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

Estate Planning Pitfall: You jointly own property with a family member

A common estate planning mistake that many people make is to own property jointly with a child or other family member. True, adding a loved one to the title of your home, bank account or other property can be a simple...more

Is the Irrevocable Trust Really Irrevocable?

I often meet with clients who have established an irrevocable trust or are beneficiaries of an irrevocable trust established by a deceased family member. Usually, these clients believe that the terms governing these trusts...more

Recent Case Spotlights Problem of Excluding People with Special Needs From Gifting Plans

In an effort to preserve government benefits for a child with special needs, parents giving gifts to children will sometimes provide nothing to the child with special needs while giving substantial amounts to the child’s...more

Preparation is the most important component of an estate plan.

Many people mistakenly believe that estate planning is only necessary for the rich. In actuality, a basic estate plan is essential for everyone, regardless of income or net worth, because we all want to minimize...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

Intellectual Property: Happy Birthday to You (10/15)

If you have ever been to a Chili’s restaurant, odds are you have heard this birthday jingle. Perhaps you have also heard different birthday greetings at other chain restaurants. More likely than not, you have not heard any...more

Use a noncharitable purpose trust to achieve a variety of goals

Generally, trusts must have one or more human beneficiaries, but there’s an exception for certain “purpose” trusts. One popular type of purpose trust is a charitable trust. But don’t overlook the noncharitable purpose (NCP)...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

The net investment income tax and your estate plan How one affects the other

The 3.8% net investment income tax (NIIT) can affect an estate plan in two ways: First, it can increase tax on capital gains, taxable interest and other investment income, reducing the amount of wealth available to heirs....more

Wealth Management Update - October 2015

October Interest Rates for GRATs, Sales to Defective Grantor Trusts, Intra-Family Loans and Split Interest Charitable Trusts - The October § 7520 rate for use with estate planning techniques such as CRTs, CLTs, QPRTs...more

Estate Tax Changes Past, Present and Future

INTRODUCTION - This outline is a selective and evolving review of the history of the modern federal estate tax. It originated during the attempts to repeal the estate tax in President Clinton’s second term and...more

Florida Supreme Court Holds for Extended Claims Period for Known or Ascertainable Creditor Claims [Florida]

In 2013 I wrote about the Golden case which ruled that a known or reasonably ascertainable creditor who did not receive a Notice to Creditors in a probate proceeding could file a claim against the estate up to 2 years after...more

Preserving Assets in a Will Contest

There may come a time when one finds it necessary to contest a will, and there can be legitimate reasons for doing so. This course of action is likely to cause emotions to run high, and it could be likely that a beneficiary...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

Florida Supreme Court Settles Probate Creditor Claim Conflict

On October 1, 2015 the Florida Supreme Court held in Jones v. Golden that if a creditor of a probate estate is reasonably ascertainable and they never received a copy of the notice to creditors from the personal...more

A permissible beneficiary's equitable property interest under an irrevocable discretionary trust is contingent, not vested, the...

A permissible beneficiary’s equitable property interest under a discretionary trust is contingent, not vested. The critical condition precedent that renders the interest contingent is that the trustee must exercise his...more

Have You Considered A Reverse Mortgage?

Are you at least 62 years of age and have 50% or more equity in your primary residence? Then the reverse mortgage, also referred to as a home equity conversion mortgage, is something you might want to think about. Reverse...more

Florida Court Provides a Lesson in Nuncupative and Notarial Wills

Many lawyers have not heard the terms “nuncupative wills” and “notarial wills” since they took their bar exams (and some perhaps not even then). A recent Florida case provides us with a real world application of these terms....more

Transferring the Family Business Timing is Everything

One of the most important factors to consider in any business succession plan is the timing of the transition of ownership. Whether a sale or a gift (or combination of the two), no transition should occur before the next...more

2015/2016 Estate and Gift Tax Update

Experts have started to calculate the inflation adjustments to key estate and gift exemption amounts for 2016. Note that these are not the official figures to be released by the IRS, but should be used as a guide. The IRS...more

Polsinelli Podcast- Does Your Business Succession Plan Align With Your Estate Plan? [Video]

You’re a successful business owner who spends most of your time operating your business. While you probably have a business succession plan, does it coordinate with your estate plan? In this week’s Polsinelli Podcast,...more

The Case of the Vanishing Guaranty—Issues Facing Commercial Real Property Lenders Regarding Revocable Trust Borrowers

I have recently received numerous questions from commercial lender clients regarding structuring and enforcing commercial real property loans involving revocable trusts. Their concerns have largely centered on how to...more

Six Recommendations For Clients With Connections to France

There have been a number of changes to EU laws recently that have had, or will have, a direct impact on your clients who have connections with France. There are six stand-out issues that are worth careful and immediate...more

Appellate Court Notes

Supreme Court Advance Release Opinions: SC19359 - Persels & Associates, LLC v. Banking Commissioner - Noting that it has generally been the policy of the Courts to defer to the Legislature, especially as to the...more

No Charitable Set Aside Deduction for Estate Due to Litigation

Under Code Section 642(c)(2) an estate may claim a current charitable contribution deduction for income tax purposes, notwithstanding that the income earned will not be paid or used for a charitable purpose until sometime in...more

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