Wills, Trusts, & Estate Planning Updates

Read Wills, Trusts, & Estate Planning updates, articles, and legal commentary from leading lawyers and law firms:
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Should You Create Trusts for Your Kids?

If your children are under age eighteen, you should have trusts for them in your Wills, in the event you and your spouse should die before all your children reach age 18. If minors receive assets prior to reaching age...more

Court Orders Administrator To Elect Portability

When the IRS enacted the portability election provisions in 2011, which allowed estates of married taxpayers to pass along the unused part of their estate and gift tax exclusion amount to their surviving spouse, it remarked...more

Reporting Foreign Income: Four Common Misconceptions

The U.S. government has stringent reporting requirements when it comes to foreign assets and income, but many people are still not coming into compliance based on some mistaken beliefs. Here are four common misconceptions...more

The Massachusetts CARE Act: A Bright Future for Cooperation Between Healthcare and Family Caregivers

Caring for a sick, disabled or incapacitated loved one can be a stressful proposition, but a new Massachusetts law aims to ease the burden by providing formal support to family caregivers. The Caregiver, Advise, Record,...more

T&E Litigation Newsletter- March 2017

This week has brought a much-anticipated decision by the Supreme Judicial Court regarding trust decanting, and the past month also brought the latest chapters in two cases that we reported on previously....more

Update on 2704 Proposed Regulations and Impact on 2016 Gift Tax Reporting

Following the December 1, 2016 public hearing, the IRS reportedly began working on revisions to and clarifications of the new 2704 proposed regulations. While the uproar from the estate planning and accounting communities...more

A “Thriller” in Tax Court: The Estate of Michael Jackson and IRS Dispute Valuation of Pop Star’s Image

How much were the late King of Pop’s name and image worth when he died? His estate put the figure at $2,105 but the IRS believes the value is at least $434 million. That’s a huge discrepancy and with penalties and interest...more

A Guide for Challenging a Joint Account Arrangement in Michigan

Joint bank account arrangements are as useful as they are common, providing a simple means for transferring an individual's assets to others - either during his/her life or post death by operation of a survivorship...more

UPDATE: Can an Intended (and Disappointed) Beneficiary Still Sue a Will’s Drafter?: The General Assembly of Virginia Enacts a...

Back in the summer I wrote a post discussing the impacts of the Thorsen decision by the Supreme Court of Virginia. In Thorsen, a testator wanted to leave her estate to a charity if her daughter did not survive her. The...more

Fiduciary Access To Digital Assets

I don’t need to tell you that social media has become a mainstream way to communicate ideas, photos, and information. Even the President uses this technology as a prime form of expression. Have you considered what happens to...more

How to protect your family-owned business from your child’s spouse

For most people, a child’s wedding is one of those great life moments that is filled with months of planning and excitement. However, for people who own a family-owned business, the old myth that 50 percent of marriages end...more

When Life Imitates Art

– Will Caveats or “The Family Feud” Part 2 –  The North Carolina Court of Appeals continues to publish opinions in Will Caveat cases that could easily serve as a storyline from a daytime television series. One example...more

Do you have to file a gift tax return (Form 709) for 2016?

If you made a gift to one individual in excess of $14,000 during 2016 (or $28,000 if you are married and you and your spouse agreed to "gift split"), then you will likely be required to file a gift tax return....more

The Statute “Says What it Means and Means What it Says"

Trusts and Estates practitioners often focus solely on the Tax Code found in Title 26 of the United States Code and ignore other parts of the United States Code (U.S.C.). However, it is a mistake to do so as Marci McNicol...more

Getting Your House in Order: Estate Planning is for Everyone

A recent survey found that nearly 50% of individuals with children do not have a Will and over 40% of individuals over the age of 55 do not have one. Whether a person is 18 or 98 with net assets of $200,000 or $20 million,...more

Properly structured foreign gifts of real property property can be estate and gift tax free

The investment in U.S. real property by Non-residents can be structured to minimize estate and gift taxes. The key is to structure the investment through a limited liability company, limited partnership or corporation so...more

Alzheimer’s Legal and Financial Planning Tips

If you or someone you love has Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia, it is important to put legal and financial plans in place as soon as possible....more

Copying is Best in the ING World

Not only is strict adherence to the structure set out in prior favorable rulings best, it is essential when it comes to obtaining a favorable ING ruling. The provisions in the trust document need to carve a very fine line...more

IRS Limiting GST Private Letter Rulings and Presubmission Conferences

At a recent Federal Bar Association Tax Law Conference, an IRS Chief Counsel branch chief advised that due to budget cuts: a. The IRS has temporarily suspended issuing private letter rulings regarding modifications to...more

Chris Lazarini Provides Insight on Compelling Non-Signatories to Arbitrate Disputes

Bass, Berry & Sims attorney Chris Lazarini provided insight on a case in which a widow and one-time named beneficiary of her husband's IRA account acquired the account assets after her husband's death, although she was not...more

The Future Of Proposed IRS § 2704 Modifications Is Uncertain

Proposed changes to Internal Revenue Code (IRC) § 2704, which would impact the valuation of transfers of family business interests at death, come at an interesting time politically given the Trump Administration’s desire to...more

Quick and Easy Tax Strategies Sometimes Backfire as New Jersey Estate Learns

From time to time, clients ask whether their estates will save on death taxes if they simply transfer title to their residence to family members while continuing to live in the residence until they die. We advise clients...more

Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts (GRATs) and Sales to Grantor Trusts

I. Introduction - A grantor retained annuity trust (GRAT) or an installment sale to a grantor trust can be useful in transmitting wealth in a tax-efficient way, and often one of these techniques is superior to other...more

Is It Better to Use Joint Ownership or a Trust to Pass Down a Home?

When leaving a home to your children, you can avoid probate by using either joint ownership or a revocable trust, but which is the better method? If you add your child as a joint tenant on your house, you will each have...more

If Only the Agreement Adequately Addressed the Tax Issue

Ozimkoski v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2016-228 (December 19, 2016) - Mrs. Ozimkoski (Suzanne) represented herself in this Tax Court case. She may also have represented herself in the final days of settling the...more

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