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

No Federal Estate Tax?

On April 16th, 2015 the U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to repeal the federal estate tax. Is this the death knell for the death tax? Probably not this year. But if there is a Republican President after...more

House Approves Estate Tax Repeal, Permanent Extension of State and Local Tax Deduction

The House today passed the Death Tax Repeal Act (HR 1105) and the State and Local Tax Deduction Fairness Act (HR 622). The two bills would repeal the estate tax and the generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax (but not the gift...more

Unclaimed Property Audits: Don’t cheat on escheat!

The Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts has contracted with out of state third parties to perform unclaimed property audits on holders of property. National banks are subject to these reviews provided there is “reasonable...more

Special Needs Trust Fairness Act Reintroduced in Congress

After falling short in the previous Congress, Congressmen Glenn 'GT' Thompson (R-Pa) and Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) recently introduced the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act of 2015, a bill designed to make it easier for people...more

A Trust May Be Subject to California Income Taxation if the Trustee Resides in California

California aggressively taxes non-grantor trusts. A non-grantor trust with a California resident trustee may be subject to California income taxation even if none of the assets of the trust are located in California, none of...more

Ruling Highlights the Need for Testamentary Intent for Holographic Codicil

Last month, the Fairfax, Virginia Circuit Court issued a written opinion that, while it does not break new law in Virginia, illustrates how a writing must demonstrate “testamentary intent” to qualify as a valid holographic...more

60 Crummey Withdrawal Beneficiaries Allowed

For many years, courts have recognized that gifts to a trust can qualify for the gift tax annual exclusion as “present interest” gifts if withdrawal powers are granted to beneficiaries.The IRS is hostile to persons being...more

Recreational Vehicles and Government Benefits Are Not a Walk in the Park

If you own or are thinking of owning a recreational vehicle (RV), you need to consider the vehicle's impact on your government benefits, especially Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid....more

Tax Policy Update

NUMBER OF THE WEEK: $1.4 Trillion. The estimated total of individual income taxes the Internal Revenue Service is expecting to collect on April 15. The U.S. House of Representatives has returned from recess and is planning to...more

Estate Planning for Your Digital Assets

If you use a computer, you likely have digital assets that should be addressed as part of your estate planning. Access to digital assets is governed by an evolving and complicated technical and legal framework, including...more

QTIP Trust Frequently Asked Questions

QTIP trusts are excellent options for a number of married couples, especially those who have been married two or more times, or those with blended families. However, not many people understand what a QTIP trust is, what the...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

California Estate Planning Myths & Misconceptions (Part 2)

In our last post, we outlined four common myths surrounding estate planning in California. Today, we’ll look at four more common misconceptions that we hear in our office from individuals new to estate planning....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

Special Needs Trusts and Financial Aid: What Should Applicants Do?

Out of all of the stress-inducing steps in the college application process, the financial aid application may be the most confusing and stressful of all, especially when an applicant can't afford to attend college without...more

California Estate Planning Myths & Misconceptions (Part 1)

One of the reasons that far too many people don’t take care of their basic estate planning needs is that they hold common misconceptions about what estate planning is, how it works, and whether they need to worry about it....more

Copyright Co-Owner’s Ability to Grant an Exclusive Right to a Third Party - Corbello v. DeVito

Revisiting the issue of a copyright co-owner’s right to grant an exclusive right to a third party, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit clarified its prior ruling in Sybersound v. UAV, and explained that a...more

Estate Planning Pitfall: You haven’t named backup beneficiaries

To ensure that a person’s wealth is distributed according to his or her wishes, it’s important to designate both primary and secondary (or “contingent”) beneficiaries for a will, trusts, retirement plans and life insurance...more

Avoid state income taxes with an incomplete nongrantor trust

Now that the federal gift and estate tax exemption has reached an inflation-adjusted $5.43 million, many people are shifting their estate planning focus to income tax reduction. One potentially attractive strategy for...more

T&E Litigation Newsletter- April 2015

On April 6th the Appeals Court issued a decision concerning standing in guardianship proceedings under the Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code (“MUPC”) that may influence future cases involving the interpretation of other...more

How flexible is your estate plan?

It’s crucial to review and update an estate plan in light of significant life changes or new tax laws. It’s equally important to create estate plan flexibility so that an estate’s executor can make postmortem revisions. This...more

Remarriage & Estate Planning: Common Errors (Part 2)

This week on our blog we have been discussing remarriage and estate planning – including the questions you should ask yourself about estate planning after a second marriage and which documents you need to review and update...more

Remarriage & Estate Planning: Common Errors (Part 1)

Marrying again gives us a second chance of happiness, whether our first marriage ended with the death of our spouse or with a divorce. In recent years, remarriage has become even more common, especially as people live longer...more

Estate planning for personal property: Why you should sweat the small stuff

When planning their estates, most people focus on major assets, such as business interests, real estate, investments and retirement plans. But it’s also important to “sweat the small stuff” — tangible personal property. This...more

Lawyers: Are Even YOUR Parents and Inheritances at Risk?

Recently, I wrote here about the story of Milo Elofson, who is currently a victim of elder abuse at the hands of the legal system, despite the fact that his son Greg was appointed as his guardian. (Thank you to all of who...more

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