifts are treated in divorces in Pennsylvania. The first thing you need to understand is how marital property is divided in a divorce....more

Inherited IRAs – The Golden Egg Loses Some of Its Sheen

The named beneficiary of an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or Roth IRA inherits a golden egg —an asset with uniquely valuable characteristics. In June, however, the United States Supreme Court in Clark v. Rameker issued...more

Expect to inherit? Got debts? Consider bankruptcy!

If you expect to inherit something of significant value, and you also have significant debts, bankruptcy might be a way to preserve that inheritance instead of having much or all of it go to your creditors. Let's take a look...more

An Inherited IRA And Bankruptcy

In Clark v. Rameker, a case decided by the U.S. Supreme Court on June 12, 2014, the Court ruled that an inherited IRA did not constitute “retirement funds” under the Federal Bankruptcy Code and, therefore, those funds were...more

Supreme Court Decides Retirement-Fund Bankruptcy Exemption Case: Clark v. Rameker

On June 12, 2014, the United States Supreme Court decided Clark v. Rameker, No. 13-299, holding that funds in an individual retirement account (IRA) that a bankruptcy debtor obtained through inheritance are not "retirement...more

Debtor’s Estate Set To Expand Or Contract Based On Supreme Court Ruling In Clark v. Rameker

Before the Supreme Court this term is the question of whether a beneficiary individual retirement account (an “Inherited IRA”) is exempt from a debtor’s bankruptcy estate under 11 U.S.C. § 522(b)(3)(C) and (d)(12)2 of the...more

High Court to Rule on Retirement Fund Exemption

Ruth Heffron established an IRA naming her daughter, Heidi Heffron-Clark, as the sole beneficiary. Ruth died in 2001 and the account, valued at roughly $300,000, passed to Heidi. After her mother’s death, Heidi then...more

Insight on Estate Planning - February/March 2014

In This Issue: - The BDIT: A trust with a twist - Thanks, Grandma and Grandpa! 3 estate-planning-friendly strategies to pay for a grandchild’s college education - Power of attorney abuse: What can you do...more

Here Is What Is Happening In Pennsylvania’s Legislature Regarding Trusts And Estates

Bill Ries has prepared a status report for the Pennsylvania Legislature’s current Trust & Estate matters. These tables summarize a number of bills that affect decedents’ estates laws and were introduced in the 2013-14...more

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