Educational Alerts

Federal Court: Disclaimed Property Available to Pay Tax Lien

Sep 12, 2014

This month we examine how the lack of proper estate planning left an inheritance exposed to payment of tax liens assessed against a son. The estate’s attempt to argue that the son’s share was not available because of mom’s desire that lifetime advancements to the son be repaid or, in the alternative, that the son had disclaimed his inheritance, did not convince the federal court that the IRS could not collect against the son’s share of the estate.

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Do-It-Yourself Estate Plans: Unintended Results

Sep 12, 2014

Download educational eAlert template A in Microsoft Word format Download educational eAlert template B in Microsoft Word format With the rise of companies such as Legal Zoom, TotalLegal, LawDepot, and, more and more consumers are attempting to create their own estate plans without the assistance of a lawyer.

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Failure to Divide Trust Cost over $400,000

Jul 31, 2014

This month’s alert provides a cautionary tale. It shows how failure to administer a trust according to its terms can cost the remainder beneficiaries hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes, even when everyone agrees that the way the trust was administered was what was intended by the surviving trustor.

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Supreme Court Rules on Bankruptcy Protection of Inherited IRAs

Jun 30, 2014

While many people plan out their vacations in great detail, they may be forgetting to address what to do if the unexpected happens while their out of town. Find out how setting an estate plan in place, even a basic one, can minimize your worries about those “what if’s,” and enjoy that vacation you’ve been dreaming of.

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Benefit Charity and Save Taxes Too

Jun 03, 2014

This month’s e-alert shows readers how a charitable remainder trust can be used to eliminate the 3.8% surtax, defer income taxation of assets, provide an income stream to the grantors, and benefit charity.

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IRS Grants Relief for Late Election of Portability

Mar 31, 2014

This month’s Alert examines a new IRS release concerning portability. The Alert shows how taxpayers who thought they had missed their opportunity to elect portability on the first spouse to die’s estate tax return now have another chance

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Planning for Children with Special Needs

Nov 30, 2013

This month's Alert examines how to preserve government benefits for beneficiaries with special needs. A "Special Needs Trust" can ensure assets you leave the beneficiary do not disqualify them from government benefits.

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Tax Court Says Taxpayer Cannot Have it Both Ways

Oct 31, 2013

This month’s alert examines a case involving the rule of consistency. In the case, beneficiaries of a trust were trying to contest the income tax basis of a property. The basis had derived from the estate tax valuation as reported by the executor of the decedent’s estate. The court concluded that the beneficiaries were bound by the executor’s position because of the rule of consistency.

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New Rules for Same-Sex Couples

Sep 11, 2013

This alert discusses the IRS’ recently-released ruling regarding married same-sex couples. It examines how the IRS will treat such couples, even when they live in a state which does not respect their marriage.

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Estate of Hurford: a Taxpayer's Tale of Woes

Aug 16, 2013

This month’s alert examines a case which illustrates the importance of choosing an estate planning attorney. It also demonstrates the importance of the implementation of a strategy, in this case a Family Limited Partnership (FLP).

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Planning for Retirement Assets Can be Difficult

Mar 29, 2013

This month’s Alert examines the rules regarding distributions from IRAs and retirement plans. In particular, it examines reasons to make a trust the beneficiary and rules regarding who is the measuring life for minimum required distribution purposes.

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More Reasons for Clients to Review Their Estate Plans

Jan 31, 2013

This month’s Alert examines how the “fiscal cliff” legislation could result in changes for estate plans. Depending on the couple, it might mean they could simplify their plan. However, there are many non-tax reasons that they may want to keep a more complex plan.

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Estate Planning for LGBTQ Couples: Possible Changes on the Horizon

Nov 30, 2012

This month’s Alert gives an overview of developments affecting estate planning for same-sex couples. It recounts how recent elections approved same-sex marriages in several states. It also examines several cases which address the constitutionality of bans on same-sex marriage, including the Defense of Marriage Act.

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Last Chance for Estate Tax Savings?

Oct 31, 2012

This month’s alert focuses on the narrowing window to lock-in the current $5.12 million estate and gift tax exemption by gifting prior to year-end. The alert also examines why it may not be possible to wait and do this planning at the last minute.

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Tax Changes for 2012

Jan 31, 2012

This month's Alert reviews the inflation adjustments applicable to federal taxation in 2012. It examines changes in the estate, gift, and generation skipping transfer taxes, as well as income taxes.

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IRS Issues Instructions for Estate Tax Returns for Decedents Dying in 2011 and 2012

Sep 30, 2011

This month's Alert examines the IRS’ recent release of instructions regarding how to ensure portability of the applicable exclusion amount at the death of the first spouse. Many surviving spouses may see an estate tax return at the death of the first spouse to be unnecessary. This alert shows why advisors should document that they advised the filing of an estate tax return.

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A "Do-It-Yourself" Mystery: The Case of the Neighbor Girl and the Well-Meaning Widow

Aug 31, 2011

Clients occasionally attempt do-it-yourself estate planning. Sometimes they use software assistance, borrow from others’ documents, or amend their professionally prepared documents themselves. This month’s Alert looks at one such story and the havoc it wrought. In the end, the client’s goals were not achieved and her loved ones were pitted against each other in court.

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Doing It Yourself Can Sometimes Lead to Disaster

May 31, 2011

Nowadays, a growing number of consumers attempt to prepare estate planning and other documents of legal significance without professional assistance. These do-it-yourselfers are penny-wise and pound-foolish. This Alert examines several cases in which the decedent attempted to create or modify his own estate plan, with disastrous results.

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Creditor Protection Extended to Inherited IRAs by More Courts

Apr 29, 2011

IRAs and Qualified Plans are an increasing portion of our clients’ wealth. The advantages of the income tax deferral are well-known. This month’s Alert looks at developments regarding the creditor protection such plans provide, not only for the contributor, but also for those who inherit them.

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Annuity Maximization

Feb 28, 2011

This Alert examines how a tax-deferred annuity may not be the best solution for senior clients. It demonstrates how a single premium immediate annuity, or “SPIA” may be a better alternative for clients, especially if the client is in a lower tax bracket than the children who will inherit it.

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TRA 2010 Creates Opportunity for New Planning Strategy - The FlexTrust

Jan 31, 2011

The question of whether to fund a credit shelter trust has long been a central question in estate planning. With the new tax law and it’s temporarily increased exemption, the question is all the more relevant. This month’s alert discusses a new method of adding flexibility to your clients’ trust. The FlexTrust allows an independent Trust Advisor to decide whether and to what extent the credit shelter trust should be funded.

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