Surviving Spouse

News & Analysis as of

It’s Not Too Late to Use Your Spouse’s Unused Estate Tax Exclusion

In Revenue Procedure 2014-18 the IRS provided an extension of time to those who wished to be sure that a decedent’s surviving spouse could benefit from the concept known as “portability”. In the Procedure, the IRS provides...more

Employee Benefits Developments - January 2014

CASES - Court Finds Former NFL Player’s First Wife Is Surviving Spouse - A recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit demonstrates once again the importance of divorcing your first spouse...more

Same-Gender Marriage Implications for Employee Benefit Plans

In the summer of 2013, the Supreme Court issued a decision in U.S. v. Windsor, striking down a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and eliminating the requirement that federal law recognize only marriages...more

Ontario Introduces PBA Amendments in Response to Carrigan Case

Last year, the Ontario Court of Appeal surprised many in the pension industry with its decision in Carrigan v. Carrigan Estate, which essentially established a new priority scheme for the payment of pre-retirement death...more

Marriage and Taxes in 2013

Two significant events in 2013 underscored the nexus of marriage and taxes that make it possible for many couples to radically simplify their estate planning. ...more

“Magic” Words To Ensure an Ex-Spouse Remains in Will

Attorneys often encounter situations in which someone makes a will or designates a beneficiary naming their spouse as the heir or beneficiary, separates from their spouse, fails to make changes to their will or beneficiary...more

Income Tax Cost Basis Planning

Prior to the recent and significant increases in the federal estate tax exemption amount, many clients engaged in planning the purpose of which was to ensure the use of both spouses’ exemption amount through the use of a...more

Elective Share Changes May Require Estate Planning Updates

Effective October 1, 2013, the elective share rules for persons who die domiciled in North Carolina have been simplified, but for many married couples the simplification will mean a substantial change in the property rights...more

Federal District Court Invalidates Application Of HUD Regulation Requiring Full Payment Of Reverse Mortgage From Surviving Spouses

On September 30, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia held that a HUD regulation defining conditions under which it would insure a reverse mortgage agreement, which would have made it easier for lenders to...more

The Benefits of Marital Deduction Planning — Even with Portability

As discussed in a prior post, one of the helpful provisions recently added to federal estate tax law allows a surviving spouse to use any “leftover” or “unused” federal estate tax exclusion amount of a deceased spouse. The...more

Florida Homestead Planning and Irrevocable Trusts

Florida law prohibits the devise of a homestead if the owner is survived by a minor child or children. For purposes of this prohibition, the term “devise” extends to both gifts under a will and transfers by way of a revocable...more

Illinois Supreme Court to Debate Pensions for Firefighters' Spouses

Our previews of the oral arguments on the Illinois Supreme Court’s September docket begin with Hooker v. Retirement Fund of the Firemen’s Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago, which is set for argument this morning, September...more

Citing Windsor, Two Courts Extend Spousal Rights To Same-Sex Couples Who Reside In States That Do Not Recognize Same-Sex Marriage

As we previously reported, the decision overturning the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) left open many questions, including the impact of the decision on states that do not recognize same-sex marriage. Recent decisions...more

Two Federal Courts Recognize Same-Sex Spousal Rights for Residents of States Not Permitting Same-Sex Marriage

Obergefell v. Kasich and Cozen O’Connor v. Tobits may reflect a growing trend of courts and other bodies to recognize same-sex marriages validly celebrated elsewhere even if the couple’s current state of residence does not...more

First Post-Windsor ERISA Decision

In the first reported ERISA decision post-Windsor, the U.S District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania held (in Cozen O’Connor, P.C. v. Jennifer Tobits) that a same-sex spouse is to be treated as the decedent’s...more

Same-Sex Spouse Is Entitled To Death Benefits Under ERISA-Qualified Plan

Following on the heels of the Supreme Court’s decision in U.S. v. Windsor, a federal district court in Pennsylvania recently held that the same-sex spouse of a deceased employee is entitled to receive death benefits under the...more

Implications Of Same-Sex Marriage Decisions By U.S. Supreme Court For Employer-Sponsored Health And Welfare Benefit Plans

Two controversial cases involving same-sex marriage were decided on June 26, 2013 by the United States Supreme Court. ...more

Landmark US Supreme Court Decision May Extend US Tax Benefits to UK Civil Partners

On Wednesday, 26 June 2013, the US Supreme Court ruled that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”), which limits the definition of “marriage” to “a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife” and...more

Supreme Court Rules DOMA Unconstitutional – Employee Benefit Plan Implications

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court, in U.S. v. Windsor, ruled that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional because it violates the Fifth Amendment’s equal protection guaranty for persons of the same...more

Legal Alert: Supreme Court Strikes Portion Of DOMA

On June 26, 2013, the United States Supreme Court issued a pair of opinions favorable to the gay rights movement, ruling that married same-sex couples are entitled to federal benefits and, by declining to decide a case from...more

The Estate Planning Impact of the Supreme Court’s Ruling on DOMA

As discussed in a recent post, I anticipated that the Supreme Court’s ruling in the matter of United States v. Windsor would have a significant impact on estate planning matters for same-sex married couples. The Court issued...more

Family Finances: To Discuss or Not To Discuss?

A recent survey reveals some discouraging trends on the financial front. As reported by Financial Advisor, a survey by MFS Investment Management shows that more than 2 out of 3 financial advisors say their baby boomer clients...more

Supreme Court Holds Federal Law Preempts State Law Allowing Litigation Over Proceeds of Federal Life Insurance Policy

Recently, in Hillman v. Maretta, the Supreme Court of the United States affirmed a Virginia Supreme Court ruling that held that federal law preempts a state law that allowed a deceased federal employee’s spouse to sue a...more

New 2013 Estate Tax Laws Warrant Exclusion And Portability In Planning

The new estate laws are challenging to comply with and will require most high net worth individuals to review their existing plan. One of the major issues is how the trust is divided on the death of the first spouse, and who...more

Federal Law That Provides Death Benefits Be Paid To Named Beneficiary Pre-empts State Law

In Hillman v. Maretta (--- S.Ct. ----, U.S.Va., June 3, 2013), the United States Supreme Court considered whether a state law that provides death benefits from an insurance policy be paid to a current spouse, even if a prior...more

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