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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Moving Toward True Marriage Equality

With the recent decision of the U.S. Supreme Court, same-sex couples now have the freedom to marry, and divorce, throughout the Country. There is finally marriage equality. Certainly, being able to marry is important...more

New Maine Budget Brings Significant Change to Estate Tax Law

With Tuesday’s override of Governor LePage’s veto of Maine’s 2016-2017 budget, the Legislature has approved a significant change to the state’s estate tax law. The Maine estate tax exemption amount for individuals dying in or...more

Low Interest Rate Is High Time for Some Estate Planning Ideas

When practitioners and clients think of estate planning, several goals typically come to mind: (1) identifying family members and charitable organizations to whom or for whose benefit assets are to be given; (2) ensuring that...more

Supreme Court Approves Same-Sex Marriage: Tax and Legal Implications for Same-Sex Spouses

On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court handed down its decision in the landmark case of Obergefell v. Hodges. The Court held that the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution requires all states to license a...more

Tax Policy Update

The top estate tax rate under Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ proposal to tax the wealthiest Americans and narrow income inequality in the U.S. The proposal splits the estate tax into four brackets...more

A trust is not an agency

The trustee is not an agent of the beneficiary. The trustee's duty not to delegate the administration of the trust could well be implicated if the trustee without authority were to behave as if he were the beneficiary's...more

NY State Estate Tax of Nonresident's LLC Determined by Entity Classification

The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance (the department) recently opined that a membership interest in a single-member LLC (SMLLC) owning a New York condominium is real property subject to New York State "estate...more

Virginia Supreme Court Issues New Ruling Regarding Missing Wills

The Virginia Supreme Court recently issued a ruling relating to missing wills and the legal standard courts must apply when an original will cannot be found and therefore an executor seeks to probate a copy of the will. While...more

Eight Key Estate Planning Opportunities Arising from the Supreme Court's Decision on Same-Sex Marriage

On June 26, 2015, the US Supreme Court ruled that a state ban on same sex marriage is unconstitutional, in violation of the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The landmark ruling in the combined cases known...more

Trustee Discretion and Liability of an Individual

It's an understatement to say that the role of the trustee is fraught with pitfalls. Often times, a settlor creates a trust to suit his or her needs, but rarely does the settlor take into consideration, the difficulties the...more

Estate Planning for Young Families

Proper estate planning for young families is essential, despite often being overlooked by both clients and attorneys. Many young families view their estate as being “simple” because in their minds they “don’t have much,” and...more

The ABC’s of Estate Planning

What are the “ABC’s” of estate planning? Over the next few weeks we will discuss some simple but important concepts as we discuss the “ABCs” of estate planning. Today we will discuss “A” and “B”....more

Till Death Do Us Part. . . or at Least Until the Divorce Becomes Final

When important changes occur in life, it is advisable to reevaluate your estate planning to ensure it continues to meet the goals and objectives you have for your estate and your beneficiaries – and going through a divorce is...more

Estate Planning for Real Estate

Almost all estate planning clients own real estate in one form or another – a residence, a vacation home, or rental property. Real estate presents unique challenges in estate planning because debt is often associated with the...more

Guide to Doing Business in New Zealand: Major Forms of Business Organisation (Updated)

MAJOR FORMS OF BUSINESS ORGANISATION - A foreign company or investor proposing to establish a business in New Zealand may choose from a number of different entities or forms of business organisation. Each of these...more

Cottage Owners, Relax: New Law Can Help Keep the Family Cottage in the Family

As Michigan's cottage season gets into full swing, it is a great time to celebrate a bit of good news for Michigan cottage owners. Recent changes in the law have made it significantly easier for cottage owners to transfer a...more

AZ Court of Appeals Broadly Interprets Persons Entitled to Compensation From Arizona Residential Contractors’ Recovery Fund

It’s not just for homeowners anymore – Arizona Court of Appeals decides a resident of property owned by his trust may still receive compensation from the Arizona Residential Contractors’ Recovery Fund. A recent Arizona...more

Connecticut Tax Developments 2015 - Tax Increases...Again

Four years after enacting the largest tax increase in Connecticut history, the Connecticut General Assembly has adopted a new $40.3 billion biennial state budget that contains $1.5 billion in tax and fee increases. Few...more

Trustees Beware: Which Fiduciary Standard Applies to Your “Business Judgments”?

To what legal standard must a trustee adhere when he or she also participates in the control of a family or closely held business? Courts continue to grapple with this question. The high courts in both Georgia and Nebraska...more

IRS’s Proposed Section 529A Regulations for ABLE Programs: A Mixed Bag

The IRS today published, right on deadline, its proposed regulations relating to Section 529A state-sponsored “qualified ABLE programs,” under which tax-advantaged investment accounts may be established to fund future...more

Asset Protection Strategies

During the estate planning process a question we are frequently asked relates to the best way to protect assets from creditors. The easy answer, although not the most satisfactory, is to give the assets in question away,...more

You Now Have to Ask for an Estate Tax Closing Letter

The IRS issues closing letters to estates for federal estate tax purposes, acknowledging that it has accepted the estate tax return as filed, or as adjusted pursuant to audit. This used to be an automatic process. The IRS...more

Estate Tax Regulations Allow Taxpayers to Request Late Portability Relief

The IRS released new final estate and gift tax regulations that include guidance on taxpayers seeking so-called “portability” elections to carry over the lifetime exclusion from the first spouse to die to the second spouse.  ...more

New Maine Budget Would Make Numerous Tax Changes

Hoping to avoid a potential government shutdown, this week the Legislature passed a biennial budget that once again makes significant tax changes, but stops well short of the major tax reform desired by many legislators. The...more

Blog: HIPAA FAQ Series: Does HIPAA Protect the PHI of Deceased Individuals?

In order to protect the privacy and security of patients’ information, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) imposes substantial obligations on covered entities (certain providers, plans, and health...more

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