Estate and Elder Law

Recent Posts

The Art of the Estate Plan
Posted on 12 Oct 2010 by Deirdre R. Wheatley-Liss

So, is estate planning an art or a science? The Wall Street Journal finds that " Estate Planning: It's an Art, Not a Science ". The article posits: "It is logical that an estate plan should offer a clear map of what a person owns, but... Read More

Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code – Some Changes Effective July 1, 2009
Posted on 27 Aug 2009 by Alice Magdziak

On January 15, 2009, Massachusetts adopted the Uniform Probate Code, St.2008, c.521. The new law repeals current chapters 189, 190 and 190A. Some changes are effective July 1, 2009, while others will not take effect until July 1, 2011. Matthew Bender’s... Read More

Sablone on Family Limited Partnerships
Posted on 16 Jun 2009 by Kathleen M. Sablone

Family limited partnerships (FLP) are often proposed by estate planning advisors as a vehicle for making gifts to family members at a discount. Over the years, a substantial amount of litigation has established some limits for a valid family partnership... Read More

John Dedon On Estate Planning: Estate Planning – What a Difference a Year Makes
Posted on 3 Dec 2013 by John Dedon

In contrast to this time last year, when clients were frantically gifting to save estate tax before adverse tax law changes, this year has returned to the norm, with more traditional and routine end of year planning. In December 2012, Congress at the... Read More

Deirdre Wheatley-Liss: Love is Lost - And So is Your Inheritance - Divorce Really Ends Things
Posted on 12 Apr 2013 by Deirdre R. Wheatley-Liss

A common plan among our married clients is to leave their property to their spouse, either outright or in trust - oft-referred to as the "I Love You" Will. Sometimes, love is lost and the couple divorces. We recommend our clients update their... Read More

U.S. Supreme Court cites Florida inheritance law in unusual case
Posted on 15 Jun 2012 by karplaw

The U.S. Supreme Court recently handed down its decision in the case of Astrue v. Capato. The circumstances of the case are ones most of us will never experience. Nonetheless, the case has lessons for everyone. It underscores the importance of creating... Read More

New Federal Tax Legislation Impacting Florida Estate Planning
Posted on 29 Apr 2010 by Marc Soss

The months of March and April 2010 have brought new tax legislation that increases Federal taxes on both high and lower income taxpayers. The following is a brief overview of the new tax provisions and potential future legislation which would adversely... Read More

David Shulman on Estate Planning: Facebook Allows Users to Designate a ‘Legacy Contact’ to Manage Their Account After Death
Posted on 3 Mar 2015 by David A. Shulman

Finally. For those who have been following, the issue of “digital assets” is a fast developing problem in the estate planning world. Putting aside for a moment who has the right to “inherit” your assets, the bigger problem with... Read More

Pre Nuptial Waivers Not Enforceable Unless Properly Acknowledged
Posted on 25 Jun 2013 by Peter K. Kelly

By Peter K. Kelly, Esq. Of Counsel, Ruskin Moscou Faltischek P.C. A nuptial agreement which waives certain rights under equitable distribution must be in writing, subscribed by the parties and acknowledged in the manner entitle for a deed to be... Read More

Planning for the Disposition of Decedent’s Remains
Posted on 6 Aug 2009 by Peter K. Kelly

In 2006, the legislature enacted changes to the Public Health Law designed to minimize family conflicts concerning the disposition of the decedent’s remains. (see, Laws of 2006, chapter 76). Where a client anticipates possible problems with her... Read More

Excess Estate Expenses can be Windfall to Beneficiary
Posted on 13 Jul 2011 by Deirdre R. Wheatley-Liss

Who would have thought it, but the 1041 income tax return for an estate could make the beneficiaries money. Many times an estate may have deductions in excess of its income. An estate's income would include any items of income earned by the estate... Read More

New Developments Impact Estate Planning for Same Gender Couples
Posted on 16 Dec 2009 by Marc Soss

Over the years, estate planning attorneys have drafted documents for same sex couples (legally married, civil union, or domestic partnership) without knowledge of whether the couple's relationship would ever receive federal recognition. Only couples... Read More

Sharpen Your Pencils Estate Planners: It's Not Too Late to Write that Client Letter Regarding the Tax Act
Posted on 25 Mar 2011 by LexisNexis Estate and Elder Law Community Staff

The Wealth Strategies Journal posted a sample/model letter concerning client updates on the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010. The letter summarizes the Act's important changes and offers insights on... Read More

When Change Comes to an Estate Plan
Posted on 16 Jun 2010 by Randy Spiro

January 1, 2009 marks an unprecedented increase in the amount a person can die with and pay no estate taxes (the exemption) from $2,000,000 to $3,500,000. But if you have an A/B Trust or a QTIP Trust, you need to re-evaluate it in light of this... Read More

McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC Insights: Estate Planning
Posted on 1 Jul 2015 by McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC

ASSET PROTECTION STRATEGIES by David M. Watts, Jr. Durng 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... Read More

  • Blog Post: Terminating a Small Trust

    Susan Calistri discusses “small trust” statutes, which may be the solution if your trust suffers from a significant decrease in value To view this document, click here.
  • Blog Post: Trusts May Need Help to Survive Uncertain Economic Times

    Susan Calistri discusses trusts in this flagging economy and recommends a trust check-up to determine: (1) if the trust names a corporate trustee and who the trustee is; and (2) how the trust’s assets are currently invested. To view this document, click here.
  • Blog Post: Son of Sam and Surrogate Court Proceedings

    Would you imagine that the settlement of a trust could be held up by the Son of Sam Law? You may recall that this law was enacted by New York in 1977 after serial killer, David Berkowitz, report­edly received lu­crative offers to sell his story to publishers. The law, as originally enacted, pro­vided...
  • Blog Post: 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...
  • Blog Post: 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...
  • Blog Post: In Pennsylvania, a Will Trumps Inconsistent Multiple-Party Accounts

    Two relatively recent cases decided by the Pennsylvania Superior Court are proving to be troublesome for estate planners and their clients. In In re Estate of Novosielski , 2007 PA Super 292, 937 A.2d 449 (Pa.Super. 2007) , appeal granted In re Estate of Alice G. Novosielski v. Proch , 2008 Pa. LEXIS...
  • Blog Post: Sablone on Family Limited Partnerships

    Family limited partnerships (FLP) are often proposed by estate planning advisors as a vehicle for making gifts to family members at a discount. Over the years, a substantial amount of litigation has established some limits for a valid family partnership entity. In Estate of Jorgensen v. Comm'r ,...
  • Blog Post: 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...
  • Blog Post: Estate Planning In A New Environment

    By Adam J. Gottlieb While interest rates continue to stay low and values of marketable securities and real estate are down, opportunities abound for estate planning to minimize the tax cost of transferring assets. In this entry we discuss three options that may be useful in current estate planning...
  • Blog Post: Divorce, Death and Deductions

    When a divorce settlement requires an ex-spouse to make a testamentary bequest to children what are the implications for estate taxes and the spousal right of election? Divorce attorneys often do not consider these questions when negotiating divorce settle­ments. Is the bequest estate tax neutral...
  • Blog Post: Advance Payment of Executor’s Commissions without Court Order

    It has long been well settled law that commissions are not ordinarily payable until the Court issues a Decree settling the fiduciary’s account (see, SCPA 2307 (1), 2308 (1) and 2309(1); Matter of Worthington 141 N.Y. 9 [1894] ; Matter of Moro , 10 Misc. 3d 1075A, 814 N.Y. S.2d 891 (2006) ; see...
  • Blog Post: Where’s the Income Distribution?

    In today’s economy, income beneficiaries are suffering because the income distributions they relied on have diminished significantly. The prudent approach in drafting a trust that seeks to maintain an income beneficiary’s standard of living should include provisions which: (1) vest in the...
  • Blog Post: Uniform Real Property TOD Act Approved

    On July 15, the Uniform Law Commissioners approved a Uniform Real Property Transfer on Death Act. The final texts of uniform acts are posted on the Commission’s website, www.nccusl.org. Under a TOD deed, the owner of the real estate signs and records a deed that provides that the transfer takes...
  • Blog Post: Michael Jackson Estate May Bring Many Questions to Estate Planning Attorneys’ Offices

    Subscribers can access the cited treatises and cases on www.lexis.com . Treatises may also be purchased at the LexisNexis Bookstore. It’s not everyday that a guardianship case involves stars like Michael Jackson, his mother and sister, Katherine and Janet Jackson, and the great Diana Ross. It’s...
  • Blog Post: Jorgensen Application of Bona Fide Sale for Adequate Consideration Exception to IRC Section 2036

    In Estate of Jorgensen v. Commissioner , T.C. Memo. 2009-66 , the Tax Court included family limited partnership (FLP) assets in the decedent transferor’s gross estate pursuant to I.R.C. Section 2036 . The decedent, Ms. Jorgensen, survived her husband, Colonel Jorgensen, who had been principally...
  • Blog Post: Article 17A. SCPA Proceedings

    Prior to 1969 parents of mentally retarded children were concerned about guardianship of their children after they reached their majority. SCPA Article 17 proceedings would no longer be available and they did not wish to face the draconian committeeship proceedings which later became conservatorship...
  • Blog Post: Edward Wilcenski On Special Needs Trusts For Children Involved In Toxic Tort Cases

    This is the first clip of Edward Wilcenski of Jones Wilcenski & Pleat PLLC of Clifton Park, N.Y. ( www.JWLawOffice.com ), speaking on settlement issues in toxic tort cases involving children. Wilcenski covered a range of issues involving the establishment of supplemental needs trusts, intellectual...
  • Blog Post: Planning for the Disposition of Decedent’s Remains

    In 2006, the legislature enacted changes to the Public Health Law designed to minimize family conflicts concerning the disposition of the decedent’s remains. (see, Laws of 2006, chapter 76). Where a client anticipates possible problems with her burial, her estate planner can resolve these concerns...
  • Blog Post: Valuation Discounts and the Step Transaction

    Recently there have been a number of cases dealing with the step transaction doctrine in the IRS’s attempt to disregard valuation discounts for gift tax purposes. This doctrine “collapses ‘formally distinct steps in an integrated transaction’ in order to assess federal tax liability...
  • Blog Post: Quasi Hearings

    Initially, there were no uniform Surrogate’s Court rule. Each Surrogate promulgated his or her rules for their counties. In the 1970s, the presiding justices of the Appellate Divisions and then the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals called upon the Surrogates to formulate uniform rules. A...
  • Blog Post: Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code – Some Changes Effective July 1, 2009

    On January 15, 2009, Massachusetts adopted the Uniform Probate Code, St.2008, c.521. The new law repeals current chapters 189, 190 and 190A. Some changes are effective July 1, 2009, while others will not take effect until July 1, 2011. Matthew Bender’s Massachusetts Estate Planning, Will Drafting...
  • Blog Post: How Will You Want To Be Remembered?

    Many of us have, at times in our lives, struggled to achieve success and find meaning to our existence. For some of us, that struggle continued for years while we learned through trial and error lessons that shaped our outlook and made us the persons that we are today. Was your life experience a journey...
  • Blog Post: Surrogate’s Court Jurisdiction

    Initially, the Surrogate’s Court was a creature of the Legislature but the people of the State of New York made the Surrogate’s Court a constitutional court granting it jurisdiction over all actions and proceedings relating to the affairs of the decedents, probate of wills, administration...
  • Blog Post: A Divided Tax Court Chooses to Recognize a Single Member LLC for Purposes of the Federal Gift Tax

    In Pierre v. Commissioner , 133 T.C. No. 2 (2009) , the Tax Court, in a divided opinion, rejected the government’s argument that transfer of interests in a single member limited liability company (LLC) should be treated as a transfer of the underlying assets because the check-the-box regulations...
  • Blog Post: New Michigan Trust Code Becomes Effective April 1, 2010

    Michigan ’s Governor Granholm signed Public Acts 2009, Number 46 , the new Michigan Trust Code (MTC), into law on June 18, 2009. The MTC replaces Article VII of the Estates and Protected Individuals Code (EPIC) and becomes effective April 1, 2010. With this enactment, Michigan becomes the 24th...