Pepper Hamilton, LLP: Don't Let the 2009 Increased Transfer Tax Exemptions Result in Unintended Consequences

As discussed in our December 2008 Estate Planning Update , effective January 1, 2009, the amount of property that an individual may transfer free of federal estate tax and generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax increased to $3.5 million. Various estate planning benefits, but also potential unintended...

A Dog's Life: The Helmsley Bequest (The Rest of the Story)

Hold the gold plated Milk-bones : The trustees of The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust have prevailed in their bid to block Leona Helmsley’s billion dollar bequest to dogs . At issue was Mrs. Helmsley’s 2004 mission statement executed in connection with the trust which directed...

What the Immediate Future Looks Like for the Estate Tax

For all those expecting or maybe just hoping to see a break in the estate tax in 2010, the likelihood of a zero estate tax is lessening every day. All evidence points to an extension of the estate tax at 2009 levels. President Obama’s FY2010 budget assumes the estate tax will be kept at its current...

Estate Planning Idea: Would a GRAT Work for You?

My wife and I run a small business. This may sound like a foolish thing to do but several years ago, we chose to do it. So now we work more hours each week than we did when we were with a major wirehouse, but we do it for us. We were prepared for this when we gave up our prior positions and I’m...

A Too Often Overlooked No Cost Estate Planning Step

While pondering what esoteric and elegant bit of estate planning would make a useful tip, I was haunted by the thought, “Perhaps I am getting ahead of myself.” Discussion of an oft overlooked elementary estate planning component could be more valuable to many people. Permit me to explain...

Using Gifts in Estate Planning

Mark Jordan, Managing Partner at The Drew Law Firm, has launched a series of articles providing helpful information on estate planning through a question and answer format. Part I of the series follows. Q: Why are gifts useful in estate planning? A: Gifts remove assets from your estate. Shrinking the...

Multi-Tasking Property: Funding a GRAT With Property That Also Serves as Loan Collateral

Introduction Many estate planning practitioners recommend the use of grantor retained annuity trusts (“GRATs”) as a tool through which individuals may reduce the ultimate estate tax liability of their estates. Property transferred to a GRAT is generally not includable in the grantor’s...

Death Watch on the Death Tax

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I got into a discussion – a friendly discussion – with my brother-in-law about what he calls the death tax. He’s a forensic accountant, and he opposes what I call the estate tax because it taxes money that has already been taxed. Well, to me, that’s...

Estate Planning Update - December 2009

To Be or Not to Be - An Estate Tax? As Congress adjourns for the year, failure to act on new estate tax legislation means that the repeal of the Federal Estate and Generation Skipping Transfer (GST) taxes will go into effect in 2010. Before taking any action early in 2010, you should know that many...

Don't Die Yet, Grandpa!

According to a story in today's (December 30, 2009) Wall Street Journal , people are making life and death decisions based on the irresponsibility of Congress in allowing the estate tax, and the generation-skipping transfer tax, to expire for one year: 2010. This is the result of a 2001 law –...

What Just Happened to the Federal Transfer Tax System?

In 2010 a whole new set of tax rules could apply to gifts and assets passing from estates. The U.S. federal transfer tax system just found itself unceremoniously dumped on the side of the road by a Congress that sped off to attend to health care and other matters before the New Year. What just happened...

How Old Was the Estate Tax When It Died?

Over at the Huffington Post, Chris Kelly did a nice little send-up of the estate tax debacle. Taking his cue from the untimely death of baby-oil heiress Casey Johnson, Kelly points out that Johnson's fiance, Tila Tequila, will at least be spared a tax bill. ... Kelly's sarcasm -- directed...

Estate Planning Update

We are into the second quarter of 2010 and still no federal estate tax. Will Congress pass new legislation? And if so, will it be retroactive? Congress has given no indication it will do anything, so we are likely to be dealing with this uncertainty for most of 2010. The possibility also is increasing...

Tax Benefits Stay with Life Estate Owner

Will your taxes change if you make a gift of real estate subject to a life estate over a straight gift of real estate? Guest blogger Stacey Crowell Maiden, Esq. , Of Counsel to our Trusts and Estates and Elder Law Practice Group provides an explanation of this common, but non-intuitive planning technique...

Morrison & Foerster LLP on the Health Reform Law, the Economic Substance Doctrine and Estate Planning

The Health Reform Act of 2010 enacted IRC § 7701(o), entitled "Clarification of economic substance doctrine." This doctrine can be seen in the estate planning field, being a part of various types of transactions. Examples include: when business entities are created and valuation discounts...

Doing the Math: Interest Rate Trends and Common Estate Planning Techniques, from Morrison & Foerster LLP

By Wendy M. Greenberg, Esq. , Morrison & Foerster LLP The interest rate used to determine actuarial valuations of certain retained or remainder interests for purposes of federal gift and estate tax, commonly referred to as the "7520 rate" and defined as 120% of the applicable federal...

Doing the Math: Interest Rate Trends and Common Estate Planning Techniques, from Morrison & Foerster LLP

By Wendy M. Greenberg, Esq. , Morrison & Foerster LLP The interest rate used to determine actuarial valuations of certain retained or remainder interests for purposes of federal gift and estate tax, commonly referred to as the "7520 rate" and defined as 120% of the applicable federal...

Wills and Trusts: Different Standards for Capacity?

By Genevieve M. Moore , Morrison & Foerster LLP It is more and more common for individuals to use a revocable trust instead of a Will as their primary estate planning document, particularly in California where we practice. Although there is an up-front cost to establishing the trust and transferring...

Wills and Trusts: Different Standards for Capacity?

By Genevieve M. Moore , Morrison & Foerster LLP It is more and more common for individuals to use a revocable trust instead of a Will as their primary estate planning document, particularly in California where we practice. Although there is an up-front cost to establishing the trust and transferring...

The USC Gould School of Law Tax Institute - January 27-29

The USC Gould School of Law Tax Institute January 27-29, 2014 Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles Over 60 speakers and 500 attendees will converge in January 2014 to address cutting-edge tax issues affecting corporations, privately held companies, partnerships and real estate, individuals, tax...