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

Client Alert: Florida Passes the Florida Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act

The Florida Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (the “Act”) took effect as of July 1, 2016. The digital world is growing at an exponential rate. The Act provides much needed guidance for digital asset owners of how they...more

Michael Jackson Estate Tax Case Moving Forward

Most estate tax practitioners will tell you estate tax it is all about valuation when assets are other than cash and marketable securities. The estate tax case of the Michael Jackson estate is an ideal demonstration. Tax...more

Michigan’s Legislature Passes Significant Laws During the Last Days of 2016

In late 2016, Michigan lawmakers passed a good deal of new legislation. One of the laws, the Qualified Dispositions in Trusts Act, enables an individual (the “settlor”) to create a trust that, in certain circumstances, can...more

When the Wall of Secrecy Collapses

Foreign Accounts, Shell Companies, Blind Trusts, Asset Protection Trusts, Offshore Trusts, Global Citizenship and US Residency are just a few of the Terms highlighted in the mega divorce proceedings of a Palm Beach County...more

New laws may give fiduciaries power to access digital assets

Historically, estate planning has been concerned with tangible assets, such as real estate and personal property, and intangible assets, such as securities and other investment assets. In the digital age, estate planning...more

Late Portability Election Denied for Estate That Was Over the Estate Tax Return Filing Threshold

One of the key changes of the 2010 Tax Relief Act is the addition of “portability” of the first deceased spouse’s unused basic exclusion amount, commonly referred to as the deceased spousal unused exclusion amount. Under...more

Joint Trusts: A Useful Tool for Some Married Couples

Though not a silver bullet for every situation, in appropriate circumstances, a Joint Revocable Living Trust ("Joint Trust") can provide a married couple with significant benefits and simplify the administration of assets...more

A Guide To: How to Challenge a Trust in Michigan

The death of a loved one is a difficult and emotional event. In addition to dealing with the loss, family members, friends and/or trusted advisors are tasked with settling the decedent's final affairs, which, in many...more

What is Undue Influence in Will Caveat Cases?

In order to set aside a Will after a person has died, a Caveator (the person attacking the Will) has three courses of action under the law. First, he can assert that the Testator (the person making the Will) was incompetent...more

A 2017 Repeal of the "Death Tax?"

The estate tax, also referred to as the "death tax," is a tax on the property you own at the time of your death. Currently, there is a federal estate tax exemption of $5,490,000 per person, up from $5,450,000, in 2016. This...more

Estate Planning Pitfall: You’ve videotaped your will

Technology enables a deceased person to express wishes to his or her assembled family from beyond the grave, but states generally require wills to be physical documents that are written, signed and properly witnessed during a...more

Court Holds That A One-Line Will Should Have Been Admitted To Probate

In In the Estate of Setser, the decedent signed a 1993 will naming his daughter as the sole beneficiary. No. 01-15-00855-CV, 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 937 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] February 2, 2017, no pet. history). Later,...more

Trump Administration's Perception in the UK

It’s fair to say that Donald Trump’s surprise victory in the US Election in November was not universally welcomed. In the UK, it was widely reported that as the result unfolded, the Canadian immigration website crashed...more

Good Advice for Everyone: Ten Steps to Avoid Big Trouble

On both a business and individual level, there are ten easy steps you can take now to avoid big trouble later. If you address just five of these items this month, you will be half way there. Originally published in the...more

Is a donor-advised fund right for you?

Those who make sizable gifts to charitable causes can realize personal rewards from their generosity and claim a deduction on their tax returns. One drawback is that, once the money or assets are contributed, they generally...more

T&E Litigation Newsletter - February 2017

Several recent decisions serve as a good reminder that it is not only the Probate and Family Court that addresses important T&E issues in Massachusetts. In the consolidated matters of Hanna et al. v. Williams et al.,...more

Follow up on possible Estate Tax Repeal: Important Basis Planning Technique in Estate Planning

In last week’s Tax Tip our Henry Grix succinctly described the current lay of the land regarding estate tax repeal. This Tax Tip focuses on one narrow but very important aspect in anticipating such action, or possible...more

Maintaining family harmony: Balance beneficiaries’ needs with a total return unitrust

A traditional trust can sometimes create a conflict among the lifetime and remainder beneficiaries. This makes it more difficult for an estate plan to achieve its objectives and places the trustee in a difficult position. The...more

Who Cares for Your Aging Family When You Can’t? (Hint: Not Robots) [Audio]

Subscribe to the show in iTunes here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/who-cares-for-your-aging-family/id1081120870?i=1000380982871&mt=2 Like most people, I didn’t want to think about my parents getting old, getting...more

Stretch out estate tax on business interests

Frequently, heirs of successful entrepreneurs are forced to sell off business interests at “fire sale” prices to help pay federal estate taxes. To alleviate the tax strain, Internal Revenue Code Section 6166 allows heirs to...more

Fiduciary Imprudence: When the Sale of an Asset Results in a Surcharge

Although one of the many duties and responsibilities of an executor is to marshal and appraise estate assets, and, depending upon the dispositive terms of the governing instrument, liquidate them for purposes of distribution,...more

Writing a Memorandum of Intent for Your Child With Special Needs

How can you ensure that your child will remain well cared for and secure once others assume the role of guardian or caregiver? While creating a financial plan and establishing a specialized trust are central to preparing for...more

Insight on Estate Planning - February/March 2017

In This Issue: - Stretch out estate tax on business interests - Maintaining family harmony: Balance beneficiaries’ needs with a total return unitrust - Is a donor-advised fund right for you? - Estate planning...more

KNOWN UNKNOWNS about Federal Tax Laws and Regulations

The new administration in Washington, supported by Republican majorities in Congress, has pledged substantial changes to federal tax laws and regulations. One change may - or may not - be the complete elimination of federal...more

“Any and All” Doesn’t Preserve Any and All Estate Claims Post-Confirmation

The Bankruptcy Code permits Chapter 11 plans to provide for the reservation of any claims or interests that that belong to the debtor or the estate, allowing the plans to be confirmed prior to the final resolution of any and...more

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