Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Monday, March 10, 2014

New Jersey Rejects IRS’ Determination of Applicable Marital Deduction for Booth Estate

Wedding moneyPhilanthropist Lillian Booth died in 2007, leaving a roughly $200 million estate. She left a nearly $9 million trust to Robert Reldan, her nephew, who was convicted of two murders and conspiring to have Booth and her long time companion Misha Dabich killed. However, Booth did not include Dabich in her will despite their 51 year relationship.

Dabich successfully argued to the estate that he was common law married to Booth, which resulted in a $9.9 million settlement agreement. However, Dabich’s battle over the funds did not end there. The IRS treated the $9.9 million as a marital deduction, but the New Jersey Tax Court did not. The court rejected the estate’s argument that the IRS decision was binding. Since the common law marriage was not judicially recognized, the tax court did not follow the IRS determination.

See Peter J. Reilly, New Jersey Gets To Second Guess IRS On Estate Tax Marital Deduction, Forbes, Feb. 20, 2014.

Special thanks to Brian Cohan (Attorney at Law, Law Offices of Brian J. Cohan, P.C.) for bringing this article to my attention. 


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